Several days before leaving Marathon Key we visited with a young couple at Sunset Beach. I thought for sure they were newlyweds. I mean really, the body language, holding hands, pointing and laughing, doing selfies with the sunset as a backdrop, for sure these tourists were making the most of a romantic covid-19 situation. Myself I was not having any luck with our own sunset selfies, so I broke the self-distancing mandate and offered assistance. Again, it was all wrong, but after messing with features on my phone we tried it again. Pastor Matt and Jen have been married for twenty years with several kids. Matt and Jen had recently moved to the Florida City area to start up a new church. It was evident they are living out Jesus’s promise of abundant life. We shared recent experiences, and in doing so they steered us towards Biscayne Bay and Bill Baggs Cove State Park, as one of their favorite parks to visit.
Parting Shots Before Leaving Key West
Yep, We Are Camping At A Covid-19 Testing Site
This is a great location for visiting the various Miami beaches including Biscayne Bay. We were not mentally ready for camping in the middle of a Covid-19 testing site. C.B. Smith County Park is one of several free testing sites in Pembroke Pines, FL. Everyday Mon-Sun from 8:00 – 5:00 cars get in line for testing. There are four testing stations and a 1.5-mile-long line wrapping around the park. Don’t worry mom, we roll the windows up when we enter the park grounds. The news is reporting 7% of Broward County tests are positive for Covid-19. That tells me 93% of the shoppers in Walmart are Okee Dokee. I’m sure the 7% are all hanging out in the liquor section, we don’t go there.
Ponce de Leon named this area ‘Cape of Florida’ when he led the first Spanish expedition to Florida in 1513. The Cape Florida lighthouse was completed in 1825. Biscayne Bay island served as a secret meeting place and port for fugitive slaves and Black Seminoles waiting for a passage to safety in the British Bahamas. Although the lighthouse was built to save lives and ships, its unflinching light brought an end to this avenue of escape.
Bill Baggs was an American journalist and editor of The Miami News. He was one of a small group of Southern newspaper editors who campaigned for civil rights for African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s. Bill broke the story of the Cuban Missile Crisis, was involved in backroom talks around the Communist takeover of Cuba and the plot around the Bay of Pigs, helped get MLK out of jail after an arrest in Atlanta, and acted as a go-between for civil rights activists and the ruling party in Florida. He helped rewrite the state constitution, convince Bobby Kennedy to run for office, and acted as an envoy to stop the bombing in Vietnam.
In the 1950’s, real estate developers were planning to build hotels, single family homes, and condominiums on the property that is today known as Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. The developers cut down every single tree on the entire property, including in the mangrove wetlands, and filled it all in with dredged material in order to level the property for development. Bill Baggs, strongly supported conservation efforts to rescue the southern section of Key Biscayne from development. Bill eventually convinced the owner to sell the property to the state for a park. Hurricane Andrew hit the park in 1992,and the state decided to restore the park to its 1950’s conditions. William Calhoun Baggs (1923-1969) died of viral pneumonia and influenza at the age of 45.
Hail the Mailman
The first barefoot mailman was Edwin Ruthven Bradley, won the postal contract in 1885 with a bid of $600 per year. His second son, Guy Bradley, become famous after his murder while serving as an early game warden protecting the egrets being poached for tail feathers. The third, and most famous, of the barefoot mailmen was James E. “Ed” Hamilton, Hamilton disappeared while walking the barefoot route soon after October 10, 1887. When Hamilton had not returned to Lake Worth a search was started. Hamilton’s possessions, including all of his clothes, were found on the north bank of the Hillsboro Inlet. The boat that Hamilton used to cross the inlet was missing. He was presumed to have drowned or been taken by a shark or alligator while trying to swim across the inlet to retrieve his boat from the far side. His body was never recovered.
We are beach walkers; however, we prefer walking the two-mile promenade at Hollywood Beach, and not the sloping coast line. The Atlantic on the east side, and food, resorts, and private houses on the west side. Christmas lights were being added to the walkway. The “No Skateboard” signs didn’t seem to mean much. Skateboarders, skaters, and bike activity was all around us. The police didn’t mind much either, but one always runs the risk of being busted. We did witness an unfortunate youth get a citation.