Monday, July 16, 2018

MIAMI HEAT

7/3
  
Hey there Campers;

We are still trying to get use to the Florida heat and humidity. We drove to sunny Miami to see the sights. We went to an online RV site that said we could park the RV for $15 a day and be near the beach. Mmmm… sounds fishy to have RV parking in a big city. However, we do want to tour the South Beach area. So we venture on. We tried our best to get to the street and site of the parking lot. Well we finally saw the parking lot after many gyrations. It was a parking lot. FOR CARS!!! I saw a police officer and asked her if she knew of RV parking at this site. She informs me that there never was RV parking here in. Again campers, sometimes you have to go with your gut and not look at the internet. Not to worry. You know Lo and I know how to work Walmart. We found one in Miami Gardens and parked the Hilton4 there.



We ventured back to South Beach to start our city tour. So we want to take the Double Decker bus tour. We go to their downtown location. We were told everything was full until 3:30 PM. So we decide to go to another tour bus. We walk down the street and see the same touring bus line in a store. We go in ask about the tour she books us and throws in the boat tour for $1 extra instead of the $39 for each. After we got the tickets (ok, we are no dummies) I had to just ask why she had tickets for earlier time and touring office didn’t. She said her station is like an online booking so she could book us anytime. Wow. I guess you just gotta know how this system works.


Well, we get on the tour and head to the art deco area.

Here are some quick facts:

Ø  Miami was founded by Julia Tuttles
Ø  Miami Beach was built in 1922.
Ø  The word Miami means fresh water.
Ø  Brickell is the Financial District of Miami.
Ø  Miami Beach is the only true island in Miami. All others are manmade.
Ø  There are 800 Art Deco buildings in South Beach. Miami
Ø   Miami has a colorful Childrens Museum
Ø  The Johnny Versace mansion is on Ocean Street. The family no longer owns it.
Ø  The Tides building was built in 1936.
Ø  ESPN studios shows current games outside for all to see for free.
Ø  The downtown trolley is free. What a deal. You can go anywhere locally at no cost.
Ø  Miami is built on a coral reef.
Ø  CSI Miami was based on Miami PD. (Go figure!)
Ø  Miami River is 36 miles long.
Ø  The Miami skyline is the 3rd largest in the nation.
Ø  Port of Miami is the largest passenger port in the world. (For those of us who have taken a cruise out of there they really have moving people around down to a science.)
Ø  Movies shot in Miami: Moonlighting, Bad Boys 2, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Bird Cage etc.


 



The tour took us in front of many famous people home. Serena Williams, Gloria Estefan,
etc. Many shaped high rise building are everywhere.



 

You got to go to Little Havana. This area is the heart of the Cuban world. There are over 
300,000 people of Cuban descent. They have everything you could want from cafes, art,
cigars, coffee, etc. They have their own Domino Park. This is where politics are
discussed.This park reminded me of family. No matter when we get together somebody 
is going to bring out those bones. (Slang for dominoes.)


   There are huge roosters on the streets. They were started by artist in 2002. They are like feathered ambassadors to the area. The roosters are supposed to be for good luck. Many people stop and take selfies. OK, I just couldn’t resist.


 

Talk about art. Look at the building that said Good Beer here. It is 3D. It is hard to tell if 
the windows are really sticking out or is it an illusion. Art abounds in Little Havana.






Our tour took us to the Bayside Marina Boardwalk to take our boat ride. Lo and I have 
been here before. While I am not a foodie, they did serve a great salad. Of course I 
headed to one of my favorite places. Yep. There is a Hard Rock. Guitar pin here I come. 
They currently have a 2018 special spinner pin that you can only get each café. Soooo.I 
am trying my best to get one at each place I stop. Got #2.

We say goodbye to the dock and head out to the Miami River. On our boat tour we see 
the American Airlines Arena where the Miami Heat plays. So are they going to resign 
Dwayne Wade?? Just need to know. He can join LeBron in LA. Just a thought. Ok 
enough about basketball.
I tell you talk about fabulous boats. Miami Beach has boats of every type. Can you say 
$$$$$$$$$$. The SeaFair Yacht was designed as a floating art gallery. It is now used 
for any type of venue you can pay for. 
 

