We worked hard last winter to get a campsite in Long Key State Park where the competition for sites is intense. It was worth the effort! The rule is 11 months in advance and a maximum stay of 2 weeks. Of course, we are here 2 weeks!
As we headed down the Florida Turnpike (with our Sunpass), and as we approached Homestead, we got more excited. The Overseas Highway is the only road down from there along these narrow pieces of land that were formed on coral. Now the travel became less swift than the hustle bustle of the Pike. Each key (island) is connected by bridges or fill to the next key and there is water everywhere. Having read the story of Henry Flagler's Railroad that traversed these tiny pieces of rock to reach Key West, we wondered just how the workmen were able to accomplish such a feat. The destruction of this engineering marvel by the 1935 hurricane only has left a few of the original bridges and there is no longer a RR to Key West.
Our campground is about half way down the Keys. All sites are on the water with a small beach at high tide and a very wide expanse to the Atlantic Ocean at low tide. The water is very shallow and when we arrived, the tide was out. Shore birds were feasting on the exposed sea life and we immediately got the kayaks off the top of the car and put them in a spot where they were easily launched when the tide was up. This is why the Long Key State Park is so desirable - every site is on the water.
It was windy for the first few days, but we headed out in our kayaks early the first morning for a vigorous paddle. Then we had breakfast! The nearest big town (Marathon) in about 20 miles away to the south. Anne's brother, John and his wife Debbie have rented a house in Marathon for Feb. and March and they came up to visit us on our second day. John is a fisherman and was working on setting up a charter that Tom would be a part of.
We visited John and Debbie on the next Sunday and John proclaimed we were going fishing on Tuesday. We had a great meal at their rented house and got to do our laundry since the park does not have facilities unlike most Florida State Parks. Water in the Keys is precious and sewerage is even more so.
Over our first weekend, Tom had to shim up a faulty spline in the overhead fan that draws air from the outside and cools the inside of the RV. He had ordered the parts from the company in Michigan and they did arrive on Monday and he did the fix. It seems like our 9 year old RV has been needing a lot of TLC on this trip.
The time just seemed to fly by during our 2 weeks in "paradise" as we went out on kayaking, hiking, exploring and bicycling. All good outdoor exercise. The wether was tropical and included a wonderful display of "nature's fireworks" in the form of a slow moving electrical storm that Tom captured with long (30 second) time exposures. Every morning the sun rose and warmed our back door which we opened to greet the morning.
We left while still having fun (a good way to end a stay) and headed back up north.