Saturday, December 5, 2015

Thanksgiving in the Keys? Why Not?

Sparky's daughter, Kelly, had the wonderful idea of getting together in the Keys for Thanksgiving this year. She wanted to get out of the cold, Sparky was thinking of getting INTO the cold, but the Keys? That's a no brainer...Keys-- or sleet and possible snow? Even Sparky will take the Keys over a dreary, bleak winter day. :-) Since Kelly is in the military, we were able to stay at a VERY reasonable price of 75.00 a night over the Thanksgiving holiday at the naval air base located there.

Sparky was excited to be on the drive to the Keys. She knew we were going to stop at the Oasis Center in the Everglades on the way down. It's in the Big Cypress National Preserve right on highway 41 heading south..It's always FULL of alligators. (And bear with us, Sparky just HAS to post these multiple photos of gators, explains E.) More to come on our way back home... :-)

There are BIG gators here in the drainage ditch right in front of the center. And, although you are NOT supposed to check out the drainage ditch/swamp Everglades area to the right of the driveway entrance to the Oasis Center, there are ALWAYS more big gators much closer and on about the same viewing plane as they are just beyond the guard rail from the road, Part of the guard rail has additional fencing to keep the gators away from the drive in entrance, but that fencing extends just a couple of yards. After that, a gator could easily come up the bank and right into the road (where Sparky was standing, says an exasperated E.)

Sparky counted TEN big fat gators today, with a ton of egrets and herons eating just beyond them to the right of the Oasis Center and seven inside the observation area of the boardwalk. Gators don't normally eat birds, they prefer something more along the lines of fish, but we have seen them chomp a duck. Sparky spotted this gator with a feather right on his snout, which made her think he had decided to eat a bird lunch today, not long before we got there!

Nice boardwalk and you can see lots of things besides gators...Sparky spotted this green heron below the boardwalk, as she was walking. The tail feathers were GORGEOUS! We hardly ever see this particular type of heron.

And here's a sign of the times.....Sparky finds this drone trend to be disturbing in more ways than one.

Back to our accommodations...The Navy has several locations around Key West, but we stayed in a little mobile home parked in a row of multiple mobile homes in one area of the base called the Trumbo Point. The one we stayed at was spartan but nicely furnished 2 bedroom (double beds), one small bath, with bed linens and all the basics for family living. No patio, no outdoor furniture or grill, but we did just fine.

The roosters woke us up every morning. EVERY morning. Bright and early. :-)

For Thanksgiving Day, our first day there, we had arrived late. We ate at the VFW post, which was advertising Thanksgiving Dinner for 19.95, a bargain in Key West! Kelly is like her mom, sometimes very non traditional...We had the prime rib! Eldo had the advertised special, turkey, mashed potatoes and dressing.

The next day we headed to the bike shop to pick up our rental bikes for the weekend. Nice big coaster style bikes, pedal brakes, no gears, and a basket on the front. You don't see road bikes in Key West. Come to think of it, Sparky doesn't think she saw a road bike there all weekend! You just see big fat tire bikes suitable for biking on crushed rock paths and sandy roads. Everybody is taking their time riding around which was fine with Sparky, as there was LOTS of road traffic. The bike rental places are all over the place but we rented from a bike shop called Sunshine Scooters just across the bridge on N. Roosevelt Road which was just a short drive from our place where we were staying. The rental was very reasonable, 12.00 a day, or 50.00 for a week. They also rent electric cars and scooters as well, natch!

If you want to bike around Key West, that's not a problem, but the bike paths sharing the road with cars seemed to be inconsistent. Sometimes a nice wide marked bike lane was visible, other streets you just shared with cars. It was a very slow pace all around town. If you wanted to be able to do some more serious riding, you'll have to ride elsewhere! Sparky saw a headline on a newspaper stand that said, "Key West #1 in Bike Accidents" or something similar to that which made her a little nervous. But, we rode anyway.... It was fun! Nobody is in a hurry, so that helps. It's the island way.....

And with that, we'll wrap up our visit today and have more for you tomorrow...


  1. So sorry to have missed you when you were in Key West. If you had only been there on Wednesday. Would have loved to meet Kelly.