Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Upper Keys Excursion

Joan and I found it necessary to take a trip to Florida City to refill some of our prescriptions. It is really unfortunate because we will be taking this same route with the motorhome when we leave the Keys next Monday- However we decided to be philosophical about it and make a day of fun and exploration.
The weather forecast is for rain showers and windy today so it is a perfect day to travel versus going to the beach.

The GPS estimated the 90 mile trip to take 2hrs 40 mins each way. If you are doing the mental math that works out to 34 mph- unfortunately it was very accurate.
---Rant Warning---
I've going to do a little rant here- so I'll warn you to skip a paragraph if you want.
The health insurance provider we have through Joan's former employer gave us a list of in-network providers for our prescriptions. We chose Walmart because we needed a pharmacy that would be available in any state or town we were in. What could be better- a provider with a computerized national database- all we would have to is call into the closest store and go pick up our products- right? Somehow It just never works out that way- and we are getting smarter about the information we provide up front, AND budgeting more time for everything to happen. Seeing as how we will have to drive 90 miles each way- we called ahead to be sure everything was set. The pharmacy could not verify one of the prescriptions- even though we had just had it filled in Fort Myers 30 days ago. So a phone call to the doctor and re-fax the prescription to the Florida City Walmart- good to go. Nope- when we got to Walmart they had one of four meds ready. REALLY? We did end up with all four but it took us from 1PM to 3:30 PM.
---End of Rant---
Wind gives Joan a punk hair-do this morning
The trip was going to be fun- it's one of the most scenic highways in the US . We also planned to stop at the History of Diving Museum at the half way point in Islamorada, however with the delays in Walmart, we didn't get to the museum until 4:20 and they close at 5- not enough time. We will do this on another day.

 The wind was whipping up white caps on the gulf as we left our RV park this morning.  We were surprised that the wind died down as we drove north.

While we were in Florida City the wind was a breeze, and the temperature was in the mid seventies. As we drove back down the Keys (south and west) the wind was till there. Thankfully, the rain was gone- sun was out!

On Knight Key is the start of the longest bridge in the overseas highway. The Seven Mile bridge.
The railroad bridge built by Henry M. Flaggler (to the right side of this photo) was the first to bridge the gap between Knight Key and Little Duck Key.  Much later when the highway was built, the bridges were nearly parallel. I say nearly, because the railroad bridge bent to the west, and landed on a tiny  island named Pigeon Key at mid span- and the highway bridge bypasses Pigeon Key.  Pigeon key was important to the railroad in ways that I'll explain in a later posting.
At present,  the only way to get to Pigeon Key is to take a boat or the old railroad bridge. The buildings date back to the early 1900's and house a museum.
The only way to get on this section of the rail road bridge is through this gate.  The cost is $11 per person, and includes admission to the museum.   Much of the old railroad bridge throughout the Keys has been renovated with proper height guardrails and is  open to the public at no cost. They make great walking, and bicycling paths, as well as fishing piers.

As with all the other sections of the old railroad bridge open to the public, the 2 mile section of the old railroad bridge to Pigeon Key is walking or bicycle only.

Some sections of the old bridge have not been re-pourposed yet and are falling into disrepair.  As with all man-made objects- whenever maintenance ceases- mother nature takes over.
Here a tree seed has caught a toe-hold, and sprouted in a crack in the bridge and nature will slowly rust the steel and pulverize the concrete, unless man intervenes soon.  This section of the old bridge is not open to the public and parts of the span have been removed at both ends to ensure no-one can sneak out there.

The weather this afternoon and into tonight will be quite windy, and the overnight temperature here at Ohio Key will be in the 50's. When we got back from Florida City we had a quick happy hour with the neighbors and caught up with all the latest gossip. We had our chairs huddled around the leeward side of John's Raptor 5th wheel to block most of the wind, but we headed back to the warmth of our respective RVs as the sun set.

This weeks low tides are going to be lower than usual, so tomorrow will no doubt involve getting wet and hunting trophy shells.  We'll post our results intomorrow's blog.  Meanwhile enjoy the sunset.

Jeff and Joan

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