We have been in Florida since September after almost not coming here at all. We were thinking of jumping straight to the Smokey Mountains after Savannah, but since the Everglades and Florida Keys were a major goal of mine on this “trip”, we decided to take on the potentially ‘full to the brim with retirees’ state. After spending this last month in South Miami, a time where there wasn’t much to see or do unless we left town on the weekend, we finally made it to the Keys the day before leaving town on a 600 mile drive back north. This time we took Chena, something we don’t get to do often because it is either too hot, or she’s not allowed where ever we’re going (which is most places, especially since ‘pitbulls’ are banned in Dade county), but the drive down the keys could be as far as 300 miles round trip and she couldn’t stay alone in the trailer that long. Luckily the weather was cool the entire day and although she is used to sleeping 80% of the day away, she managed to stay up most the trip and get some vacation time in.
The unpopular beaches and old bridges were the best part of the Keys for me, especially the remnants of an old rail road bridge that still ran along side parts of the main bridges. We stopped at one of many state parks along the way and walked around the beach a little but the second state park we stopped at, Long Key State Park, had far less people and a beach-side boardwalk that was missing the typical “no dogs allowed” sign you see on Florida state park trails. We walked about a quarter mile and stopped on a small deserted beach covered in shells and dead tree branches. My kind of beach. The water was cold but tolerable enough to wade in and Chena got a chance to cool off but unfortunately kept trying to drink the water.
We ate at a little cafe, too early for the lunch menu (by like 20 minutes) and had banana, pineapple, coconut covered pancakes with a side of papaya syrup. For pancakes they were great though unfortunately not that filling. To make up for it, we later tried to find a pizza place but ended up finding a raw bar and had pita sandwiches, also not so fulfilling, but the raw bar was inside a health food store and book store and luckily they had the awesome and completely satisfying Stonewall’s Jerquee bites (vegetarian jerky) for us to snack on during the drive home.
Our last goal before turning back was the 7 mile bridge, At the end we found a pull-off just where we watched the sun go down and said our goodbyes to any chance of warm sunny beaches for a long time.
The next day we left to north Florida’s St George Island State Park, where it would be down to 22 degrees the first night. After enjoying an average of 83 for the last month, this was going to be a rough change. Sure enough I was sick within the first day. I think spending 3 days in the car between the Keys and the 600+ mile trip north probably didn’t help either.