Arrival at Key Largo

Five days ago on Wednesday, November 2nd we left home en route to Key Largo.  We arrived today on Sunday, November 6th. The moment we departed Homestead, Florida (the lowest end of the Florida peninsula) and entered the Florida Keys with its iconic turquoise coloured cement barrier separating the north and south lanes of the Overseas Highway I knew we had achieved a long-standing ambition to winter in Key Largo, an initiative which had been delayed upwards of two years by COVID- 19 and its corollary repercussions.

The Overseas Highway is a 113-mile (181.9 km) highway carrying U.S. Route 1(US 1) through the Florida Keys to Key West. Large parts of it were built on the former right-of-way of the Overseas Railroad, the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway. Completed in 1912, the Overseas Railroad was heavily damaged and partially destroyed in the 1935 Labor Day hurricane. The Florida East Coast Railway was financially unable to rebuild the destroyed sections, so the roadbed and remaining bridges were sold to the state of Florida for $640,000.

Relocating one’s residence for six months is work – particularly for those of us who suffer the perils of an A-type personality. The improving advantage of doing so in this southern climate is that the predominance of concern surrounds mundane domestic matters only. Because the stock apparel here is shorts, an open neck shirt and comfortable shoes, there is little else to complicate one’s pro tem existence.

We have rented a two-storey town house adjacent Florida Bay and a private yacht basin within a gated community. Though at this juncture immediately following our arrival here I am reluctant to diminish the effort involved getting settled, there is unquestionably an uplifting sense of inexorable beauty and natural majesty. Earlier today as we moved from the northern tip of Florida (Yulee, Nassau County near Jacksonville West) it became instantly apparent that the sky above us had also transitioned to a magnificent atmosphere identified by massive cloud formations, pink sunrise swaths and tumultuous rain showers. The recognizable names of St. Augustine, Daytona Beach, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami initiated our shift towards Key Largo, Islamorada and Key West along with a commensurate elevation of our whimsical spirit. The Rolls Royce SUV from Naples converted to the Ford F-150 hauling a fiberglass fishing vessel.

Some things of course are inalterable no matter the geographic difference; things like one’s protuberant belly, one’s relentless impatience and associated frustration, one’s yearning for structure and routine. These predominantly visceral obfuscations characterize oneself as part of the inescapable human animal division. What dignifies the immutability is the blunt acceptance of what is. Nor have we any intention of overcoming it. Nonetheless we have admittedly predicted a preferred state of involvement in our new surroundings. Tomorrow morning for example we propose to breakfast at The Hideout Restaurant on Largo Sound.  We discovered this manifestly rude beanery years ago upon one of our jaunts from Hilton Head Island to Key West. Like so many of these cheap restaurants it is known for its favourable fare.  In addition we acknowledge the utility of putting on the nose bag before entering the aisles at Publix to furnish our household larder. Of slightly more glamorous enterprise is my intention to rent or buy a tricycle for the season. At my age I have somewhat reluctantly accepted that a lifetime of athleticism is no longer imperative. Yet I wish to have a device to get me back and forth from the pool or beach; and, my burgeoning interest in photography compels me to seek out the many local resources for ideal snaps. The tricycle affords me the protection from imbalance. Plus I have unwittingly learned that having a stick and a raffia fedora is not without its practical application. This is a moderate dilution of my erstwhile physician’s counsel to “keep moving”.