March 5 – Key West, Florida

What a drive across the keys – water on both sides and a few houses and businesses along the way – great ride. What was amazing was the color of the water – a light green that when you looked closely you could see it was clear and shallow. I am so used to seeing dirty brown water this was just breath taking.

Arrived at Boyd’s RV Park before noon and our spot was ready. This will be our most expensive night (actually 4 nights) camping at $153 per night including all the taxes. We are on the bay and have a dock – though I don’t have a boat – was hoping Josh would be able to dingy up. Everything here is done first class and the condition of everything is also first class.

After we got set up we watched a boat that was anchored in the bay drift into our dock and bump two other boats – did I mention the winds – its gusting at 25 mph consistently. The drifting boat had no chance. Not a great boat in good condition – were they homeless?  Notice the refrigerator standing in the middle of the boat!

Went exploring downtown Key West. WOW! A busy town with all kinds of people and cars and bikes and scooters and golf carts. Drove around just getting a lay of the land.

Walked the dogs along the sidewalk along the gulf side of the Key. They enjoy walking and exploring too.

Found the Waterfront Brewery and had one for the arrival of us in Key West. Everywhere is paid parking so we had time left on the meter and walked around part of the town. What a hoot! People were drinking and singing and whatever – they were happy and having a great time.

Definitely a snowbird campground and sure enough Sunday night Bingo. Oh I came so close but no winner, Brenda did win one pot.

Monday still windy but I am venturing out to bike ride Key West. Going there was with the wind so it was easy. Made it down to Mallory Square – did stop at the Dry Tortugas’s boat launch to see if anyone canceled for the boat ride – yes two cancelations but the vender suggested not buying them because they will probably cancel the ride tomorrow – and they did today because of the wind.

The architecture of the buildings in Key West is impressive.

Made it the southernmost point in the US and got my picture taken. Also saw the most southern house and if you keep looking you can see the most southern water sports – the most southern hotel – the most southern hostel and on and on.

Riding back was against the wind but enjoyed riding the southern portion of Key West and seeing the ocean and all the people on the beaches and sidewalk.

Almost home and caught the corner of a sidewalk and took a tumble. No real physical damage except a rug burned knee (and later felt the sprained finger and sore ribs – oh am I getting old).

Brenda and I then left (after I showered) for Key West to play. We walked Duvall Street and listened to music and watched a lot of young people getting drunk (remember it is spring break). Enjoyed the scenery – reminded us a lot of New Orleans.

Walked all the way to the southernmost point of the key and had to stand in line to get our picture next to a buoy with the directions to Cuba on it.DSC_0048

Then walked back on Whitehead Street to the beginning of US 1 and Mile Marker 0.DSC_0071

Couldn’t resist a stop at the southernmost brewery in the continental US. It was Kelly’s Caribbean Bar/Grill and Brewery. Not that great but at least we found the most southern brewery. Did enjoy an appetizer to fill the stomach from all that walking.

Finished walking Duvall Street and ended up in Mallory Square for the evening festivities – sunset.

Did I tell you about the chickens? They are everywhere around Key West. Even in our campground and even in some restaurants – but they don’t allow dogs. Our dogs did face a challenge trying to catch one – never did!

I was wondering why the chickens were allowed to run free and found out that they are called “gypsy chickens” and represent the attitude of Key West – live and let live and be colorful and wild. There is about 2000 chickens and roosters running around the Key. They originally came because when the Cubans came they brought them for food, eggs and cock fighting. Since the grocery stores came, the chickens were let loose – just don’t fall asleep under a tree with your mouth open.

We did enjoy a good Cuban meal before the festivities.

It was amazing walking around Mallory Square – all the acts, musicians, people, boats, birds, vendors and water.

Really enjoyed watching the sun disappear into the Gulf of Mexico.

Tuesday again windy and supposed to reach 82 – who can complain?

Did I tell you there is a Navy Base on Key West? Oh yes and they fly all hours of the day and they are loud – I find it very distracting and not sure if I could spend all winter listening to the roar of jets.

Brenda finally found a beautician to get her hair cut – 2 inches off. She is looking cute.

We baked a Stromboli on the grill today – turned out great except it was too hot on the bottom – need to pull out the pizza stone.IMG_2977

Took the dogs and went down town to Key West to see the sunset again and explore.

That is a stuffed bear, but you did a double take.

We walked the Historic Seaport Harbor Walkway. Unbelievable the number of restaurants and bars along that stretch that were just holes in the wall. Lots of college kids partying.

It’s also amazing how many people want to pet our dogs – there must be something fascinating about their shape – they are always a crowd pleaser – and now they both are so used to people approaching them that they get along very well with outsiders. I always say “If I was single, they are the perfect “chick magnet”.

Did stop at Hog’s Breath and bought the t-shirt.

Dogs enjoyed the sunset, though not that spectacular tonight due to the clouds. I get a kick out it because everyone claps as the sun goes below the horizon – I guess anything to celebrate is a good feeling.

Wednesday the winds have subsided and the temp is warming up. Took the bike and did a 20 mile ride thru Key West. Rode the reverse of the other day to see it from a different perspective. Made it to the most southern point and again the lines were long – I guess this is one of the most photographed sites in the area.

Had to stop at Hogs Breath Bar for a drink (despite being 11 in the morning, the bar was crowded with drinkers – in fact the whole town was).

Saw a few more areas of town that I hadn’t seen before – there is a lot to see in this town.

Spent the afternoon relaxing and reading “Killing the Rising Sun” which kept my interest all afternoon -despite the jet noise.

Another night of Bingo though this time it was “card” bingo. We had not played this before but using a deck of cards (4 players to a deck) all cards are dealt out to the 4 players and then the caller has a deck and he/she draws cards and calls them out. You discharge the called card and the first one out wins the pot. Brenda won two pots – I none.IMG_2989

Thursday we are off to Marathon, Florida to meet Josh and Leah. Before we left, I had to have breakfast at the little Cuban restaurant across the street. Oh was it good, always with chorizo – a spiced sausage and eggs and potatoes. I’m ready to roll.

Final thought: Don’t come to Key West for peace and quiet – between the jets and roosters there is no quiet – but if you enjoy a wild time – Key West is for you!

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