|June 26 - July 3, 2007: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale|
|May 1-9, 2007: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale|
|Return to Index for 2007|
The Changing Fort Lauderdale Beachfront (May 30th)
Wednesday was another relaxing day, but it did include a bike ride over to Fort Lauderdale beach. The ride took me north to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and back; about 18 miles all told. The only pictures I took were along Fort Lauderdale beach, to record some of the changing architecture on the beachfront.
Biking to the Beach (June 2nd)
It rained some of the morning, but about noon there were breaks in the clouds, and the weather got progressively better throughout the day. Just after lunch I took advantage of the clearing weather to ride my bike over to the beach. It was still quite windy, and the rain had just let up, so the Fort Lauderdale Beach was still empty- just about as deserted as I have ever seen it.
The weather still looked threatening at times, so I only went as far north as the end of the beach- about a mile north of Sunrise Blvd.- before I turned around and headed back. As I was heading north, I did manage to get a better view of the the new overhead walkway at the Hilton Hotel.
Biking to Lew's House (June 2nd)
|Bike Route to Lew's House and Back|
On the aerial view here, I've traced out the route to his house, and also marked the locations where I stopped to take the pictures that I will show you here. As usual, I started out going west from my condo until I came to the entrance to the Riverwalk, at which point I turned south off Las Olas and followed the Riverwalk all the way to the Performing Arts Center. The Riverwalk ends at the new Symphony Condominiums, so I left the Riverwalk and biked around that new building (which, on this aerial view, hasn't been built yet).
This brought me to SW 4th Street, where there is a bridge over the New River. From there, I could wind my way through the neighborhood along the river, working my way south and west, until I came to SW 9th Avenue. At that point, I follwed it due south, crossing Davie Boulevard to SW 10th Street. I took that back east to SW 6th Avenue and then south to SW 14th Court.
Lew Balaban's House
|Lew Balaban's House|
I don't like dropping in on folks unannounced, and besides I wasn't really presentable after biking around in the hot afternoon sun, so even though Lew's car was there, I think I'll wait for an invitation. I went back west along SW 14th Court, back to 9th Avenue, and then north again, retracing my route.
Ann Murray Park and "The Castle"
|Ann Murray Park and "The Castle"|
The house itself is built inside a fenced plot of land, which actually looks to be about a half-acre right along the river. As you can see from the picture, the house doesn't appear to be derelict, as there is a fairly new air conditioning system sitting right outside. But the appearance of the fence and the fact that there didn't appear to be any evidence of habitation (no cars, padlocked gates, etc.) would seem to indicate that the house is not occupied- at least not continually. A chat with a neighbor revealed that no one knows much about the current owner, but they do know that the house was built long before most of the surrounding houses (although they don't think it dates further back than the 1920s or 1930s).
The main reason why the house is so interesting is that it appears to have been constructed entirely of coral or of limestone that is chock full of shell and sea creature casts or fossils. Looking at the rocks that made up the walls of the castle, close up, was really amazing. It was almost as if many of them were chosen specifically for the beautiful tracings, impressions and fossilized remains. And looking along the wall it was easy to see the the building process was a rough one; there was no effort made to smooth out the walls, and there are many rocks the protrude out. I can only assume that the walls are fairly thick; I had no reason to assume that the rocks I was looking at were just a facade (although I guess that is possible).
In addition to the incredibly intricate patterns in the rocks, coral and limestone that made up the walls, the house also had a number of really neat architectural features, including the turrets that you saw in the earlier pictures, this really neat outside stairway and the little turret balconies built around the window openings. Someone obviously took a lot of care building the structure. Perhaps one of these days I can find out more about it.
|Marker at Ann Murray Park|
The 4th Avenue Bridge
|Aerial View of 4th Ave Bridge|
The aerial view on the Internet is quite old; the River Bend Condominiums have been up for nearly five years now, and the Symphony Condominiums have been finished for almost two years. (This and all the other clues lead me to believe that the aerial views at Google for this part of Florida are at least six years old; I assume that it is a big chore and a lot of expense to do them over just so they can be up-to-date. I suppose that people who need very current views have them commissioned privately.)
When I got up onto the bridge, I stopped in the middle of the span to take a few pictures. I have indicated by the arrows the direction I was looking when the pictures were taken. Looking southwest, here is a view of the New River and Ann Murray Park. The park is on the left hand side of the river, about halfway along the shoreline in the picture; it is the small area that is not built up and has no dock.
