Day 1:    Mucho Cerveza Fria en la Havana a Pequeno

Main Page > 1994  Wasting Away in Margaritaville >

This edition of the Mike and Bone tour found the boys flying down to Miami together, drinking cheap airline beer and arguing over Miami Vice. The Bone realized that despite the mucketey-mucks in South Beach, once the Plane landed, that Mike and Bone would be the two coolest dudes in South Florida,, sorta like Miami Vice. The boys argument was over who was Tubbs, and who was Crockett !!!

Gliding into the 'Glades!

Gunning for Gators After landing and picking up the rental car, the Boys started to meander slowly south. They had noticed that if you head south on the 836 Freeway that it will take you down to Florida City and US1, right where the Keys start. It also crosses a road known as Tamiami Trail or Route 40. Driving south on 836, if you turned right (west) on Tamiami Trail it takes you right into the Everglades. Since it was still early in the day, the Boys who where use to the urban jungle of Detroit, headed into the swamp known as the Everglades!

But is it really a Swamp?

One of the fallacies of the Everglades is that it is a swamp, it is really a 100-mile wide, shallow (average depth 1 foot) river that flows out of Lake Ochacobee and into the Gulf of Mexico. It is an extremely diverse biosphere, loaded with lots of animal species, which of course includes alligators, and unfortunately for that day for the biosphere the species (and feces) of Mike and Bone. Driving for an hour into the Everglades that Boys could see the interesting terrain on both sides, however they could not find a place to pull into the Everglades, nor find an Airboat rental place. They abandoned the Everglades for a later trip once they entered a Micousoukie Indian Reservation, and decided that not seeing a gator was OK for this trip.

Heading ta Miami on Tamiami

Hanging out in little Havana Bone was having big fun with the name Tamiami. He kept repeating over and over, "we are heading TA Miami". Interestingly enough Tamiami is the name of the Seminole Indian Tribe that once lived in the area, that the city of Miami was named after. During Bones incessant chant, Mike's stomach started to growl as it was closing in a 2:00 PM, he had also noticed that if you take Tamiami Trail east, into Miami, it plops you right in the middle of Little Havana.

Te'amo Gusto Cubano!

Heading into the heart of Little Havana, Mike and Bone discovered a very cool Cuban restaurant called the Versailles. Enjoying a wonderful lunch of seasoned, roast pork, with fried plantains (green bananas), and rice and beans.  With their bellies full and the day waning, the boys decided it was time to start the three hour drive to Key West.

US - 1 is Number One for Scenic Fun

Heading south on 836, the freeway ends in Florida City (the very southern point of Florida) and picks up the two lane US - 1 towards the Keys. For the first 20 miles of the trip just south of Florida City on US - 1 you drive through the final part of the Everglades National Park where you see mile after mile of savannah and swamp.  Soon you see huge areas of blue water and ocean bays, but once you after crossed Jewfish Creek, you know that you're in the what the Spanish called the Cayes (for isles) or as we call them, the Florida Keys.

The Upper Keys are fairly innocuous, large islands consisting of Key Largo, Tavernier, and the Upper & Lower Matecumbes, with small quiet communities and great snorkeling on the local coral reefs.

Jewfish Creek, Separating Key Largo from Mainland Florida

The Middle Keys are smaller islands that are much more spaced apart from each other, The major island in the Middle Keys is Marathon, where Mike and Bone picked up the Hall of Shame (a cheap Styrofoam cooler) and a Jimmy Buffet Greatest Hits cassette for the car. I mean how can you be in the Keys without listening to at least one rousing rendition of Jimmy's "Hamburger in Paradise" or "Volcano" ?!?

Pigeon Key, Halfway to Key West !!

The World Famous 7 Mile Bridge

The lower keys are small and numerous little isles spaced even further apart, with names such as Bahia Honda, Deer Key (yep !!! with miniature deer), and once you pass through the Saddle Bunch Keys, the most quaint of the keys, Key West !!!

