Florida Keys and Everglade Photos - 1998
THU 1.22.98

We took off from Logan, well stocked with Milano cookies and goldfish, and ginseng iced tea. Our flight down to Charlotte, NC was uneventful, and having "stepped on NC soil" I promptly got a shotglass, thimble and magnet. State #21 conquered. We boarded our NC -> Miami flight.

With some finagling Bob got us seats together on the left (our left) [this was the only flight we had separate seats on - it was full]. On we go. We saw bright lights below as we approached the Kennedy Space Center, and the Captain came on to say the Space Shuttle Endeavor was there! He said they were delaying the launch because of clouds, and he tried to slow down a bit for us. Suddenly there was a huge flare of light! The shuttle blazed upwards, first hidden by the wing of the plane, and then suddenly coming into view, a huge fireball heading upwards. It left a trail of thick smoke behind it as it went. We all clapped, it was such an amazing sight. One I never thought I'd see, never mind from up in a plane!

We landed fine, and it turns out Dollar was out of "compacts" and moved us up to a Dodge Intrepid. Sleek car, very smooth ride. State #22 conquered. We drove out of Miami and down Route 1. Miami was all squares of light, very flat and populated. Suddenly, though, as you went down Route 1 it changed to all "projects" - houses with huge fences around them and huge gates at the doors. Then ... nothing! Just miles of swamp around you, short trees, lots of grass. We went past Florida City, entrance of the Everglades. Then truly nothing until we got down to Key Largo, the first island in the string. There were a few motels along here, and small restaurant shacks. You couldn't really see the ocean or bay most of the time - you were driving down a thin one-to-two lane road in the center of the long island.

We drove past the only underwater state park (Pennicamp) and past many of my "second choice" motels, then past the "Bird Rescue" place and our own Island Bay Resort (on the bay side).

Picture from their Website

We went further, past Tavernier (the other town on Key Largo) and onto Plantation Key and then Windley Key before turning back. Everything on the Keys is done by "Mile Marker" - distance from Key West. You can find anything you want by knowing its mile marker.

We stopped at a grocery store for supplies - OJ, cheese, breakfast bars - then back to Island Bay. How lovely! Room 5 was bay-most in a block of three suites. The motel only had 9 rooms total, each with a grassy lawn, lots of flowers, lounge chairs and a grill for fish. There was a man-made beach on the bay with two huge hammocks, a volleyball court, docks for people's boats. There really aren't beaches on the Keys because the coral and reefs slow the waves down too much - they can't pound the grassy edges into sand. The room itself had a huge bed, big bath and a fully stocked kitchen with stove and microwave. Even plates, mugs, and a water heater. Quite nice.

It was 1am by now, so we watched CNN about the intern, and I read up on Key lore. Did you know Key Largo was named after the movie, which chose an "exotic" name and was actually filmed in Hollywood? I tried to study Key birds, too, but all those white swoopy-necked ones are hard to distinguish.

On to Friday
Master Page for 1998 Everglades/Keys Trip

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