Life on an Island

Ahhh, island life. It conjures images of sitting on a hammock, drinking a fruity beverage and not having a care in the world. What is missing from this lovely, idyllic image, however, is logistics.

I mean the practicality of it all. Flights are more expensive to fly in and out of this little slice of paradise. Parking is an issue. There is only one road in and out of the Florida Keys.

It is this last bit that was the issue on Friday evening. As we were driving south on the beautiful Overseas Highway, we got to mile marker 64 and stopped, mid-bridge. You know it is not a good sign when traffic is stopped and people are out of their cars, hanging out on the bridge, and getting out their fishing gear.

A little investigating (read: strolling on over to the accident scene) made me aware of the goings on. An SUV towing a trailer full of boy scout gear, but not the actual boy scouts, seems to have hit the wall and the trailer jack-knifed, leaving debris all over the road. Meanwhile, cars stop in both directions. Northbound, however, a motorcyclist decides not to stop and plows into a parked car, then needing to be airlifted out.

What does that mean for me and the 3.2 (yes, I measured) miles of cars backed up in either direction? We wait. Some people fish. Some people contemplate walking the three miles to the nearest restroom (they don’t, ultimately) and some people just try to get a glimpse of the gory details.

When I approached the accident scene I saw a fireman with a broom, sweeping debris off the road. You know it is going to be a long night when the best equipment they have for removing debris is a broom.

At this point we had the “Should we stay or should we go?” debate. If we stay, when it is finally time to get moving, we will be near the front and well on our way. Alternatively, we can turn around, have dinner someplace guaranteed to be crowded and overwhelmed and then be at the end of the 3 miles of cars. Ultimately we stayed.

Two hours later, the sun had set, bladders were full, stomachs were empty (mine, anyway) and we were on our way. The police could have done a better job letting everyone know what was going on, but since they did not, there was quite a game of telephone with information being passed from the front of the line to the back. I can only imagine what the story was once it reached the end of the line.