The arrow pointing northeast gives a good view of the River Bend Condominiums; the New River turns east on the far side of the building, and Shirttail Charlie's is out of sight behind it.
Finally, the arrow pointing almost due north looks along the Symphony Condominiums docks and you can see the Science Museum in the distance. The Broward Performing Arts Center is just out of the picture to the left.
I continued across the bridge, turned to go around the Symphony, and came back to the Riverwalk on the other side of those new condos.
The Nininger Statue and Police Memorial
|Performing Arts Center Area|
The War Memorial Wall is a mosaic depicting stylized scenes from World War II, with elements of the Iwo Jima flag raising, battle scenes and angels. The mosaic sits up on a brick wall, and each brick, as you can see in the picture, is inscribed with the name of a Broward County citizen who was killed in World War II. It does not appear as if the wall and its bricks have been extended past that conflict.
There is a lengthy inscription on the front of the statue and, while I took a picture of the plaque, it is hard to read unless magnified, so let me insert the text here:
After graduation from Fort Lauderdale High School, Alexander "Sandy" Nininger went on to the U.S.M.A. at West Point. Upon receiving his Army commission, he asked for duty in the Philippines and was assigned to Bataan where he was serving under General Douglas MacArthur when the Japanese invaded those islands.
Superior in numbers, supplies and weaponry, hordes of Japanese swept ashore and pushed inland, decimating everyone and everything standing in their way...that is, until they confronted the defending Philippine scouts - all that stood between General MacArthur's forces, who were readying fortifications near manila, and the invaders.
Stalled by days of attacks and counter-attacks, the Japanese again began breaking through the American/Filipino lines. Sandy Nininger's position was being overrun by the invaders. He rallied his men together to repel the attack. Still, seemingly unbeatable masses of enemy soldiers swarmed into the American positions. Then on January 12, 1942, the Japanese encountered the unanticipated.
Single handedly, Sandy Nininger, the boy from Fort Lauderdale's Sailboat Bend Area, charged into the enemy positions with a rifle, grenades and fixed bayonet. Shooting snipers out of trees and destroying enemy groups in foxholes, he plunged forward. Then, seizing a Japanese machine gun, he continued onward, killing at least forty enemy and forcing many others to retreat.
Sandy Nininger's show of extreme valor against superior forces that day so inspired other members of his unit, the legendary Philippine scouts, to rally together and counter-attack, completely smashing the Japanese onslaught and changing the course of the war during those darkest of dark days. General MacArthur later reported that this action on January 12, 1942, gave him the much needed time to organize the defenses of Manila Bay and Corregidor.
When they found Sandy later, mortally wounded and still clutching the enemy machine gun, the area around him was strewn with many dead enemy officers and soldiers. Upon hearing of Nininger's valorous deeds, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt bestowed upon Nininger, posthumously on January 29, 1942, the first Congressional Medal of Honor to be awarded during World War II.
Today, Lieutenant Nininger's remains rest in an unmarked grave near a long forgotten battlefield half a world away from the banks of the New River flowing in front of this statue where, as a boy, he played, fished and swam. Sandy's spirit is here with us, and he will forever be the heart and soul of each of Broward's fallen Servicemen, heroes all.
The statue and wall are certainly impressive, and worth the time to visit and reflect upon. While it is undoubtedly true that war, in general, is an inherently unproductive use of men and materiel, it is also undoubtedly true that it is sometimes necessary, if one people or another are to remain free to pursue their lives as they wish. While it is undoubtedly true that technological and artistic achievements have changed the way we live our lives, it is also undoubtedly true that, on occasion, winning or losing a war has determined, in the most elemental and basic ways, whether a people will have the luxury of even continuing their independent existence. While it is a shame that they are so often necessary, acts like Nininger's are often pivotal, and determine which way history will flow going forward. It is sobering to think what courses events might have taken otherwise.
For example, just behind the Nininger Statue is the Broward Performing Arts Center, and the view down the New River is one of moderninity and commerce. I wonder- would either of these views be at all the same now, in 2007, had Nininger not inspired American and Filipino forces to hold off the Japanese and enable the United States to hold the Philippines? Might the Japanese have then eventually succeeded in the Pacific? And, if they did, what would that have meant for the independence of the United States in world affairs, commerce and industry? Would Fort Lauderdale be the same today? It is impossible to say for sure, but I doubt it.
The memorial is right beside the the Broward Performing Arts Center.
