Inger and Jeff Latreille
~Friday, February 19, 2021~
I do most of my journal entries in the morning while sipping my cup of “Joe”, but I think instead of inside, I’ll take it outside to take advantage of the beautiful ocean views and warm, Florida breeze. Others were enjoying their beautiful morning bicycling, walking their dogs, fishing, or cooking delectable smelling breakfasts.
Since today was our first full day at our resort, we wanted to take advantage of one of the amenities….the pool. We couldn’t remember the last time we went for a swim…..probably Bakersfield, CA at the beginning of the trip (when we had the truck event). Not too crowded, we were able to claim our territory and jump right in. There were a few storm clouds gathering nearby, but it looked like they were moving east of us. Just a few small clouds gave us some light sprinkles which we didn’t mind with the intense sun. Honestly, the minute those clouds move out of the way, that sun is quite something.
We decided today would be our Key West day, with the dog. Though Jeff was a little more comfortable than I was on leaving her in the air conditioned trailer, I wasn’t in the off chance there’d be a power outage, and the added pressure of having to get back at a certain time. She is so cute when she sees us getting ready to go somewhere. You’d swear she has human characteristics as she looks at you as if to say, “Do I get to come?” If she doesn’t, we tell her she’s staying and we’ll BRB (be right back). She knows exactly what that is. But when she gets the “green light”, man she is all over it! It’s almost as exciting as ball time.
Never having been this far south in The Keys before, the water seems to get more turquoise and the air warmer. How about some fun facts about this sliver of paradise?
There are 42 bridges (one nearly 7 miles long), that stretch 113 miles of what is called The Florida Keys Overseas Highway (Highway 1).
November through March are considered the busiest season.
Key Largo is thought to be the Dive Capital of the World
Islamorada is known as the Sport Fishing Capital of the World
Marathon is famous for having one of the longest segmented bridges in the world at 6.79 miles long
Big Pine Key in the Lower Florida Keys is the center of a national refuge for miniature Key deer
Key West is only 90 miles north of Cuba and is the southernmost point in the continental United States
A few prolific writers did their best work while living on the island…..Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams
The Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail is a line of nine historic underwater shipwrecks extending from Key Largo to Key West
Jeff and Inger and their 3rd child Sadie, are soaking up this amazing part of Florida
We were warned ahead of time that parking can be a challenge which is another reason we chose today as opposed to Saturday to visit. We ended up finding metered street parking not far from the party atmosphere. Running north to south from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, Duval Street seems to be where it’s at. Along the way, Sadie became enthralled with the many roosters that seemed to antagonize her. As we walked to one end, we found a beach and courtyard where “the best mojitos anywhere” sign drew us in. We decided on Rum Runners instead. As we sat to cool off, Sadie attracted other dogs and dog lovers which always inevitably starts a conversation or two. 1 couple we met was from New Jersey visiting The Keys for her birthday. Her husband is a chef who was trained at the CIA in St. Helena (in our old neck of the woods). Small world.
As we enjoyed our walk along Duval Street, we took a side street to stop at the famous “Southernmost Point of the U.S.” monument.
I had never seen pictures of this before, but Jeff had and was a tad disappointed thinking all along it was this big large plaza area where people could gather to take photos and celebrate being at the southernmost tip. Instead it’s a little side street with a marker to take photos. And of course, there was a line of people wanting to get their shot.
Then we saw one of Jeff’s favorite t-shirt stores…..:”Life is Good”. It didn’t take long for both of us to find the perfect shirts….Jeff’s is of Key West and mine says, “Just Add a Little Water” with a kayak image above it.
Just walking along, and checking out a few menus, we met another dog loving couple from Michigan. She gave us quite the list of what to see and do when we travel to the Upper Peninsula sometime in July/August (at least that’s the plan so far). And it turns out the husband is an Irish musician/teacher. We could have talked for hours. As it neared sunset, the thought crossed our minds to check out Mallory Square which is known for its sunset gatherers. But with the cloud cover, we didn’t think it was going to be that spectacular anyway. And we were starved.
Time for some grub. The Michigan couple was the second group to tell us to check out The Southernmost Beach Cafe which is in the same vicinity we had bought our Rum Runners earlier in the afternoon. We noticed the restaurant earlier, but didn’t consider this as a contender since in our experience, most of these places are known more for their views than their epicurean prowess. So off we went. Yes, they were dog friendly, yes, we had the perfect table with a view of the ocean, yes, we had an awesome waitress, and yes, the food was AMAZING!! For starters, Jeff enjoyed an IPA while I had a refreshing Key Lime Margarita. Once again, Sadie had a few admirers sitting right next to us. So of course she loved the attention while eyeing a delicious hotdog that one of the little girls was munching on. We both split one of the best salads we’ve ever had…...spinach, red pepper, blue cheese, red onion, heavenly and heavily marinated mushrooms with a tangy and sweet vinaigrette dressing. Next, Jeff selected the fresh catch of the day (Mahi Mahi)
where our very attentive waitress recommended the blackened style as opposed to the Macadamia Crusted fried version. To me, with that kind of fish, you’d just kill the flavor frying it. Good choice Jeff! I had a Fettuccine Carbonara with shrimp
that was absolutely delicious. I know, I know, I’m admitting eating shellfish, but I couldn’t resist knowing it had been just freshly caught. I mean….look where we are. I escaped without incident. A little background on my shellfish allergy…..when I was in my early 20’s, I had what was thought to be a kidney infection or stones. So they injected iodine in me to take a few pictures to be sure. I had eaten shellfish my entire life up to that point, with never a reaction. Until that day. They think because it was so concentrated, I had a severe reaction, only to be told I should never have shellfish again. Apparently, the iodine in shellfish accumulates in your system, with the possibility of having a reaction at any time. Tonight, I took a chance. Then came the dessert….Key Lime Pie with a chocolate crust (different) and a cup of coffee for me for the long drive back to Fiesta Key. We found out our waitress is from Russia and has lived in the states for 10 years. Her english was very good. Anyway, she is looking to move to San Diego since Key West is just too expensive. Hmm….I don’t think San Diego’s much different.
The wind really picked up into the evening (around 25 mph) as we left Key West. We were a tad worried what it might be like back at the trailer, with our awnings out. We had some “light” ⚡️entertainment on the drive home, but no rain. Why is it coming back from somewhere, especially at night, seems to take longer? It took us about 90 minutes to get home, and thankfully arrived with our awnings intact. 😅Whew! Now begs the question for our last day in The Keys tomorrow…...should we go back for another day at Key West since we didn’t get to see as much as we wanted, or should we take a drive to check out the other Keys? Stay tuned……..