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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Can't Get Enough of Key West

~Saturday, February 20, 2021~

Day 251

The thought crossed our minds to bring in the awnings before bed last night, but with our string of festive, outdoor lights on them, we decided to take a chance, hoping the winds would die down. Jeff, being the light sleeper that he is, had gotten up more than once to check the weather reports which all shared the same news….increased wind through the night. So around 4:00 a.m., down came the lights and in came the awnings.

It was a cooler day, so our decision in leaving Sadie at the trailer was a good one. We enjoyed bringing her to Key West yesterday, so giving her a day to relax would be good for her and us. We adore our pups and can’t imagine this trip without her. She is our third child after all. But just like our children, we need a break sometimes. So making sure Sadie was well-walked and well-fed, in an air conditioned trailer, we hit the road with our bikes in tow, back to Key West. Even though it was a windy day, it was still sunny, gorgeous and warm.

One thing you really notice in Key West is the abundance of bicycles, scooters and golf carts with their happy drivers easily maneuvering through traffic. The car drivers don’t look to pleased with their much slower pace. Seeing this dazzling town by bike or scooter is truly a great way to pack in a lot in a short time, which was our scenario. And you can park them just about anywhere. But before we started our cycling journey near Duval Street, we needed to find a place to park the truck. Mind you, “Hank the tank” as we’ve fondly named it, is not the easiest thing to weave in and out of narrow streets lined with people and cars. We definitely had an easier time of driving and finding parking yesterday, since it was a weekday. We knew Saturday would be a bit more challenging. But staying patient paid off since we found an even better parking spot than yesterday, and it was free! Even though our metered parking yesterday was $4.00/hour (5 hours), you can expect to drop about $30 to $35/day. But since we were about 8 or 9 blocks away from the hubub, we found “free”. Another perk with bringing the bikes.

First stop….to go back to the same place we went yesterday to get a tropical Rum Runner at the Southernmost House while we chill at the beach before heading into the busy downtown. We parked the bikes, waited in a long line without a care to get our Rum Runners, then parked it at the beach enjoying the views. Paradise! Until a smashed bride-to-be became our entertainment, frollicking fully clothed in her sundress, in the water. I think she was in good hands though with her just as smashed bridal party. 👰‍♂️😝. Next, we took a few side streets to get to the famous Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum,

though no tour. The residence was constructed in 1851 by a wealthy architect who lived there for many years until Hemingway purchased it in 1931, living in the home for about a decade. It was here that Hemingway wrote some of his most famous works such as “The Green Hills of Africa” and “To Have and Have Not”, to name a few. Directly across from the Hemingway home is the Key West Lighthouse.

This 65’ tower was completed in 1825 where lightkeepers maintained this beacon of light for about 120 years. Decommissioned in 1969, it was rekindled about 10 years ago and is now run by the Key West Lighthouse Guild.

From this quaint, charming, calm section of Key West, we walked back over to get our bikes to take a ride on Duval Street. This is the main event street where all the tourists go to bar hop, eat and shop. It goes on and on and on for blocks! Thankfully for us, we could see virtually everything in a short amount of time being on bikes, moving faster than any car ever could and taking note of what looked interesting to go back to. The street energy was off the charts. I can’t even imagine what this place is like without COVID. No one seems to be social distancing in this exceptional town, but will say most are adhering to the mask rule. We were mindful to wear our masks while riding our bikes and anytime we couldn’t keep a 6’ distance, which was most of the time. That’s just how many people there were. As we rode toward the direction of Mallory Square, another famous spot in Key West, we stumbled on a celebratory crowd at a nifty outdoor bar called Sunset Pier. And it is exactly its namesake; a perfect place to watch the sunset from a large pier.

It turned out to be a very fun, relaxing spot to enjoy a tropical beverage while listening to live folk music, watching the many schooners and yachts go by, with the ultimate backdrop of a calming sunset. The menu looked good too and since we hadn’t had lunch yet, decided to partake in a little sustenance satisfaction. Me….fish tacos and Jeff, a Cubano sandwich. Both were delicious! And with Sunset Pier right next to Mallory Square, we just had to check it out. Lots of street vendors and entertainers, and again, a boat load of tourists! We couldn’t stay long as we had about a 75 minute drive to get back to our Sadie. But we were so glad we came back to see more of this awesome city, especially by bike.

Heading back to the car, the wind really picked up which tempted me to ask “Siri” just how fast it was blowing…….15 mph. But when we arrived back at the trailer in Fiesta Key, the winds were 23 mph. Thank goodness our awnings had been in all day! 😝 Hopefully the winds didn’t scare Sadie too much while we were gone. I have never heard the trailer make such a racket. I know 23 mph doesn’t sound like much, but in a trailer, it is magnified, just like rain. We could even feel the trailer bounce a little. Oops, it looks like one of our outdoor chairs flipped over.

After a windy walk and a yummy dinner, Sadie got a much needed bath. It must feel amazing to have such a clean coat again. You all probably know how much labs shed. But I think Sadie takes the cake. I have never seen her shed fur like she is now. Her body must be confused with all the varying temperatures and climates we’ve been through lately. ‘Should the coat be on or off today?’ Well the coat is officially off and the Dyson is in overdrive.

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