John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

October 2009 Journal

Well today is recuperation day.  We hung around the cow and did some reading.  We decided not to go back to Fantasy Fest today.  We had enough crazy naked people yesterday.

30   This afternoon we drove to Key West for Fantasy Fest.  We checked out parking and parked at Grinnell and Caroline.  There is a parking garage there and it still had a few open spaces.  We got down around 2pm.  We started our Fantasy Fest Experience.  We were surprised at first, there didn’t really seem to be to many dressed up people or people at all.  We’ll that all changed once we hit Duval St.
It was already crazy.  People all dressed up.  Some, quite a few were dressed up with nothing on.  We’ll body paint.  Some of the body painted people were painted so well you had to do a double take to see if it was clothes or just body.  We went down to 801 Bourbon.  We have been there before, this is a gay bar.  They are having an afternoon street Tea Party.  If this was a tea party, then what is a real party like?  I checked it out ahead of time and a gay tea party is what it was, a big party.
There was the drag queen mermaid.  When not onstage, she would drive around in her motor scooter.  Since she’s a mermaid, she can’t really walk.  So after a while there, we moseyed on down Duval.  Duval is set up with vendors on the street.  Body painting is being done all over.  We found a nice open bar with cheap beer and Alfonso playing Buffett music.  So we went it to take a break.  There is the big Masquerade March at 5pm, so we decided to find a good place to hang out to watch the March.  We ended up back at 801.
We had a nice table right at the curb.  The march made it to us around 7pm.  It was crazy.  The drag queen was now on the second floor by the skeleton head and then the foam started pouring out.  We were done for the night.  We left around 8pm and headed back to our car.  We are coming back down here tomorrow for the parade at 7pm.  We thought we were crazy, well now we know were pretty stable.
29   Today we are doing domestic stuff.  We are getting ready for our move on Monday.

We had a beach day today.  We went over to Veterans Beach Park.  We really like this little park.  We did some swimming, sunning and reading.  Then we stopped at Robs Grill for happy hour.

Worked on some TCI stuff and then took nice walk.  Right along the sidewalk we saw 2 black snakes.  I checked them out and they are Black Racers.

This morning our neighbor Kit, invited us to go lobster diving on his friends boat today.  Paul and Carrie also live in the park.  The five of us headed over to No Name Marina at 10am to take Paul and Carrie’s boat to dive for lobsters.  Paul is using tanks and doing scuba.  Kit, John and I are snorkeling and Carrie is manning the boat.  We are going to the area between the No Name Bridge and the US1 Bridge.  Back in the 50’s when navel boats came in, they dropped there bombs here.  So this area is littered with bomb holes under the water.  Part of our Lobster 101 class is knowing where the lobster hang out.  We anchored the boat in about 6 feet of water.  The bomb holes are about 15 feet deep.  The lobsters like to hang out under rocks or in crevices in the bomb holes.
Kit have been doing this for years.  He had extra equipment which he let us use and showed us how.  First the flag.  Every snorkeler must have a dive flag.  Even though we will be with him, he gave us our own.  Second, tickle sticks.  These are metal sticks about 2-3 feet long with a measurer on the end.  Once you see the antenna of the lobsters and know their there, then you dive down and tickle them out with the stick.  Third, you have to be ready with your net.  When they start coming out, put the net behind them and they will swim right into it.  Then you have to grab them and measure them to see if their keepers.  This is very important.  DO NOT keep any that are even close to being undersize.  If their keepers you put them in your lobster bag and keep looking.  OK, so it sounds easy.  Since we had a good teacher it was.
If we wouldn’t have had Lobstering 101, we wouldn’t have know what we were doing.  Kit dove down and we watched a couple times.  Once you get the idea, then it’s just a matter of doing it.  I tried, it took me a couple times, but Prestow!  Got one.  Then another and another.  I’m on a roll.  I got 4 total.  None were keepers, one was close, but not close enough.  Kit got a nice keeper.
I got out because I saw a few Jellyfish and I really don’t like them.  John and Kit stayed in for a while.  Then John got out.  Kit kept working at it.  Paul was quite a ways off doing his scuba.  There weren’t any bomb holes there so no lobster, but he found a really nice starfish and a horseshoe crab.  Carrie likes to hang out in the boat and help everyone in and out.  When we finished this area, Paul and Kit wanted to check out a couple other holes.  Kit dove down, but no rocks and no lobster.  The currents are getting stronger and we were done so we headed in.  We got one keeper lobster but had a great time.  We are so glad we got to learn and experience something new.  We came back to the cow, cleaned our equipment and went for a dip in the pool.