Driving Through the Lower Keys

The Saddle Bunch Keys, right before Key West

No Room to Panic

Being it was Labor Day Weekend, Mike and Bone entered Key West in a near panic looking for a place to stay. Fortunately finding a room at the Best Western (well it is Key WEST right !?!?), the boys were now parched and needed liquid sustenance. Finding a Sports Bar in a strip mall right next to the Best Western, the boys sidled up the bar and ordered a round of brews. The barkeep was a striking woman that was attired in a black leather outfit that included only wearing leather vest from the waist up. She was obviously a body builder with arms the size of tree trunks that would make Arnold's eyes water. Unfortunately after two minutes of conversation she announced that she was of the sisterhood much to Bone chagrin and Mike amusement. It turned out that the blonde bombshell's name was Heide, and that she lived on a houseboat right in the water way between Key West and the other Keys, with her female lover and another woman. As Bone's eyes were gleaming with thoughts of three lovely lesbians, the boys were astonished to hear that the girls lived on the houseboat for free. The found the houseboat abandoned and moved in as squatters. As it turned out there was a whole community out on the water of people that did not pay any taxes, rent, or have any permanent connection with the  rest of the world. Being unusually polite, Heide bought the boys a few rounds until she went off her shift for the day. With no reason to stay at the sports bar any longer, and since it was approaching  8:00 PM, the boys moved to Old Town on Duval Street to move the party up the next level.

Duval is the epicenter of Key West in terms of culture, partying, and being the place to be. It is little over two-thirds of a mile long and slices through the island heading North and South. The South end is the Southern Most Point in the US, and it also the place to find the most gays in the southernmost city in the US. The Northern part of Duval is the Mallory Square area, where the famous party bars can be found. Infamous watering holes such as The Bull, Dirty Dicks, the Hogs Breath, Captain Tony, the Green Parrott, and last be not least the place that made Ernest Hemingway famous,,,, Sloppy Joes (or was it the other way around?) Mallory Square is  the spot where locals and tourist congregate with drinks in hand to watch the sunset, so with margies (margaritas!) in hand, Mike and Bone bade farewell to the sun and said hello to a night of revelry.

Lounge Lizards

Being that this was Mike's first time in Key West, Bone wanted Mike to experience the Island ambiance before heading into one of the bars. The boys perched themselves on two outdoor bar stools of a local tipplery called the Iguana Bar, that is strategically located on the corner of Duval Street, positioned between Sloppy Joes and Captain Tony's. At this corner Mike and Bone were able to observed the locals and tourists flowing in and out of the bars while they bantered with and harassed their extremely gay bartender, Larry.Quickly tiring of Larry and the Iguana Bar, Mike and Bone decided to go the holiest of holies in Key West, Sloppy Joes !!!

Copping a Drink at Captain Tony's

The Captain Tony's Controversy Sloppy Joes is on the corner of Bartholomew and Duval, three buildings up on Bartholomew is a bar named Captain Tony's, which calls itself the original Sloppy Joes, which is right ? ?

It turns out both, Ernest Hemingway's friend Joe opened a bar on Bartholomew and kept fresh fish in the bar on ice, as the evenings would progress with Hemingway getting sauced at the bar, the ice would melt and the floor would become a mess. Hemingway would chide Joe on being Sloppy, hence Sloppy Joe. Joe opened his bar in 1933, in 1938 his lease was up and he had an opportunity for a bigger building in a higher traffic area and moved to Sloppy Joes current location. Afterwards new owner reopened in the original bar with the name, Captain Tony's, as immortalized in the Jimmy Buffet Song "Last Mango in Paris".

Pappa's House

(Ernest Hemingway)

Two Hams, Singing Bologna at Sloppy Joes

Oscar Mayer has a way with  B - O - L - O - G - N - A ! Amongst the many cool things about Sloppy Joes, such as great margies, Sloppy Joe sandwiches, (made famous by Joe himself) is that there are always great bands playing sing-along music. In the best of times it would be hard pressed to say the individually Mike and Bone are reticent wallflowers. And when they are together, they are even more gregarious. Being fairly liquored up by mid-night, the band started the crowd out in the Oscar Mayer song, feeling they could do better Mike and Bone, with beers in hand stood in front of the band at finished the song, much the delight of the crowd and the band. Establishing themselves as very minor celebrities in the bar, Mike and Bone rotated through a triangulation of a round of beers, a round of margies, then a round of Tequila shots throughout the evening at Sloppy Joes until 3:00 AM. Feeling quite spry the boys decided to bid adieu to their new friend and establishment before one of them had to throw-up (putting it delicately.)

Checkered Food for checkered fools Right next to the Best Western is a southern fast-food drive-thru chain called Checkers (Burgers, Fries, Colas), now Checkers is far better than the traditional McDonalds/Burger King crap even when sober so imagine the pure joy Mike and Bone experienced scarfing down their Checkers Burgers at 4:00 AM hammered like a nail. By 4:30 with their appetites sated and heads still spinning, they finally crashed.