OTR with M and R travel blog

Week 30 4/8-14

Monday 4/8

We each got $20 from one of the lot owners through the manager.

Tuesday 4/9

Today I went to The Shipwreck Museum and the Key West Art and Historical Society Museum. Of course I parked at the free parking lot and rode the bus. I got more positive comments about my hat and gave the couple pins and a pen. I gave them one Women for Trump pin and she was pretty happy about it. I told the guy I wasn’t judging and he could have either one. He said no, only a Democrat or Socialist would be that confused. He asked me what kind of reactions I was getting from my hat. I told him almost nothing but positive. I also said I thought that was another media generated falsehood about people being “attacked” for wearing Trump hats and stuff to keep people from wearing them.

The Key West museum had separate rooms dedicated to various aspects of Key West’s history. There was an area for Tennessee Williams, an area for Ernest Hemingway, an area for the Wreckers, an area for the USS Maine and the explosion of it in Cuba that was the main reason for the Spanish American War, an area for the Overseas Railway, as well as areas for other important parts of Key West history such as cigar making, the sponge business, fishing and salt manufacturing. The Wrecker’s museum is dedicated to the people of Key West who rescued the crews and cargo of the hundreds of ships who ran aground, sank, or were otherwise destroyed by storms. They and the cargos they recovered were also responsible for Key West being the wealthiest city per capita in the entire United States in the 1800s. I found out that there was roughly about one wreck per week. A map showed the locations of hundreds of wrecks all along the Florida Keys. Some of this continues to this day since not all of the treasures of the wrecks were salvaged. Relatively recently a fishing boat crew pulled their net out of the water to find a big hole in it and nothing but what the crew first thought was a large rock. When the “rock” was dropped on the deck it broke up and the crew discovered it was actually a ball of gold coins all encrusted together. It was from one of the most valuable shipwrecks in the area. So, salvaging of that ship began again. Of course value is subjective. In 1993 a ship carrying 20 tons (40,000 pounds) of candy bars was salvaged. Now that’s value. Back in the 1800s the salvaged cargos were auctioned on the docks, which is where the wealth of the town came from. A court was actually in place to award proceeds to the wreckers. The wreckers would be awarded as much as 50% of the salvaged cargo. “Wrecking” actually began with Native American Indians who used dugout canoes to “plunder” European ships. By 1830 the population of Key West was just over 500. Most of those inhabitants were involved in the primary enterprise of the island - “wrecking.” By 1890 the population of Key West had swelled to over 18,000 and most of the economy was still derived from “wrecking.” There were several years that “wrecking” brought in over $1,000,000. I was pretty irritated to find out that due to lightening within 10 miles of the island the “wrecker” tower was closed. It was closed just when I was at the door leading to it. Luckily it is mostly outside so I could take pictures of it from outside and there was a computer at the museum exit that showed the view from the tower cam at the top. Many of the homes on the island used to have towers where the residents could see for miles to observe shipwrecks. When one was seen the call could be heard throughout the town. Wrecker ship captains and crew would try to be the first to get their ships to the wreck. The first captain to arrive would then run the show and receive the largest amount from the salvaged ship and cargo.. The first priority was saving crew members of the wrecked ship. Then the salvage operation would begin.

It didn’t start raining until I was in the Key West museum and it evidently rained a lot. The road was actually flooded in some areas but at least it had almost stopped by the time I came out. When I came out I caught the bus to get to the Little Pearl restaurant to eat. Since I had the problem before, this time I had made a reservation and I arrived in the area about a half hour early. I walked around and killed a little time before I walked up to the restaurant and waited for them to open. A lady outside the restaurant in a Little Pearl shirt tried to get a better look at my Trump button on my hat and then just said “hmmm, not a fan.” Then a couple arrived that were definitely Trump supporters and we talked several times about Trump. I gave them two pins and a pen. They were really thrilled to get them and I was really happy that the woman put hers on immediately and wore it the whole time she was at the restaurant. The man tried to but was talking and not concentrating on getting it on his shirt. He finally just put it in his pocket. The man told me that his son had a white bucket hat like mine (mine is black) and his young grandson thought it was great. He said they left it on the couch and their dog chewed it up making holes on both sides. Someone was going to sew it up. He told his son that he knew their damn dog was a Democrat.

