I woke up in Key West, Florida - cool! Before heading back north, I decided to drive around a little more, making a stop at the "southernmost part of the continental US" and taking a documentation picture.
Here are just a couple of miscellaneous observations about Key West. There are a lot of morning doves (or is that mourning - I never did figure that out), and I enjoy the sound they make. There are scooters everywhere! At this time of year, at least today and for me, the heat together with the humidity is almost unbearable. I'm sure I'd get used to it quickly, but.... Here in southern Florida they keep talking about "hurricane season", which apparently started June 1. I saw a lot of large birds that I couldn't identify - terns, maybe? They have long, split tails.
On the way back to Miami, I took a different route and discovered a road that appears to me to be completely useless. Highway 905A (aka Card Sound Rd) is significantly longer than staying on highway 1. It's not particularly scenic, doesn't appear to connect anything of significance, and I saw absolutely no homes, businesses, nor development of any kind along it. What's more, it's a toll road! There's probably a good reason for its existence, but I haven't figured it out.
I made a little detour into the Everglades National Park, but didn't do it justice due to my lack of time. I then headed into Miami. I made a stop at a shopping mall for some clothes, getting that necessity out of the way.
Shortly after starting into Miami my driving bug hit in a big way. As is my habit, I try to stick fairly close to the coast, and it paid off in Miami. The pleasure of the road had nothing to do with the coast, though. Ingraham Highway (that's what my mapping software called it, though it was called something else on all the signs - I never did see a sign with Ingraham Highway on it) went for miles through a tunnel of trees. They were large trees that formed a complete canopy overhead. Nestled in amongst the trees were, of course, opulent homes.
Eventually I got to South Bayshore Drive. Roughly at the intersection was a neat shopping/dining/nightlife area. A section of South Bayshore Drive was closed off - something about George Bush coming for a visit - sheesh!
I continued on my way along South Miami Avenue, and took a side trip through Key Biscayne - more opulent homes. However, the best part of this was that there was a little park just off the road that provided some incredible views of downtown Miami. The views were spectacular, but not something my digital camera did a good job of capturing. The spot reminded me a lot of the spot on Treasure Island that provides such a nice view of San Francisco.
I took another side trip to Brickell Key - wow! Hotels that I'm sure I won't be affording in this lifetime!
I then drove around downtown Miami a little, before heading for Miami Beach. Yep, Miami Beach is the art deco area that you see a lot of in movies and TV (lots on "Miami Vice", as I recall). It was very cool! I think most of Miami was on Ocean Drive for the nightlife. Given more time and my lovely wife, I would certainly have enjoyed that part of town for longer. There were a lot of street-side restaurants with live music. Many of the performances were outside, right next to the street. I'm not good at describing the fun it is even just to drive through areas like that.
In Miami Beach there were more homes and boats that blew my mind. There are times when I simply can't understand where all the rich people come from. I don't know if I've ever even met a person that could afford some of these homes or boats! And yet the world seems full of them.
It was getting to be around 10pm and I had neither eaten nor found a hotel, and I was getting quite hungry. I stumbled on a Burger King that was still open, and got some food. That's me - drive past all those nice restaurants and eat at Burger King - what's that about?!?! I finally found a hotel I could afford, and checked in just after midnight. However, Miami at night had me, so I went driving some more after that. Eventually I realized that there was a checkOUT time awaiting me, and I'd better get a little sleep first.
As with almost all of the trips in my life, there is simply not nearly enough time to do them justice, and I find places I'd love to come back to sometime. I am finding on this trip, though, that a lot of the things I'm seeing I'd really like to share with my wife and/or kids! Oh, well, maybe next time. :-)
Anyway, they're trying to chase me out of my hotel room again, and I want to get on the road. L8r!
P.S. I'm too impatient to proof-read this, so please forgive any spelling or grammar mistakes.