The other day we went down to Key West, where U.S. Highway 1, the Overseas Highway, ends at Mile Marker 0. So yesterday we decided to drive the other direction, up Key. We didn’t have any particular destination in mind, we just enjoy going for a ride together and seeing what there is to see along the way.
We crossed the Seven Mile Bridge onto Marathon, which is the business hub of the middle Keys. Here you can find anything from a wide selection of restaurants, gift shops, motels, resorts, seafood markets, charter boats, a couple of grocery stores, and even a K-Mart. Marathon is also home to the Dolphin Research Center, which we toured and did a feature story on during our last visit to the Keys. Marathon also has an airport, where you can see anything from high dollar Lear jets to puddle jumpers, and even a helicopter equipped with pontoons. We’ve spent a lot of time on Marathon in the past, so we kept on driving north.
After crossing a number of smaller keys, some with a few amenities and some no more than a short tree-lined stretch of road before we crossed the next bridge, we made our way to Plantation Key and the town of Islamorada. This is another busy place, and a little more touristy than Marathon.
Islamorada is home to the Florida Keys Memorial, more commonly known as the Hurricane Monument. It honors the hundreds of Keys citizens and World War I veterans who were killed in the “Great Hurricane,” which struck on Labor Day in 1935. With winds of 200 miles per hour, the storm destroyed just about every structure in the area, as well as the Florida East Coast Railway. The military veterans were construction workers building the Overseas Highway. The cremated remains of some 300 people who perished in the storm are encased in the monument.
We continued a few miles further north to the Elks lodge at Tavernier, which has ten RV sites on the water behind the building. They are already booked for the entire season, and reservations are made months in advance, so if you are an Elk and want to spend time in the Keys, plan ahead.
Heading back home, we stopped at Bass Pro Shop to look around for a while, then at a boat dealer so I could drool. They were moving this big one with a forklift, and the driver deftly set it down on a wooden cradle as gently as a mother lays her baby down in its crib.
Back at our RV park, it was another quiet evening with a nice dinner by Miss Terry, watching TV, cruising the internet, and just relaxing. Another good day here in the laid back Keys.