Football Day!  We are staying around the cow and watching football.

Today is Goombay Fest and the start of Fantasy Fest in Key West.  We took the bus down and started our journey on Duval St.  Goombay is on Petronia St. between Simonton and Whitehead.  Goombay Fest is a Caribbean Celebration.  There were all vendors on the street selling Caribbean Souvenirs and all sorts of food.  We had a couple meat patties and then some rice and beans.  We moseyed down Whitehead and stopped at the Green Parrot for a beer.  Then we walked on over to Mallory Square.
Now Fantasy Fest is just getting started so not much is going on yet.  During Fantasy Fest there is a law in KW.  You cannot be naked.  If you are naked, you must have your major stuff  painted.  We’ll we saw a few painted people and one guy in leather g-string outfit.  We are coming back down to KW on Friday for the big Fantasy Fest Street Fest and Saturday for the parade.  It should be a sight to see.  We hopped on the bus and headed back to our cow.

Today was a really nice day.  We had our coffee and relaxed then headed over to Veterans Park at MM40 oceanside.  It’s a small beach park right before you get on the 7 mile bridge.  There are cabanas, bathrooms and fresh water showers.  There were a couple other people and a few came and went.  We did some swimming, sunning, reading and just taking in the peacefully beauty of the ocean.  We headed back and then went to happy hour.  We wanted to try the Wharf Bar and Grill.  It’s a restaurant, fish market (in season), bar and marina.  We had one and then headed over to Looe Key Bar.  We really like this place.  It’s an outside Tiki Bar, great happy hour 1.25 drafts, interesting people and live music.  Tonight Moose is playing.  He has a 4 piece band and plays great blues. 

Today is cow day.  We relaxed around the cow and did some reading.  A little shopping then out to try fishing again.

Today was a really nice day.  We had coffee on the verandah and did some reading.  Then we headed out for a walkabout.  We investigated some of the canals around us.  The temperature is perfect mid 80’s, so after our walk, we headed to the pool to cool off and get refreshed.  We made an early dinner and then drove back to one of the canals we found this morning.  We were trying out some more fishing.  We didn’t catch anything, but there were a couple of huge Iguanas.  They didn’t care that we were there.  They were having an argument.  We watched them and they really got in a fight.  Pretty soon the orange one went in the canal and swam to the other side and gave up.  The green big boy Iguana kept his territory.

We had a really nice day today.  We went to Bahia Honda State Park at MM37.  We had been there years ago, but only explored one small area.  Today we brought our beach and snorkel stuff and spent the whole day.  We set up at the Calusa Beach and then we took a long walk, past the old railroad bridge and along the Loggerhead Beach then past the marina.  We stopped to talk to Patti for a few minutes.  We met Patti and Howard and Cindy’s wedding reception.  She volunteers at the park 2 days a week.  We did some snorkeling at Calusa but it was a little windy so the clarity wasn’t the greatest.  We relaxed on the beach, got some sun, had lunch and did some reading.  Then we drove over to the other area of the park.  We parked by Sandspur Beach.  This is a long beach.  We took another long beach walk and then headed back to the cow for dinner.

This morning we had coffee on the patio and watched the deer’s.  We did some reading and then headed to the bridge right down the road from us to do some fishing.  We didn’t land anything today, but we had some good hits.  When we got back, the deer’s were out.  There were at least 10, including a big buck and a small fawn.

AHHH!  The weather has changed.  There is a chill in the air this morning.  We have overcast skies and a nice wind going.  The temp has dropped.  We woke up to 67 NICE!!!!  We opened the windows and turned off the AC finally!!  We are hanging around the cow and watching football today.

Well today is our RV Gypsy Adventure Anniversary.  We have been on the road for 3 years.  It’s hard to believe.  It seems like we have been doing this forever, yet it seems like we just got started.  John had some computer issues so I had to reinstall window and work on his computer.  Since it’s our anniversary, we decided to go out for dinner.  We ended up at Crazy Fish Grill.  We had some conch cerviche, pizza and beer and toasted to our Gypsy lifestyle.