I finished my bike ride about half and hour later, and had a pleasant dinner with Ron and Jay and two of their friends from Palm Beach.
Biking up the Florida Coast (June 3rd)
Recapping Miles 50-75 from my Fort Lauderdale Condo
So, in mid-morning, I attached the bike carrier to the car and headed up to Palm Beach. I intended to pick up at the Buie Bridge on the north side of Palm Beach, and then take my usual picture and movie every five miles, something I had neglected to do last month. Then, when I reached Hobe Sound, I would get on the bike for the last 25 miles of the even hundred.
I drove up Interstate 95 to Palm Beach, and then cut over east to US-1. I needed to drive over the Buie Bridge so I could start measuring from there, which I did. Then I followed the route I took last month (if you want to see that trip, just use the "Previous" button at the top or bottom of this page to return to that album page), stopping every five miles to take a movie and a picture.
Biking up the Florida Coast (June 3rd)
Miles 75-100: Hobe Sound to St. Lucie County
I got the bike down, secured the car, and headed off to pick up my ride at the 75-mile mark, just a short distance down Bridge Road.
From there, the general route was to take Gomez Road north until it dead-ended (in a golf course, as I recall), then turn west for a few blocks and then to head north on Dixie Highway (the same road as we find down in Fort Lauderdale). It is along this stretch that the 80-mile mark is reached.
Continuing north along Dixie Highway, which was distinctly non-scenic, I eventually entered the town of Port Salermo, where the 85-mile mark was reached. Continuing north, I reach the city limits of Stuart, Florida, where I turned eastward to the Intracoastal. Reaching it, I took a residential road alongside it until I reached the bridge over the Intracoastal from Sewall's Point to Seminole Shores. The bridge is in two spans, and it was at the top of the eastern span that the 90-mile mark was reached.
From there, the rest of the trip was straight up Alternate A1A that follows the barrier island all the way to Fort Pierce, Florida. The 95-mile mark was reached just north of Jensen Beach State Park, south of Waveland, Florida, and the final, 100-mile mark was reached just after I crossed into St. Lucie County and onto Hutchinson Island.
|Inset Map 1|
Gomez Avenue was not a particularly interesting street. It was residential for the most part, although there were a couple of businesses mixed in- nothing really industrial. There was a good sidewalk most of the way. Eventually, I reached a point where I had to turn left again towards Dixie Highway, but I made the first right turn I could to stay in a residential area for as long as possible.
|Inset Map 2|
After a few blocks, I came to a sign directing me to Dixie Highway, although the residential street continued north. I looked around for someone to ask about whether I would find another exit to Dixie Highway, but saw no one, and it looked as if the road ahead might not have an outlet. So I turned left and then right on Dixie Highway and continued north. There were trees on both sides of the highway (with the railroad on the right side) so I couldn't really tell that I was still in a developed area; it looked as if I was out in the country. After about three miles I reached the 80-mile mark (see inset map 2).
There was nothing particularly unusual about the 80-mile mark; it occurred along a pretty dismal stretch of the highway. But, as usual, I did take a picture looking north at the 80-mile mark (you can see how plain the route is here; I much prefer being along the ocean), and I also made a movie of the scenery at the 80-mile mark. You can watch this movie using the player below:
Then, it was back on the bike and north again along Dixie Highway.
Just after I crossed the railroad tracks there was an entrance to a Natural Area with some hiking trails and natural vegetation. The trails looked interesting, although the area was not very shady, but in any event I couldn't take my bike on the trail. So I left this attraction as a possible place for Fred and I to visit sometime.
I continued up A1A/Dixie and came into an area called Port Salerno. From the name, it appeared as if I were getting closer to the water again, although for a mile or so I couldn't see it (not having the benefit of the aerial view and map here, I couldn't tell that I was approaching Manatee Pocket- a long inlet into Port Salerno from the Intracoastal Waterway.
|Inset Map 1|
Just when I crossed into Port Salerno, I could see the masts of some boats off to my right, and after a minute I could see what appeared to be a small boat anchorage. So I assumed, correctly, that there must be an outlet from here to the Intracoastal Waterway and that I was back along the water. When I got to the inlet, I found that I could take the bike down onto a system of boardwalks that surrounded the end of the inlet, and you can see that boardwalk system on the inset map. (For some reason, Google Maps did not have a very clear aerial image of this particular area- certainly not as good as is available for many other areas- so you can't see the detail of the boardwalk very well.)
