"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Friday, December 19, 2014

Life is Good in the Keys!!

Marathon, Keys, FL
Knights Key RV Resort
 
Finally, we saw alligators!  While driving through the Everglades.  Of course, they were everywhere, all along the sides of the road in ponds, canals and waterways.  They were huge.  Very cool to see.
 


The drive through the Keys to Marathon was beautiful.  The sun was just starting to set.




Our beautiful campsite which backs up right against the beach in a little cove.  #52.  This is a very nice little campground.  It has a nice marina and you can dock your boat (if you had one) right in front of your site.  There is a nice Tiki Bar and a small restaurant.
 
 
Someone asked what the sticker was on Big Red.  We picked this up at Rainbow Springs.  Makes our kayak a little easier to tell apart from others.
 
Off we went to do some paddling in the ocean, tie up the kayak to have some lunch at the pier and paddle back.  We hope to see some Manatee.

Beautiful, easy put in.

I liked the light posts made from heavy chain link.


There were some beautiful homes lining the harbor.  Some had beautiful beaches and their own piers.

The mangroves thickly cover a small island.  There are a couple of entry/exit points if you look closely that lead to an interior lake.  We had a map with GPS coordinates to find your way.  There were many birds hanging out.

In the shallower part of the lake there were lots of fish jumping out of the water all around us.  We paddled right past these horseshoe crabs, busy, er, mating? 
 
Leaving the lake back through another channel in the mangroves, you see it is very narrow.  It's kind of eerie, but was a lot of fun.  We had to break the paddles down and use them as a single.  Even then there were many times we had to pull/push our way along the branches.  It was that tight.  Every now and then there was a larger area you could turn around in.


 
 
Here's what it was like paddling through the Mangrove tunnels.

I know the picture is blurry, but I was relieved to find out that what I at first thought were large spiders crawling around the low hanging branches, were just crabs.
 
We were hungry and looking forward to eating at the dockside restaurant, Burdines, which is on a dock overlooking the harbor.


Finishing our kayakaing just as the sun was setting.

 
There was plenty of time for bike riding too.  We looked forward to riding the old bridge. The Old Seven Mile Bridge was originally called the Overseas Railroad.  After the railroad sustained considerable damage due to the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935.  It was then sold to the US Government who refurbished it for automobile use.  Another hurricane caused further damage in 1960.  A new bridge was finished in 1982 leaving the old bridge to be used for fishing piers and access to Pigeon Key.
 

 
Pictures of Pigeon Key, the turn around point.  There were many boats anchored out for fishing.

 

 
An Osprey with a fish in his claws.
Back at Marathon Key, we rode to a small place for lunch and the fish markets.  We had calamari, shrimp and crab.

 

This guy has an interesting passenger.


 
More Pelicans!
 
 
On another kayak trip we were looking for more Manatee, but didn't see any.  Instead, we came upon a little island with lots of iguanas.  Big ones, little ones, green ones and very colorful ones!




This guy was close to 4 feet long!  Not sure I'd want to walk near him!


 

 
Hmm, which house do I want?  Sun's going down, time to get back to land!

Time to drive down to Key West.  This time we walked all around.  All day!  We went to the two places that lay claim to being where Ernest Hemingway did all his writing.
 
   
We popped in to Sloppy Joe's Bar for a drink, then later checked out Captain Tony's.


I love the old wrought iron and how the tree is growing over this building.
  Never did find out what it originally was.

 

We came upon the Key West Rum Distillery was a Coca Cola Bottling Plant and a saloon before that.  Now it distills light and dark rum from Florida sugarcane.  Interesting process, but much too strong for me unless it's mixed with coke or foo foo fruit juices.

 

 
 We walked around the Seaport Boardwalk which is filled with hotels, shops and many restaurants.  Speaking of restaurants, we had a nice lunch of oysters on the half shell at Alonzo's Oyster Bar.  There were many fish you could see swimming around the pier.  There were very large Tarpon (about 4 ft long), Parrot and Snook.

Tarpon
Oysters at Alozo's

 




 
There were so many beautiful homes and churches all around.  The streets are filled with restaurants, bars, bakeries and many souvenir shops.  When you get further south in the Old City, there are many roosters running around.

