Trip to Marathon, Florida

We have been so overwhelmed with medical appointments and issues for the past six months that we have not had time for a trip to the keys for a look around. We’ve been here for about a week now and will head back north on Wednesday. This is not the time of year to visit the Florida keys. It has been hot. Even though it seems bearable with a nice breeze, I can feel the sun burning my skin.

I was craving seafood and had to go to Sparky’s for fish tacos the first day. Another day, we ate Hogfish sandwiches at Keys Fisheries. Today we ate with Jim and Bettye Chaplin at Burdines. Tomorrow, our last day, we are going back to Keys Fisheries for more hogfish. My stomach leads the way.

We have stayed inside (in the air conditioning) in the heat of the day, and I have caught up with my Florida Keys Concert Association ticket sales records.

I do have a few pictures to share.

Our RV lot looks kinda bare with the small RV and no car, screen room or patio furniture. Hurricane Irma stripped a lot of the mangroves bare of leaves. We still have some behind our site, but it is not the lush jungle it was before Irma blew through.

This is how the mangroves look behind the lots between ours and the ocean.

I was dismayed to see this “castle house” under construction down the street. I should have taken a picture of the other side. It has a large bas relief shield with dragons on it. Fanciful maybe, but not fitting with the island vibe at all. I made some snarky remarks about it to Andy the first day.

We took a drive through our favorite picnic lunch spot, Oceanfront Park, behind City Hall. It was damaged beyond use and the picnic pavilions on the water’s edge have a plywood barricade in front of them. We have been going down to the waterfront in our RV park to sit and watch the ocean.

This iguana was on the rocks across the canal from us.

Iguana

One day, there were seven or eight crabs on the rocks below where we were sitting. They are super skittish so I was lucky to get any pictures of them.

Crabs

I just love those bright red legs!

Crab
Black Mangrove Blossoms

The Black Mangroves behind our pad are in full bloom, but you have to look closely to notice. The blossoms are tiny.

Another day, it started raining on us as we walked to the waterfront. We turned back, but the rain came harder. We took shelter under the castle house under construction. As we waited for the shower to pass, Andy said I can’t complain about the castle house anymore.

The photo does not show it, but it was raining hard at that moment.

Daughter Kathy Came to Visit

We never see the children and grandchildren often or long enough. But, we did have several very nice days when daughter Kathy came to visit for a few days this week.

Our first outing was to Key West where we showed Kathy Zachary Taylor State Park. First, we walked into town for lunch at Blue Heaven. We had not been there in several years and I was thrilled to find the Shrimp and Grits on the menu (as opposed to being a Sunday-only dish in the past). Seating is outdoors under the trees with cats and chickens wandering around.  Here is the entrance.

b Gate to Blue Heaven
Gate to Blue Heaven

I have passed this, or these, trees many times and just noticed them.  Yes, it is the rare “J” Palm.

b J Palm
J Palm

After touring the fort, we took a walk along the beach.  Although there are many tiki huts here in the keys, I had never seen one under construction before.  We stood and watched for a while. Two men on the ground were handing palm fronds to the two men up on the roof, who were nailing them down almost as fast.

b Thatching Tiki 1
Thatching Tiki

It was fun to watch, but we did not stay long enough to see the finished product.

b Thatching Tiki 2
Thatching Tiki

Here is another tree I have seen many times.  This was the first time a got a good picture of it.  It is a sea grape, the largest I’ve ever seen. Can you spot Kathy and Andy posing next to the canon under it?

b Andy and Kathy Under Sea Grape Tree
Sea Grape Tree in Key West, Florida

This was to be a relaxing vacation for Kathy, so we took her on our favorite walks each day.  At Bahia Honda State Park, Kathy opted to walk in the water while Andy and I kept to the dry sand.

b Kathy and Andy on Beach
Kathy and Andy on Beach at Bahia Honda State Park

The tide was very low again so we had plenty of beach to walk on.

b Kathy Walking on Bahia Honda Beach
Kathy Walking on Bahia Honda Beach

I don’t think I have posted a papaya update lately.  It is taller than the car now.

b Papaya Tree
Papaya Tree

Dave Scott was playing at Lulu’s, so we took Kathy. I sang a few songs and Kathy took this picture. I have always like that top, but now I think it makes me look pregnant.

Dinata and Dave Scott Singing at Lulu’s

We saw this iguana on the boardwalk at Oceanfront Park.  I zoomed in on the head so you can see all the interesting detail. They look prehistoric.

b Iguana Portrait
Bright Green Iguana

We also took a nice walk on the old Seven Mile Bridge.  I spotted a strange (to me) bird in the Sea Grapes on Pigeon Key. It was busy eating.  A quick Google image search told me that it is a Black-throated Blue Warbler. I didn’t get a good clear, sharp shot; this is the best I could do.

b Black-Throated Blue Warbler
Black-Throated Blue Warbler on Pigeon Key, Florida

Someone has marked the distance on the bridge in quarter mile increments.  The one-mile mark is fun.

b One Mile Mark on Old Seven
One Mile Mark on Old Seven Mile Bridge

We saw a Spotted Eagle Ray, also known as a Leopard Ray.  It is so hard to get a clear picture of them through the moving water.  Again, this was the best I got.

b Spotted Eagle Ray
Spotted Eagle Ray

I did get a nice, good, clear picture of Andy and Kathy.  She was holding her hair, but the wind was blowing hard.

b Andy and Kathy on Seven Mile Bridge
Andy and Kathy on Old Seven Mile Bridge

I don’t know why I didn’t have the picture of Dave and me. Maybe the computer bugs ate it.

b Dinata and Dave Scott Singing at Lulu's
Dinata and Dave Scott Singing at Lulu’s

I still think that outfit makes me look pregnant.

December 24, 2015 – Christmas Firetruck

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Whichever you prefer.

My town, Marathon, Florida, USA has an interesting Christmas tradition that I will share with you. It started in 1970s. Every Christmas Eve the fire department folks and families ride all over town in a ladder truck covered with lights. They play loud Christmas music and toss candy canes to the children.  I don’t know if they have a specific route, but it seems they cover most streets. You can hear them coming before they are in sight.  Everyone comes out to wave to the people on the firetruck as they pass by. I always have.

Our RV park has a Christmas Eve party in the clubhouse and when the firetruck pulls up outside, we all run out to wave to the people riding it.  This year Santa climbed down from his chair at the base of the ladder and went into the clubhouse.  I think he was posing for pictures with people, but I was outside taking pictures of the truck.  It is so big that I had to take three pictures to get it all.

Note that the firetruck is a convertible. Santa’s chair was mounted on the base of the ladder. There was a large lighted “Merry Christmas” sign on the front flashing on and off, but it was off when I got this picture.

b Firetruck 1
Christmas Fire Truck

Most of the people were riding on both side of the second section of the firetruck. I hope they had seat belts or were somehow tied down.

b Firetruck 2
Christmas Revelers on Firetruck

There was another driver at the back end.   The RV park roads are so narrow so it was a good thing that huge truck can bend around corners.

b Firetruck 3
Back End of Christmas Firetruck

Our neighbor and musician, Dave Scott, entertained us with his guitar.  Many people got up to sing with him, including myself. You may remember our 98-year old trumpet player, Micky Belin, who got up and played a few tunes.

b Dave and Mickey
Dave Scott and Micky Belin

 

It was a beautiful night with a full moon. The scattered clouds were lit up by the moon and it was magical. It was so nice that, after we left the party, we walked to the waterfront. The moon was so bright that the horizon was very clear on the ocean.

  Happy, Healthy, Safe, and Peaceful New Year