Saturday, May 28, 2022

Thank you to all of the service men and women who have died in the line of duty so that...

...we can enjoy our rights and freedoms. In honoring the fallen we must remember that along with those rights and freedoms comes  responsibilities too.

Funny story, I guess. I thought our glass-bottom boat tour Friday at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park would be a perfect compromise. Pat wouldn't have to snorkle and yet we would both get to see the coral reef.

The boat had bench seats in the middle with V shaped glass sections running from the bow to the stern on both sides. Odd numbers on the left sections 1, 3, 5, and 7 and even numbers on the right 2, 4, 6, and 8. 

The boat employees (Rangers or maybe Naturalists?) knew their stuff. Once we reached the coral reef they used the numbers to identify where the fish they saw were and described the fish along with it's name. It took maybe an hour to get out to the reef, on choppy waters, and once we were there we did a bit of bobbing round because they couldn't anchor in the coral reef. I think (it felt like an eternity) we stayed about 15 minutes.

I hope Pat enjoyed it. I had to deal with sea sickness.🤢 I saw a little bit of the reef and a couple of fish, but that's about it. While looking at the horizon, and trying not to toss my cookies, I did try to listen to their wonderful underwater descriptions! Pat was in charge of pictures which weren't easy to get.

A double-crested cormorant

The holiday weekend is expected to be crowded. We've seen what we came to see, and then some, so we'll spend most of the long weekend hanging around the RV Park.  Pat wants to do some all day smoking (meat that is), I want to do a little sewing, an art project, and we both have books to read.

Saturday Pat spent the day outside smoking pork and  I decided to tackle a project I've put off for a year. Last summer I bought a painting project at Let's Make Art. It's a partner store with Missouri Star Quilt Co. in Hamilton, MO. I thought painting might be fun, or at least interesting. My experience today taught me otherwise.  

I watched the video, obviously not paying enough attention, and began painting Beach Shore. It did not look at all like it should,  partially because I didn't listen well as to what exactly I was to paint. It came with 2 canvases and I put all of the paint and extra canvas in a trash bag because I was done.  I had decided I had no skill after my first ever painting experience.  After reflected on my disappointment and reviewing the lesson, I pulled the supplies out of the trash and told myself I deserved another chance. I even got a little excited when I realized what I needed to do differently. Not that I needed to reproduce theirs, but what I wanted to do to make it look like what it should be. A real class or two may be needed to pursue future endeavors, however. 

The funny part was me opening the tiny vials of paint. The 'violet' one was clogged or dried up. After trying a paper clip to try to unclog it, I cut the tip of the violet container off. Holy cow, that tip went flying across the RV like a torpedo, spreading violet paint everywhere as it went! Alas, it was water color and I think I cleaned it all up.😁

My supplies and what the picture was supposed to look like. After I try again I'll show you both pictures and tell you what I thought I was painting the first time. 

Actually, yesterday I accomplished another project.  For the first time, after watching the video, I put on my Color Street nail strips, purchased from Linda's Lovely Nails. Once again, not totally successful, but I'm confident I will get better!  

Where are the Piepers now?  Key Largo, Fl

Friday, May 27, 2022

South, East, North and West

This summer we will hit the Easternmost point in the U.S.,  possibly next summer the Northernmost and, even though it will be out of the way, I think we should go for the Westernmost point, don't you?

Thursday we took another 2 1/2 hour drive to Key West.  There is a lot to see there and a lot of history.  We'll have things to go back for, but next time it will be during their "winter."  It was miserably hot today!

In 1886 a fire destroyed a large portion of Key West. 

Old Town Trolley Tours allowed you to get off and on at different spots and they shared information, as well as some stories about different sites. 

The U. S. Coastguard Headquarters is a historic building that now houses small businesses, art galleries, and the closest bathroom to the parking garage.😄 

Ernest Hemingway lived in this house from 1931-1939. He wrote some of his best works while he lived here. 

Hemingway eas a very ptivate person.  He had this wall built to keep out tourists.

Lots of cats roam inside and out.  When he came to Key West, Hemingway was given a cat with 6 toes.  Many of the cats here are descendants of this cat and have 6 and even 7 toes.

This lighthouse was built in 1846 and decommissioned on 1969.  This view was from the balcony of Hemingway's house. Notice the beautiful Royal Poinciana tree, also called a Fire Tree.  

This bar was frequented by Hemingway.  When it moved here after being evicted from its original spot, Hemmingway told the building owner that after all he spent there he should get a souvenir.  The owner agreed, so Hemmingway went into the bathroom and pulled the urinal right out of the wall and deposited in his own backyard.

The fanciest Hard Rock Cafe you'll ever see.

Bishop Albert Kee, preacher, businessman,  and Key West's official ambassador of goodwill.

The Southern Most Point Guest House was built in 1894 and is located on the world famous Duval Street.  Duval is a commercial street that runs 1.25 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean.

Also on Duval Street is The Key West Butterfly and Nature center.

Above, built in 1917 as a club for Cuban cigar makers is the Casa Cubana Club, 

One block from the Hemmingway House is the adult-only Orchid Key Inn.  In case you're interested The Bull and Whistle Bar, also on Duval, has a rooftop bar, The Garden of Eden, where clothing is optional!😊

Walgreens occupies the old Strand Theater built in 1921.  They have kept many original elements including the facade above.  

San Carlos Institute is a Cuban heritage center and museum founded in 1871.

Crown Plaza Key West-La Concha, an IHG Hotel, was built in 1926 and is considered a 'skyscraper' in Key West.

St. Paul's Episcopal Church was completed in 1939 and destroyed by a hurricane in 1946.  The second church was built with wood in 1948 and burned in the great fire of 1886. The third church was built with wood in 1909 and the church was struck by yet another hurricane. The church standing today, built in 1919, was made of concrete.   They had a major reconstruction in 1993.

Hemingway Rum Co. Distillery.

Key Lime Pie is associated with the Florida Keys.  

It was very good!  They had anything you could imagine made from Key limes.

Are you a parrothead?  If so, you could get your picture taken with a parrot.

There are chickens and roosters everywhere!  Supposedly when they weren't needed for food anymore and cock fights became illegal, many were just released.  The Keys are a bird sanctuary, so there are fines if you hurt them! 

In 1997 the Key West Memorial Sculpture Garden in Mallory Square was completed by  James Mastin to honor those who were important in Key West history.  Above is a statue honoring the "wreckers," who salvaged treasures from ship wrecks. Below are 37 busts of of individuals.

Wednesday we did a little shopping and took it easy.  Dinner at a food truck a short walk away.

Tuesday we went to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, just a couple of miles away from our RV Park.  Like most parks around here the largest part of it is water. The coral formations and marine life draws people who snorkel and dive.  We agreed on a way to conquer Pat's dislike of snorkeling.  He offered to go along while I snorkled and even to try snorkeling again, but since he equated it to waterboarding, we scheduled  a glass bottom boat tour on Friday.  Coral Reef here we come. 

A small aquarium.  This collage was made from bottle caps. 

Where are the Piepers now? Key Largo