Aug 192014

I’ve got so much to catch up on, now that the death star is fully operational again, it’s hard to know where to start.  So, while I figger that all out here are some bits from the past few weeks or so.

As I mentioned the North Roosevelt Project is now complete.  It’s all new and shiny and looks pretty good.  A minor surprise however.  The outside lane westbound and eastbound have also been designated for bicycle use.  They painted bike silhouettes on those lanes and put up signs saying that bicycles are allowed full use of said lanes.  From what I am hearing this took the powers that be by surprise.  Especially with the new bike/walking lanes that were built.  Also given the new road and no blockages now, traffic seems to moving at a much quicker pace.  Not sure if I would want to test the patience of a half drunken tourist driving along this scenic byway whilst I’m trying to pedal into or out of town.  Not that it matters to me any who.  I’m still getting by with the walking and bus rides.  It will be interesting to see how this all works out.

Whilst the construction is over on North Roosevelt, another project is in full swing along the triangle, which is the main intersection when you come onto Key West from US 1.  The bike/walk path is torn all to hell and blocked off during the day.  The mess also goes down South Roosevelt to Flagler along the west bound side.  It would have been nice to have had a break for a little while but progress stops for nothing except bad weather and union negotiations.

And the four hotels that were being renovated along this section and were to be opened this summer, are now way behind schedule.  Not sure what the delays were there but it has put a lot of pressure on the rest of the lodgings on the island.  These four hotels represent 10% of the rooms available.  With the big parties and holidays coming up, you would think there would be a sense of urgency to get them completed.  Doesn’t seem like it.

Elsewhere, downtown over by the harbor, behind Lazy Lane, he who shall not be named, yes, the same asshole who destroyed that other marina, is in full construction of his latest project.  About a hundred rooms worth of hotel/condo/timeshare which from what I heard will rent for the princely sum of $379 a night.  I went by the project the other day and it looks just like all his majesty’s other projects.  Bland, generic, like it was built from the Home Depot bargain and close out bin.  Everyone claims his royal turdship is an expert at architectural design but I ain’t seeing it.  His creations have all the charm and appeal of a 1950’s army barracks.  Compared to the the craftsmanship of the gingerbread homes just a few yards away, his projects look like shit.  Definitely not within the spirit of the Keys.

And oh yeah, the old Kress building on Duval St. where the famous Fast Buck Freddy’s used to be located is now rumored to become another CVS pharmacy.  The former owner of FBF denied it but finally said he had no choice.  CVS, aside from being another in the long list of generic chains taking over this country already has a store on the north end of Duval, another on Truman, another at the Winn Dixie shopping center, and is building yet another out on Stock Island beside Murray Marine on US 1.  Keep in mind the population of Key West is 25,000.  Whatever character Duval had at one time, is fast vanishing into another strip mall.  It’s a damn shame.  And oh yeah, “no other choices”?  One of his partners who also co-owns the building is some guy named Jimmy Buffett.  You telling me they all couldn’t get together and do something a bit more appropriate for that building than lease it out to another corporate warlord?  It’s alway been about the money, and it always will be.

In the world of boating, it’s been kinda sorta quiet.  Lobster season is in full swing now and a lot of people have been pulling into the marina with some nice catches.  A lot of poaching, trap robbing, and other crimes against lobsteranity have been reported.

One bit of news that barely made the papers was a fire over at 3D boatyard.  3D is a DIY work yard where you can haul out your vessel, and do things like bottom jobs, repairs, etc.  Somebody entered the office and shops, poured chemicals and paint all over everything and lit it up, from what the rumors are saying.  It destroyed the offices but they put in a temp office and are running as usual.  One of my neighbors has her boat there and it just happened to be right beside the office.  No damage though.

Don’t know what it is about the marinas on the south side of US 1 in Stock Island.  Managers from hell, clueless staff, overbearing regulations, and plenty of drama.  This current place I am in remains one of the best choices I have made so far.  It is quiet, nice staff and management, well maintained, and ac in the showers and laundry.  Hard to beat for the price.

Due to the recent financial kerfluffle, I’ve been doing absolutely nothing on the boat.  Just can’t spare the change.  I do have the motor up for sale on ebay at the moment.  I’ve decided that in addition to needing some extra cash this month, the motor is simply not what I want for this boat.  I’m not sure exactly what if anything I will replace it with, but a simple trolling motor with a couple of batteries might be all I need.

After reading all about Julia’s adventures in the Mediterranean and seeing other boats come through here, it’s mighty tempting to take what resources that I can, rig out the boat, and go do some cruising.  But with winter coming on, for you up north, not us, it means in another couple of months every boat from Maine on down will be heading our way.  That means slips will be in short supply.  Traffic will be heavy on the ICW.  If I do decide to go cruise, it would have to wait until next year.  So for now, a motor doesn’t have a priority.  In a pinch I can rig sails or get a quick tow out of the marina, but for now, I will stay put.  If the past couple of weeks is any indication of the rest of the year, it’s probably best that I don’t go anywhere.

Capt. Fritter