Saturday, August 09, 2014

Virtual Tour - US 1: Key Largo

Key Largo -- The Large Key -- is the largest of the many islands extending from the "mainland" of Florida.  In an attempt to avoid any law suits for invasion of privacy, I borrowed this shot from Google Earth.  It may include some private land, but I don't think it is identifiable.  I call it a "sneak peek" of the Gulf.  It is a peek over a fence at the end of a cul de sac.  This view of houses, docks and boats is typical on Key Largo. The photo is a composite, copyrighted by Google and the US Department of State.

This is a "far cry" from my one visit to the keys many years ago!  Our visit was in a station wagon pulling a borrowed (or rented) popup camper.  We stayed in a campground on a smaller key along US 1 where the ground water tasted strongly of sulfur.  It may have looked something like this, Calusa Campground in Key Largo.  Again, over the fence, courtesy of Google Earth.

Between Key Largo and the mainland are scores, if not hundreds, of be tiny islands, most of which are uninhabited. Each island is a "key" contributing to probably over half of the more famous string that are connected by US 1.  Other islands along the west coast of Florida are also designated as "keys."  According to Meriam Webster Dictionary this homograph is derived from the a native language spoken by the Taino, a Caribbean people.  They Spanish spelled in "cayo," which the English co-opted.  It may have once been pronounced as if rhyming with "they" or "grey."  In fact, the alternate spelling of "cay" is also pronounced "kee"!  The English language cannot be "trusted."

Since 1947 all the Keys of Florida south of the Everglades (the vast majority of the islands called "keys") have been part of the Everglades National Park.  As such, only the largest of the islands are populated.  Some of the islands are "privately owned," but I strongly suspect that they are also quite regulated.  It's a shame that, for the sake of a subspecies here or there the "last frontier" of South Florida is practically 'off limits.'

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A virtual trip up US Route 1: The Florida Keys.

Okay, I know I didn't take this picture, but I was near there many years ago when Mom, my brother and I left Dad and the younger siblings somewhere in the Keys to go to Key West.  On a recent trip to North, South Carolina (see last week's blog), I could not resist having my picture taken in Leesville, SC, where my wife and I ate at a Hardee's right on "America's Highway."  Here is proof:

I'll get there, eventually, on this virtual tour, but today I want to just ease into the idea that perhaps will give me something to write about for the blog.  In what was just serendipitous browsing to "Next Blog," I came upon pictures and narrative of a visit to Maine, one of the states to which I've never been.  It mentioned Wells, Maine, which sits closer to the other end of US 1 than the intersection above is to Mile 0 in Key West.  The route between the two signs above is 784 miles.

So, what can I say, I've been to many of the points of interest on US 1 in Florida, though I am not sure which that I have pictures available.  In this tour I will be posting pictures mined from Google Earth, all via links directly to the source.  So, let's begin.  The Photo Op for the "Begin" sign actually looks southward away from the historic highway.  This picture was taken directly from "Street Level" and has the copyrights clearly visible in full size:

And so, turning around, we head northeast and head toward the "Florida Keys Scenic Highway."  There is a lot to see in historic Key West, but the "furthest south" landmark is not on this highway, but here is historic St. Paul's Epispocal Church (unless otherwise stated, all copyrighted by Google Earth):

As can be seen on both these Google Earth shots, the yellow street indicators are a dead give-away, but by using them, I think I am safe under public use laws.  Just in case, the whole picture is being used so that copyrights are clearly visible.  On the way out of town, this is what a typical roadside looks like:

Leaving the Keys behind, the only way out is the bridge over the Atlantic Ocean (or part of it anyway)!  At it's longest stretch, that is an astonishingly long seven miles!  Here is another Google Earth snapshot:

Well that's enough for now.  Next stop, Key Largo.  If anyone has actual photos or experiences from the Florida keys, or anywhere along US 1, feel free to share with me.  Perhaps I will get out to see some of this in person again, but for now, I'll be on Google Earth.