Monday, January 6, 2014

Surprise Downpour and Flooding in Key West

And we were off for a long weekend in the Florida Keys and Miami.  Ever since Chuck read On the Road with Charles Kuralt, he has had the Florida Keys on his bucket list.  We arrived at MIA, trekked over to Avis and picked up our Chrysler 200 convertible.  An aside:  the Chrysler convertible has come a long way since my sebring in 2000!

Back to the trip.

We envisioned a series of bridges on Highway 5 as it connected the various islands of the Keys.  If you've never been to the Florida Keys, this is probably how you envision it, too...long bridges with the ocean flanking both sides of the car and quick descent to land for a few miles, another bridge, repeat.  Not so fast. Our expectations were set a bit high.  At one point I muttered..."gee, this is like driving through Door County, but a little more rundown."  I suspect the journey down Highway 5 in the 70s, 80s and even 90s was a different experience, but in 2013, it was a series of billboards, weathered buildings, neon yellow storefronts hawking t-shirts and sandals.

On the way down we stopped at Burdine's for lunch...and to watch the storm roll in!  Burdine's is a bit tricky to get to, but trust your GPS as you turn down the small alleys and eventually end up in a gravel parking lot that seems to double as a parking area for boaters.  Climb the steps up to the restaurant and enjoy the view of the canal, the cold beverages, table games and fantastic food.  Here are the tripadvisor reviews.

After lunch, I was on deck to drive the rest of the way to Key West.  The sky turned black and the rain came down in sheets.  I spent the next two hours with some slow white knuckled driving and navigating flooded streets.  As I'm driving on Front Street in Key West, Chuck says, "keep driving, drive slow, don't make a wake, but don't stop driving"....and water begins to trickle in the floorboards.  Luckily we managed and there were no superior driving skills or perhaps Chuck's superior navigation skills.

A few pictures from the flooding in the Keys taken about 3 hours after the big downpour, so the waters already started to recede.

 Duvall Street

Front Street

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