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Author Topic: Florida Keys on Short Notice  (Read 635 times)

DearMissMermaid

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Florida Keys on Short Notice
« on: August 24, 2017, 06:38:56 PM »
We did finally make it to the Keys (in May)  for 11 glorious nights. I left my RV on her own for the first time ever in 7.5 years. Also first time I haven't slept in my bunk in all that time too.

We loaded up my friend's Pleasure-Way van (Class B) with my dog, my bicycle, and his bicycle. After checking around the clock nonstop at state parks before our sudden trip, I finally cobbled together 11 nights in 3 spots in the same state park (John Pennenkamp in Key Largo). I was hoping to get us to other parks, but it just wasn't happening.

We were celebrating Don's 70th birthday. He had spent his teen years working in the Keys, then later spent most of his life on boats. He was thrilled that his favorite Restaurant in Marathon was still in business. They welcomed my little dog who sat under the table with his bowl of water patrolling for fallen scraps. He talked so much about being there in the past, they gave us discounts each time we stopped in.

The Keys are very bicycle friendly. We did lots of touring. Loading up the bikes on the back of the van was the hardest part of our trip. His bicycle is a recumbent and mine is a comfort bike that is longer than most bicycles. Both have big seats with seat backs. When we finally got it figured out, we took pictures so we could remember how to do it to come home again.

The 6 pound dog packed more than either of us. He took wet food, dry food, snacks, vests, poop bags, leashes, bed, pillow, blanket, towel, shampoo, food bowl, inside water bowl, outside water bowl, collapsible bicycle water bowl, bicycle basket, squeaky toy, bouncy toy, frisbee, teddy bear, bo-bo, tether, outdoor chair and rain coat. He had a blast because he toured on the bicycles with us. He was rarely left alone except when we swam at John Pennekamp which refused him entry on the beach.

Sadly the state parks are anti-dog on beaches, a super shame. We ended up driving the van to other beaches that were dog friendly and strangely not crowded or busy. At one we arrived first thing in the morning to secure parking and found a spot facing the ocean. We ran the generator all day. We swam and picnicked and hiked. There were restrooms and outside showers available, it was free to park. Don kept getting birthday phone calls. He was tickled to tell them we were parked at the beach celebrating all day long.

We toured Key West but declined the $20+ parking because it was so super hot that day, we didn't feel like walking much and we aren't much on shopping. Finally found a dog park across from a beach and parked there to enjoy the shade and let the pooch run wild. Met some delightful folks. Oddly most every where we went said NO RV parking, but the van was our only transportation. No one gave us any grief.

We managed to get out and hear a few bands, plus dine on the most awesome seafood enchiladas I have ever had. Don is a retired musician, so he was thrilled to be part of the audience for a change.

We toured quite a few RV parks but didn't find anything we liked, as they had cut down all the trees. We did love the Bahia Honda State Park, so next spring we have 14 night reserved in the same spot, so we won't have to shuffle around like this year.

Looked at some real estate and RV lots for sale and the prices are out of sight. Even looked at rentals and I wonder how and where the workers live! It must be hard for them to make ends meet or maybe they live 4 to a bedroom.

On a funny note, John Pennekamp State Park is directly across from the largest adult store I've ever seen. Also the Dollar Tree was super well stocked and doing a booming business. We were in bicycle range to the many stores including the grocery store, take-out foods, liquor store and bars.

We dined in some and ate out some. We picked out lots of places we would buy if we could. Tons of day dreaming! Even met up with a realtor looking at an empty lot.

On hot days I enjoyed traversing the overseas highway just drooling at the blue waters that remind me of home in the Caribbean.

I got a deep dark tan without even trying because of all the bicycle riding.

I had not seen the keys in ages, so this was one fun trip! We are returning next May for 2 weeks and thinking about just doing the van again, since that turned out to be loads of fun. We did take outside chairs, table, umbrella, hammocks, so we could spread out and not be indoors much. Even took my rocking chair and dog has to have a chair too. Easier so he doesn't get stepped on or tripped over.

Life is long, death is short.

Do it while you can!

Go now. Go small.

This is kind of a followup from last spring when I was trying to frantically find RV spots on short notice in the Keys.
http://www.rvforum.net/SMF_forum/index.php/topic,103490.0/topicseen.html
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

MN Blue Skies

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Re: Florida Keys on Short Notice
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2017, 09:44:59 PM »
Loved your review.  It sounds like a dream.  I'll have to research on how to save Forum posts so I can refer back to them in the future.  Thanks for sharing.
A girl called Max, her husband Eric, Princess Kitty, and Molly the Service Dog in training.

2013 Cougar High Country 315 RES ( A 35' 5th Wheel)
"Big Blue" 2012 RAM 3500 Big Horn (Cummins Diesel 1 ton)

blw2

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Re: Florida Keys on Short Notice
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2017, 09:05:29 AM »
I too enjoyed it.  Glad you had a great trip!

I used to go down to the keys quite a bit while living in Clearwater, on scuba diving trips.  This was from approx 1994 to 1999....mostly the upper keys...Islamorada, Key Largo, etc... Key west jaunts mainly just for the bar hopping and people watching....
Besides from one quick cruise ship stop in Key West, I haven't been down there since.... I understand it has changed a lot down there since then.  I'm told much more developed and commercialized with chain restaurants and the like....
  I keep talking about taking the RV down just for a change of scenery, but so far it hasn't worked out. Maybe I'll mention it again to DW this evening, for "planning purposes" (she's the planner).

