"If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it." (Amen!!) Lyndon Baines Johnson (Eh, not bad for a democrat, Eh!?)
Water, Water, EVERYWHERE, this pretty much describes Miami. It just seems like everywhere you look, every time to go around a bend you see water (ocean, bays, canals, channels, swamps,etc.)
Well, after 6 weeks we have South Florida in our rear view mirror. As I've written before, we have really enjoyed our time down here. It's not San Diego, or So. California, that's for sure. The World, or at least the North and South Americas retire, live and spend at least their winters down here. The economy is built around this flood of 'immigrants. You've got: Spanish-speakers from the Spanish Virgin Islands (Cuba, Puerto Rico) and South Americans, and French-speaking snowbirds from Canada and more specifically Quebec, and of course, the English-speaking snowbirds from the northern states. It's been a hoot meeting these folks and sharing stories with them. We frequently hear something like, "you're from San Diego, the most beautiful city in the US and with perfect weather, WHY are you here?"
Miami, a few final thoughts:
HIGHEST MOUNTAIN RANGE: Miami Himalayas--The Coastal Range, I just can't believe the number of High Rise Apartment Buildings that form concrete mountains seemingly everywhere you look and as far as the eye can. In one concentrated area of downtown Miami, we saw 5, maybe 6, really tall cranes creating the eruptions of many new Peaks.
HIGHEST PUBLIC ACCESS PEAK: The William H. Powell bridge along the Rickenbacker Causeway in Key Biscayne, Fl. This is the only "hill/mountain" climb for cyclists and runners to get in some "hill repeat" workouts. It's 76ft 10in. in height, and I even saw runners on it at 10:00 at night. Thirty five miles away, in the Everglades Nat'l Park, is another tall "peak" in the area, this one, a robust 8 feet above sea level.
TOLL ROADS, ad nauseum and all around Miami, it's crazy… No wonder they aren't any state taxes!!
WORLD'S BUSIEST HARBOR??: I don't know for sure, and wasn't going to spend the time looking it up, but the Port of Miami is right up there. Think five giant cruise ships (just the ones I could count from my chair while having lunch),
Tour boats, boat/jet ski rentals > all tourists, plus all the local boat traffic and the land dwellers and, my friends, you've got the classic LA rush hour scenario.
MOST SUNBURN AND SUNTAN BODIES: without a doubt…!!
EVERGLADES NAT'L PARK: Everglades, by definition, means a "natural region of tropical wetlands." This just defined the Greater Miami Area. In other words, Miami should have been part of this Nat'l Park, BUT it was too late by the time Congress got around to saving part of this Natural Wonderland. If developers had had their way they would have over-developed all of this "worthless swamp land." It needed protection for the reason Pres. Johnson described above. In the Royal Palm area on the Anhinga Trail we saw lots of alligators, sea turtles, large fish, and Black Vultures. This is the only place on earth where both Gators and Crocs live together.
BISCAYNE NATIONAL PARK: This Park, 98% underwater and lots of beautiful Mangrove-covered Keys (small islands), was also established to protect this area from development. Legend has it that Black Caesar, an 18th Century African Pirate, who evaded numerous slave traders, would hide his boat by sinking it in shallow water, then when safe, pump out the water, raising the boat. I'd say, one smart and cagey fellow!!
Art Penn, Laura's brother, wife Ilene and their teenage kids came down to visit and stayed in Key Biscayne. Mitch flew down from Boston during another of their now frequent snowstorms to spend a couple days with us too. It was GREAT seeing everybody. Key Biscayne is very lush, tropical, and beautiful, but very developed. Bike riding along the sea short is fantastic at Crandon Park and Bill Braggs Cape Florida State Park.
Fast & Last Thoughts:
LAURA DRIVE's THE 'BIG RIG': Finally after 8 months and over 7,000 miles my wife, acting very impulsively, decides she wants to drive the "Rig." So, for the first time, she drive's it on grass and in a Park for one-fourth mile. Courageous, don't you think?!?
MINIATURE GOLF: Our RV Park had a newly built 18-hole Putt-Putt. It isn't a Nicklaus-designed course, but it was very well designed. Well, on my Yogini wife's almost first-ever round, she gets TWO, I repeat TWO, holes-in ONE. Go figure….
Yogini Laura taught several yoga and Sound Healing classes. The crowds were raucous at times, hoot'n 'n a holler'n, but our three-legged dog Hop, used her sheep-herding skills to contain the masses…
ROBERT IS HERE: a wonderful fruit stand specializing in exotic Tropical Fruits (i.e. Mamey Sapote) and has great Fruit Smoothies. Homestead, Fl.
VERSAILLES BAKERY RESTAURANT in Little Havana: absolutely the best traditional Cuban Food ever. The Bakery with their large assortment fresh pastries, including key lime pie, almonditos, coconitos (sp?) out of this world. I've always been able to walk by and ignore an ice cream store or even a candy store, but NEVER, a bakery, need I say more…
EPIC BIKE RIDE: Started talking with a local bike shop owner who invites us to join him and a small group of cyclist on an evening 20 miler. So along with our nephew, Andrew, we did and it was Epic! Road along the Biscayne Nat'l Park Coast Line, Matheson Hammock Marina with an 'across the bay' view of Miami Nightlights, The Deering Coastal Estate (Charles Deering, International Harvester---think John Deer), beautiful tropical lush residential neighborhoods in Coral Gables and finished with a late evening pizza at "Flippin" Pizza.
I think this Blog was probably too long, so I'll TRY and keep them shorter in the future, but NOOO promises.
If you've read this far, thanks for reading this
Gary, Laura & Hop