Great Alaska Adventure: Southernmost Point

As I planned the adventure on which I’m currently embarked, the ride was always going begin at the southernmost point in the United States and wind it’s way to the farthest north point I could go. The northernmost point that can be driven to in Alaska is Deadhorse but that would require the final 500 miles to be on gravel. For both mechanical and domestic reasons I ruled that out and Fairbanks became the northernmost point I could go.

But the southernmost point was easy. Key West, Florida. We’ve lived in Florida for 12 years but had never made it to the state’s southern extreme. So the Great Alaska Adventure seemed like the perfect opportunity to make the trip south. Today, Marilyn and I rode across the Florida Keys, which appeared to be a single small town with a 100-mile-long Main Street and a speed limit of 45 mph, until we reached the Southernmost Point. At which Point, we executed a precision U-turn worthy of advanced motorcycle skill training and headed north to Fairbanks.

Well, actually, we executed the U-turn then went to see some of the sights in Key West. My Key West “to do list” had three things (besides visiting the southernmost point.)

First, I had to see the Hemingway House, where one of my favorite American authors and a formative force in my early decision to major in English in college wrote some of his greatest works from 1931 to 1939 while living there with his second wife. Check.

Then I wanted to visit one of Hemingway’s favorite drinking haunts: Sloppy Joe’s Bar. “Papa” knocked back many a glass of rum or whiskey at the original Sloppy Joes and at the current location on Duval Street so I went there and raised my glass to honor the great man (and because I was hot and thirtsty). I also had a “Sloppy Joe” for lunch. Check.

Finally, since I was in Key West, I had to have a slice of Key Lime pie which, as legend has it, originated not just in the Keys, but specifically in Key West, and uses limes which are native to the region and quite different (e.g. they’re yellow) from green, grocery-store variety limes. Check.

Today’s ride of 280 miles round trip was threatened by rain on several occasions, but other than a few sprinkles we never went through any storms like yesterday’s deluges. And the weather during the four hours we spent in Key West was perfect. Upper 80s, maybe low 90s, a slight breeze to cool things off and billowing white clouds soaring in a Carolina (go Heels) Blue sky. Hard to find a better day to be a tourist in America’s southernmost city.

Like many first visits, this initial trip to Key West only whetted our appetites for more of what the Keys offer. We’ll come back, I think, and bring friends.

Tomorrow, the ride north continues with a brief return to Orange Park to say good bye to friends, do some final motorcycle maintenance, and pack those things we remembered we had forgotten on this first leg.

“I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

Location:Key West, FL


3 responses to “Great Alaska Adventure: Southernmost Point”

  1. Lori Morris says :

    Awesome start! I can’t believe y’all haven’t ever been to Key West! Glad you ultimately had good weather & a good time there.
    See y’all tomorrow:)

  2. Hil says :

    Go Heels! I have wondered about the color and tartness of true Key Lime Pie. Glad you experienced it. Best part for me is seeing your 12,500 wide grin.

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