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Old 04-15-2015, 11:22 AM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,158,190 times
Reputation: 2358

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Hepburn View Post
Great thread. And StarfishKey...wish I could give you more reps!
My story..
I went down on Spring break before most of you were born...first snow
to hit Buffalo, NY, dropped outta college and drove to Key West...a world
I had never known...sun and warmth in WINTER! Yay!
Had a new car, money and a doggy...I did crash on a guy's couch one night before
I could find a place, didn't want to waste $$ on a motel, had to conserve for a security deposit...
15 years later ran into him in Gainesville!

A cottage was $60 a month...a small apartment on Fleming, pretty close
to the library, was even cheaper, can't remember.

Always had a job, sometimes roommates, lived there 3 years,
but, one summer cheated and left for
Prince Edward Island (Nova Scotia) and Bar Harbor, ME, tho...
Eventually moved to Winter Park, then school in Gainesville...
still like good weather so now in CO.

I heard a few years later rents had quadrupled, the whole place had 'been discovered'.

StarfishKey is correct, now every square inch is owned and protected by
neighbors watching everything.

No mention of camping areas so far...I parked one day at one only to
picnic for the day and my perfect bike rack was stolen leaving only the connector straps...what
good was it then?
Sad day for me, and an eye opener.

Eyes are on you
, also, if you plan on parking 'unnoticed' in a hotel's
parking lot to sleep. You will get a knock on your window.
Perhaps one night if you blended in, in between cars, you could get lucky, once.

Great story! But, times have changed. Drifting was a hard life back in the 30s, and the 60s, but today it is exceptionally dangerous and stressful. People have become obsessive about property rights. And yeah, here in the Keys today, as is true of most places in the US, money talks.

I can't disagree with the comments about how the Keys have changed. I was not around to see the old days when it was undeveloped, but as a historian, I do love to research anything I can find on how it used to be. It was a natural wonder, but certainly no easy place to survive in the old days - not for humans, anyway. The Keys don't have a large supply of naturally tasty and nutritious food to survive on in the wild, although of course one could manage well on the abundance of seafood always available if you're not allergic, with a few scraggy swamp greens on the side. After the Miami canals were built, the Keys also didn't have much in the way of fresh water to survive on, except of course in the rainy season. That battle between developers and environmentalists rages on here, on the daily. I can't say the developers one totally, because the Keys still have very few chain stores, and the handful they have are smaller than their mainland predecessors. We don't have the highrises lining the water the way most of coastal Florida does. In fact, we have a shortage of housing and of apartments in particular. Also, the road is not widened everywhere, and the traffic is frequently jammed for miles. I would say it was a sort of compromise, thus far, between building and preserving. The environmental laws are enforced pretty strictly down her, in terms of fishing, as well as building. And the majority of residents are in favor of preservation over money.

The Keys, more than possibly any other county in Florida, are full of dreamers. Many of those dreamers made money and started destroying the natural wonders here. Others still drift around, homeless, and rather aimless.

Tourist trap though it may be, I would say that they are still very natural, if you know where you're going. You certainly have to leave the highway to see it. The Everglades start as close as a half mile from the Upper Keys, so it is pretty easy to hop on a small boat or kayak or paddleboard (if you have any of the above) and check out the way the Keys used to be in the old days (minus the extreme abundance of fish that was once natural to the area). There are multiple other preserves on both sides all the way down, in which no fishing, no wake speeds, and even no approaching undeveloped islands, are strictly enforced. Many homes in the Keys also do maintain a pretty natural profile, and there is growing interest locally in planting more native plants and in removing invasive species and turning the properties back closer to what they once were. For the most part, it is extremely difficult to get permission to develop on any land that has never been developed before. Even improvements on already developed land can take upwards of a year for the permits. Houses on No Name Key didn't even have electricity until just the past few years, and some of them still don't. Most of the Keys hovers somewhere between 1972 and 1993, and I would not say it can compare to the level of development in most other in-demand vacation areas of the US. We don't have anything cutting edge, nothing huge, nothing ultra-modern or ultra-easy. It's not Manhattan, Santa Barbara, and it's definitely not Miami. Instead it's a lot of run-down, older buildings, usually one or two stories or three at the most, where the way of life is strikingly similar to about 1993, all the way down to the clothing and hairstyles, and the amount of people who still smoke. Due to the shortage of land, however, the prices have kept up with the times!

So yes, the Keys have changed, but I would venture to say not nearly as fast as desirable areas of the mainland have. We have a far higher ratio of preserved land/water here to developed land than any other county in FL.

But still, they are built up enough and patrolled so heavily that for a drifter, there is just nowhere to hide.
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:59 PM
 
Location: FLORIDA
8,964 posts, read 6,278,951 times
Reputation: 3380
[quote=lenniel;39228235]While the décor and environment of the restaurants is cool, the food sucks!

Anyplace that has Tilapia on their menu is basically saying "we're too cheap to use a good fish, so we're going to use this farm raised, bland, non-descript white fish because it's cheap and people think it has an exotic name"

I hate places that have Tilapia on the menu![/quote]


ok.
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:25 PM
 
11,383 posts, read 7,827,485 times
Reputation: 12277
I'm in south Florida and there is a small shanty town off of I-95. It's in a wooded area around a circular onramp. I would have never noticed it except one time I heard some noise coming from it. Then I looked in and saw tents. Now every time I drive by I look in and you can see things such a shopping cart, grill, coolers, chairs and tents. It's sad, but it's reality.They figure If you are gonna be homeless you might as well go where it's only gonna be cold a few nights a year.

Last edited by LifeIsGood01; 04-15-2015 at 04:35 PM..
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Spring Hill Florida
12,135 posts, read 13,272,176 times
Reputation: 6010
Quote:
Originally Posted by so954 View Post
I'm in south Florida and there is a small shanty town off of I-95. It's in a wooded area around a circular onramp. I would have never noticed it except one time I heard some noise coming from it. Then I looked in and saw tents. Now every time I drive by I look in and you can see things such a shopping cart, grill, coolers, chairs and tents. It's sad, but it's reality.
and people live, and have lived, in the NYC subway system and under Grand Central Terminal for years.

Homeless people live where ever they can. Up here there are homeless camps in the woods.

1930's all over again.
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Old 04-15-2015, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Southwestern, USA
15,451 posts, read 12,176,995 times
Reputation: 16659
Quote:
Originally Posted by lenniel View Post
I hate places that have Tilapia on the menu!
I don't think I've ever seen one... tilapia ...a terrible thing.

Well, sorry, after seeing 2- 20/20s-any farm raised anything ...even
checked by Whole Foods....not for me.
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Old 04-15-2015, 05:55 PM
 
1,448 posts, read 2,158,190 times
Reputation: 2358
Quote:
Originally Posted by so954 View Post
I'm in south Florida and there is a small shanty town off of I-95. It's in a wooded area around a circular onramp. I would have never noticed it except one time I heard some noise coming from it. Then I looked in and saw tents. Now every time I drive by I look in and you can see things such a shopping cart, grill, coolers, chairs and tents. It's sad, but it's reality.
It's likely a group of sex offenders. Laws are very strict in SFL, forcing most out of housing entirely to live under bridges, or in the Everglades. That is a rough bunch of people to be sleeping next to, living a very rough life. It's yet another reason the drifter life is less glamorous than it used to be. You have a much higher chance now to be sharing your tent space with convicted child molesters (in the old days they didn't bother convicting anyone because no one cared), and meth addicts. Nothing glamorous about that.
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Old 04-16-2015, 05:35 AM
 
4,015 posts, read 5,071,833 times
Reputation: 3897
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Hepburn View Post
I don't think I've ever seen one... tilapia ...a terrible thing.

Well, sorry, after seeing 2- 20/20s-any farm raised anything ...even
checked by Whole Foods....not for me.

actually, being a fisherman, I should be advocating for people to be eating farm raised fish. That puts less pressure on the native fish populations and leaves more for me to catch.

I also don't like dolphins, pelicans or other fish eating birds for the same reason.....I'm in competition with them.
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Old 08-31-2015, 06:34 AM
 
4,015 posts, read 5,071,833 times
Reputation: 3897
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Hepburn View Post
I don't think I've ever seen one... tilapia ...a terrible thing.

Well, sorry, after seeing 2- 20/20s-any farm raised anything ...even
checked by Whole Foods....not for me.
Well, for me, who enjoys offshore sport fishing for dolphin, tuna, wahoo, etc, I should be happy more people are eating farm raised fish as it 'slightly' decreases the commercial fishing for the natives offshore species, leaving more for me to catch. :-)

that being said, it's still irks me when I go to a decent restaurant and see tilapia on the menu (but like I said, it should make me happy....quite the conundrum for myself).
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Old 08-31-2015, 10:23 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
23,651 posts, read 17,632,423 times
Reputation: 27754
I don't see how these horror stories are different for Florida vs. someone wildly unprepared person going anywhere.
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Old 08-31-2015, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Spring Hill Florida
12,135 posts, read 13,272,176 times
Reputation: 6010
Quote:
Originally Posted by StreetSmarts View Post
it can be great to live here, just do homework.
Same for any relocation. If there is no plan yes, things can go to hell in a handbasket quickly.


People move around the country without diffifculty everyday. These stories of beach bum lifestyles is about as common as drifters who travel on freight trains. If someone is living a "normal" life anywhere very few of them are going to trade it for a life of poverty. However, the same situation existed in the 1960's when the bohemian lifestyle appealed to many young people. Many survived it but many did not.
Life goes on.
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