Friday, April 14, 2017

The Jumping Bridge–Screw Worm and the Key Deer


Cudjoe Key, Florida (high 82, low 72)   and very windy


We haven’t had much rain since we’ve been in the Keys and with a “new to us” RV, you never know what a good rainstorm will bring.  We finally got some good rain, off and on most of the night and morning yesterday.  We were happy to find no leaks, at least none that we’ve found.

Al is still working a little at a time on sealing the roof openings with the Eternabond.  It’s hard on his bad knee, so he tries to do a little at a time.  We will feel better when he finishes that project.

A new project has sprung up though.  Our old deck box is showing signs of wear. He tried to patch it, but it looks like it will be needing a complete new top.  Since hurricane season will be upon us soon, we need to get that in better shape.

Venture Out


The winds are still blowing 15-22 mph,and bringing some very choppy seas, so boating is out. 

We met up with some friends from south Georgia yesterday.  We had lunch then did a little exploring, and finally made it to the “Jumping Bridge” on Sugarloaf Key.  It is a place the locals go to swim, and play. It is down a deserted road that leads to who knows where.   There is a canal cut thru the Keys lime rock with a nice concrete bridge over it.

We saw a friend on the way sunning himself in the middle of the road.  Al and Chris thought it was a harmless corn snake.




This is the view from the bridge.  The rock you see below is lime rock, which is basically what they Florida Keys are made of.  (Try digging a hole)  



The current was ripping, so you just float with it and swim to the edge, which is very rocky and per Chris was full of broken glass. 

This guy was prepared with water shoes.



Chris went barefooted since he hadn’t prepared to jump off a bridge when he left that day.   Smile






Chris was the only brave one.  Kathy, Al and I just watched.  Smile


jumping bridge


Water shoes would have been nice.





On the path to the jumping bridge, we saw some sort of traps and then people who were checking on the traps.

It turns out they are trap the flies to determine the extent of the screw worm infestation, and also release of millions of sterile flies to eliminate the screwworm population. 

Screwworms are fly larvae or maggots that can infest livestock and other animals. They mostly infect an animal through an open wound and feed on the animal’s living flesh.

Screw worms were devastating to the tiny Florida Key Deer and many died because of them.

Preventive measures are continuing at the National Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key, and teams of experts are treating as many Key deer as possible with an antiparasitic medicine. Trained Refuge staff are also treating Key deer reported to be infected.

For several months, there was a checkpoint at Mile Marker 106 and if you brought an animal into the Keys, it had to be checked.


A few days ago, we were driving down Key Deer road and saw where it was blocked off waiting for a helicopter.



We were curious about what was being loaded but decided not to be nosy. We speculated it was something to do with mosquito control, since they’ve been very bad this year.


Two years ago the first full moon in April, we happened to be coming home from Key West and saw a beautiful sight where it was huge and sitting right over the water alongside a bridge.  We vowed to try and see it again this year, but we missed it.  It was never in the right spot any other month, so this is all we got.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Key West and a Traveling Pig From Montana (or you never know what you'll see in Key West)

Cudjoe Key Florida,  (high 82, low 72)  windy.....

I am attempting to write my blog with Blogger verses Live Writer as I prefer.  For some reason I have been unable to upload pictures I take on my phone using LW. It has something to do with Google Photos I think.  Any suggestions? 

We have been back in the Keys for about a month now and have yet to get the boat in the water.  At first, when the winds were calm, we were busy settling into our new fifth wheel, and Al was doing some maintenance work on the boat.  Since it's been too windy for boating, he's using this time working on putting Eternabond on all the roof openings. We prefer Eternabond over Dicor caulk because you only have to do it once.   

It's been very windy for days, with no sign of stopping until April 21st according to my Windfinder App.

Since we have to entertain ourselves in other ways, we've been doing a lot of exploring in Key West.  There are so many interesting things to see that are off the beaten track. 

 We always enjoy the cruise ships that are in port nearly every day.

The tour boats seem to go out and cruise around regardless of the winds and of course wind is good for the sail boats.

We have had a lot of time to explore Key West.  We went up into the lighthouse a few years ago, so we just took pictures from the street level. It's not free, so once was enough.

There are some beautiful churches.  

Some beautiful houses  

Normally we go to Mallory Square to watch the sunset, but we decided to check out Fort Zachary Taylor.  

The parking lot is sand/dirt and the winds kicked up a terrible dust storm. We couldn't even get out of the car for the blowing dust.  After a while the winds laid down and we were able to leave the car.

I snapped my first picture and quickly realized I had left the SD card in my computer so I was going to have to rely on my phone.  

There was a double wedding on the beach.  They had an arbor set up, to frame the ceremony in the setting sun.  I really wanted to get over there and get a picture, but I didn't think that would be very nice and since I didn't have my good camera, I couldn't even use my "stalker" zoom.  

As we walked along the beach, Al spotted something unusual.

Like I always say, you never know what you will see in Key West.

It turns out Bits (as in bacon bits) the pig was traveling with his family from a 15,000 acre ranch in Montana.  They left 5 days prior and somehow ended up in Key West.  He is a miniature pig (not pot belly) and is also a dwarf.  

