For a buck you can take Old Card Sound Road and its bridge home from the Keys and grab a bird's-eye view of South Florida that includes a wide, watery sky rich enough to satisfy spoiled Texans, as well as a shimmering horizon sprinkled with mangrove islands and funky fishermen. Watch out for the crotchety tollbooth operators who have the wary look of people who just might be descended from the pirates who used to lurk in the Keys. Fifty yards down the two-lane blacktop, you can come back to Earth at Alabama Jack's, the kind of rural bar that saves all its best parking spots for motorcyclists, many of them lawyers and cops. Order a Corona and some good conch fritters. On Saturday and Sunday afternoons, relax and enjoy the only live country band that plays regularly in Monroe County, the Card Sound Machine. Then poke on home, crossing the Glades, enjoying a slow take on this area where the big fishing boats are mostly less than twenty feet and all the houseboats need a coat of paint. There's live blue crab for sale along the road. And if you stop to gawk at fish, be careful not to step on the gators.
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