One of my favorite views of Miami Beach is from the apex of the Julia Tuttle.
My grandmother has lived, still does, in Miami Beach for as long as I can remember and for many years my parents had a weekend bungalow in North Beach. The Julia Tuttle was the best way to get to both places. Every weekend for a decade my stomach would flutter in the backseat as we elevated and then descended on the causeway lovingly referred to as La Yulia Toto. No one, not my grandmother, dad or mom had the talent of pronunciation.
Many years have passed. The Highway Patrol and/or the Department of Transportation closed off the median, not allowing people to pull over or have anonymous sex or fish. Most recently the causeway became home to a colony of sex offenders. I suppose the median being closed is a good thing now. But the view from the top is exactly the same, which is why I take the causeway whenever I go to the beach. Every time, I raise the volume a little louder and I open all the windows just so I can feel like I’m flying.
Recently, my friend Bettina had a similar experience on the Julia Tuttle. She actually hit the Miami Trifecta, which is experiencing at least three of the town’s staple institutions, monuments or sub-cultures while under duress, at gunpoint or via ambulance. Let’s see, she experienced the sub-culture of horrid Miami drivers while on the Julia Tuttle, which is a monument (because I say so) and admitted to Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital, which is Miami’s hot spot for all of our typical “oopsies” like, “Oops, I shot my friend in the ear while I was talking on the phone.” And, of course, she did all of this via ambulance.
Hitting the Miami Trifecta is not what is most impressive. No. That happens every 12.4 seconds (this statistic may not be scientifically sound). However, taking in the view of the Julia Tuttle upside down while still in your car is probably the most adrenaline-pumping, lose-consciousness, rib-cracking, hand-mangling, near-death-experiencing type of visual joy and intensity one can take.
Bettina could have done it the easy way. She could have defied the Highway Patrol and jumped the median dressed like a little girl with pig tails and performed a head stand with the help of all her new friends. But, because she is strong, determined and adventurous, she opted for the hard way.
Now she knows what the prize is for hitting the Miami Trifecta — living to tell about it. And for that miracle, I am very thankful.
Hey Bettina, next time we see each other I’ll tell you how Miracle Mile really got its name.