 

We toured around Star Island. Guest who lives there.  Stars of course. Gloria & Emilio 
Estefan, Shaquille O’Neal, Antonio Banderas, Jackie Chan, J-Lo just to name a few. 
There are other rich people like Philip Frost (the Viagra dr.), plastic surgeons, 
developers, etc. They have beautiful homes.
 



Fisher Island is truly an Island. The only way to get there is by ferry. Before you board 
that boat you should make sure you can afford a room. They go for over $1,000 a night. 
A average apartment goes for $1,000,000. It has the highest per capita income of any 
place in the U.S.

This city has a little something for everyone. Colorful parking meters. Pharma in a Box if 
you are sick. Amazing.



At the end of the day as we make our way to the car guess what happens. Yep those
dark clouds gather and it starts to rain. Whew. Got in the car in time. Yep God is good all
the time.
  
Well Campers, until next time.

Lo & Bren






Sunday, July 15, 2018

KEY LARGO

7/2

Hey there Campers,

What a great day to go fishing hunting on a glass bottom boat. We went to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for our trip. We got a chance to tour the aquarium.



Here are some quick facts:
Ø  The Keys are low-lying island with a maximum of only 18 feet above sea level. However, only 2 to 4 feet projected at high tide. They are protected by mangrove swamps. This help keep the island able to within stand the hurricanes and tropical storms.
Ø  The red mangroves drops its leaves into the water and provide a complex marine food chain. Yep those crabs and shrimps, (or scrimps as my dad would say. That is that Lake Providence, Louisiana coming out.) would almost be none existent if not for these trees.
Ø  Did you know if mangrove trees are taken out there wouldn’t be a sea wall?
Ø  There are few alligators in Florida. Most are crocodiles.
Ø  Crocodiles usually like salt water.
Ø  Did you know crocodiles are afraid of people? Yep, that sounds good but are you willing to test one???
Ø  Floridians call inlet from the sea bowling alleys.
Ø  Florida has two National Parks, Key West and the Everglades.


The boat took us out to the Molasses Reef. It is suppose to be the 3rd largest reef in the world. Fish are supposed to be jumping there. Were are those fish??? Well, I am sorry to say I am still looking for those fish. The few we saw were in no comparison to the ones in Kauai. Maggie and I saw amazing colorful fish there when she took me snorkeling. I was so bored I fell asleep. We can't believe we paid money for this! I almost wanted to ask for our money back. Ok, I feel better after saying that. Move on!!  At least the ride on the boat was enjoyable.







We headed back to the Hiilton4 for a peaceful sleep.

 Well Campers, until next time.

Lo & Bren







































Friday, July 13, 2018

KEY WEST HAVEN

7/1 

Hey there Campers,

We awoke to a beautiful sunny day. What a great day to travel further into the Keys. We traveled the 106 miles to Key West. We have found out over the years of traveling, if you want to learn the history of a city take a tour. Most large states will have a sightseeing tour. We love those trolleys that you can hop on hop off ones the best. Key West had the Old Town Trolley Tours. What we do is ride the trolley round until we have heard everything. We then stay on it until we figure where we want to first explore then get off.


The tour starts at Mallory Square. The tour guide is the trolley driver. He was a wealth of knowledge. If you have time visit the Shipwreck Museum. It shows where sunken ships were usually sunk by hurricanes or pirates. There is a very interesting story on how Key West accumulated its wealth. Well, ships would be venturing out with new cargo getting ready to go abroad to sell it or ships trying to reach harbor with its goods. Because when the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic come together they so abrasive it would cause ships to sink. Well, the good people of Key West would go out and help rescue the people from the ships. They would then go back out and “rescue” the cargo. Well, according to Marine time law, whoever gets to the cargo first becomes the owner. The “owners” would now split cargo with the city then sell back to the real owners of the cargo. The real owners usually only got back 2 to 5% of their original cargo. The town people were so scandalous that they would even turn off the Lighthouse light so the ships couldn’t see where they were going, which caused sinking. This had gone on for years. This got so bad that the government had to step in to stop this stealing. By this time there were people you had become quite wealthy.

On our tour we saw the Veterans Memorials for all the wars the US has fought. Did you know that even though Florida seceded from the Union, Key West remained part of the USA? Say what??? Yep. At the time of the Civil War, the Union had control of Key West because of the Navy this area never left the control of the Union. Never read that in my history books! 


