Day 6: December 27, 2014
To the Keys

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I drove over to A1A to say I did and to see the ocean and I even drove a few miles on US-1 but I was soon on the expressway scooting for Miami. This eye catching vehicle was paused by the side of the road near the Boca Raton airport.

I-95 leads into US-1 then ends in Miami. US-1 is also signed as Dixie Highway to just south of Florida City.

There was the promise of a scenic highway as US-1 climbed onto the Overseas Highway and headed to Key Largo but what I mostly saw today was the rear end of a car stopped or moving very slowly in front of me. Society didn't totally break down. A fair amount of civility was in view but there was plenty of the anything-to-get-ahead behavior that marks the dash for the infield at an Indy 500. It's a shame that getting to a place to relax takes so much aggression though I'm guessing most don't relax when they get there, either.

I did a little relaxing at the Islamorada Beer Company. They have been in business for six months and at this location for two. I tried the Channel Marker IPA which I thought a very drinkable middle-of-the-road brew. Despite chatting with the beertender about the brewery, her "work" as a diving instructor, and the fact she plays underwater hockey, I didn't learn her name.

That one beer, along with many miles of moving at a crawl or not at all, meant I wouldn't reach my destination in Marathon until after sunset. But, even on the move, day's end is pretty spectacular around here so I just smiled and followed a Jeep into the sun.

I'd done a little shopping on TripAdvisor and liked what I read about the Ranch House Motel. After talking with the owner, I liked it even more. By the time I reached Melbourne, I'd decided that Sunday would be the best day for a Key West visit. I check a few places in Key West but quickly reaffirmed my feeling that lodging some distance away would be a better idea. I pulled up the Ranch House information and called. Diana, the owner, answered. A room was unused because the AC had gone out but would possibly be replaced the next day (Saturday). She took my number and told me she would call me mid-morning. She also wondered out loud about using the room without working AC but with a discount. Since I only planned to use the room for sleeping before and after a day in Key West, I figured I could probably get by without AC and headed south thinking I probably had a room one way or the other. Diana called about 10:45 to tell me the new air conditioner was in place and she was holding the room for me.

The Ranch House is a small (10 unit) older (1950ish) motel that is very well maintained with extremely clean rooms. It is also, considering the location, reasonably priced. My room is rather small but has everything I need and more. You know what I like.

As a bonus, Diana pointed out a fresh seafood restaurant just down the street. Brutus Seafood Market & Eatery was perfect. I went with one of the blackboard specials and was happy to find that the Alfredo sauce was quite light and the shrimp big, tender, tasty, and fresh.

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