Cruising on Last Dance

This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Key West - Henry Flagler

Henry Flagler had a large part in creating Florida - from the Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine through the construction of the railroad across the sea to Key West. His railroad opened travel to Florida, bringing people new to Florida.

The train station in Key West functions today as a museum to Flagler's accomplishments and the building of the railroad through the Florida Keys.

During the planning, Flagler was told it was impossible to build a railroad to Key West.  During the construction, it was called Flagler's Folly.

After the railroad was completed, it was called the 8th wonder of the world.  Quite a change in public view.

Henry Flagler and his wife rode the first train into Key West to celebrate its completion, one hundred years ago.  When Flagler arrived in Key West, he said, "Now I can die happy.  My dream has been fulfilled."

Much of the railroad bridges stand today in testimony to the engineering and construction techniques developed for this endeavor.  The seven-mile bridge is so long that the opposite end disappears over the horizon.

The seven-mile bridge still stands strong today, 100 years and many hurricanes later.  When the railroad was converted to an automobile highway, a wider deck was installed and the old railroad tracks were used as guard rails.

The lower end of the 7-mile bridge and the Long Key bridge both have the arched supports that became a symbol of the Overseas Railroad.

The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 changed the history of the railroad.  It was a category 5 hurricane with record low pressures.  A train that was sent to rescue people on Islamorada was unable to return to Miami before the tidal surge washed it off the tracks.  The Great Depression had cash starved the railroad making it unable to rebuild.  The Overseas Railroad was sold to the State of Florida and became the Overseas Highway.

Another book for your reading list - The Last Train to Paradise.  Les Standiford has written a complete, well-researched history of the building of the railroad, in an easy to read, novel style.  Standiford, head of the Creative Writing Department at Florida International University, has also written a series of ten mystery novels set in South Florida, with the character John Deal.  More books for your list.

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