Trip to the end of the world: Mile 0

It has been sometime since I have sat and pounded on the Blog keyboard. So what has been going on? Well we made it through our first South Florida winter. What do I think? Well I am sure it is way better than what most have but…. I am thinking I want to be a ‘snowbird’ in the winter and go where it is actually warm. Maybe Mexico, Columbia, Panama, etc… Maybe it is just a good time for us to go off and do our international travels. We had gotten spoiled in Panama where by 7AM it was already 84′ and would go up into the 90’s EVERY day. We had some nice days here but I do not like when it is below 70′ at 6:30-7AM. We want WARM and Reliable weather. As in Panama, I also did not at all like the onslaught of snowbirds coming in and taking over as if they own the place, even though they probably do. You might as well rename South Florida to South New England at least January through April. Oh well, we still found ourselves at the beach and happy hours many times a week so I guess I will quite ‘wine-ing’ and just make plans for next winter.

Excitement? We just returned from a vacation. We spent 2.5 days in Miami/South Beach and then 3.5 days in The Keys. A great friend of ours, Carla, from Panama was traveling home to Canada and stopped over in Miami so we met her and spent many hours together walking, eating, and drinking our way through South Beach.

IMG_4072
Carla

We walked and saw lots of the Art Deco facades. The design and color were great in the day and at night the lit up neon was very cool.

We also went to the area often referred to as Little Havana/Cuba.

And then finally, of course, South Beach itself. If you have not been there it is worth a trip but beware it is not cheap. South Beach has a nice boardwalk/beach walk area that goes quite a distance. There are outdoor exercise areas where folks gather and do some serious workouts and weight lifting. Kind of Miami’s version of muscle beach. Denise and Carla enjoyed watching all the buff & oiled guys pumping iron, well until they noticed all their boy friends around the perimeter also admiring. Heck I think they still enjoyed it!

After a couple days of good Cuban food, rum, beer and mojitos and especially wonderful company, Denise and I said a reluctant good bye to Carla and headed south to The Keys. We took the route less traveled via Card Sound Road to North Key Largo in order to stop off at Alabama Jacks just as you are leaving the mainland and hit the bridge. We heard that some folks head for Key West and once they hit Alabama Jacks early on in the trip they stop and never make it any further!

After our Alabama Jack adventure we headed into Largo and continued to Islamorada where we stayed our first night. Word of advice…NEVER NEVER stay at the Sunset Inn. We saw it on a Youtube video by some guy and his wife who stayed there and had good things to say. Let’s just say their definition of good is not the same as ours. On a positive note, we spent the evening at Lorelei’s (loreleicabanabar.com) for dinner, drinks, and a nice sunset. We highly recommend this place. Very very relaxing sitting at tables out in the sand.

The next day we made our way through Marathon and over the 7 mile bridge. To have built Hwy 1 all the way through the Keys is truly an engineering marvel. We stopped at Bahia Honda State Park which has very nice beach and picnic areas of both the Atlantic and Golf from the same place.

We next passed the NAS (Naval Air Station) and headed into Stock Island where we stayed for a few days on a boat (AirBnb) in the Marina just outside of Key West. This was an adventure within an adventure. Staying on the boat was lots of fun.

IMG_4138
Home for a few days

Key West was lots of fun. A couple points though. It is very very expensive to stay in that area. Rents are very high. Also parking is very limited and expensive. Biking is a great way to get around. Even though Key West was great it seems to have become just another big cruise ship port. There is Margaritaville, Hard Rock, Sloppy Joes, Wet Willies, etc… We tried to stay away from the large commercialization and enjoy the real Key West. We really enjoyed stopping at the Light House, Truman’s Southern White House, Our Lady of the Sea Church, The Southern Most Point, and the water front. We watched them clean the catch of the day and throw the scraps into  the feeding Tarpon. Wow the Tarpon are big fish! We ate and had drinks at some of the more local places which was fun – Alnonzo’s, Caroline’s, Hogfish Bar and Grill.

Finally we went for a tour at Key West First Legal Rum Distillery. This was great fun, great samples, and great souvenirs.

IMG_20170504_154219

We checked off our boat the next morning, did some last minute tourism and headed back north. We stopped again at Lorelei’s on the way home for lunch and then headed home. It was a great but tiring trip.

IMG_20170502_124321

Other events to note of past and hopefully future: Ann Marie, Carl, and Brook stopped by for a visit before they headed out on a cruise. It was very nice to catch up, get to know Carl better, and see the nice young lady Brooke is becoming. Good luck at school dudette! We went to ANOTHER Jimmy Buffet concert last week. It was great fun getting to sit out on the lawn where things can get crazy and the tabacky a little wacky.

IMG_4173

We leave tomorrow for a trip to visit Lisa. We plan to drive with a night stop in Charleston where we hope to see some friends. We have not spent time in the D.C. area in a long time so along with seeing Lisa it will be good to catch up with Abe, George, and Thom. I am already tired from all the walking I imagine we will be doing.

That is it for now. As always comments or questions are welcome. Feel free to share our adventure with others.

RB