Join me in my cross-country trailering adventure and first attempt at a blog.

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The other Key West

The past two weeks, my Facebook friends have grown weary of my Key West photos of cobalt blue seas, swaying palms, and umbrella cocktails. I will post some of those photos here soon enough.

But first…

On your way into Key West, take the first right after the golf course onto College Avenue.

First, you will see the Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden on your right.

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If you have an endangered species to drop off, use this entrance.

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Next, you’ll see Bayshore Manor Assisted Living

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If you have an endangered species to drop off or pick up, use this entrance.

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Then, the Animal Shelter and Adoption Center

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If you have a pet to drop off, use this entrance.

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And then the saddest sign I think I’ve ever seen.

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I shudder to think how many instances of thrown animals it took to necessitate ordering a painted sign.

However, if you have an unruly minor, you can throw them over the fence a few yards down the road at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Headquarters, Detention Center, and Juvenile Justice Center,

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If you’re lucky, on the second and fourth Sunday of the month, you may find them working at the petting zoo filled will animals cared for by detention center inmates. Check out their Facebook page!

Finally, on our College Avenue journey, just before the elementary school, most of Key West’s non-human trash is dropped off at the southernmost landfill in the US.

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It’s also the highest elevation in Key West.

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Bahia Honda

Leaving South of Border before sunrise, we head to our next destination – Edgewater (thank you Zan, for the overnight in your driveway). A nice halfway point between Dillon, SC and the Keys. And a short drive from one of the few places you can drive on the beach. First, a burger at “Breakers”, with their fabulous views.
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Then a quick drive on the beach. If you’ve ever driven in dry snow, it’s similar a similar feeling.

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You can’t drive on the beach all the way to Key West.

Video: 1935: Driving to Key West

The roads have improved a lot since 1935. But the drive to Key West is not without hazards.

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After I was plucked from the limousine by a helicopter before it plummeted in the ocean, the Governator dropped me here: Bahia Honda State Park.

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This is one of the busiest parks in Florida, but I lucked out two weeks ago when I was campsite surfing on the web. Where else can you kayak from the gulf to the ocean in 1/2 hour, from your campsite (#17, for those if you looking to reserve ).

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If I were willing to pay WordPress, I’d show you a video of my flawless paddling technique. You’ll just have to take my word for it. The blisters on my hands, and sore arms remind me that kayaking in the ocean is not for the novice (me). I wish I knew more about tide. Fighting the current seemed like this

(or this),

but was probably more like this

Campsites were $2.06 in 1966.

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Now, $38 – but same great view.

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And a great beach.

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On to Key West…

And we’re back…

Back on the road for another Key West Adventure.

Is three days enough to drive from Delaware to the Southern tip of Florida? Maybe. But it’s way more fun if you stop at South of the Border your first night.
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Somehow, I feel safe under Pedro’s watchful gaze.

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Welcome to paradise.

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Birds-eye view.

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A beacon of hope on a lonely stretch of I-95.

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Onward…

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 6 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

End of the Road

100 miles
23mpg (@~50mph)
Boyd’s Key West Campground

Awoke to a beautiful balmy day in John Pennekamp State Park.
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On to my favorite part of the trip so far – driving the Keys, and the 7-mile bridge.
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Final destination: Key West.

Boyd’s is gorgeous, but you pay for it; $120/night.

Well, there is a saltwater pool and tiki bar…
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Even a month in advance with a reservation, we got one of the last water spots. With a large electrical box flanked by bushes dominating a portion of our waterfront, I would call this an “obstructed-view” site. And a gargantuan 5th-wheel trailer with slide outs, cuts the view completely to the left.
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But even a portion of view is impressive, and with some creative trailer angling, we make the most of it.
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Traditionally, one would back straight into a camp spot, but drastic times call for drastic measures.
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I think the resulting view is worth the effort.
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Rehearsal was cancelled last night due to issues with connecting flights with some of the orchestra members, but the night off was well-used catching up with some friends who had already arrived, and getting the lay of the land.

And learning important rules.

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Florida

America is a land of contrasts.

Woke up here (Dillon, SC):

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Bought insanely cheap diesel here:

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Slept here (Melbourne, FL):

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500 miles, and nearly 40 degrees warmer.

This is the guest spot at Land Yacht Harbor in Melbourne, FL. A 50+ retirement village of 99% Airstream trailers. I got a free coupon in the mail when I bought mine, and now was the time to use it.

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Then on to Key Largo and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

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“That’s the dead zone”

500 miles
16.4mpg (~70 mph all day)
South of the Border (SC) campground ($24.53)

Back on the road for the next two weeks. Key West and Ft.Lauderdale. Working vacation playing with the South Florida Symphony.

Back to our favorite first-stop campspot.

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Empty amusement park on a cold night. Bumper cars, then mini-golf accompanied by the sounds of I-95 and freight trains.

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At the 12th hole, a toothless carny walks towards us, points, and says (in his best “Deliverance” accent), “That’s the dead zone.” If you don’t see a new blog post tomorrow, we have probably been killed in our sleep. Please call the police.

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