Monday, December 4, 2006

Headed For Key Largo

We enjoyed our visit to Okeechobee and the interior of Florida very much. But once we were all packed up and headed for "The Keys" we found our very spirits elevated beyong the norm. We laughed when, headed away from the lake, we passed the sign that read, "Florida Black Bear Crossing." I can report that we saw exactly as many black bears crossing the road outside of Moorehaven as we see panthers when we go to Fort Myers International Airport and ride past the "Panther Crossing" signs there. It's just like the "Lobster Crossing" signs you can buy at any gift shop in Maine- you aint'a gonna see it, but ya jus might! And it makes for "wicked good" advertising.
But we were headed for the keys. Get there fast and take it slow- that's where I wanna go. Crystal clear turquoise water. Island rhythms. Cocktails at sunset. Tourist traps. Steel drums if you're lucky. And the country's only true reef- John Pennekamp Reef at Key Largo, the uppermost of the Florida Keys. We cranked the Sirius Satelite radio to channel Margaritaville and it was almost as good as if we had come across Jimmy Buffet (or more to my liking, Chuck Kruger) hitchhiking, and given him a ride down to the keys, strumming the old guitar and singing our hearts out the whole way. It was joyous ride. We felt like we were headed back to a place where we are more comfortable. To a place we know more about. To a place where the people, however crazy they may get from time to time, are more in tune with us. We pulled into Pennekamp State Park mid afternoon. The ranger greeted us and gave us a map to our site. WOW! What a view!
The park is gorgeous, and at 25 bucks or so a night- a real bargain compared to a lot of the places out there. Beautiful, well maintained and "scaped" grounds. A marina setting that is perfectly nestled into the trees and the clear water of the mangrove harbor. It is the first ever state park to be awarded the "Best State Park" twice running - and it was instantly easy to see why that would be the case. And evidently it is popular with everyone- as Outward Bound has a couple of their program boats here and ready to go and Homeland Security has a motor coach here as well (what's that about?)
We will be here four nights- that's all we could book at this late date. Quite a bit of our time here must be spent in "supplying"- buying things for the extended trip that we could not procure earlier like wet suits, reef runners and booties, a new dive mask. The selection and pricing is better by a mile here than anywhere else because it is what everyone here DOES. It's like buying pretzels in Pennsylvania and lobster in Maine and dungeness crab in Washington- it's the right thing to do! Besides, it's fun. We didn't need a lot, just a few things but boy did we find some great stores to shop around in...
The weather is not the greatest- a few rain storms blowing through the area, but, still, we couldn't be at a better or happier place right now, so we'll batten down the hatches tonight and see what the morning brings.
One thing to mention. We always knew Abby was a smart dog, but apparently since we have been doing all this traveling she has learned to read some if not all roadside signs. How, you ask, would I know this. Well, in our evening walk of this day, she stopped at the "dump station" sign---and did just that. Not to worry; I did NOT have the camera at the time....

2 comments:

Chris said...

How far in advance did you have to make reservations at Pennekamp? It is pretty amazing that they can keep their prices at $25 when anything else I've seen in Largo is over $90. Your blog is looking good! Just wanted you to know I'm following. We miss you here at Peace River.

Greg said...

We booked Key Largo while we were parked at Peace River. But I gotta tell you we got lucky as many of the sites were booked now through season with the exception of a night or two here and there. Marilyn also managed to get us 4 nights at Curry State Park in Marathon Key for the same money....more on that to follow? