Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Keys

This morning we were up early to get on the road (well, early by my parents standards – 9 am!).   We left the campground together but we didn’t travel together, I needed fuel and I was planning to take Card Sound Road for the 1st part of the drive. 

Getting fuel proved to be challenging.  The gas station I wanted to go to was on the wrong side of the road and I turned into the neighborhood and had to drive around to get back to it, then I had to drive around again to get back to Rt 1 South, so I got the tour of Greater Homestead and I did find the only two nice drivers in Miami-Dade County so that was good – the both let me cut in front of them! 

Soon I was on my way south, headed to the Overseas Highway!  I saw a sign that said “Card Sound Bridge, next left” so I got into the left lane and kept going.  The next left turn was in Key Largo!  It did say “Card Sound Road”, but at that point it was too late.  Not sure what happened, but I guess I’ll take Card Sound on the way back. 

The Overseas Highway is pretty neat! You drive right next to the ocean & Florida Bay! There’s water everywhere and lots of bridges!  There are tons of little towns – lots of “Shell Shops” and other touristy junk as well as regular services – fuel, groceries, etc.  I was very surprised at how big Marathon was.  In my head I’d pictured it as a tiny little town with a Mom & Pop gas station.  Turns out it’s huge! 

There are a number of Florida State Parks in the Keys and I stopped at Long Key State Park for lunch & a walk.  It was a great “1 hour” stop, not enough stuff to do there much longer.  I was able to the pull RV right up to within 50 feet or so of the Atlantic Ocean!  I made lunch and took it to the picnic table that was right by where I’d parked!  It was sunny & hot! 



After I ate I decided to go back to the nature trail, however, the parking area for that was about 3/4 of a mile away and I wasn’t sure how parking was over there so I took the bike off and rode over!  Turns out there was a lot of parking!  Oh well! I got to ride  my bike! The trail wasn’t that interesting.  The 1st part was in the mangroves and that was kinda neat – it was shady and cool and the roots of the mangroves were cool looking.  Then it came out and was exposed and hot.  There were some nice views of the ocean!



At the end there was a boardwalk leading back to the parking area (or at the beginning, depending on which way you walk), and there was an observation tower so of course I climbed up.   Here’s what I could see:


Great view! heh! Oh well, it was the only way to get in floors on my fitbit! 

After my walk I rode back to the van and waded into the ocean!  It was super warm!  I was *very* tempted go get my bathing suit on and go for a real swim, but I also wanted to get on down the road, so I didn’t give into temptation!

It only took about an hour to go the rest of the way to Sugarloaf Key where the KOA is that we are staying at.  After I got into my site and got the electricity hooked up and all we drove into Key West – we were still 20 miles north. 

Key West is a neat town.  It’s a little like Bar Harbor, only weirder.  The 1st thing we did was locate the Ferry Terminal where we will board the boat to go to Dry Tortugas on Thursday.   Then we attempted to go to the “Southernmost Point in the US” Buoy so I could get my picture taken in front of it, but the line was a mile long so we abandoned that idea.   We eventually found a parking spot and started walking down Duvall Street.  I’d wanted to go to the Art Festival at Mallory Square for sunset but a thick blanket of clouds had rolled in and there wasn’t going to be a sunset, not only that but there were a TON of people everywhere and it didn’t seem like it would be that much fun. 

Mom was looking for a restroom & the only public restroom was in Mallory Square which was 15-20 blocks away.  Dad spotted an ice cream store – we decided that they probably had a bathroom, but that it was for customers only.  Dad and I “took one for the team” by ordering some ice cream so we’d be customers!  I had Key Lime (of course…I’m in Key West!) and it was pretty good! 

We got to meet some of the resident chickens..


We also drove past Hemingway’s House and several other Key West Landmarks!

We wandered Duvall Street window shopping until we knew our meter had run out and then we headed back to the buoy to see if the crowds had dispersed.  They hadn’t. 


So I stood where I could see the buoy and waited until there was no one standing in front of it and took a picture of it. Maybe I’ll photoshop myself in!  LOL!


Looking south from the Southernmost point of the US – see how cloudy it is! 


I think this sign is cooler than the buoy…   Mostly because Rt 1 is so much a part of my daily life and to be on it here, so far from home and see it’s beginning it pretty cool!


We also saw this on the road just as we arrived in Key West…


VA plates too!

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