Remember that I went to this restaurant for lunch and found out they didn’t open until 5PM, then came back in the evening and found out that they had no openings at that time. So, then I made the reservation for this evening at 5PM. As soon as I got seated and ordered my drink for the meal the power went out. After a while I thought to check the Keys Energy website and found out that there were about three outages and we were in the center of all of them. It also showed that the power was out for at least 30 miles up the keys. Most everybody stayed and waited for the power to come back on. I thought it was a little strange that the manager asked if I wanted to cash out or wait for the power to come back on. My thought was CASH OUT. I’ve been patiently waiting this long and you’re actually going to charge me for a soda. During all the conversations I was listening to I heard that my fellow Trump supporter was a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel/pilot and a retired TWA Captain/pilot. When he left he gave me his two “business” cards, which had this information on them. Someone found out that the power may have actually been out for 70 miles up the keys. Evidently a tall sailboat hit an electric line around the 70 mile marker in Tavernier. The power finally came back on at about 6:40 but now the fryers and stuff had to heat up which might take 20-30 minutes. I finally got my shrimp, lobster, and crab pot pie. I don’t know if I would say it was worth the wait but it wasn’t bad. I finally left around 8PM. I walked about two blocks to the bus stop around the corner. I checked and found out that the bus wouldn’t be there for about 15 minutes and it was raining again. I decided to start walking to the pickup. I got there and started for home. I ended up behind the bus I had been waiting for and it was still on it’s way to where I had been waiting.

Wednesday 4/10

Margie reminded me of some more things we had found in the trash or had been given to us. One of the owners was throwing away a perfectly good chair massager. It’s not to massage a chair but to put on a chair to be massaged. He told me it was in perfect working condition and we could have it but they just no longer wanted it. We also found a copper skillet with the paperwork still attached to it and a cast iron skillet. A couple that owns one of the lots and is likeminded about President Trump gave me a Trump Chia Pet. His son who is not likeminded sent him a bunch of Trump stuff more as a gag and this was one of the things. He said he didn’t know what happened to his son. He also sent him a life size cardboard cutout of President Trump. He had it in his storage trailer and I had Margie take a picture of me with it.

We went to The Salvation Army to donate some books Margie had finished and a few toys that were found in the dumpster.

Then we went to eat. We parked in our normal parking lot and walked to the bus stop. Margie wore her New York City Police cap with a Donald Trump button on it. I wore my Keep America Great bucket hat with a Trump button on it. We got a few looks but no comments this time. Thank god Margie wasn’t offered a seat again. We rode the bus to the First Flight restaurant. Apparently this is where Pan American Airlines started and the first international flights began. I had read that there was simulation of an airplane crashing through the roof. It actually incorporates the ceiling fans to look like the airplane’s engines and propellers. This may be where I got the only negative reaction to my hat. The host who was also our waiter didn’t have much of a personality to begin with, never smiled, and was not at all personable. He put us at what I believe was the worst two-seater table in full sunshine in a corner. It began to get pretty hot and the sun was so bright I had trouble reading the menu. I ordered the shrimp flat bread and Margie ordered a hamburger. I looked around and saw that we were the only patrons not seated at shaded tables. I was waiting for him to come back hopefully before he brought or food to tell him we wanted to move to a shadier table. Then when someone else was brought in and put at another two-seater table up front fully shaded I decided we were just going to move and we did. I saw our waiter look toward our old table and then he looked our way.

