Live Trip Map Day 5: December 28, 2008
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Even though its purpose was to get people to Miami, the Dixie Highway ultimately ran another 25 miles south to Florida City. That's where I ended up last night after hunting a motel room all the way from Key West. I had figured this as my worst case scenerio and it came to pass. When I checked into the motel in Key Largo on Friday, I learned that it was already filled for last night. Every motel between Key West and Florida City is overpriced and almost every one of them is full. At the edge of Key West, I passed on a $180 room that I'm guessing in normally about half that (and worth about a fourth). The price I paid for one of the last three rooms at the Super 8 was bumped less than most and they did provide a personalized key card.

Edward Leedskalnin's Coral Castle is just a few miles away. Ed, who "understood the laws of weight and leverage" built this marvel for the lady who jilted him in 1913. No one ever saw him work and there is no accepted explanation for how the 100 pound Leedskalnin cut and moved the huge coral blocks. The third picture here shows the three ton triangular gate that I moved without effort. An even more impressive nine ton gate exists but currently has a bad bearing. The technical aspects of Leedskalnin's life's work set it apart but I can't help comparing his Coral Castle to Harry Andrew's Chateau Laroche just a few miles from where I live. The Coral Castle contains several camera stands -- coral blocks topped by cement pads -- which visitors are encouraged to use. I did.

I was kind of surprised at how much "old Dixie Highway" exists and is marked. This section, between Delray Beach and Boyton Beach, is a good example of how the early auto roads followed the proven routes of the railroad.

If I had spotted a decent motel near by, I'd have spent a lot more time at the Dixie Bar and Grill in West Palm Beach. It caught my eye when I needed a stop for plotting the next few miles. Lots of pedal cars, etc., hanging from the ceiling to back up that cool neon sign.

A raised drawbridge and a welcome arch back to back. Don't see that every day. The drawbridge is over the St. Lucie River; The arch barely three miles away. I've included both the northbound view that I first saw and the southbound view that marks the "ATLANTIC GATEWAY TO THE GULF OF MEXICO". The Stuart Welcome Arch was dedicated in 1926 and restored and rededicated in 2006.

I had heard some good sounding blues when I drove through Jensen Beach. When I found a motel just north of town, the manager recommended a place called Crawdaddy's for dinner. Back in town, I followed the sound of the guitar and found myself in the very place recommended. Great food, too. I don't remember the name of the guy singing but he has an impressive voice and impressive credentials. I have no idea what Stevie B's history is but his playing is superb. The result is sort of Stevie Ray Vaughn meets Smokie Robinson. Did I mention great food?

This photo of the Frank A. Wacha Bridge was taken directly across the street from my motel to end my day.

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