Monday, January 2, 2012

the red eye.....the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys.....

First, I MUST start this post with stating a few our defense.

Admittedly, our timing of visiting the Keys was wayyyyyy off. To a certain extent this was out of our control since we want to attend a Bible Conference in Plant City the first week of January. From the time we left Valdosta Georgia we had 19 whole days to fill - may as well go to Southern Florida.

Next, we had received a lot of 'free' advice about the best time to go. Our plan was to go today - after the holidays. However, last week we were told it would be better to get there and out again BEFORE the New Year's weekend because come beginning of January the place fills up with snowbirds.

So - we decided to go down the Keys last Wednesday - Dec. 27. The plan was to go down - take our time - stay at one of the THREE state parks, visit Key West on Thursday and either come back up that day or stay a second night at a state park.

Didn't happen - not even close.

By the time we got out of Midway and stopped in Homestead for groceries it was around noon. Excitedly we headed south on the #1 to THE KEYS.

Well whatever we thought about what the Keys actually are and look like was not quite right. It is a long trip with very little to see. I don't want to be too harsh - it isn't all bad.

But on this day at this time we were in a traffic most of the time - the trip down is filled with towns and congestion - lots of stores and pull outs. The problem was that once we got to the 'ocean' areas we were always to big to fit in the little fishing pullouts. Plus when you are moving so slow you hesitate to pull off.

Stopping in at the first state park was a sign of things to come - FULL!

No matter  - we are becoming great stealth campers. Maybe they aren't all full - maybe we could get a hotel instead - let's continue!

Short story is that we didn't reach Key West until it was dark. We headed downtown only to find out it has VERY narrow streets and it was FULL of people. We got lost since I was intent on a photographing Mile 0 - we had come this far! We got the wrong directions and ended up in a very small dead end! Amazingly Derek got us out with the help of a very small delivery dock! The tightest corner we have ever been in!

After a few stops and some tense moments we drove around and stopped for dinner along the A1A. Sad to then have to get back in the truck at 7:30 at night with no destination. 

We did stop at a few hotels only to find out they were full.

We finally had to admit that we could not find a place here, could not steath camp and had to leave the Keys.

Along the way - at about nine o'clock we stopped in Marathon. Derek checked at the hotel finding out that it was also full - no matter he heard the clerk say that it would be $169 if they did have a room and it was $385 at the hotels in Key West.

We ran across the street and had a cuban coffee and piece of key lime pie. At least we can say we had key lime pie at the Keys.

The view down the Keys - lots of hydro poles!

A common occurrence - traffic line up. It felt like perpetual rush hour.

I had to take a picture of the beautiful blue water out of Derek's window since mine always had the hydro poles.

Thank goodness I took a photo of the sunset from the truck.

We ended up driving all the way out of the Keys that night - we got to the Everglades Campground at around 1:30 in the morning - we were tired and disappointed but glade to be parked in a quiet campground. Cassia was long asleep but transferred easily to her bed. 

So - that was our Keys experience. We know that no one could have talked us out of going. 

We WERE warned!

It was just that we needed to see it ourselves and thought that we could find somewhere to park overnight.

Knowing what we know now we wouldn't go but we understand that everyone needs to do there own thing. Our suggestions are: don't go in December/January, make sure you have RV reservations and know why you are going...there are nicer beaches and towns in other parts of Florida.

Talking with locals it seems that the Keys are always busy - hard to believe that people choose to live there.

Thanks for visiting!


Today's Interesting Link: Because we were in traffic all day and got to the end in the dark we don't have many pictures of the Keys! Here is the Keys site where you can see for yourself what it looks like - we weren't overly impressed but I am sure if you have a boat and/or like to fish it would be the place for you. Oh and you have to like lots of people crammed into a small space.


  1. Ouch, what a MAJOR disappointment !!

    So very sorry it did not work out for you ...

    We must be very naive, because we didn't think it would be like that at all !!

    Wishing you all the best, Trent and Teresa

  2. Just be glad that you weren't there during an approaching hurricane!! When they order evac, that entire road,A1A I think, is nothing but traffic headed out--ALL LANES!

    But at least you had key lime pie in the keys right!

    Safe Travels!! John


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