Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Key West

We arrived in southern Florida and stayed at an RV park on Cudjoe Key which is about 20 minutes from Key West.  The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm, and everything you could ask for.

Crossing the bridge connecting the Keys

Views from the rig. This is Pigeon Key which can only be reached by boat.

Remnants of the old Seven Mile Bridge.  In many areas they have kept it accessible so fisherman can walk out.

Crossing the Seven Mile Bridge.

Heading to our RV park.  The azaleas were in full bloom.

The view from our RV space sitting on a canal on the Gulf.

Pelicans were everywhere looking for handouts.

If you had any fish they would swim right up to the side of the canal.

Max wasn't sure what the pelicans were but Lucy had her retriever look on.

Brett getting into the retirement spirit.  He got some amusing looks while wearing these on the street.

When we made out reservations for Cudjoe Key we were told the RV park was dog friendly.  When we arrived they gave us the rules which stated dogs were not allowed to walk on the park grounds. You were required to load them into your car and drive them off the property each time they were taken out to go potty.  That made the stay enjoyable..........  Our block captain showed up as soon as we parked our rig and went over the rules with us to make sure.  Since we were visiting for a brief time, and seeing the sights, the dogs were often with us.  But we talked with other dog owners in the park who booked stays for several months at this park and they were not happy.

The city of Key West is a wonderful place to visit.   It has a dog friendly park and a dog beach plus many of the restaurants have outdoor eating areas where dogs are allowed so on one of our trips into town we took them with us.

This is the southernmost tip of the continental United States and only 90 miles from Cuba.

They had some very nice beach areas to swim at and cook out and have a great time with your family.  And rent chairs and an umbrella for a day!

A section of the beach area. The weather was in the 80's.

This little section was the dog beach wedged in between two buildings.  The dogs got to cool off in the water and meet new friends. 

Duval is the main street in downtown Key West and every mode of transportation you could think of was there.  We were sitting in an outdoor restaurant having drinks and a tasty lunch when we took these pictures.

When the dogs weren't with us we rode our bikes all over the area.  There were plenty of places to park the bikes on all the streets. 

Roosters and chickens run rampant in Key West.  They are protected......I have no idea why......and you can see and hear them all over town.  Often there would be a mother hen and chicks blocking the traffic as they crossed the street. 

The roosters were especially active and noisy all during the day.

Here it is...Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville.  We never got inside the place.  We had the dogs with us so we went to an outdoor restaurant called Cheeseburgers and had a deluxe cheeseburger and drinks.  I got my margarita and Brett had a beer.  The waitress brought a large bowl of ice water for the dogs before she served us.  With the meal she gave us extra fries and some cooked bacon slices for the pups.  They loved it.  Max whispered to Brett that he should give the waitress an extra large tip because he thought she was wonderful.  Of course, we did.  And we didn't even miss Jimmy Buffett's place.

While we were in the Keys we saw a helium balloon that never seemed to move.  It was too high up for a car dealership opening :) so we figured it had another purpose.  It was on the backside of Cudjoe Key so we drove over to the site.  The blimp is named Fat Albert and it is part of the continental US air defense network.  It sends out the TV Marti signal to Cuba, and carries radar to monitor suspected drug smuggling sites, weather, and any low flying craft.   It costs $500 dollars per hour to operate and can be raised to a maximum of 15,000 feet.

The air defense station.

Fat Albert at the top of this picture.  You have to look way up to see it.

We met a family from Long Island while looking at the blimp and they took our picture in a stand of mangrove trees near the water.

We spent one afternoon in Key West awaiting the sunset views by the harbor.  There were several cruise ships in port so the streets were packed.  Most of the people on the cruise ships were from European countries and they weren't very friendly.  Since they only had a certain amount of hours to spend in Key West they made sure they got where they wanted to go regardless of who was in front of them.

I'm amazed at the size of these ships.

This was one of the Carnival cruise ships.  The Coast Guard Cutter in front gives you an idea of just how large it is.

Mallory Square is where everyone comes to watch the sunset.

Street performers put on shows about a half hour before the sunset.

This guy performed near where we were standing and he was very good.  He also had a great sense of humor and kept the crowd laughing.

He juggled a hatchet, a knife, and fire while he was on the unicycle.

Below is a series of photos as the sun set in Key West:

It doesn't get any better than this!  The day we stayed for the sunset we were riding our bikes in town.  We had to ride several miles back through Duval Street to get back to where our car was parked.  Boy, was that an experience.  As soon as the sun set Duval Street changed from a family oriented street to a party place.  The bars were hopping, music was blaring, people were everywhere and we were peddling our bikes through the center of it all.  As we got further away from the nightlife the streets got much darker and the biggest concern was looking out for the taxis who were scurrying about.  But we had a blast and made it back. 

We were amazed at the beautiful colors of the water in the Keys.

Flowers were in bloom everywhere.

Some were very delicate and mysterious.

This place is called the Little White House because it was used by Harry Truman when he was president.  Other presidents after Truman also stayed here.  The area called the Truman Annex is a large section of homes covering several blocks and while the Truman house is open for touring, there are also many other residences in the area  that are private and still in use.    

Not far from there is Ernest Hemingway's home.  We had thought about touring it but people were waiting in line down the street to get in, especially the folks from the cruise ships.

Another panorama of the Gulf waters.

While in Key West on another day we decided to check out the Key West Nature and Butterfly Conservatory.  Walking through the area you were surrounded by beautiful butterflies, small birds, colorful fish and turtles, and more gorgeous plants.  Here are just a few of them.  If you'd like to see more check out the High Hopes Album link at the top of this blog.

Yes, they are........

I think this one looks like a flying saucer.
Pretty in pink.

I think some of these are Koi fish.

This one looks like a Clemson fan.

Dinner time.

Different looking flowers.

One of my favorite pictures.

A cute little fellow. 
Who's watching whom?

Key West is a wonderful place.  There is something for everyone, adults and children.  So many things to see and do and there just isn't enough time to do it all.  The restaurants were great and the shops have everything a tourist could ever want!  We are planning on going back again and hope all of you get a chance to visit someday, too.  Peace!

No comments:

Post a Comment