This morning we did some laundry and then headed down to Key West.  John needed a new chair and that’s where the stores are.  So we have a 30 mile drive.  We stopped at a couple stores to check them out and found Johns a chair at Kmart.  We decided to drive Big Red to the Historic Wharf area and do some walking around.  We stopped at the Schooner Wharf Bar.  Our friends Rich and Sandy were there years ago and they met Michael McCloud which still performs here.  We caught his last set.  He plays from noon to 5pm, Thursday s through Mondays.  We did a little more walking and then headed back to the cow.

We are hanging out.  We are definitely on island time.  We decided to go for happy hour to the Looe Key Tiki Bar.  We had dinner and drinks at the Tiki.

Another record hot day.  We decided to hang around the cow, do some reading and then we went to the pool.

Today we worked on our fishing equipment then headed out fishing.  We fished the north ocean side of the south Big Pine Key bridge.  We studied the tides and went out 3 hours before high tide.  So we fished from about 3pm – 6pm.  We did catch some snappers and a grouper, but no keepers.  You have to be very careful about size limits down here.  We here you really get fined if you have under size fish.  When we got back we were hot and sweaty.  We cleaned our equipment, showered up and had a couple cocktails.  The deer are out in force tonight.  All around us we saw at least 10 deer’s.

John is a still a little under the weather, so we just had a relaxing day at the cow.  Did some reading and went for a walk.

Sunday and football.  John is under the weather, so we stayed around and watched the games.  He has a cold and the no see ums really like him. 

Today we hung around the cow and went to the pool.  We headed out at around 6pm to Howard and Cindy Livingston’s Wedding Reception at the KOA on Sugarloaf Key.  They got married on Thursday and are having the reception tonight.  It’s unlike most wedding receptions.  Everyone including the Bride and Groom has their flip flops on and most are in shorts and tropical shirts, some in bathing suits hanging out at the pool.  Also, Howard and his band, Mile Marker 24 is playing.  They played for 3 hours.  There were a couple breaks for family pictures.  They had heavy HorsD’oeuvres and people came around with trays of food.  There also was a tiki hut with beer.  We saw Linda from Lazy Lakes there and met a bunch of campers that are at the campground were going to in a month.  We also met people from the Moose Lodge and both the Key Largo and Key West Parrothead Clubs.  

9   Another adventure and investigating day.  We headed out to Key West on the bus today.  They are always changing the schedule, but you can see on the internet where the bus is, so that’s helpful.  We caught the noon bus.  We met Danny, he has been in the keys for 17 years and works 7 days a week.  He takes the bus to Key West and goes to his buddy’s place to practice.  Then around 5pm, he goes to Mallory Square to set up his bed of nails.  He’s a nail walker.
The bus system actually works very well.  For John and I to go round trip including transfers from Big Pine Key to anywhere in Key West its 10.00pp.  So for 20.00 we get our 30 mile transportation and no problem with parking which costs $$$.  Then if we have drinks we don’t need to worry about driving.  The last bus is now at 945pm, which seems early, but when you get started at noon, that’s late enough.
We got dropped off at the Southernmost Point and started our day there.  From here you are 150 miles from Miami, but only 90 miles from Cuba.  We walked over to the Casa Marina Resort to check it out.  We had a beer at the pool bar, but this is a resort and $$ so we just had one.  This is where most of the functions for Meetings of the Minds will be held.  Meeting of the Minds is the big Parrothead Convention coming up the beginning of November.  Then we went over to Louie’s Backyard for a cocktail.  Jimmy Buffett used to hang out here and live very close.
Now we started across the island towards Mallory Square.  We found the hotel that our friends, Jim and Diane will be staying at for MOTM.  It’s very close to the Casa.  We found a little bar, 801 Bourbon.  Not to big, some people and a guy with a new little Chihuahua puppy.  They had drink specials so we had a couple and talked to the bartender, Chiffon.  She was going to give us free tickets to tonight’s drag queen show, but it didn’t start until 11pm and we would be long gone.  So, she said no problem, just let her know and we can get in anytime.  We were looking for a place for dinner.  She suggested Lobo’s for a good burger.  We stopped at Willie T’s to have a beer and get directions.  They had a guitarist playing.
We went to Lobo’s and had some well needed food.  Then we continued on our way to Mallory Square.  I wanted Ice Cream and John wanted a beer, so I got Haagen-Dazs and John went to CVS for a Fosters.  We walked around Mallory Square and looked for Danny but didn’t see him.  We did want to see Dominique the cat man.  We found him and as the sun was setting watched some of his cat show.  He is nuts!  Really!  Now were done.  We hurried over to the bus stop on Caroline Street and started our journey back.  This is the next to last bus for the day.  Since this is the first time on this route, we didn’t want to screw up and miss it.  The cab back to Big Pine would cost around 80.00.  We got back to the cow by 930pm.  It was a good day.

