WHY KEY WEST– On Owen’s birthday in January we left our cold NC home in our 59K Travato van with one destination in mind… Key West. We thought, if you’re going to Florida why not go big and go as far south as you can. After six years of being snow birds in one area of Florida our van opened up the opportunity for us to simply see more, and that’s what we’ve done.
NOT THE DESTINATION– While Key West was where we were aiming the van it was not the real destination. The real destination was home back in NC… Key West was just the point on the map where we would turn the van north and head up the west coast of Florida after meandering down the east coast to get there. But don’t get us wrong, it was a great point on the map when it comes to putting a pin in the map. Kind of like putting a pin in a map heading west at San Francisco or Acadia if you’re heading east.
IT IS CALLED THE KEYS FOR A REASON– Yes we were in Key West, but actually the jewel of the trip there was really the drive down US 1 South through all the keys. We remembered it as being breathtaking and from the higher seat of the van it was even more so. Crystal blue water, pelicans flying beside you without even flapping their wings, that unmistakable smell of salt air and sunshine… yes, it was the ride down that we remember the most. We stopped at lots of places along the way and really took our time getting there, something we have learned to do more and more.
AN RV/VAN IN KEY WEST?– Well, we saw lots and lots of RVs in Key West. Along the water there were dozens parked with doors open just soaking in the view and sounds. We chose to stay at Boyd’s, which is about 5 miles from Duval Street, where the “action” is. We found Boyd’s to be like just about everything else in Key West… crowded and packed… kind of like my grandfather would have said about stuffing 10 lbs of crap in a 5 lb bag. Real estate / property / places to build there on that tiny island with so many people is definitely at a premium and Boyd’s was no exception. Our “waterfront” site was neatly tucked in at an angle between two other RVs. Sure we could see the water, but when my left hand was touching the back of our van I could just about touch the RV to the right of us… and when my right hand was touching our van I could just about touch the RV to the left us. Crammed in like sardines… is that the saying? And it wasn’t just our spot. It was as if someone took an overhead map of the park and created a jigsaw puzzle to get as many pieces covering the photo as possible and then built an RV park from the plans. That said, we enjoyed our stay there. They were very, very professional and very hospitable and nice. But for $165 per night plus another $35 in tax because we are “on the island” you’d expect them to be nice.
THEY DON’T CALL ME SCOOTER FOR NOTHING – Owen’s nickname when he was two was “Scooter”. Many of his family still to this day call him that. It had something to do with the way he crawled. With that nickname in mind we rented a double scooter for the 3 nights we were there. Parking is also at a premium near Duval Street and neither of us really looked forward to trying to find a place to park the van near all the action… so for $140 we rented the scooter for our transportation. This allowed us to leave Maggie in the van in the cool A/C and head out exploring without worrying about her safety and it was free to park on just about every corner of the city for our scooter. We found it to be a great way to see a lot of Key West. We could scoot into town for breakfast and walk around and then scoot back to the van to rest and check on Maggie… and then scoot back over to watch the sunset. Owen has his motorcycle endorsement and even though it’s been a while since we’ve been on a motorcycle we felt safe after a mile or two.
FRIENDS IN LOW PLACES– We have learned to not make really firm plans when we arrive at a place. In Key West it was good that we did not because our friends from NC, Terri and Doc, arrived on the island the first night we were there… we saw it on their Facebook post. Well, that must be fate we thought so we reached out to them. What happened next was two days of scooting around Key West with great friends that are a lot of fun to be with, making the entire experience even better. We’d ride the scooter into town and meet with them and then make a plan for the day. Our way of seeing an area… literally by the seat of our pants.
WOULD WE GO BACK– Would we drive all the way back to Key West? I don’t know… do we see driving back to the Grand Canyon?… or back to Acadia one day?… or back to Memphis?… the answer is YES!… with a caveat. You see there’s so much to see in the US and Canada and there’s just a finite amount of time that it’s possible to travel and see it all. We treat destinations the same way we treat restaurants. We have a scale of NEVER GO BACK, IT WAS OK, GO BACK FOR SURE. So where does Key West land in that scale for us???… it’s a GO BACK FOR SURE place… but only if we’ve run out of places on our bucket list that we haven’t seen yet.
WE HEAD NORTH NOW – There’s just something about being as far south as you can be in the US. There’s no place to go but North… and that’s what we’re going to do next. We’ll point our Travato north on US 1 and head up the west coast of Florida until… well, until we either get to Mississippi or we decide that we are smelling the barn and are ready to head back to NC. We’re glad you’re along for this meandering ride.
Owen, Lynn and Maggie