Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 14 - Punta Gorda to Key West

Here we are 2 weeks into our trip. I've never been away from friends and family for that long in my entire life. It's a weird thought because some people go away every year for 2 or 3 weeks. I think about 10 days has been my max.

Here are some random observations as I sit here in my Motel 6 room waiting for my son to get up and get ready for the day.

Of all the states we've been through so far, everyone faithfully drives the speed limit except for Californians and Floridians. Though we've met a few nice people, most everyone else is grumpy and rude and look at us like we're some kind of circus side-show act. We have said "hello" and waved to EVERYONE we meet. We have been super nice to people and except for the wonderful lady at the ice cream parlor in Branson, MO, the nice couple from Illinois that we met at Lake of the Ozarks, the two hot chicks working at McD's in Panama City and the very nice old lady in Bumfuck, FL who sold us some fried p-nuts, gator jerky and Dylan's Florida knife, everyone has been quite introverted. I've also noticed that a $40 a night Motel 6 is pure heaven after tent camping for two weeks. What is "fog smoke"? It's obviously a problem on some Florida freeways. I also need to report that my son had never showered in a shower with a curtain on it. He didn't know that the curtain is supposed to go INSIDE the tub rather than hanging nicely on the outside. He flooded the bathroom in New Orleans. Another observation is that KFC's have an all you can eat buffet in all their restaurants east of the Rockie Mountains. Gross. There are Subways, McDonalds and Sonic Drive-in's EVERYWHERE you can imagine. Surprisingly, Starbucks have been relatively difficult to find.

We've tried to limit our consumption of fast food but sometimes, on the road, that's all you can get in a hurry. We have treated ourselves to a few restaurant meals and nothing has compared to the food that we had in New Orleans. Usually we have a bagel, cream cheese and lox for breakfast with our coffee. Lunch is either a sandwich on the road or fast food. Dinner is usually something like sirloin hamburgers or spaghetti with sausages eaten right at our campsite. We've been pretty good about always having either strawberries or grapes available to us in the cooler at all times. Last night, we inhaled that pizza along with two boxes of bread sticks that they delivered to make up for the wrong pizza.

We've arrived at our hotel in Key West. We immediately checked in and hopped on our bike for the 4 mile ride into "old town" and all the shops and stuff. The ride was enjoyable and quite easy considering that the entire town is completely flat. We rode out to the southernmost point in the US and took a few pictures with all the other tourists. We actually walked "behind" them which made US the southernmost tourists!! We spent some time riding up and down Duval St. and decided to stop at Rick's Bar for a beer where we could sit outside and watch the world go by. As soon as we sat down, it started pouring down rain. I'm kinda done with the rain. Granted, it's not as bad as the Pacific Northwest where it's a cold rain but it's still wet and annoying. While we were there, Dylan's sunburn started hurting him really know that pinching, pulling feeling you get when a bad sunburn starts to heal a bit. That's what he was dealing with and it was killing him. We made a beeline back to the hotel and stopped at a CVS on the way to buy some aloe for him. Poor kid. All he needed to do was put on some sunblock. Maybe now he'll be a little more responsible about it. He's a good kid, though. He's been telling me that I should just go back out to old town without him. I won't do's OUR road trip...not just mine. Maybe we'll stay another day and explore the town together tomorrow.

Key West is not exactly what I was expecting. I suppose I was expecting more of a laid back kind of town like Lahaina in Maui (there is a Wyland art gallery!) or maybe La Jolla or something. It's much more commercialized with Home Depots, TGI Friday's, CVS Pharmacy's and fast food places everywhere. The old part of town IS really nice what with all the old homes and the quaint little shops and bars but I guess it's just not what I expected. I suppose I thought that Jimmy Buffet was going to be sitting on a beach under a palm tree drinking margaritas watching bikini babes walking by while sailboats sailed towards the setting sun. Dylan wanted me to ask one of the local guys where a good beach was with all the hot local girls. He said that there wasn't any such thing and any beach you find will be filled with tourists. Oh well. I still haven't decided what I'm going to do about tomorrow. I may just pay the big bucks to stay here another night. I don't like doing that but I really would like to see a bit more of the city especially considering our time was cut a little short by Dylan's nasty sunburn. I'm going to check the weather forecast and if it calls for more than 50% rain, I think we'll just bail and head back north to find cheaper lodging. There were a lot of little beachside motels on the Overseas Hwy so maybe we'll find something a little more reasonable right on the beach somewhere. We'll see. Camping is out until we can get somewhere drier. Our tent is soaked and will need at least half a day to dry out. Based on the weather forecasts I've seen, it doesn't look like we'll get out of the rain until about North Carolina or maybe Virginia. I think we're going to stay on the Interstates until we get out of Florida. Before this trip, Florida was about the only state in the Union that I had a burning desire to I can't wait to leave!

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