K to the Keys

My Son Michael graduated from Wake Forest University with a Masters in Business Administration, so I took the opportunity to ride the K1200LT to his home in North Carolina. Graduation day was a beautiful warm and sunny day, and the ceremony was very impressive.

After a week in North Carolina, I got back on the K1200LT and pointed it toward sunny Florida. I worked my way through South Carolina, with a side trip to Savannah, Georgia, a lovely little city with tons of southern charm. Then it was on to Fort Myers, Florida, where Sharon was to fly into the next day.

Sharon and I spent the next couple of days exploring the gulf coast of central Florida, and then started for the Florida Keys. We drove across Alligator Alley and made a right and headed through Homestead, and on to the Keys. The traffic across the causeway was horrendous. After fighting the traffic on the causeway, we found a hotel on Key Largo and used it for our base, for the next few days while we rode up and down the Keys.

One evening, after exploring all day, we stopped for ice cream and got to talking with a woman who was a local resident of Key Largo. She told us of a little "out of the way" watering hole, that she said we should visit. (and I mean "out of the way"). So the following morning, we got on the road early and headed for Key West. On the way, we decided to follow the woman's directions, and try to find this little "Watering Hole". It was almost lunch time by the time we made it to Big Pine Key, so we made a right and headed up a long lonely road that made a lot of turns and led us farther and farther into the out of the way parts of Big Pine Key. Suddenly I saw a sign on a tiny shack that read "No Name Pub" built in 1936. After finding a place to park, where the 850+ pound BMW wouldn't sink into the gravel, we went inside. As we went through the door, the first thing that struck me about this place, was the thousands and thousands of dollar bills that literally carpeted the walls of the pub. I thought to myself, if this place ever caught fire, they would lose a bundle of money!

After a very good lunch at the No Name Pub, we continued on to Key West. Arriving in Key West we headed to the southernmost point of the continental United States, and the obligatory photo in front of the monument. There was a light rain starting, so I wanted to see that place before it turned into a Florida downpour. I figured if it started to pour, we could hide out at Sloppy Joe's until it stopped. It never turned into a downpour, but we found a place to sit down inside Sloppy Joe's anyway. That was not easy! The place was packed! After a great day on Key West, we headed back to the hotel on Key Largo.

The following day we headed back to Fort Myers, since Sharon was scheduled to catch a plane back to New York the following day. After taking Sharon to the airport, I headed to Cape Canaveral via a road that bordered the western shore of Lake Okeechobee. The water level of the lake was so low that the vegetation that would normally be under water was on fire, due to the drought in the southeastern U.S. this year. I then continued to Route 1 on the eastern Florida coast. The ride up Rt. 1 is one I recommend because there are many very beautiful and expensive homes along the way.

The Kennedy Space Center is a place I have wanted to visit for some time now. It is a very interesting place and the bus tour was very informative. There was a Space Shuttle on the launch pad that was due to launch in two weeks.

After an afternoon at the Space Center, I headed back to my Son's house in North Carolina, for a couple of days, before returning home to New York.

—Bob Guzman