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Welcome to Mile Marker 23

Mile Marker 23 is the location of our beautiful vacation home on the open water of Cudjoe Bay. It is also available for rental. Thanks for stopping by.

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The Blue Hole on Big Pine Key

Alligator

The “Blue Hole” is a fresh water sink hole on Big Pine Key. The fresh water floats on sea water below it. During the last big hurricane, a bunch of small Tarpon got stranded in the “Hole.” They cannot get back to the ocean. They are living OK, but are undersized due to the uncongenial fresh water environment they are stuck with. The “Blue Hole” also hosts a coupe of small alligators, a 5 foot female and a 7 foot male. This is a picture of the female. She looks kind of blue here. She is actually green like most alligators.

While we were there she made a run at an iguana on a low branch, but he got away in a hurry. Everyone enjoyed this excursion a lot. I was surprised by how enthusiastic everyone was.

Also saw a Poisonwood Tree which freaked everyone out with its thoroughly bad reputation and nasty characteristics.

Bicycle Bar-hopping

Stop Two: Mangrove Mama's

Stop Two: Mangrove Mama’s

We found a new way to have fun. Now that there is a finished bike path from the northern end of Summerland Key all the way past us to the beginning of Sugarloaf Key we can hop on our bicycles and bar hop.
First stop: South 3 miles to the KOA Campground Bar
Second stop: Across the Overseas Highway to Mangrove Mama’s
Third stop: Back 3 miles north to our own Square Grouper
Fourth stop: Further north 3 miles to The Wharf Bar and Grill.
Then south again 3 miles back to Jolly Roger Drive.
The only thing you have to watch out for is when the bike path crosses the Highway. When this occurs you need to be VERY careful. However, we even had the traffic stop for us. That was kind of scary. Otherwise it is wait for an opening and make a dash for it!

New Firebox for Stainless Steel Grill (December 2013)

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Old Firebox

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New Firebox

We replaced the firebox in the grill. This is the only part of the grill that had corroded. I called Ducane (now owned by Weber) and they gave me this and some other parts FREE! The hard part was getting the old firebox out. Lot’s of colorful language. However, it ended well. Works great!

New Air Conditioner (December 2013)

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We replaced the air conditioner that had been in operation since 2005. It had a leak in the coil. Now there is a brand new dependable A/C unit.

New Hot Water Heater (December 2013)

Hot Water Heater level-crop-small

We just installed a new hot water heater. This one is a 40 gal. tank that replaces the on demand heater that had proved so unreliable. I had to build a platform above the pool equipment table to get it near the plumbing hook ups. I had a contractor build a cabinet for it so it will be protected from the elements (salt air).

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Latitudes Restaurant on Sunset Key (Key West)

Latitiudes Restaurant

Latitudes Restaurant

This restaurant is reminiscent of Little Palm Island but not as pretentious. You take the Sunset Key Water Taxi from the Cruise Ship pier. When you make your reservation, they give the Water Taxi your name and so they let you on. We JUST made the Water Taxi (by 5 seconds), so be a little early. The trip to Sunset Key is very short.

Most of the seating is outdoors. There were a lot of thunderstorms around, so they sat us on the patio, under a roof, but outside. Everyone agreed the food (lunch menu) was very good. A little pricey, but not bad.

After lunch we moved around the corner to the outside bar and ordered a bottle of wine.

Restaurant Information:

(305) 292-5300

245 Front Street
Key West, FL 33040

http://www.westinsunsetkeycottages.com/latitudes-restaurant

Wharf Bar & Grill

Wharf Bar & Grill

The Wharf Bar & Grill

The Wharf Bar & Grill took the place of the old Fish Cutters. It is really a great place. It has a lot of open air seating right along a canal with lots of working boats.

It is located at the far eastern end of Summerland Key, just before the bridge.

You can pull right up in your boat, as we did when Eric decided to just meet the girls at the restaurant rather than return home and get them.

The food is great. I love the Conch Chowder, which is as thick with ingredients as any you’ll get. Extensive menu, lots of other stuff available.

There is now an outdoor bar too.

Do not call the waitress “sweetie.”

Restaurant Information:

(305) 745-3322

25163 Overseas Highway
Summerland Key, Florida 33042

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Wharf-Bar-Grill/144085468943570

Guest Bathroom Redo

Guest bathroom improvements

New look!

I just repainted the Guest Bathroom cabinets and walls. The cabinet finish was very worn. On a suggestion of a friend, I painted the cabinets a dark gray and the walls a light gray, to go with the existing pink tile that did not get changed. It looks very nice. The toilet paper holder is now a fixture that matches the towel bars.

Acting on another suggestion from the same friend, the huge 4’X 4′ mirror over the sink has been replaced by a decorative mirror from Pier 1. It has a cracked mother-of-pearl border that has grays and pinks in it.

I also re-caulked the countertop and sink. A new faucet is on the way. If it gets here before I leave I will install it and update this post.

After that, some coastal drawer and cabinet pulls that I don’t have time to have shipped this visit, and then some art work on the walls, and we are done!

Guest bathroom improvements, second view

Repainted cabinets, new mirror, and repainted walls

2013 Kayak Trip

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This is very hard work.

The “Bionic Hips and Knees Kayak.” Not a team made in heaven. Look at the expression of the paddler in the back. He spent the rest of the week kicking the yellow kayak. We decided to switch front paddlers to avoid blood shed. Things got worse as the pairs were now man and wife. After counseling there was no permanent damage to the relationship.

We started and ended at the Niles Channel boat ramp on Summerland Key. The trip was abbreviated from the planned itinerary due to crew exhaustion and failure to paddle in a straight line.

Cudjoe Bike Trail

Bike Trail

New “Old State Road 4”

The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) is coming to Cudjoe Key. The “Old State Road 4” road bed, which was all overgrown and ripped up, first got graded and prepped for paving. Then it got paved. Very nice!

It now runs way past Blimp Road, all the way to where it will cross the highway around the Sheriff’s Substation. This is part of the Summerland Key to Sugarloaf Key trail section. All of it is under construction.

"Newer" Old State Road 4

Newer “Old State Road 4”

This makes the bike trip to the end of Blimp Road a very pleasant trip. No more branches in the face. The trip to the KOA Campground Bar and Mangrove Mama’s is also now a breeze. Who knows, maybe Sugarloaf Lodge and the Bat Tower will be on the Biking from Cudjoe short list.

I have no idea when it will be completed, but it shouldn’t be too long. I can’t find an updated schedule on the internet.

For more information about the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail go to: http://fkoht.net/.