Today we had a lazy day around the cow.  We went to the pool.  John worked on opening coconuts and I did some reading.

Today is another investigative day.  We are heading 20 miles north to Marathon.  We stopped at Bahia Honda State Park and got some info for a day or 2 visit and snorkeling.  Then we stopped at a couple party fishing boat places to get info.  We took a drive to Sombrero Beach and walked along the beach and hung out for a while.  On our way back we stopped at Robs Island Grill for a cocktail.  It’s right down the street from us and we wanted to check it out for Football Sundays.  They have the NFL ticket so the get all the games.  Then we went to Boondocks for a cocktail hoping to see sunset.  However, in this area there are no tiki huts facing the right direction.  So we had some steamed clams and headed back to the cow.

This morning John cleaned Red and I did some TCI stuff.  Then we headed out to the Key Deer Natl Wildlife Refuge.  There are 2 hiking trails, the nature trail and the blue hole.  For a total of about 1.5 miles.  Even though we were in the refuge, we didn’t see any deer.  They will be at our campsite later this afternoon.  Then John still needed to walk, so he walked back to the campground about 3 miles, and I drove and stopped at the grocery store. 

Today is a domestic day.  We did some laundry, paid some bills, washed the cow, fed the iguana and hung around until 4pm when we headed out to do some fishing.  We went over to the bridge at No Name Key.  We fished until around 7pm.  We caught a bunch of small ones and John had a couple big ones hit his bait, but they got away.  We did see 2 huge stingrays, very beautiful.

Today is football day.  First we went to the grocery store to give blood and pick up a few items.  Then we stayed around the cow and watched football.  We had more visitors this afternoon.  We had 2 bucks, 2 does and 3 baby key deer’s.  The adults like carrots and the baby’s like lettuce.  So they had dinner.

This morning we returned emails and John worked on our AC.  It’s acting up and so we went to get a part and got that all corrected.  You really need your AC down here.  The cats don’t want to get overheated.  Now were heading to Stock Island about 25 miles south at Mile Marker (MM) 5 to see Howard Livingston and MM24 at Hogfish Saloon.  No cover charge, live entertainment and 1.00 drafts.  We are taking the bus.  Its 3.00 each way and it’s 25 miles each way.  We only had a couple blocks to walk to Hogfish Bar.  We shared a table with Rick and Cat and then Laura, Harry and Alex joined us.  I met a couple from Antioch IL on there honeymoon.  We had a great time, caught the last bus back at 1030pm. 

Today is our investigating day.  We headed out and started at the Big Pine Key Visitors Center.  From there we checked out some tennis courts and the bridge over to No Name Key.  There was a little bait shop so we stopped to get info.  Come to find out, Barb was working and she lives at our campground with her husband Ken.  Yes, Barbie and Ken.  Then we checked out the Key Deer Refuge.  What was funny, is we see deer all over, but didn’t see any at the refuge.  We stopped at the small shopping area and there were roosters and deer all over the parking lot.  Then we went to check out the campground we are spending most of the winter at.  We met lot’s more people.  We headed back to our island and stopped at Parrotdise for a couple beers.

On the road again.  We are heading out from Daytona Beach and our destination is the Keys.  Big Pine Key for now.  We have about 400 miles so we are getting going early.  The drive was not bad.  Now in the keys you can go 45 or 55 which helps a lot.  It used to be 35 mph for 100 miles.  We got checked in and all set up.  We had a visitor early on.  What is so cool, is this campground is surrounded by the Key Deer National Refuge.  So we had an injured buck come right up to our cow.  He liked the carrots we gave him.  Our neighbor Steve said they’ll be a bunch more.  He was right, soon there were 5 that came around dinner time.  We took a short walk, now we were ready to just take it easy.