There were benches around the boardwalk, but no actual permanent docks; this area is either for recreation (just loading boats or as a turning basin) or just a place to come and sit and relax (there were three or four benches built into the boardwalk). I took the bike down onto the boardwalk system and parked it at the point indicated on the inset map.
First, I took a picture looking north along the Intracoastal to the Seminole Shores bridge which leads from the mainland at Stuart, Florida, out to Alternate A1A- the beach highway. From this view, I thought the bridge was just the one span, and that the land on the other side of the Intracoastal was the beach, but it turned out I was wrong, as you can easily see from the map and aerial views here.
My second picture looked
south along the Intracoastal,
but, again, this is only a branch of the main Intracoastal Waterway which is actually on the other side of the land to the right of this picture. My last picture was a zoom of the rest of the dock and the
bridge across the Intracoastal.
I biked up onto the bridge and, when I got to the
top of the bridge,
I discovered that there were two spans, not one. The first span actually takes you out to a place called Sewall's Point, which is actually a peninsula that comes down in the middle of the Intracoastal Waterway from the north, so the first span is actually bridging an inlet or harbor (there is no exit to the Intracoastal on the north- you have to go south and around the end of Sewall's Point to get to the main channel of the Waterway). This view looks
south along Sewall's Point channel,
and you can see the park and dock I was just on way off in the distance to the right.
It was a four-mile ride from Seminole Shores to Jensen Beach. The beach area was quite large, with lots of parking and it was pretty busy. I biked through the parking lot and up on the dunes overlooking Jensen Beach. There was also an interesting sign that identified Jensen Beach as a "sea turtle" beach, which I assumed meant that it was a spawning ground for sea turtles, and probably closed at certain times of the year.
I assume that the aerial views of this local area available on Google were all taken at the same time (this new house is less than a mile from the new traffic circle). The traffic circle did not show up (see the inset above), but the new house did (see below).
Just before the 100-mile mark, I crossed into Hutchinson Island and, exactly at the 100-mile mark, found myself in front of a new condo development beachside. There wasn't much other than that to distinguish the 100-mile mark, but I did take a picture and a movie here at the 100-mile mark (and you can watch this movie using the player below):
The Return- And the Accident
I was knocked over on the right and onto the asphalt; had a car been coming, I might have been toast but, as luck would have it, there was not. The youngster on the older, heavier bike hit me broadside, and he hardly lost his balance. I was dizzy for a few minutes getting up, and finding that both the wheels on my bike were bent beyond repair. We carried my bike to the roadside where I just sat on the grass to get my bearings.
The young man was extremely apologetic and, although I was mad, it was tough to do more than tell him that he should have been watching where he was going. Then it dawned on me that I couldn't even walk my bike the remaining ten miles to my car, and I told him so. He told me his father had a truck and would be home soon, so I wheeled his bike and he carried mine a block south to his house where we waited a few minutes for his father to return.
When he did, he was apologetic as his son, and we put my bike in the truck and he and his son drove me south to Hobe Sound and to the parking lot where I'd left my car. I got the family's address, put my battered bike on the carrier, and headed home. We'd agreed that the young man would pay half the repair costs up to $75, even though I knew it would be much more than that. I was actually thinking the bike would be a total loss.
I was still shaken, but made it home about 90-minutes later. The only physical problem I seemed to have was a sore right leg (which took over a week to heal itself). As it turned out, the bike shop estimated only $180 to fix the bike, and it should be ready by the time I get down to Florida in late June. I'll probably just send the young man a letter and ask him to be more careful next time; after looking at their house and talking with him and his father, I realized that $75 would mean a heck of a lot more to him than to me.
Visiting Jack at John Knox Village (June 4th)
John Knox Village occupies the acreage between I-95 on the west, Dixie Highway on the east, John Knox Village Blvd. on the north and Village Drive on the south. My estimate is something on the order of 50-75 acres (see map below).
I found Jack's building without much problem, and we spent some time in his 12th-floor apartment visiting. He had me fix up his wireless network, and then I took some pictures of his apartment. Among these pictures are:
The View from His Balcony (North)
Jack's Office (Closet)
The Living Room
The Unfinished Kitchen
At noontime, Jack took me over to the dining room where we had some lunch before I left. I think Jack is going to be happy here, although I am sorry to lose him as a neighbor at Riverview Gardens.
Returning to Dallas
|June 26 - July 3, 2007: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale|
|May 1-9, 2007: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale|
|Return to Index for 2007|