The drive from Homestead to Big Pine Key was slow, but amazingly beautiful in spots. In some areas the Keys are quite developed with low rise hotels, shops, and restaurants, but in others the brilliant, aquarmarine water and bright, white sand dazzled the eyes. The views from the causeways that join all the islands that comprise the Keys were especially awesome. There are numerous spots to stop and fish or stick your toe in the waves. But we didn’t want to stop today, because old friends George and Carol were waiting for us to arrive.
George and Carol were our neighbors and we worked with Carol until 1994 when we moved away. Since then we ran into them one Christmas at the Miami airport. All of us loved to escape from the winter and they found a home here after many vacations in the Keys. They have rennovated their house and made it through a few hurricanes so they seem like natives now.
It is expensive to camp here and many of the campgrounds we passed were packed tightly with rigs. With the whimsical approach thtat we’ve had this winter, not making reservations until a day or two before we moved to a new spot, we would have never been able to camp here at all. But Carol and George offered to host us and our motor home near their house on an empty lot they own. We have lots of space and water and electricity. A canal runs behind our motor home and flowering shrubs are blooming along the sides. What more could you ask for?
Big Pine is one of the less developed areas in the Keys and has an extensive wildlife refuge for the Key Deer, an endangered species that is only found here and in the Everglades. They are small in stature compared to northern deer and vulnerable to the steady flow of traffic moving through here to and from Key West. We’ve never seen them when we’ve driven through the area, but on a late afternoon bike ride they were easy to spot, flitting across the side streets, looking for the perfect spot to have dinner.
Carol and George took us to a perfect dinner spot as well, the No Name Pub, the oldest pub in Florida. This quaint spot had dollar bills papering the walls and had its start as a bordello. Although it was nearby, we would never have found the place after twisting and turning on the little lanes. It's great to be with folks in the know.