Big Foot Seen At Florida Keys Bar!

IMG_0525Do you believe in Big Foot? I do… I’ve seen him!

I assure you that there’s no need for a week-long stakeout in the woods at night with infrared goggles in hopes of catching a glimpse of this illusive beast. Believe it or not I can lead you right to him here in the Florida Keys at a local bar of all places! And yes, it’s 100% FREE to see him and get your souvenir photo for posterity if inclined!

PS – We don’t call it Big Foot down around these parts, their local name is Skunk Ape.

PSS – This may in deed be the last Big Foot in existence! How do I know that, just check out the sign below… it says so! :-)

You can find Big Foot sneaking around the corner of the Last Chance Saloon on US-1 at Mile Marker 126.7 bayside which is right near the unofficial beginning to the Florida Keys.

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Forrest Gump Shrimp Boat

IMG_1507 In years past there was in fact a Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant in Key West based on the 1994 Tom Hanks smash hit movie Forrest Gump. It was complete with a park bench outside for photo-ops with Forrest and his famous box of chocolates that you can sit down beside for that treasured picture… which I did. So sad that it’s long gone, still remaining in the same area of town is a replica shrimp boat to the movie version that Forrest named ‘Jenny’. OK, so it’s not the real one, the real life-size movie boat is on display in Orlando… I’ve seen it! I had this guy stand beside the boat so that you can tell how big the model really is… thanks stranger dude! (it’s amazing what some people will do for a FREE coke) :-)

You can find this oversized shrimp boat model similar to Forrest Gump’s ‘Jenny’ at Half Shell’s Eat It Raw restaurant. It’s located on Key West’s western side of town in an area called Harbor Walk. If you haven’t eaten here, put this high atop your seafood list, your taste buds & partner will thank you I’m sure!

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KOA (Killer Offshore Attractions)

KOA = Killer Offshore Attractions :-) OK, I made that up, it really stands for Kampgrounds Of America! But here, the ‘A’ is for attraction and the attractions are the VIEWS!

Have a camper or RV? Here’s a GREAT place with plenty to do and even more to see! The campsites main offshore attraction is the beautiful US-1 bridge spanning the Atlantic Ocean (seen here) & Gulf Of Mexico on the other side of the roman arched pillars. It’s absolutely FREE to drive into the KOA park and walk around, there’s a small store, restaurant, & bait shop that would be more than happy to sell you a hot meal, cold coke or chum. Don’t be shy to stop by and check out the views… I did and LOVED every minute of it!

You can find this fantastic campground along with the infamous Liars’ Bench photo-op just off of US-1 South at Mile Marker 20.0 ocenside. Turn onto Road 939B and head into the southernmost KOA Kampground finding the general store & dock in the back left corner.

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Cubans Lost At Sea Memorial

IMG_2103There’s a tiny overlooked plaque that 1,000’s of people stand beside everyday that only a handful ever read! It’s very hard to read due to years of being weathered and unfortunately the patterned marble doesn’t help either.

In photographing it, I went right to it since there wasn’t a single person waiting in line to see it but myself. On the other hand, I walked around 40 people who were waiting in line to have their picture taken with the Southernmost Buoy only 8 ft away to its right. The Cubans Lost At Sea Memorial plaque reads as follows: “October 10, 1993 A.D. In honor of the generosity of the people of the United States of America to the people of Cuba. This memorial is dedicated in honor of the thousands of Cubans that have lost their lives at sea, looking for freedom and social justice in this great melting pot, America, the leader in democracy”. Isn’t it great being an educated traveler finding sites that others have missed!

You can find the Cubans Lost At Sea Memorial at the corner of South Street & Whitehead Street in-between the equally unknown Cuban Telegraph Cable Building to the left and the Southernmost Buoy on the right directly behind the lady in the red shirt pictured below. You know what, just ask where the Southernmost Buoy is because not even Conchs (Key West locals) know where the Cubans Lost At Sea Memorial is!

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Truman School’s Kapok Tree

This is Key West’s largest above ground group of Kapok Tree roots! I’ve reported on another of these in front of the Monroe County Courthouse on Whitehead Street. Besides being LARGER than the other, there’s an added bonus of seeing three of these at the same time all in the parking lot. The one shown to the left being the biggest of the bunch.

The Kapok Tree, also known as Ceiba & Silkcotton is the National tree of Puerto Rico & Guatemala. It grows up to 230 ft tall (10 ft a year) and has a very substantial trunk up to 10 ft in diameter which does NOT  include its buttresses (legs/roots). It was also the sacred tree of the Mayans who believed that the souls of the dead climbed a mythical Kapok Tree whose branches reached to the heavens. Most commercial trees come from the island of Java in Indonesia, Asia, Philippines, Malaysia, & South America. The buoyant & water-resistant fibers of its cotton-like pod were used during WWII in life jackets known jokingly as Mae West’s being large and floaty! Its bark has a medicinal purpose and has been used as a diuretic, aphrodisiac, and to treat headache, as well as type II diabetes. Its most prevalent commercial uses are in furniture, insulation, caskets, canoes, & carvings.

You can find this growing behemoth in front of the Harvey Government Center at Historic Truman School on the corner of Truman Avenue & White Street here in beautiful Key West, Florida. Don’t miss this FREE year round exhibit of natures sprawling splendor, its above ground root system is larger than you are and makes and AWESOME souvenir photo!

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History Of Cudjoe Key

7169823162_7bbe141d76_bCudjoe Key is a relatively small island located in the lower Florida Keys. The 2000 census listed a total population of 1,695 permanent residents.

Its naming spawns two possible theories, the first being named for the Joewood tree, a native species which is also known as cudjoewood. A more likely story for the name is offered by writer John Viele of nearby Summerland Key. He believes that Cudjoe, a very common West African name, was the name of a fugitive slave who lived on the island prior to 1849. Contrary to urban legend, it’s NOT named for the 1983 Stephen King horror movie Cujo, though I think the dog actor did live there! :-)

Cudjoe Key’s claim to fame believe it or not is for its BLIMPS, that’s right, I said blimps. The United States Army activated Cudjoe Key in 1959 to track missiles traveling through the Eglin Gulf Test Range. Currently operated by the US Air Force, the station flies a white radar aerostat blimp known locally as “Fat Albert”, which they say is used for drug interdiction missions by the DEA.

There, on your next trip to Key West in passing Cudjoe Key you’ll be a bit wiser in Florida Keys history. Pass along which ever naming theory you think is right to your passengers making you the newly well-informed traveler!

The actual sign ‘Cudjoe Drive’ is at Mile Marker 23.0 oceanside turning onto Spanish Main Drive where it will be the first street on your right.

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Florida Key’s ONLY Pedestrian Suspension Bridge

IMG_9516ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL! This may very well be the Florida Key’s ONLY pedestrian suspension bridge!

As you can see from the featured photo, the view is spectacular approaching the suspension from a distance. I’m telling you know, the best view (as you would suspect) is from the center of the bridge itself and is nothing less than breathtaking! Be sure to spend some time viewing the bridge from different angles and of course walk across it, it’s really spectacular.

While here, check out the alluring torch lit conch shell blogged on earlier that you probably parked next to!

You can find what might be the Florida Key’s ONLY suspension bridge at Mile Marker 103.8 by parking your car out front near the restaurant Breezers and walking towards the Gulf Of Mexico till needing floaties! :-)

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