I loved the dog with deer antlers.  Neither he nor the rooster cared about each other.

Hmm, which way to go?

 
Many hotels claiming to be the southern most located.  They were also beautifully painted and decorated for the holidays.
 

 
Here we are at the tip of the Keys.  We didn't want to wait in the crazy line for a photo, so we took one from the back.

 
The lighthouse was first lit in 1849 and deactivated in 1969.  It was destroyed by a
hurricane in 1846 and rebuilt, standing at 100 feet.

Ernest Hemingway's home.
 
I like the shape of this palm.

Very interesting car.  Covered with shells, bones, fish, sharks and barnacles.


The Bull.  A 3 story bar.  The Bull is an open air bar street level, the Whistle is on the second floor
an on the 3rd floor is the clothing optional Garden of Eden.

 
 
We walked our way back to the boardwalk and took an outside seat to have some dinner and watch the sun drop down into the ocean beyond Key West.  There were many ships sailing about to do the same.  There was also a very large cruise ship docked.
 

 



This is our First Christmas on the Road.  We're have some lights up inside the rig and some outside.  We also have a very small live tree that sits on the coffee table at the far end of the trailer.  We're not sure if we'll keep it or plant it before we leave Florida.


 
Merry Christmas Everyone!

17 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas to you a day late. Sure sounds like you're having a great time in the Keys.

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    1. It was beautiful and lots of fun. Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas too!

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  2. Sniff! We leave tomorrow! Enjoy your time, it is beautiful.

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    1. We had a blast in the Keys. We are now (as of 12/27) at Anastasia SP in St. Augustine for a week.

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  3. Looks like a great place to visit. It may be our winter destination next year. Merry Christmas.

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  4. Good thing you didn't see the gators while out in Big Red. Hopefully you'll find a manatee soon. We're currently in Oklahoma visiting our son. It snowed here this morning so your sunny photos are keeping me warm :-)
    Happy New Year

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    1. Oh, we were hoping to see gators while kayaking. Maybe in AL or LA. We did see some manatee later. I was wondering were you were with that snow! Happy New Year to you also!

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  5. What a perfect "rear living room" campsite! Just beautiful.

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  6. Debbie it really does look like we are circling each other. We were in Anastasia and are now in Oscar Scherer. I love this post on the Keys, a place we have never been able to get reservations. What park is that fabulous campsite in? What fun you had. That looks like a great paddle. I'd love to know how to find that interior lake. I really love paddling into the mangrove tunnels. You have been very busy beavers. Your photographs are spectacular. What skies and sunsets. Did you get a chance to stop at Shark Valley? If you haven't been there before, in the Everglades, it's a fabulous bike ride.Alligators and birds everywhere.

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  7. Sherry, we stayed at Knights Key RV Resort on Knights Key (really close to Hoggs Key). $90 a night, but it was our present to each other. This was right at Christmas. Site #52, backed right up to the ocean! Not a lot of privacy or space between sites. No sewer, but great jumping off point, very nice park, nice tiki bar. Great kayaking and biking. No, we didn't get to spend any time in the Everglades unfortunately. Next trip! We did see some great trails to kayak in that area as we drove through. There is a map with GPS coordinates to find that mangrove trail/lake.

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  8. Wow, very cool post! So many cool adventures in a short time. We are headed that way and seeing Manatees is on our list as well!

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    1. You'll love it! Lots of fishing. I read somewhere that you don't need a fishing license in FL (or maybe it was just within the state parks) as long as you are fishing from shore. I'd double check that though. Hopefully we can meet up in TX.

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  9. Glad to see you aren't missing a thing while in the area! And you certainly "caught up" on your gator count!! I agree that I'd love to see them up close while kayaking, although the horseshoe crabs were "interesting" :-)) Great pic of Steve in the tropical shirt and hat - he looks like he is living (and loving) the life. Your next post didn't "post", but I cannot believe you guys have been on the road six months already - wow!

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    1. Thanks. Going through the mangroves was really a lot of fun. The 6 mo. post didn't go through because my fat fingers hit post instead of draft. It's not done yet.

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