January 16 - February 3, 2011
Now we are getting into the really warm climate. We headed out from Kissimmee Prairie and down the Florida Turnpike. As we approached US 1 at Homestead, we began to feel the warmth. Maybe we could really wear shorts again! As we drove down US 1, the clear blue water of the Atlantic on our left and Florida Bay on our right brought excitement and joy to our hearts.
In other years, our stay in the Keys was at Florida State Parks. Long Key State Park was our favorite, but without an atomic clock and at least three computers connected to a reliable internet provider, we were unable to make reservations at the State Parks for this year while we were there last year. So, we are staying at a commercial RV park, Grassy Key RV Park and Resort. This is a small, modern, well thought out accommodation with a great view of Florida Bay. We arrived on Saturday the 15th and by the morning of the next day both kayaks were off the top of our RV and ready for paddling. (We are keeping the kayaks on top of the car for easy access to remote launch sites).
We have a great view from our front window and wonderful neighbors (Chuck and Marleen) at out back door. Our first "exercise" was a long bike ride on the bike path that parallels US 1. We arrived just in time for the full moon and later, Tom captured a great image of it rising over the campground.
We were able to launch our Kayaks from the dock with the help of Chuck (a retired crane operator) who lifted us up by gripping our lifejackets and lowering us into our boat. Later the floating dock was repaired and we were able to get in and out by ourselves. Anne got back first from one kayaking expedition of a few miles and was able to get her kayak out of the water and up on the dock and land all by herself. She is a clever ("I used leverage", she says) and strong. To keep up our work-out routine, we have joined a gym in Marathon. It is a combinational liquor store, delicatessen, and gym!
Our neighbors, Chuck & Marleen are avid fisher-persons and took Tom out to the "hot spot" on the bridge at Tom's Harbor (not our Tom, but the name of the harbor!). Unlike other years when Tom caught no fish, he landed a Spanish Mackerel which we had for dinner - it was delicious! Chuck, Marleen, and Tom all went out fishing on the Marathon Lady fishing boat. Be sure to watch the movie of this.
Anne is knitting a sweater and making bobbin lace. Her creations are beautiful. We discovered an upscale restaurant, The Butterfly Cafe, where the food was delicious and presented in an equally beautifully way.
About half-way through our three week stay, we found ourselves in the eye of a powerful thunderstorm. Tom's iPhone has an app that shows the weather radar and we tracked it as it blew over our campsite. Other than that, the weather has been great - a lot warmer (to say the least) than back up north where Webster (our home town) has snow nearly every day.
We have dined on the local delicacies such as stone crab and gulf pink shrimp and some fantastic Emack & Bolio's ice cream that we found at a Duck Key store.
We have never stayed for more than two weeks at a time in one location and we are nearing the end of our third week here. We are still enjoying the fun and are probably a lot more relaxed. We know that going to the gym three times a week has really helped break up the monotony of just sitting in the sun and doing nothing. We have made a reservation for a month here at Grassy Key next year, and are moving to the Ocean Sites with a view of Florida Bay from our front window.