There are many shot gun houses in Key West. OK ya’ll don’t act you don’t know what a shot gun house is. A "shotgun" is a narrow rectangular house, usually no more than 12 geet wide, with rooms arranged one behind the other and doors behind the other and doors at each end of the house. Ok. For those who don't knowyou are still asking why?? Because there wasn’t air conditioning in the 1800’s when these houses were built. So to keep the house cool you could open both doors and get a breeze for the entire house. It is called shot gun because a bullet can be shot from the front door straight to the back door without hitting a wall. I grew up in a shot gun house in Richmond, Cally.

Did you know that there is an African Cemetery at Higgins Beach? Well, it is very interesting how it got there. The graves are almost certainly those of Africans who died in 1860 after being freed by the U.S. Navy from three American-owned slave ships captured near the Cuban coast and brought to Key West for sanctuary. According to records kept by U.S. Marshal Fernando Moreno in 1860, more than 1,400 African men, women and children were transported to Key West after being rescued from the slave vessels. Key West workers quickly built housing and a hospital for them. While most of the refugees were eventually returned to Africa, 295 died at Key West, most likely from illnesses resulting from the brutal conditions aboard the slave ships. They were buried in unmarked graves along the island’s southern shore. Now slave trade was abolished in 1808. But some chose to still run under the law.


Here are some quick facts:

Ø  Did you know Jimmy Buffet first Margaritaville was in Key West?












Ø  Did you know there are 170 places to stay and drink just on Duvall St. Wow. Just think you could get drunk and still find your way home.

Ø  Ernest Hemmingway loved Key West. He stayed quite drunk there. His favorite place has been renamed Papa’s Pillar. Why Pillar?  It was the nickname of wife #2, Pauline Pfeiffer.

Ø  Hemingway and his drinking buddies built the wall around his house. There are no straight lines.

Ø  Sloppy Joes owner got mad because his rent was going to go up $1.00 a month. He was so determined not to pay the new rent that he told the drinkers to grab a bar stool and their drinks because they were moving right now. So all the drinkers did. Ernest Hemmingway was one of the drinkers. He only moved 2 doors down. The site of the current place.

Ø  Highway 1 starts in Key West and ends in Maine. 2,446 miles.















Ø  Cruise ships come to port 3 times a week during the summer season. More if there are hurricanes on other islands.


Ø  John James Audubon never owned the house he is famous for in Key West. His friend John Huling let him come and write about the bird from there.






Ø  President Harry Truman had his second home here. He called it “The Little White House.”

Ø  Henry Flagler brought the railroad to Key West. The train rails can still be seen today near many of the bridges you have to cross. He also had Casa Marina built. Check Henry out. He did a lot to build Florida.

Image result for flagler key west
Image result for flagler key west

Ø  Did you know that the key lime pie originated in the Key West area back in the early parts of the 20th century? Kermit’s Key Lime Pie, is considered the best there is by Food Network, National Geographic and Paula Deen.



Ø  Walgreens is located in the old theater. They were required to leave the front as it was.












Ø  A stone grotto was designed and built my hand by Sister Louis Gabriel to protect the island from hurricanes. Even today it becomes the center of prayer in advance of a hurricane or tropical storm.









Ø  There is an Seventh Day Adventist church on the island. We saw the sign on the tour and were determined to find it.





Ø  The car rented the most on the island is a Ford Mustang. Why? Because it is sporty and people want to be seen with the top down.









Ø  Iguanas are everywhere. It is like the favorite pet of the island. I am good with that. Just keep them there.
 











Ø  Did you know that during the Cuba Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy said that Cuba was only 90 miles away from America? Well it is not true. It is really 95 miles away. Key West is actually closer to Cuba than mainland Florida.












Ø  Did you know Key West was its own country for a day? Look up this link on your computer. https://medium.com/war-is-boring/key-west-declared-a-faux-war-on-the-united-states-in-1982-f2c40b429e75
We can take some lessons on immigration today.













Ya’ll know I will find a Hard Rock Café if there is one in my vicinity. Found it. It was in the heart of town in a cute little house. Guitar pin collection here I come.
 





There is so much more history in this town. You may want to put it on your bucket list.

 



Well Campers, until next time.

Lo & Bren