Florida Keys

Florida Keys
Key West beach

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fog, Fatality, Tutu’s, and Oofoo’s

 

Cudjoe Key, Florida (high 82, low 68)

 

Man, was it foggy yesterday morning.  I’ve posted the following picture quite a few times.

Venture Out

This was what it looked like yesterday when we went for our morning walk.

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After our walk, we took a drive up to Big Pine Key for breakfast, and to check out a marina to store the boat.

We’re considering putting the boat in high & dry storage for a month or so while Al continues his physical therapy. He is still not able to put a lot of strain on his shoulder, and cranking a boat back on a trailer would be too much.  We are thinking this would be a good alternative until he’s able to do a little more, plus we wouldn’t have to worry about him slipping and falling on a slippery ramp.  They have a forklift to put the boats in and out of the water.  You call them a few minutes before you arrive and your boat is in the water ready to go.  When you get back, they will put it on a rack so that you can clean it and remove your stuff, and then it’s put away until next time. There is a marina nearby, but they aren’t very accommodating, so we’ll have to drive a little further, and maybe into Key West.

 

This is what it looked up on our drive on the Overseas Highway.

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The fog hung around quite a long time, and I believe it was still foggy on the 7 Mile Bridge when there was a fatal accident.  A man, his girlfriend and dog were trying to pass on the bridge and hit another car head on.  The man and dog were killed and the girlfriend was airlifted to a hospital on the mainland.  The elderly elderly couple he hit were airlifted to a local hospital. I hope that means they weren’t injured as badly.   Why people have to pass on that bridge is beyond me, and especially in fog.  Passing is allowed, but I don’t think it should be.

Al had his physical therapy at 4pm, so on the way to Key West, we stopped and checked out another marina, then headed to PT.  Afterwards, we caught the bus into town and walked around Duval Street and the cruise port.  The cruise ship was just leaving.

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We walked along Mallory Square, to watch some of the street performers are there for the nightly sunset celebration. 

 

I like to have my camera handy when we’re there because you just never know what you will see.

Case in point.   This guy must have been in his 70’s.  He was in good shape and had a nice “figure” don’t you think?

 

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He was standing there talking to those people very nonchalant, like it was perfectly normal to be standing in a crowd in a pink tutu with your butt hanging out.  Only in Key West.

We walked along the pier and checked out a few street performers.

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One guy had an act with cats.  I’m not sure how I feel about it, so we didn’t stay long. 

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This was my favorite performer, but later we saw this man buzzing down the street on a scooter, with this poor puppy on a leash running along beside him.  It worried me.

The dog would come up to people, take a dollar bill out of their hand and put it in his tip jar. After he put it in the jar, he’d walk over to the owner and get a treat.  If the dog happened to drop the bill, he would stop and pick it up and put it in the jar.  Smart dog and he was still just a pup.

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We walked around for a while and I finally found some shoes that I had heard about from Sherry.  They are called Oofos.  They are supposed to be really comfortable, but until I could actually try them on, I didn’t want to buy any.  I tried them on, liked them and this morning found some on e-Bay for $5 less, plus no tax.  They have a squishy feeling, but with a really good arch support. They come in various colors, but I chose brown.  I think they might take some getting used to, but I think I’ll like them.  They have the slip on style too.

OOFOS   OOFOS Shop 

Soon it was time to go back to the bus stop, but we got a little turned around and almost missed the bus.   We went back to the same stop that we were the other night where we met our new friend Kevin.  He had recently started a new job, so we didn’t expect to see him again, but there he was!  We’re gong to meet him at Blue Heaven one night for drinks, so I guess we’ll be seeing him again.

Today is an off day (no PT) so I guess we’re going to check one other marina and then hang around the house.  We’ve been going too much and need a day to relax.

 

The End

(sorry, I just couldn’t resist)

 

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What a Fun Night in Key West

 

Cudjoe Key, Florida (high 78, low 68)

We suddenly went from winter to summer.  When we left Tampa we were wearing our heavy winter coats, and sleeping with an electric blanket.  We had two days of “cold” temperatures here in the Keys and it actually got down to 49 degrees. The record cold temperature in Key West was 41 degrees back in 1981.  Now, it’s shorts and t-shirt weather. 

The Keys are having record numbers of tourists this year.  The hotels are all booked and it is much too crowded for our taste.  The good news is that February is typically the most crowded month, and it starts to thin out a little in March.  By April, most of the snowbirds start heading out.

