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.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Key West

Key West was at one time the largest and wealthiest city in Florida, in an economy based on shipwrecks.  It has always been a bit different from the rest of the world and remains so today.  In 1982, the U.S. Border Patrol set up a roadblock at the north end of the Keys to search for drugs, blocking US1, the only access.  Traffic was at a standstill, residents could not get home, tourists canceled reservations.  The protests of the Keys' citizens were ignored.  So, the reasoning that if the U.S. border was north of the Keys, they must be outside the U.S.  Based on that rationale, they declared themselves an independent country - The Conch Republic.  And, so it continues, a different culture, a different country.
The most photographed landmark must be the Southernmost Point monument.  Not to miss a Key West tradition, the crew of Last Dance captured an image to prove travel to the famed point.

Key West is known for the residential architectural style that includes large porches, or galleries, as known in the Gulf coast states.

Houses, both large and small, always have a gallery to enjoy the sea breezes.

This house's claim to fame - the southernmost house in the U.S.  It, too, has galleries on both floors.

The large Seward Johnson sculpture of Marilyn Monroe that stands in Chicago is also in Key West, in a life-size scale.  Appropriately, she is standing on a street grate in front of a movie theater.

Key West has a collection of Seward Johnson sculpture.  A large-scale dancing couple, entitled "Having Fun," stands in front of the Key West Art and History Museum.

Another Johnson sculpture, "The Tourist," is holding a camera as if he is taking a photo of the bronze statue of Ernest Hemingway.  Some claim that Seward Johnson's sculptures are not art, but whatever your opinion on their artistic component, they are fun and interesting.

There's a woman goin' crazy on Caroline street
Stoppin' every man that she does meet
Sayin' if you be gentle, if you be sweet
I'll show you my place on Caroline street

Jimmy Buffett

One of the things for which Key West is famous is the bars.  There are many, filled with lively patrons.  The original Sloppy Joe's was opened on December 5, 1933, the day prohibition was repealed.  Joe Russell had been selling liquor illegally for years; the end of prohibition only changed his place of business.  He named it The Blind Pig.  One of his best patrons, Ernest Hemingway, suggested that he change the name, copying the name of a Hemingway favorite in Havana, Cuba - Sloppy Joe's.

In a dispute over rent, Joe Russell decided to purchase a Spanish restaurant a block away and move the bar.  On the evening of May 5, 1937, he asked the patrons to carry everything out of the old place to the new.  No one missed a drink.  The "new" location continues as a favorite in Key West.

Key West has an array of fauna and flora, some, in the Key West tradition of being different.  The city has chickens.  This one was on the steps of a gift shop and, at first, appeared to be one of the items of merchandise.

Why did the chicken cross Duval Street?

Sloppy Joe's was on the other side.

Butterflies abound.  Well, not this plentiful in nature.  The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory is a relaxing break from streets crowded with people and live music from the bars.  An air-conditioned greenhouse filled with plants, butterflies, and birds creates a soothing interaction with nature.  Many varieties of butterflies flit around, landing on plants and, often, people.

Walking through Key West creates a constant experience with tropical flora.  The streets, yards, and parks are blooming, filling the views with color.

In the forestry category, this example of a Kapok tree stands proudly in front of the county courthouse.  The tropical Kapok has adapted to its environment, often blown by high winds from tropical storms and hurricanes.  It grows large, buttress roots supporting the trunk.  Smart tree.

Henry Flagler

Sculptor, James Mastin, created the sculptures for the Key West Historic Memorial Sculpture Garden.  Many of Key West historic figures are depicted in the Garden.

Harry Truman

Mastin also sculpted the images in the Loyalist Memorial Sculpture Garden in New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, Bahamas - Key West's Sister City.

Ernest Hemingway

To complete the historic experience, the Last Dance crew will have to travel to New Plymouth to view the sculptures in that memorial.

A trip to Key West would not be complete without experiencing the celebration of the sunset at Mallory Square.  Hundreds of people gather to watch the street performers and the sunset.  This young man rode a unicycle while juggling large sharp objects.  An interesting way to earn a living.  (His mother believes he is in Key West to attend college.)

Of course, the real show of the evening is the sunset itself.

1 comment:

Hanny Heim said...

Very nice, but this wasn't a chicken but a rooster. It's the Key Lime Pie shop Rooster !