Saturday, January 2, 2010

Second Corner

Bellingham and the Pacific Northwest up here are frequently referred to as the Fourth Corner. I'd imagine that New England is the first (or would it be Florida, since that's where Columbus and Ponce deLeon first discovered{sic} America?) corner; Florida, the second corner; LA is the third; and consequently, Bellingham, the fourth.

In a week or so I will be heading to West Palm Beach and then down to The Keys for a few days. You can have the rest of Florida, but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the Florida Keys (even though they too have been trashed over the past decades by overdevelopment). In the eighties, we spent time there camping, sleeping in the car, showering at the public beach with the rest of the car dwelling spring breakers ("So I see you're also staying in the Jetta Suite," I recall someone jokingly saying to us in Spring of 1988). I wonder if you can still sleep in your car on the beach down there? Once, sleeping by the airport with the sunroof open in the VW, a coconut fell through the roof and landed next to me. I incredulously asked my travel partner "Is it real?" I still have that coconut and am looking at it right now as I type.

I've since refined my standards a bit, and found a cheap but nice hotel right on Duval Street called the Southern Cross. They've since made upgrades and decorated the rooms to look and feel like any hotel you might stay in from Spokane to Atlanta, but the older rooms had the high ceilings and pine floors, with no clocks, radios, telephones or televisions. I woke one morning in this hotel back in 2000 not knowing what time it was and having no way to find out. I quickly showered and packed and left the hotel, as I needed to be in on a flight from FLL by 3pm. When I climbed in the rental car, the clock on the dash said 6:27am, so I had a leisurely drive up Highway 1 (or is it A1A?) with time to have breakfast at Mango Mikes somewhere before hitting the angry and flustered mainland.

Plenty of fun times and stories to tell in The Keys.

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