Miguel Hernandez is on a holy mission. It may not be on the scale of a religious crusade, but it compels him nonetheless. "I happen to believe I work for God," says the 35-year-old car washer. "One of the things I do for a Him is not overcharge. Everybody else is charging $40 for something they know in their heart of hearts shouldn't be more than $20." Hernandez, who started Ricky's Detailing in 1999, charges $18.50 to pamper your car. That's a great price for a hand wash and wax. And it's a phenomenal price for wash, wax, and an interior cleaning with vacuum and solvents. This isn't an amateur job, either. Hernandez has a high-tech trailer attached to his van that carries not only supplies but a generator and a 150-gallon water tank with pump. He uses a high-pressure hose to wash and a hand-held power buffer to wax. He named his business Ricky's, he says, in honor of his wife's nephew, who was murdered in 1998. "Coming back from the funeral, it was the one thing she asked me," he recalls. His wife died of a heart attack a few months later.
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.
After leading the fight to have the Miami-Dade County Commission pass a gay-rights ordinance, Jorge Mursuli easily could have retreated from the political stage, content with a single momentous victory. Instead Mursuli, chairman of SAVE Dade, has capitalized on that triumph, slowly building one of the more influential political organizations to arise in South Florida in years. He has apportioned his group's limited resources wisely, backing Johnny Winton in last year's Miami City Commission race, helping him defeat stone-age incumbent J.L Plummer. SAVE Dade also was key in Matti Bower's victory for a seat on the Miami Beach City Commission last fall. Through fundraising and grassroots organizing, Mursuli -- along with a lot of others at SAVE Dade -- also was preparing to fight an effort to repeal the gay-rights ordinance. As it turned out, Christian conservatives failed to get the necessary signatures to place the matter on the ballot. Obviously they didn't have anyone on their side as organized and dedicated as Mursuli. Next question: When will Jorge Mursuli run for elected office?

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®