We had a nice time talking with the two ladies who owned Bit, but we never quite got around to exchanging names.   

We chatted while we waited for the sun to set.  The same boats you see on Mallory Square can be seen cruising back and forth at Ft Zach also.

Sunset is different every night, but always beautiful over the water.

The cruise ships always take off before sunset.

We're not sure what today will bring.  We bought a small freezer that fits in a basement compartment, so we definitely need to go to the store for some ice cream!  

We may go to the Blue Hole and the Jumping Bridge and probably a trip into Key West.  The winds are still blowing, so boating is out again.   

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Key West, Fascinating History


Cudjoe Key, Florida (high 85, low 68)


We haven’t gotten the boat out yet. Al is trying to put a 2nd bilge pump in, the boat seat needed to be rebuilt,  plus our dive platform broke, so that’s another project.  Working on boats is very much like working on RV’s.  Nothing is ever easy or quick. 

It is starting to feel like summer here, so we try to plan our outdoor activities early.  Fortunately, we are morning people, so sunrise is something we frequently see!  To properly explore Key West, you really need to walk.  You can park in Key West for free before noon on Sundays, so that’s a great day to explore. 

Some days we head uptown and some days we head downtown (towards Key West).


The Old Town section in Key West is quite interesting. There is a lot of history in Key West and there seems to be a never ending list of things we want to see and do.  We’ve been coming to the Keys quite a few years now and still haven’t come close to seeing all that Key West has to offer.

The other morning, we stopped at McDonalds for a quick breakfast.  We noticed the car parked next to us and of course if there is a cat anywhere around, I will spot it.

Homeless people

Can you see it?  There is a yellow cat on the dash.  The window is cracked enough that the cat could have gotten out, which concerned me.

We waited for the young couple to come back to the car.  They were obviously living out of the car. They bragged that they came all the way to Key West from North Carolina.  I wanted to tell them, to turn around and go home.  Key West is not exactly cheap.

We gave them $11 for breakfast as they were obviously living out of their car.  It was all the cash we had on hand and I said I was sorry it wasn’t more.  He told me thanks, that was more than they had.  Oh brother!   Came to Key West with NO MONEY?   How could they be that stupid? 

As it turned out, they have two cats AND a puppy.   It was SO hot that day and we felt particularly bad for the animals.  The people had a choice as to their circumstances.  The animals did not.

We left and went to Publix, got some cash, water and pet food, but by the time we got back they were gone.  We haven’t seen them since, but are still carrying about the pet food.  Hopefully they wised up and went home. Dumb ass kids.

In Key West, every one wants to be the southernmost of whatever type of business they are.  The southernmost dive shop, bar, hotel, house, gift shop…  You name it.  Some one wants to claim the fame of being the southernmost.


This is the southernmost point in the United States.  The fence you see on the right is the barrier between the Naval Air Station and Key West.

Southernmost point

Both of our fathers were military and Al and I both lived on Air Force bases.  Neither one of us ever had such a beautiful view out of our back yard.

Here is the base housing.  I’m shooting thru a fence, but you get the idea.

Base housing NAS

Here is their back yard view.  Yep, much better than we ever had.

back yard view of base housing NAS


There are a lot of old churches in Key West.  Most of them seem to be Catholic.  (warning….. if you get offended by anything to do with religion, you might want to quit reading now).


This particular church was right on Truman street, which is another place you can park for free.  Parking is between 3.50 and $4. an hour to park, so free parking is always good.

The church grounds were beautiful and inviting, so we took a walk around.







Notice all the rock with the coral?















Keep up the good work











The church was initially a Canadian order and had history back to 1868. The  Sisters offered their services to the Navy in the treatment of yellow fever during the Spanish American War.




Colonel Teddy Roosevelt fought in Key West with his Rough Riders.  This was the war where Cuba obtained their independence, the US obtained both Guam (where Al and I met) and the Philippine Islands.



Take a minute to read the signs if you can.



This church was turned into a hospital at the time and was the first place the x-ray was used to find bullets and shrapnel, saving patients from exploratory surgery. 


We strolled down Truman Ave and discovered a few restaurants to try at a later point.   Made to order burritos.  Sounds good to me!

bad boy buttito


This next building was an old cigar factory with it’s own history.

E.H. Gato Cigar factory


This is one of the first integrated workplaces in America and also where a lot of planning and fundraising was done in effort to free Cuba from Spain.  

E.H. Gato Cigar factory


E.H. Gato Cigar factory


You never know what you’ll find strolling down the streets in Old Town Key West.


gnarly trees



gnarly tree





Flowering trees





Shady spots to sit. 



Weather Prediction help

Key West Weather Station


This is a Kapok tree.  I had to take the picture from the car, but I will go back and try again.  Look at the bottom of the tree.  Isn’t is amazing?

Kapok tree


Kapok tree


Another “southernmost”




There are so many areas in Old Town to explore.  Next time, we’re planning on exploring the old cemetery and maybe even the Truman House.

Today, might get us to the “jumping bridge”.


Stay tuned.