We made two failed attempts to visit Key West,  but quickly gave up after trying unsuccessfully to find a parking space.  Once you get parked, the crowds aren’t really a problem, but parking is definitely an issue.

We decided we need to take advantage of the wonderful Keys bus service, if only we could figure out all the schedules.

Yesterday, was Al’s first physical therapy appointment in Key West. His appointment was in upper Key West,  away from the craziness of Mallory Square and Duval Street, so parking was no problem.  We were a little concerned the new therapist wouldn’t be as good as the one in Tampa, or that she would overwork or injure Al’s shoulder   It turned out fine and we are both comfortable with her.  He has pt three days a week for the next month, then they will decide if he needs to continue.  It’s really going to cramp our style.

After therapy, we decided to leave the truck in the parking lot near the therapy office and catch the shuttle into  downtown Key West.  The bus is cheap and runs often, so it’s much nicer than fighting for a parking place. With our senior discount, it cost us $.50 each for a one way trip.  We can also take the bus from near the campground into town for $1.50.  You can’t really beat it.

We heard great things about a little food truck called Greta’s.  It has been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and is highly rated on Trip Advisor. Unfortunately, after walking quite a distance, we found them to be closed. 

We walked down towards Duval Street looking for a place to have drinks and dinner.   We found a Mexican restaurant called Amigos.  The waitress had a bit of an attitude and screwed up my drink order, but once I got the frozen margarita I ordered, it was delicious.  So delicious in fact, that Al decided to order one.  (big mistake).  Al ordered fish tacos, which were mediocre, as were the enchiladas I had.   But….oh how good that frozen margarita was.  So, good in fact that I ordered another one to go.  After all, we were in Key West!  (another big mistake)

When we got the bill we were shocked at our $72.24 bill.  Most places have happy hour specials, but apparently not this one.     It turns out the beer and margaritas were 22 oz and  $7.25 for the beer and $9.99 for the margaritas.  Whew…..a tad pricey for happy hour.   Lesson learned. 

Amigos is an open air restaurant and a nice place to people watch.  While we were there a 40 foot motorhome came driving up the street. Remember, these streets are narrow and crowded with cars, bicycles, people, golf carts and scooters. I don’t know if he was lost or was an idiot but it is not a place for a larger motorhome.

A few minutes later another interesting vehicle came by.  It was a truck pulling a utility type trailer with sides and a red canvas roof on the top.  Inside the trailer were three big furry black dogs, which were darn near as big as the black bears we see in Georgia.  I think they were Newfoundlands.   I didn’t get up in time to get a picture, but I understand they frequent Key West quite often, so I’m hoping to see them again.

Can you imagine 3 of these guys, in a trailer behind a car in Key West?

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After dinner, we strolled along Duval Street for a while listening to the many different musicians, window shopping and people watching.  After a little while, we walked over to the bus stop.

There was a nice looking young man sitting at the stop.  We got to talking to him and enjoyed getting to know him a little bit. He moved to Key West from Las Vegas about a year ago.  He was from an Army family, so we compared notes about growing up as a military “brat.”  Nice to meet you Kevin Jones!

While on the bus another guy got on.  We got to talking to him and discovered he was one of the Mallory Square street performers.  His job was sword swallower, and as it turned out, we’ve seen his performance before.  You just never know who you will meet in Key West, or what you will see.  He had a story about finding  “square grouper” many years ago.   Apparently he traded in a square grouper for a bundle of money and bought a boat!   There are lots of those stories here in the Keys.

Years ago, drug trafficking was pretty prevalent down here.  There were a lot of boats that ran drugs.  When they would get intercepted by the police, they would throw all their bales of marijuana and cocaine overboard.  Those bales were known as square grouper.

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We had the best night in Key West and are anxious to go back tomorrow.  Key West takes a little getting used to.  At first, all you notice is the crowds.  After a while you start to notice the people, and that is where the fun is.  Mostly it’s the locals that are the typical Key West characters.  Key West has a flavor all it’s own.

The boat club here at the resort had “fun day” today at the marina.  They had burgers and hotdogs and free beer.  They had a few games like anchor toss, water balloon toss, kayak races and a few others.  We went up for a burger, but stayed away from the games.

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We’re sitting outside on our patio now, enjoying the rustling palm trees and cool breeze.  The pelicans and frigate birds put on quite a show for awhile.  It was another wonderful day in paradise.