The Florida Keys…this past week I took my first trip there. It’s the furthest south you can go in the United States. I’ve seen many an article, heard many a story, and seen many a picture of this magical place, so needless to say, I was quite excited to visit for myself.
I had a bit of a rocky start, however. Before we even packed for the trip, I was struck ill with some sort of respiratory virus…coughing, sneezing, congestion, the whole nine yards. Not the norm for summer, mind you, so it was rather a damper for the spirits. I was determined to make the trip, however, so I stocked up on cold medicine and took care of myself the few days before leaving. I’m still not completely well, but it didn’t stop me from having a fun trip.
We took the 12-hour plus drive down in two stretches. The first day we drove half-way down to Wimauma, Florida and stayed in my in-laws’ cabin. The cabin was cute and a nice place to lay our heads for the evening.
Even the sock monkeys were glad for a reprieve from the drive, and they even found a sock horse friend along the way.
We woke up early the next morning and headed straight for a Starbucks for coffee and wi-fi. I wanted to get my July 4th blog posted before beginning the Florida Keys adventure. Starbucks did not disappoint, and within an hour and a half or so, my blog was posted, my caffeine levels were adequate, and we were ready to begin the adventure.
Before we got going, however, we decided that we would check out a couple of the timeshares our Bluegreen ownership had to offer. Resort Sixty-Six in Holmes Beach and Via Roma in Bradenton were on the way (sort of), so we plotted a course.
Upon arriving at Resort Sixty-Six, we were greeted with a lovely view. It is a small resort right on the beach, a bit tucked away and somewhat secluded. The beautiful, clean white sand stretched to the ocean, and the beach was beckoning with lounge chairs waiting for guests. Since we weren’t actually staying there, however, we didn’t heed the call of the waves. We did step out onto the sand for a minute or two however. There was a small area with a park bench and some adirondack chairs where we were greeted “Good morning” by some of the locals…local gulls that is. These little guys were out combing the beach for breakfast, and apparently, they were quite accustomed to the attention of guests and walked up rather close to us. I think they may have even been posing for the photos I took.
After leaving Resort Sixty-Six, we set our bearings for Via Roma. Here we were greeted with another quaint resort and sandy white gulf beaches. We were also blessed with a beautiful sight. A rainbow stretched right over the warm gulf waters. I took several photos of this marvelous morning vision.
After leaving there, we charted a course to Marathon. We chose to avoid the slightly quicker route down the interstate in favor of a more scenic route through the Everglades. I was hoping to get photos of wildlife and scenic landscapes. What we encountered instead were storms. Thunder, rain, lightning, and winds led the way. In some areas, we could hardly even see.
We did survive, though, and after the storms passed, we stopped at an air boat tour place to get prices in case the weather was good for a tour on the way home.
As my husband went to inquire about prices, I saw my first alligator in the wild. He was floating along by the dock, and I snapped a few photos of him. Of course, he was only the first of many to be seen on this trip.
We decided after this stop to drive into Miami since we were almost there. I must say, Miami did not please this nature-loving girl. It had all the elements of big-city life, good and bad. We finally decided to get out of there as quickly as possible, which ended up being at a snail’s pace with city traffic. Before long, however, we were on our way down the main highway through the keys.
Two hours later, we checked in to our resort, The Hammocks at Marathon. Everyone there was super sweet, especially the nice lady who jump started our car after we left the lights on. Apparently, we never turned the lights off after the storms in the Everglades….ooops. The resort was lovely, and I finally figured out how to navigate the hallways by the end of the trip. When we entered our room, I headed straight for the balcony to see the view. The view was breathtaking. I did not, however, get a photo of this breathtaking view on the first day, because when I looked down to the sand, there were iguanas! I had never seen these guys in the wild either, so needless to say I was fascinated. I got several pictures of them.
So that was our roadtrip to the Keys. Stay tuned for the rest of the adventure. And here is the dreaded….To Be Continued….