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I’m curious to know the population of the Miami Metropolitan Area.  I have never seen so much traffic…I feel like I can say I successfully drove in New York City while being in South Florida.  I thought the next part I might have to replace on VANilla would be a bumper or my steering wheel squeezed to pieces by my white knuckled grip.  I would have happily participated in an alternating merge as the eighteen toll booths decreased to four lanes and later two; however, I quickly learned the word “merge” is not in the Hispanic dictionary.  While in the past I’d classify myself as an aggressive driver, as of late, the country roads and the pick-up power in VANilla have transformed me to passive.  Fending for my safety (VANilla was about to become an accordion between a semi and a tow truck), I abandoned my cautious approach and began cutting off “muscle cars” blaring with salsa music, a decision that seemed only slightly more prudent than a guaranteed fender bender.  It was clear that neither Cubans nor Puerto Ricans like to be outmuscled by a girl in a camper.  With a little rev of the engine and lurch forward, they tried as hard as possible to regain the lead.  By the time I picked Carol up at the airport, I was wound tighter than a top!

Carol and I continued in the dark to Ocean Reef on North Key Largo where we stayed with my dad’s fraternity brother, Shakey, and his wife, Jennalie.  We both suspected that the drive would have been pretty in daylight!  Their three bedroom home with a screened in pool was just lovely.  We couldn’t wait until morning to tour the island in sunshine.

Jennalie made us a nice breakfast before Carol and I took Scout and Petey for a long walk.  We needed to wear them out as they weren’t going to be able to join us at Buccaneer Island or for Vintage Weekend.  Buccaneer

buccaneer island

Eurasian Collared Dove at Buccaneer Island

Island, a resort, included a fresh water adult pool, a “urine” pool for the kids, and a saltwater pool complete with a manmade sandy beach.  Its pavilion provided free pastries and coffee to members and water activities such as kayaking were available to adventurous guests.

My dad might like this one!

The area served as the congregation point for the 16th Annual Vintage weekend.  Restored yachts moored in the harbor and along the canals while automobiles of all sorts were parked on display in a nearby lot.  We watched as the car owners steered their prized Cadillacs, Rolls Royces, Fords, Aston Martins, Mercedes and the like in a parade past the gathering crowds.  The announcer broadcasted the make, model, and unique features of each vehicle.  We even saw a Mini retrofitted with a jet engine.  According to the sign taped to the back window, a 0-60 in 3 seconds demonstration was planned to take place at the airport at two.  We stopped by the airport, but it was well before two as we wanted to see the vintage planes – air force, navy, marine, and even a mig.

After visiting the airport, Shakey continued our golf cart, island tour to the golf course to visit a local friend known as “one-eye”.  The endangered crocodile rested quietly on the pond’s shore.  I’d suggest; however, not to miss the green to the right!

After a morning touring the island on land, Shakey took us fishing in the flats.  We started out looking for bone fish and barracuda…another first for me.  Outside of a few deep sea fishing trips, I have only fished for trout, bass, perch, and crappie.  The weather was a bit chilly to have much luck, but Shakey knew where we were guaranteed to hook a snapper…and we did…several as a matter of fact.  It was like dropping a minnow in a stocked lake with a cane pole.  Every 45 seconds a fish was hooked.  It took longer to release the fish and bait the hook again.  The snapper weren’t much bigger than the shrimp we were using as bait, so rather than provide a nice dinner to the hungry monsters, we each caught five or six and called it the day.  Frankly, we were just happy to be on a boat and fishing was added entertainment.  After a lovely afternoon, Shakey and Jennalie took us to The Fish House for dinner.  I’m told this is my dad’s favorite restaurant on the island…I can see why…the fish was delicious! ETB

For notecards, key chains or photos on canvas, visit www.notablenotecards.com or www.etsy.com/shop/nichenotecards

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