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by BradentonBill
United States Florida Marathon
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My Adventure Story

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Saturday 11/18/2017

There are iguanaseverywhere you look. After checking in we walked to the water’s edge. Running everywhere were green iguanas.  Then there was the big daddy iguana.  He had a harem.  He was a very large golden lizard.  These guys can swim above or below water.  They also can climb trees.  You will never catch one because they can run faster than you.

We drove the White Chariot going to Marathon:  We packed the truck with our four bikes and suitcases and coolers and were on the road before nine.  We had not made it to the border of Sarasota/Bradenton when we had to stop and adjust our load.  We mad a nice stop for lunch in Ft.Myers.  We had to speed up because we had to get there before they lock the gate for the night.

 Arrival at Coast Guard Station Marathon Cottage

Going out to dinner, sunset at 7 mile bridge


Sunday 11/19/2017

First thing for me was to go to Mass.  The church is beautiful.  After church, Laura, Bill, Jamie, Linda, the four of us drove over to the Marathon Yacht Club for breakfast.

Jamie and Linda met some friends that had come down on their boat from Bradenton.  They introduced us and we had a long visit.

We toured in the truck around Marathon and witnessed the devastation from the hurricane.  The homes where damaged and some beyond repair.  The beach was a total mess and was closed.  Late in the day we rode our bikes for happy hour at a marina.  From the marina we went back to the Marathon Yacht Club for drinks and hotdogs.  By then it was dark and we turned our lights on the bikes and rode home.   

 Sombrero beach is now a disaster.  The hurricane washed the sand away and destroyed houses and boat and mobile homes everywhere we looked.  We drove around to witness all the storm damage cause by Hurricane Irma last September.


Monday 11/20/2017

The bait store: the owner is a survivor.  He evacuated his family to Georgia, police & fire with sharpie pens for the people that wanted to stay to write their name and SS# on their arms so that when the police found the body they would know who they were. After being told that; then the people changed their minds and evacuated.  He worked day and night on his store and house to make repairs.

In the late morning we rode the bikes to a dock.  The boat took us to Pigeon Key.  It has a lot of history and can only be accessed by boat.  The old 7 mile bridge is closed for repairs.  We enjoyed the boat ride and the historical tour of the island’s buildings.

We returned in the rain back to the CG Station cottage.  Back in the white chariot we had lunch at a bbq restaurant.  We then crossed the 7 mile bridge on the way to Big Pine Key on our way to the NO NAME PUB.  Along the way there was nothing but remnants of destruction.  There was a large yacht sunk onto a seawall.  There were hundreds of refrigerators, washers, dryers and mattresses piled along the side of every road, everywhere we looked.  We also had a number of visits with Key Deer.  We stopped at the pub for a beer and some snacks.  We returned after sunset and it was continuing to rain.

Historic Pigeon Key

Throughout the years, a variety of people have called Pigeon Key home. First, it was home to around four hundred men who worked to build Henry Flagler’s railway extension to Key West. When the railway was completed, it then became the home of bridge tenders and paint foremen, who worked to maintain the bridge by painting it or by operating a swing bridge so that boats could get through. These men often had families, so they were brought out to the island to live there as well. One of the most well documented families during this time was the Kyle Family. The patriarch, Robert T. Kyle, was the first Bridge Tender of Pigeon Key. Living in the building we call the Bridge Tender’s House, he brought his wife, Leona Cavender Kyle and their children to live with him. His children included Zollie Kyle, who was born in 1905, Tessie Kyle, born in 1907, Robert T. Kyle Jr. , born in 1910, Annie Kyle, born in 1912, and Katherine and Kenneth Kyle, who were born in 1915. All of the children spent their childhood on the island, and most lived on the island until early adulthood. Records show that the Kyle family was on the island from 1912 until 1933. Robert Kyle died in 1927, but his oldest son, Zollie, continued to live on Pigeon Key until 1933 and worked as a postmaster and assistant bridge tender. During their time on the island, the Kyle family lived a pretty typical life. While the island might make it seem like it was an isolated existence, the Kyle’s were much closer to comforts than one might think. Robert Kyle was involved with starting up the school on Pigeon Key, and his daughter, Tessie, became a schoolteacher. The family also enjoyed things such as ice and newspapers, which were brought to them by the daily train in addition to food and supplies. The family also raised chickens on the island, and even had a cow, Naomi, who lived in the northeast corner of Pigeon Key. Today, the Bridge Tender’s house still stands on Pigeon Key, and is used as a dorm for visiting education groups. The Kyle family is remembered in the Pigeon Key Museum, along with all of the other families that have called the island home over the years.

Tuesday 11/21/2017

We enjoyed Breakfast at THE STUFFED PIG in Marathon off US 1.  Jamie ordered the sloppy pig breakfast.  It included a plate with everything and then sausage gravy over the top of it. 

From there we drove down to Key West.  It continues to amaze us as to the amount of hurricane damage there is.  In a few places there is a sunken boat graveyard with hundreds of boats that were sunk and pulled up and taken to a lot.  Along the side of the road there were many RV motor homes and travel trailers that are torn apart.  I am amazed at the number of mattresses in the road, on the fences, in the bushes and in trees.  It is just the mattress, without sheets, or blankets, or pillows.

We arrive in Key West and there is very minima damage.  We shopped at the Navy Commissary for a long time.  By late afternoon we parked the car and road the bikes into town.  We found the World of Beer brewery that served us a fine lunch and enjoyed three beer samplers.

On our bikes we road through the streets of Key West and past Duval Street; then we went over to the waterfront.  We checked out the big ship docked there, Carnival.  We saw the Margaritaville Hotel where we plan to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner.  It was getting late so we rode the bikes back to the FLY NAVY BASE and loaded the bikes into the truck.  We returned home in time to go fishing.  Jamie brought two poles and we had some frozen shrimp.  We fished at the end of the Coast Guard property.  We caught a handful of fish.  We had some fun until it was too dark to see anything.  The five fish we caught were Mangrove Snapper and French Grunt.  I unhooked them all and returned them the dark bay waters.


Wednesday 11/22/2017

After breakfast we rode our bikes around Marathon.  We spent some time shopping.  Later Jamie and Linda rode the bikes to the Marathon Yacht Club to sit around the pool.  We enjoyed a happy hour at the Lazy Days Restaurant and had a fun time.   Before going to the restaurant Laura purchased a very nice metal wall hanging of tropical fish.  Sometime during the day I lost my glasses.  It is a good thing that I brought a spare pair of glasses.

Thursday 11/23/2017

Happy Thanksgiving Day!  We drove back to Key West and arrived early.  We spent the morning checking out different marinas on Stock Island.  Then we rode our bikes to the Margaritaville Hotel and the Bistro Restaurant for the Thanksgiving buffet.  Of course we ate too much.  There was a great deal of good seafood and so I focused my dinner of fish, crab, and lobster.  I had the Key Lime pie for desert along with fresh berries.

We returned for a nap.  In the late afternoon Jamie and I went fishing.  We caught so many fish we lost count.  We seemed to catch one on every cast.  We threw them all back into the bay.  An hour after sunset we had enough.  Big thunder and lightning storm rolled in.  It was nice before that with a cool breeze and a dark starry sky.

Friday 11/24/2017

At first light we arose to discover another beautiful day.  Jamie, Linda, and I rode 16 miles around Marathon.  We saw many yachts that are sunk.  Many were large expensive yachts.  Many boats have been pulled to a graveyard, but many are in Davy Jones Locker.  We are still full from yesterday’s lunch, but we had a late afternoon Mexican lunch.  We returned and Jamie and I went fishing until the sun set over the horizon.

Saturday 11/25/2017

Late in the morning we said goodbye to Marathon and headed east and then we turned north. We drove through Homestead until we arrived at the Seminole Casino on US 41.  We turned left and drove through the Everglades.  Along the way we stopped at the Big Cypress Swamp National Park and took a little tour.  We saw many fish, turtles, and alligators.  We made it home just after sunset.



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