Anyway, thanks for stirring up the memories!
Brad (DW + 3 kids)
13 Thor Chateau 31L Class C on Ford E-450
'06 Silverado
'05 Rockwood Freedom 1910 (5-1/2 years)
former tent campers

rvannie23

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Re: Florida Keys on Short Notice
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2017, 01:35:00 PM »
Loved this trip story. The Keys are my favorite, I went a lot when I lived in Florida. I have stayed at Bud and Mary's campground when I was in high school and I remember there being tons of trees, but they may indeed have cut them by now :/ Grab some snorkels and masks next time! Great to see turtles and fish right off the shoreline. Your dog going everywhere on the bike with you is so cute.
2014 Laredo 274rb TT
2015 Duramax
FL - MS - TX

BruceinFL

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Re: Florida Keys on Short Notice
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2017, 07:13:11 PM »
You will LOVE Bahia Honda SP. Take the boat ride to Looe Key for the snorkeling. Best to go in the a.m. before wind/waves come up. Make sure to visit the No Name Pub on No Name Key just off Big Pine Key. Have a pizza and brew and post a dollar bill on the wall if you can find a space.
Bruce A.
2004 Alpenlite Valhalla 29RK 5W
2005 Ford F-350 SRW 6.0L

JackL

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Re: Florida Keys on Short Notice
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2017, 05:54:06 AM »
I'm glad you had such a good time and enjoyed "our" Keys so much.
 We have a RV lot in Key Largo Kampground and our waterway adjoins John Pennekamp SP, so we frequent their canoe trails when we paddle over there for an ice cream.

 My wife and I know the entire Keys and have paddled to and explored almost every off shore Key
Check out our Google website -  https://sites.google.com/site/flkeyskayaktrips/

 When you said "prices were out of sight" you got it right.
 We just got our tax bill and they raised our taxes 57%

We will be heading down to paradise in October and will stay till April

Jack L

DearMissMermaid

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Re: Florida Keys on Short Notice
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2017, 12:52:51 PM »
Key Largo Kampground is one of the places we looked at stuff for sale. No vacant lots while we were there, everything came with something already parked on it.

Funny thing I forgot to mention. Don loves TV and watches a lot of it and I prefer internet and rarely watch TV, but while we were at the Keys, we did zero TV and zero internet. So it was a change up for both of us!
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

JudyJB

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Re: Florida Keys on Short Notice
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 10:45:29 PM »
Since you have bikes, here is a BIG tip for parking an RV (or even a car) at Key West for a whopping $4 per day for a single occupancy vehicle and $6 for more than two people in a vehicle:  Find the only state park in Key West, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.  Pay the day fee of $3 at the entrance booth, and then drive to the dirt parking area next to the regular paved beach parking area.  Unload your bikes and ride the one mile to downtown Key West!! 

That is all there is to it.  You know I also have an electric bike and loved spending the day last October zipping around the back streets of Key West.  See my blog page here:  http://grandmajjb.blogspot.com/2016/10/1017-bike-riding-in-key-west.html.  I should have taken a photo of my parking spot, but did not.  Sorry.  You do need to be out by dark or whenever the park closes, however. 
Full-timing for over five years in a
2012 Fleetwood Tioga Ranger 31N

CharlesinGA

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Re: Florida Keys on Short Notice
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2017, 10:21:00 PM »
Since you have bikes, here is a BIG tip for parking an RV (or even a car) at Key West for a whopping $4 per day for a single occupancy vehicle and $6 for more than two people in a vehicle:  Find the only state park in Key West, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.  Pay the day fee of $3 at the entrance booth, and then drive to the dirt parking area next to the regular paved beach parking area.  Unload your bikes and ride the one mile to downtown Key West!! 

That is all there is to it.  You know I also have an electric bike and loved spending the day last October zipping around the back streets of Key West.  See my blog page here:  http://grandmajjb.blogspot.com/2016/10/1017-bike-riding-in-key-west.html.  I should have taken a photo of my parking spot, but did not.  Sorry.  You do need to be out by dark or whenever the park closes, however.

Saw your post, and the link to your blog. Glanced thru it and will return many times to read of your travels. I like blogs like yours as they give me many ideas, thanks for your blogging efforts, they are well appreciated.

Charles
2007 Winnebago View 523H on a 2006 Dodge (Daimler-Chrysler aka Mercedes) Sprinter 3500 chassis (T1N). Bought Sept 2015 with 18K miles on it, Prog Ind HW30C, Prog Dymanics PD4645, Coleman Chill Grille, PML/Yourcovers.com deep alum trans pan, AutoMeter 8558 trans temp gauge, Roadmaster sway bar, Koni Red shocks (front & rear), Fantastic Ultra Breeze hood, added OEM parabolic mirrors and RH aspherical mirror, MB grill conversion.

DearMissMermaid

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Re: Florida Keys on Short Notice
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2017, 11:16:09 PM »
Since you have bikes, here is a BIG tip for parking an RV (or even a car) at Key West for a whopping $4 per day for a single occupancy vehicle and $6 for more than two people in a vehicle:  Find the only state park in Key West, Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park.  Pay the day fee of $3 at the entrance booth, and then drive to the dirt parking area next to the regular paved beach parking area.  Unload your bikes and ride the one mile to downtown Key West!! 

That is all there is to it.  You know I also have an electric bike and loved spending the day last October zipping around the back streets of Key West.  See my blog page here:  http://grandmajjb.blogspot.com/2016/10/1017-bike-riding-in-key-west.html.  I should have taken a photo of my parking spot, but did not.  Sorry.  You do need to be out by dark or whenever the park closes, however.

WOW, Judy, thanks! That is a great idea I hope to use on my next visit! I will have the doggy too and he loves riding on the bicycle.
http://DearMissMermaid.Com

Living, working. playing  in a Class C, 1994 Tioga Montara, 28'

Pack half the stuff and twice the cash.
http://dearmissmermaid.blogspot.com/

 

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