Tuesday, December 24th, 2019
We got up early and said goodbye to Justin. That was super rad of him to let us stay with him! Marathon Key seemed like the perfect place for him! We grabbed breakfast at McDonalds, then resupplied at Publix before we approached Seven-Mile Bridge. We saw evidence of construction work being done to the old bridge on Pigeon Key. Pigeon Key served as a work camp for people building the Overseas Railroad, which was partially destroyed in a hurricane during the 1930’s.
As we began our journey across Seven-Mile Bridge, there were gray clouds approaching. We were about to get wet! The wind picked up before the showers passed through. I was glad that it didn’t last. It would have been one miserable and nerve racking walk to the next key.
Post shower, it was a very pleasant and beautiful journey to Little Duck Key. Once we got closer to the other side, we followed an old bridge parallel to the one we were on. Loads of tourists appeared when we reached the other side. This was a popular pull off area to get pictures for those that were traveling by vehicle. Part of the old bridge was repaired so that people could walk a short distance along it.
I was just excited to eat my sandwich and guava cheese pastries when we reached the end! Bushwhacker, a hiker friend who met up with us on the Florida Trail gave me his leftover guava cheese pastry, and I had been craving one ever since. I didn’t think twice when I spotted them at Publix! We would pass alongside more remains of the old Overseas Railroad to our left as we marched on into Big Pine Key.
Big Pine Key is home to the endangered Key deer. We didn’t get to see one, but we did notice the fencing put in place to prevent them from getting struck by cars. We had worked up an appetite and decided to grab food at Paradise Burgers Spirits and Brews. We stunk, so we sat away from the bulk of people near the bar. There was a fun crowd. It was a crowd I probably would have become very acquainted with if I was still a drinker. Not to say I’ve lost my edge since getting sober, but I guess you could say I’m no longer the rowdy, social gal I used to be. I inhaled the fried grouper sandwich that I ordered. That was another meal I had been craving for quite some time. You can’t get a good grouper sandwich back in Maryland.
There was a car accident that had US-1 backed up for miles! When there’s only one road in and one road out, one little fender bender can cause a whole lot of traffic congestion! After discovering that the closest grocery store was over a mile off track, we settled on a gas station and pharmacy resupply to hold us over until we reached Key West. We were getting close, but we still had a good ways to go!
It was getting dark, and we had no idea where we were going to sleep. The shoulder of the road was narrow to non-existent, which made for a very nerve-racking walk. People driving at night don’t expect people to be walking on the road, and the odds of them being drunk are much higher. We took a much needed mental break at a convenience store to collect our thoughts.
While walking through Sugarloaf Key, we spotted a school. It was raining, so we were desperate for an awning to sleep under. Frisbee investigated the school’s loading dock and I continued towards what appeared to be a church. And it was! Hallelujah!
Frisbee and I waited until passing cars were out of sight before we booked it for the church. We looked suspicious enough walking around with backpacks on at night. We weren’t trying to have the police called on us… again!
The church was perfect! There was a staircase which led to an awning-covered balcony, and it was the perfect place to coop up for the night. My only fear was that someone from the church would come walking up the stairs, see two strangers huddled by the doors, then take a tumble back down the stairs after we frightened the be-Jesus out of them. Fortunately, this never happened. I listened to something flopping around in the mangroves behind the church as I fell asleep.
Jump Ahead to Road Walk to Key West: Chapter 11
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