When life gives you lemons, go ride Lemonade!

Key West

We left the Daytona Area on the freeway, headed South for a couple hours with lots of traffic.  We turned off the freeway to Lake Okeechobee in south central Florida.  This is the source of most of the water that flows through the Everglades and I just wanted to look at it.  But you can't see it, there is a twenty foot high dike all around it.  That night we had a thunderstorm pass right over us.  About midnight I was out in my underwear trying to tighten guy lines on the awning.  I got soaked but we survived with no damage.  The next night was in a Miami/Homestead area city park with a nice camping area.

From there we headed to Key West with a stop at the Everglades Alligator Farm.  They have hundreds of adult alligators in a large pen/pond and raise more.  It has some zoo like pens with different species of alligators, crocodiles and snakes from around the world.  There was a snake show (with audience volunteer) and alligator wrestling, both rather mediocre and an airboat ride.










That was fun.  We were taken out into the grassy Everglades and ran around in a large loop stopping at a couple of open-water areas to spin the boat around and get everyone wet.


We left there at noon and headed south. We arrived at our campsite about three o'clock.  Boyd's Campground is beautiful and well maintained but very expensive.  








We paid, with taxes, over $90/night for a site with water/power but not quite on the waterfront.  That was on the other side of the road, just behind me taking this picture.

After setting up we walked over to the "Hogfish Bar & Grill" on the shrimp docks for dinner.  Key West is famous for its chickens, they are everywhere, even trying to get into this restaurant.  This was a mother hen teaching about a dozen chicks how to hunt for scraps under the tables.  Every time she tried to move from the patio to inside she got run out again.







The next morning we did the obligatory things like walk the tourist shops, Duval Street, harbor front and bought some souvenirs.









We also hit some of the mandatory landmarks in the area.








The other thing I did was sign up for a snorkel tour of the local reef aboard a boat called the "Bob Dive".




I didn't know the name of the boat until I arrived at the appointed time for the tour, but I felt it was appropriate.  It was a three hour tour (Do not sing the Gilligan's Island theme now!) to two places on the reef about 10 miles off the south coast of Key West.  The Sunset Tours company supplied all the equipment except for your swimsuit.

During "Black Friday" last year I had been watching the ads for cell phones with a particular interest in the Samsung Galaxy S4.  Best Buy put them on sale for $0 with contract and I ordered two of the "Active" model.  This model is dust proof, shock resistant and waterproof (to three feet).  



We are very, very impressed with the video that they take.  On dry land the still pictures are great, but in the water, because I was floating on the surface, the auto focus could not function well.  I was rising and falling a foot or so in the small waves.  This was constant and the auto focus could not keep up.  I think if I had been diving it would have been fine, but that would also mean that I was more than three feet down.  We were very pleased with these phones.

And I had forgotten my hat so I sunburned the top of my head!

We only spent two full days (three nights) in Key West.  The second evening we went to the famous Mallory Square for the sunset.  This square is full of tourists, artists and performers.




But the real attraction is the sunset, which every one applauds when it is over.





















And the next morning the sunrise from our campsite was just as good.  Then we left for Long Key State Park.














Long Key is about halfway along the over hundred miles of keys.  In the early Thirties a Mr. Flagler built a railroad to Key West.  A late-Thirties hurricane ended that and a very narrow 2-lane road was put on top of the railroad.  Later it was replaced by the present wider 2-lane road.  Parts of the old railroad are still there and a section was used in the first True Lies movie.

The road is uninteresting, long, straight, flat with little to see except brush, water, marinas and tourist traps.

At Long Key SP we are right on the water.  At high tide it is inches from our campsite.  The water is very shallow.  A person can walk out 200 feet and only be waist deep, at high tide.  At low tide they are knee deep!  And there are kayaks and birds and boats to watch.











We did laundry and maintenance and leave tomorrow.  We will stop at the laundromat again and wash the sleeping bag.  It is getting rank!  They have wifi at the laundromat and I'll try to upload this.

One last note.  Near the restrooms, under some bushes are some blue crabs that live in burrows in the ground.  Being from the Pacific Northwet we're used to Dungeness and Alaskan King crabs, both of which live in the ocean.  I don't know if they are edible but they scurry into their burrows quickly and it is hard to get a picture.

Tomorrow on to the Everglades.