Vagabond in America 2016 travel blog

Florida Keys Version of my home

Tourists, tourists, everywhere

Training Ship Kennedy (that's normally docked in Massachusetts)

Part of the great bike trail system

A state park beach on the Westernmost side of the island

An ant-free pantry

At the (new) Zero Milestone for U.S. Route 1

Waiting in line at the Southernmost Point

At the Southernmost Point (previously the Zero Milestone)


Key West is the southernmost point in the Continental United States. I had only been to Key West once, back in 1975. The population has grown enormously but otherwise the area hasn't changed in the last forty years.

Key West was settled back in 1922 but was a tiny island. It was connected to the mainland by rail in 1912. It wasn't until 1938 that the Keys were connected by roads and bridges. The Overseas Highway, also known as Route 1, is still the only road connecting the Keys.

Driving alone the Overseas Highway felt much like driving along Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Sand and sea everywhere you looked. The differences is the long, long bridges and the fact the many of the Keys are so small you can see the Gulf of Mexico on both sides at the same time.

The old railroad line was abandoned after the hurricane of 1935. Most of its original right-of-way is now an excellent bike path. Unfortunately, several of the hundred-year-old bridges are closed awaiting repairs. This means that the bike path is broken up in pieces, each only a few miles long. To continue, you have to join the traffic on the bridges and share the bridges with cars on Route 1. Not something I wanted to try.

When I visited back in 1975, I accidentally found the Zero Milestone sign for Route 1. Since this is the same road that I used to travel from Florida to New England, I was thrilled to find that sign. Its picture hung in my living room for many years.

I was greatly surprised to find that the sign had moved! Apparently, when the Overseas Highway was improved, they renamed the old road to Route A1A. The new course for Route 1 is now in the middle of town. To cover all bases, I took photos of the new Zero Milestone downtown. Where the old sign used to be there is now a monument stating "Southernmost Point in the Continental United States. It's now a tourist trap. I had to wait in line to get my picture taken with it.

I had some unexpected guests in my RV. When I poured out my morning cereal, several tiny ants came out of the container. I keep my cereal inside a Tupperware container. How the ants got in there I'll never now. On closer inspection, I saw more tiny ants in my cupboard. To be sure I got them all, I had to take everything out, discard all open containers, thoroughly clean the shelves, and put back what was left. I guess that's the price I pay for living out in the country.



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