Later when he came back and offered to refill Margie’s water I told him I hope he didn’t mind us moving but it was just too hot over there. He just mumbled it was fine. After he brought our food I was looking at my sandwich and thought it looked awfully flat. I opened it up and found no shrimp in it what-so-ever. I could only find cucumber, lettuce and something else I couldn’t identify. I had Margie look at it also and she agreed there was no shrimp. I opened up both halves and waited. I finally got someone’s attention and told him that I didn’t see any shrimp on my shrimp flatbread. He went to get our personality challenged waiter, who came to see what was wrong. I told him and showed him that there was no shrimp on my sandwich. He mumbled an apology and said that the buttons were next to each other and he must have hit the wrong one. It turns out that what I had was a Panini. It was a GARDEN Panini at that. So, how likely does anyone think it is that the button for a garden Panini is right next to the shrimp flat bread button? He took it away saying he would bring the right thing back quickly. Evidently quickly in his dictionary is defined as well after Margie has eaten her entire meal. I’ve had a flat bread sandwich before, so having it folded over didn’t give me a clue. However, it turns out that their shrimp flatbread is basically a flat bread pizza like thing. Then later when I had no more than two fingers of soda left he came back by and offered to bring Margie, who was finished eating, more water. He totally ignored the fact that I needed more soda. I had to ask him for more soda which was not met with a good reaction, but he did bring me another glass of soda. Strangely, when he returned with a whole new glass of soda he took away the one that still had some in it. When he brought the bill I probably should have paid with cash but I used my debit card instead, out of habit. By the way, there was no real apology and no offer of any type of compensation for his screw up. So to recap, he put us at a crappy table, screwed up my order, didn’t even offer to refill my drink, and failed to adequately apologize for any of it. I believe all of this may be very well due to my hat and button. So, he got a $1 tip and a red Trump 2020 ink pen I left in the receipt folder. I put a line across the tip line right up to the $1. So he couldn’t easily put anything else on the tip line. When you work for tips you sure as hell shouldn’t let your beliefs interfere with your work. I took a picture of the receipt to have time stamped evidence of what I left him. After we left the restaurant I also turned off my debit card on my smart phone with the “Cardnav” app.

Thursday 4/11

I got a $20 tip for parking someone. Then I got $20 for adjusting the same person’s windscreens. Then I got $20 for checking their cable and telling them their problem is in their RV.

Then I got $10 for parking someone else.

Friday 4/12

I got another $20 for making another attempt to help the same person from yesterday with their cable.

We had two RVs come in about the same time. One was a motor home and the other was an Airstream travel trailer. The motor home driver stopped in the middle of the entrance drive and I directed the travel trailer driver into the lane indicated for checking in. We had more arrivals coming in so I had to get the driveway clear. I knew that the travel trailer could get past the motor home, but the driver didn’t think he could. Then the passenger from the motor home got out and was sure the travel trailer couldn’t get past them. Long story short I finally lost it and yelled at them and told them that I knew it would work and to let me do my job and stop interfering. The woman from the motor home was complaining about not realizing people in the Keys were in such a big hurry. I gave up trying to make her realize that I wasn’t in a hurry to get them in their site, I was in a hurry to get the driveway cleared so we didn’t have RVs out to and blocking the highway. By the way, two things contributed to this problem. One was the motor home driver not paying attention to the writing on the pavement about where to park to check in. The second one was the people in the travel trailer not calling ahead like they are told to, so we know what to expect. Arrivals are told to call when they are 15 miles out. The truck and travel trailer easily got by the motor home and into the resort so we could get him parked in his site before anyone else arrived. When I told the manager about yelling at the people he just said that sometimes you have to. A large item got delivered to a site and Margie told the manager. After a while I remembered the owner of that lot talking to the manager about a Rubbermaid like storage box that would arrive after he was gone. I decided to go ahead and put it together and put it where I remember him saying he wanted it.

I think I got more tips but I don’t remember how much and for what.

Saturday 4/13

I got another $20 tip for adjusting a windscreen.

The people on a site left a bunch of alcohol, Figi water, and a couple of chairs when they left. They were late departing.

I got two more tips for parking people. One was $3 and one was $5.

We went to the bar-b-que one of the owners was having and invited us to. Margie left before I did and one of the owners invited us to go out on his boat with him on Tuesday.


Another of the owners left today and before they got out the wife found me and gave me $28 for me and Margie. I’m guessing they just felt the need to give us something and that was the cash they had on them. The new worker got a $10 tip and shared it with me since I helped him. I also got a $7 tip from someone else.

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