January 10, 2014-Key West

(click here for today's pictures)

This morning started off with us waking up around 8:15.  We hadn’t moved at all during the night-we were pretty tired from the day of traveling.  Robby had a shower first and then went downstairs to get breakfast and bring some back for me.  When he returned I was ready and ate my cinnamon roll.  Speaking of cinnamon rolls-that Holiday Inn Express gets a C- on theirs.  Breakfast was almost over but these rolls had still been sitting out for quite a long, long time.  And no orange juice-blasphemy!

Our hotel was right in the middle of the two National parks so it really worked out perfectly.  And when we stepped outside today, the weather was perfect.  Exactly what we would want Disney weather to be like-well, really I would want this weather pretty much all of the time.  

We were only about 15 minutes from Biscayne National Park.  It is a National Park in need of some tlc.  Hurricane Andrew passed right over it and did quite a bit of damage.  The park used to have boat tours but their concessionaire went out of business.  We quickly walked through the visitor’s center and then walked along the boardwalk.  The boardwalk lead to a jetty.  It was a beautiful walk with the water on each side of you.  There were people kayaking around and it really made me want to get a kayak-the water was so peaceful and calm….about 30 minutes later, I completely change my mind about the whole kayak idea.

When we were walking along the boardwalk, we kept seeing this huge plane circle slowly overhead. We couldn’t figure out what type of plane it was.  My guess was a weather plane but once we were at Everglades, we saw a sign about a nearby military base.  Then we saw a few more signs about missiles and finally remembered the Cuban Missile Crisis.  

So Everglades National Park was the next stop.  Their Visitor’s Center had more to see and we even set down for a few minutes to watch the film.  The ranger told us about a nearby trail that was a must see and we headed that direction.  When we turned down the road for the trail, we saw a sign with a picture of a panther on it.  Hmm, we debated not getting out of the car after seeing that.

Then when we pulled into the parking lot for the trail, at least 8 cars were covered in blue tarps.  We had no idea what that was about and then we saw a huge sign on a box “Tarps inside. Use tarps to protect cars from vultures.”  What in the world?  Since we are rule-breakers and the majority of the cars didn’t have tarps and because this is a rental car, we opted for no tarp and walked to the trail.

The trail was the Anhinga trail.  Anhingas are birds that can swim to catch fish.  We even saw a few-pretty weird seeing a bird come up for air.  And then they sit in a tree drying their feathers.  The trail was crazy packed with school kids so we went one direction at a split and they went the other.  Most of the time on wildlife trails, we see a few animals but nothing too magnificent.  So I was already pleased when we saw the anhingas.  

After walking just a bit we saw some big turtles setting on a few logs.  And then just a bit further we saw a huge alligator swimming around.  We walked by it and when it came near those turtle, they jumped in the water to avoid the gator.  After that sighting, we continued seeing alligators everywhere.  It was pretty amazing (and scary-the reason that I no longer planning on kayaking.)

We were relieved back at the car to see that the vultures had not destroyed our vehicle.  And instead of heading further down south towards mosquito, we went back to the main road to head down to Key West.  We did stop at a fruit stand that was a happening place.  It was called “Robert is Here” and their specialty was key lime pie milkshakes.  Robby had one and he said that Anderson would have loved it.  I had a strawberry mango smoothie.  

The fruit stand had every single fruit that you could imagine-even fruit that we had never seen or heard of.  During the weekend, they even have live music.  We didn’t buy any fruit but we said that if the kids would have been with us, we would have spent quite a bit of money there between milkshakes and fruit.  

Our tummys were full from our drinks and we headed down south to Key West.  The first 40 miles flew by with plenty of blue water to see.  We have never been to the Caribbean so blue water like this was all new to us.  Sometimes there were lots of business and houses and other times we could see water all around us.  It was all a narrow strip of land that we were driving down-just sometimes more narrow than others.  There was a 7 mile bridge that was pretty interesting.

About half way there, the traffic started to pick up-a lot!  Like we were at a crawl.  It was fine since we had plenty of drinks and snacks to keep us busy and were listening to some Disney music (yes, second time to mention Disney in this post.  Robby had debated us driving up there for a day but we didn’t know what we would do since we really were just there this fall.  Just being this close to the magic makes us nostalgic.)  

We drove and drove and finally found her hotel-the Blue Marlin Motel.  Cute little place and we have a pretty neat room with windows on each sides.  We checked out our room and then headed down to walk down Duvall street.  When we first found it, it was a quiet little street with lots of stuff happening on it.  A few more blocks down the road and it quickly came a cross between Beale street and Bourbon street.  Wowzers!

We walked to the end of the street-about a mile-and made it to a pier.  It was about sunset and people were everywhere.  There were people, street performers, kids, dogs, pigs.  The view was gorgeous with the sunset and the boats out on the water.  Oh and I did say “pigs” but what is interesting is that there are chickens that just roam free in this area.  I saw a few when we were walking away from our hotel.  

Somewhere along the way, my hands started itching-like crazy.  This has happened before a few times but I do not know what triggers it but it was pretty bad tonight.  The trigger tonight might have been all of the people blowing cigar smoke.  I guess Cuban cigars are a bit thing so there are lots of “Domican Republic” cigars around here.  I don’t know if calling them “Domican Republic” is a code word for Cuban or not.  Either way, my hands were red, swollen and itching.  I was getting close to scratching my skin off when Robby saw a little shop that might have some benedryl.  Thankfully, they did and it was even liquid (remember I can’t swallow pills)  As soon as we sat down to eat, he opened it and poured me a dosage.  

I will go ahead a finish my hand itching story before I mention supper.  But within 5 minutes, my hands were better and I was back to my old self.  But on our walk back to the hotel, I started feeling a bit tipsy.  I think my benedryl swigging caught up with me.  And right now, I am actually fortunate that I am able to make complete sentences to finish this blog.   

We had read about Sloppy Joes Bar and we chose to eat there.  We were near the door and had a pretty perfect spot.  I had cheese fries with the sloppy joe mix on top and Robby had a sloppy joe quesadillas.  They were both very good but our favorite was the black bean dip that we had with our chips-like smashed, spicy, warm black beans.  I will have to find a recipe for something similar.

After eating, we walked back down the street.  I was in a much better mood because my hands were not itching.  We ran into the post office for a minute to put some postcards in the mail.  Then we saw the coolest tree ever (click here for a picture) - the roots were massive flat walls that went together to form the tree.  It would have been an awesome tree to have in the yard because the kids could have set up little rooms on each side of the roots.  

Then our next stop was a pastry shop that said all pastries were half off after 5.  It was well after 5 and we knew we were going to need a snack tonight and a bit of breakfast tomorrow morning.  Breakfast is downstairs in this tiny, tiny room so who knows what that will be but never fear we have chocolate croissants and chocolate cinnamon roll type things to eat.  

Grannymom and the boys went to Rock Creek this morning to play and Nonna, Pops, Jason and the girls went to Larry's pizza tonight.  And from everything that we hear, the kids are continuing to have a really big time.  Tomorrow is the kid switch so I am pretty sure that they are all excited about that.  It also means that our vacation is nearing an end-well, I guess we still have 4 more nights counting tonight so I shouldn’t get too depressed yet!

No comments: