Key West: As Far Away From Home as We’re Gonna Get!

November 8, 2009

According to the Google map on my iPhone, we’re 3,244 miles from Los Altos here in Key West, but not to worry – According to the trip computer, we could be home in 2 days and 3 hours? (Uh, that’d be hauling A.., I think?)

P1210476

John & Jane enjoying a drink at the Sunrise Bar & Grill, on Duval St., Key West

Given the fact that our little Prius has logged over 10,000 miles to get to this point in a little over two months, we’re not likely to follow Google’s recommendation for a speedy return? But we do plan to finish up and be home by December 1, that’s if Hurricane Ida lets us slip by on the Gulf Coast? The weather’s a big deal down here in the Keys: We’re subject to “small craft” warnings just driving along on the highway to get here, and the local turbulence created by Ida has given us some hefty breezes today, to say the least. But the temperature here is balmy, and windy or no, it’s a nice place to be.

P1060501

Breakfast at a colorful little restaurant on Marco Island before hitting the road

But that’s ahead of the game a little; yesterday we left Marco Island early to see some more of the Everglades to the east. We’d planned to drive the “Road to Flamingo,” but fortunately stopped at the Big Cypress Rest Area, and the ranger there suggested we might be able to see alligators aplenty by just taking the Shark Valley tram ride just 20 miles down the road from there, thus avoiding a late-night arrival at Key Largo, our planned resting place. Moreover, she said, “Why don’t you just check out the gators along the boardwalk in front of our place?” Eureka!

P1210337

Big Gator Mouth, Big Cypress boardwalk, Tamiami Canal

You’ll see several other Gator shots in our daily Gallery; most of them came from the free boardwalk tour in front of the Big Cypress Ranger station. We did follow her advice and took the Shark Valley tram ride, but were disappointed in many ways with that one. It did give us a big overview (from its observation tower) of the “River of Grass” that constitutes much of the core of the Everglades, as you’ll see in the Gallery, and we did see some baby gators:

P1210385

A little baby Gator at the Shark Valley refuge

After a rainy morning run on Key Largo this morning from our Holiday Inn roost, we headed on down the “Overseas Highway” towards Key West. But along the way, we encountered Keys too numerous to mention. One of the mentionables was Key Marathon, where we visited the Crane Point Museum and Nature Center, a 63-acre treasure trove of Florida eco-history. We were reminded again of the importance and significance of Mangroves, which are the main reason why there ARE Keys in Florida in the first place. It doesn’t hurt to refresh your memories on these important components of our environment:P1210411If you have trouble reading that photographed copy of a sign, find the same image in the Gallery, and double click on it to enlarge the type. At Crane they have a Wild Bird Center, where they try to bring injured and sick birds back to full capability. Here’s one of their resident Ospreys:

P1210422

An Osprey at Crane's Wild Bird Center, undergoing treatment for injury

We had planned to visit the large beach at Key Bahia Honda later on, but by then the winds were gusting up to 30-40 mph, making the beach kind of un-fun, if you know what I mean? 😉 But we DID manage to snarf up some excellent ice cream from the snack shop there, so the mission wasn’t a total failure. Finally we came into Key West to our chosen B&B, situated right across the street from one of Key West’s finest (top Zagat rating) restaurants, the Cafe Sole on Southard St. After walking down to the famous Duval St.

P1210480

View of the end of Duval St. from the Sunrise wharf

and checking out its many attractions, we came back to the room, and had only to cross the street for supper! Great food, and not even all that expensive, always appreciated.

That about brings the Blogazzette up to date. After doing a little more sight-seeing in Key West, like to Hemingway’s house, Truman’s “Little White House” (sound familiar?), we’re going to be highballing it back up through Florida for the next 3 days, and if we find anything interesting along the way, we’ll share our findings, as usual. You may think Florida is not such a big state? Actually, it spans two time zones. From here to Pensacola, on the western end of Florida’s “panhandle,” is over 800 miles away! Thanks for following our meanderings, all comments and suggestions, as usual, are always welcome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Key West: As Far Away From Home as We’re Gonna Get!”

  1. Cheryl & Jeff said

    Such fun to read of your adventures – recommend the Dali
    Museum in St. Pete if you have a few hours on your way up the coast.
    Key West is really a fun spot and glad that you saw gators. The
    pix are excellent. Best, Cheryl & Jeff

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: