We have met so many neat and interesting people on this trip! On our search for marine life on the 7 Mile Bridge in Marathon, we met Peggy & Joel Brown. We ran into them again in Key West (small world)! Joel is a musician who plays music worldwide with Chris Brubeck (one of Dave’s sons)! Check out www.brubeckmusic.com for information on his group “Triple Play”. They came aboard for drinks tonight along with their life long friends from New Hampshire, the Maattas. The Browns live close to our route when we head up the Hudson River in NY and we plan to see them this summer when we pass their way. What a great opportunity we are having to meet so many wonderful people.
We biked all over Key West today. Visited the “Southernmost Point” and Truman’s Little White House on the Naval Base. During Truman’s presidency from 1946-1952, he resided 175 days in this wooden 2 story house and it was considered to be the functioning White House. Other notable politicians who have stayed there are Taft, Carter, Clinton & Eisenhower. Kennedy met with the British Prime Minister there 23 days before the “Bay of Pigs”. Colin Powell hosted peace talks there. Thomas Edison called “the Little White House” home during WWI when he developed 41 weapons for the Navy.
What is the Conch Republic? In 1982 the US Border patrol set up a roadblock on Hwy 1@ Florida City (the only entrance to the Keys) to check for illegal aliens entering the country. It virtually paralyzed the traffic and residents of the Keys had to prove their citizenship every time they came and went from their homes (Just as if they were leaving the country)! It didn’t last long. An injunction to stop it failed, but the Mayor of Key West seceded from the Union (in front of a lot of press and with tongue in cheek) by breaking a stale loaf of Cuban Bread over the head of a Navy officer. After one minute of rebellion, the Prime Minister of the declared Conch Republic, surrendered to Union forces and demanded 1 Billion Dollars in Foreign Aid and War Relief funds! Boy these Conch Americans, they really know how to “work the system”. The blockade was removed. History was made and a new Heritage has been honored ever since. Keys residents consider themselves to hold dual citizenship as Conchs and as Americans and will fight for the right to be both!!!!!!!!And YOU can come here without a passport!
Yes, we got kicked out of Key West! Not because of poor behavior (not mine anyway)! It’s Key West Race Week and that brings the top sailors from around the world to compete in the sailing regatta! All the marinas are booked so we have to heave’ to and move 3 miles up to Stock Island for a boat slip. While the location, location, location is not as great as when we were at the Key West Bight, right in the middle of everything where you could do the “Duval Stumble” home if you had to, we do have way nice floating docks and facilities@The Sunset Marina. There is something (a lot)to be said for that. Our “Key West Cruisers” (bicycles) will probably log more miles from here, but Kevin and Debra will be here soon with their rental car and all is well with the world!
Besides just being the very lovely shells that you hold up to your ear to listen to the ocean, Conch is also a delicacy that we don’t often have the chance to enjoy here in the states. In the Bahamas, they dive down in the water, crack the shell on the side of the boat and eat the raw mussel for a mid day snack. Stateside we are sometimes offered conch chowder or conch fritters and you could go blind looking for an actual piece of conch in the recipe. Two words. Hurricane Hole ---Bar & Grill! Relax by the water and enjoy lightly breaded and fried Conch Steaks!! It’s been a long time since we had this opportunity and we totally enjoyed it! Kevin & Debra arrived today and will be with us for a week!
We spent another fun day in Key West and I have a shopping tip for you! Do you like Lily Pulitzer clothes?
When in Key West, be sure to visit “Key West Handprint” on Simonton Street. Looks just like Lily but is made in Key West and a $90 skirt you can get for $15. It’s so awesome we shopped there 2 days in a row.
Speaking of interesting people you meet along the way, we met Dink Bruce and Sir Peter Anderson , some friends of Debra and Kevins. Dink is 5th generation Key West and Peter is officially Secretary General of the Conch Republic. Dink’s father was personal assistant to the old man himself, Papa Hemingway. Dink has lots of Ernest memorabilia and is currently working on a book based on some of Hemingway’s ship logs from the “Pilar” (Hemingways’ boat). Dink gave Brad a “Pilar’ ball cap that he is quite proud of! Dink also gave us a copy of a CD he produced called “Cuban Chugs”! It shows the homemade boats and skiffs that Cubans have risked their lives in to get to the Freedom and Opportunity that our country offers. They abandon them along the beaches. It’s very moving. Got to give a “shout out” today to Amy, the bartender at “Blue Heaven” who got all her great training at “Dick’s Last Resort”! Got to love a bartender with an attitude!!!! We will be cruising tomorrow back to Marathon.
We (with Kevin and Debra aboard) cruised for 5-6 hours yesterday to get to the top end of Marathon Key in to Key Colony Marina. Enjoyed a dinner at their restaurant last night and rented a car this morning. Yes, Max Thompson, we accepted the challenge and set out to find the elusive “No Name Pub” on Big Pine Key!Had a wonderful lunch there(I had the Shrimp Pizza)! Shopped and stopped occasionally at a tiki hut here and there all the way home. Dinner on board “Salvage Crew”. Winds and waves forecasted to be up in the morning. Still considering our options. No need to travel unless conditions are right. Life is good.