Florida (Miami Beach)

We emerge from our brief hiatus to resume our campaign-highways series. Tonight we visit Florida, focusing in on Miami Beach:

Miami (which is a separate city from Miami Beach) is the southern terminus of I-95, the big north-south highway on the east coast of the US. It just sort of comes to an end at a ramp onto US 1. Much like the campaign of Rudy Giuliani. Somehow he figured he could cruise down I-95 and hang out in Florida while other actual contests were going on, and still win. I'd like to think his defeat wasn't just this rather dumb strategy, but also the rest of the country getting to know the real Giuliani that we knew in New York, without the 9-11 veneer. The man was a psycho and always needed someone to go after. That included things so integral to New York as pedestrians. Not to mention the racial tensions, the tabloid personal life. His concession speech after losing his first bid for mayor included “Ladies and gentlemen, will you please shut up!” Actually, I thought that was kinda cute. But I doubt the rest of the country would feel that way.

Interestingly, I was last in Miami during the 2004 election. Sitting in a pub and watching W get re-elected was a major downer for myself and my colleagues at the conference I was attending. But there was still plenty to do that well. A day later, we were heading downtown, over the I-395 causeway over to Miami Beach, and into the heart of the South Beach Art Deco district for an evening fun and entertainment.

I can't recall the live music being all that great. But you can't go wrong with drinks and good company. And it's warm at night in November. And the water was warm enough to swim in. How cool is that? Here in California, it gets cold at night. And the water is always cold.

The main drag through Miami Beach is Collins Avenue, part of Florida Highway A1A. A1A actually spans the length of Florida's Atlantic coast, passing through towns and beaches. It would be interesting to compare to our own Highway 1 along the Pacific coast in California. The coasts are so different, not only in climate, but in culture and history and natural terrain. Less of the spectacular cliffs and pristine natural beaches, and more private development. But it's not without its charm, and the water is warm enough to swim. Add it to the growing list of road trips not yet taken.