Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Key Decision

I am still thinking about water, but the location of the water I am thinking about has changed. Tomorrow we leave for Gulf and ocean waters, which are a bit warmer than those near my house. Our trip starts on the west coast of Florida in Sarasota, after which will move on to the Fort Lauderdale area. Most of that part of the trip will be visiting friends and family, and I am looking forward to it, as well as to the warm weather.

Then we will drive the Overseas Highway to Key West. I have been to Florida but never to Key West. I read that Key West is the only one of the lower 48 states never to have had frost. Hurray.

In anticipation of our visit, I did a little research on Key West. For one thing, I learned “Key" is corrupted form of the Spanish word Cayo, meaning small island. Besides all the publicity about Key West being gay friendly, the home of Ernest Hemingway, John Audubon and Key Lime Pie (which I fully intend to have while I am there), it is a significant site. Its history includes Ponce de Leon, pirates and the Civil War. I may or may not learn more about the history of the island because my first priority will be to experience its charm, feel the sun on my face – and eat Key Lime Pie.

When we decided to go to Florida I looked at a book I own called The Most Scenic Drives in America. I was delighted to find the details of our drive along Route 1 in the book. The drive to Key West is Scenic Drive Number 120 (out of 120). My goal in life is to take all 120 rides, along with my other goal to see all 387 units in the National Park System. So far we have seen almost one third of the National Park sites, but taken less than a quarter of the drives. We still have a lot of ground to cover. By the way, seven of the drives in the book are around the Great Lakes.

My heart and home may be in the Great Lakes, but I am happy that for the next week by body will be in Florida.

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