Palm Trees in southern Florida

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Key West!

It's 9 am, sunny & almost 60 degrees here at Blue Spring State Park in Florida. We left Key West four days back & I have to admit that I do miss being there.

Duval St webcam

Key West is a different place. 

The history, the attitude of the people, the smell of the sea, the flowers, the trees, the coconuts, the boats, the bicycles, the scooters, the houseboats, the chickens, the cruise ships, sunset on Mallory Square... The tourists even add to the place.

I liked it!

Chickens are everywhere


I thought about staying and after looking around at rents and property prices realized I needed to buy a lottery ticket!

My $2 investment in a Key West future!

We were there for a little over three weeks and it then was time to go (we had reservations at other Florida parks).

A Key West bike. Single speed, padded seat,
drink holder and rust

I liked the signs

A side note to 'me' & my Key West fantasy... I spent an afternoon here in '80, the tail end of the Mariel boatlift from Cuba. I was in the Coast Guard and was sent to CG Air Station Miami to help out. A buddy & I drove down on a day off.
All I remembered was the color of the water on the drive down and the people at Mallory Square for sunset. I knew I needed to come back.

Personal note:
Come the 21st century... I was retired from the USCG and working at a warehouse in Washington state. Serious problems in my life (a daughter with cancer), a so-so job that was a 45 minute drive from home in my VW camper and time to think.  During the drive I'd sometimes remember that I had all I needed in my VW & the Navy has an RV park on Key West.  I would put Key West in the GPS (3400 miles, a 54 hr drive),  Jimmy Buffet in the CD player and just dream as I drove.  I always ended up at work...  

Aurora passed in 2011...  and everything changed.  In January 2019 I finally made it to Key West.

The view from the Shipwreck Museum tower

Saturday, February 2, 2019


We have been in Florida for the winter and I have to say it's nice. It does cost more than the other winter destinations for an RV but it is nice.

Atlantic Ocean

There is one thing that I've noticed...

We have Florida license plates and so does most everyone else. 

Most places we go we are obviously tourists, I'd like to think that gets us a little slack when we're in the wrong lane.
Not that many would suspect we're locals driving this big old RV through town...


Winter in Florida takes planning. The state parks are great but they take reservations 11 months in advance and Florida is a popular place for RVs in the winter! 

State parks book up, county parks book up, the COE park we booked at was almost full, we found a handful of connected days. 
Commercial RV parks book but there are a lot of them. They do cost a bit more than the state or county parks.  Mary's Fish Camp in Weeki Wachee had room but it was a little spendy.

I realize that the old saying, "Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part," is valid. 

Our life and plans are fluid at this point so booking for next winter is a tall order. That's how it was last year at this time, so when we made this year's arrangements we had to pay several separate fees to the state's 3rd party reservation company for a week's stay.

Not cold in Tampa Bay

Hurricane Damage in Tampa Bay 

Confused?  A hypothetical Florida state park: we'd like to stay a week. There is a $6.70 fee for each reservation we make... we can get 3 nights at spot #1, we can the next two nights at spot #27 and we can get the last two nights at spot #235. That takes three separate transactions, 3 separate fees and several (many!) different attempts to find the needed days (looking for someone who cancelled).

That is what happens when we don't plan far enough ahead. 

FWIW there is a $17+ fee to cancel a reservation at the state parks (after 24 hrs), as a Florida resident over 65 the camp site only costs us $15.

That's ok, the winter in Florida has been nice!

Northern Florida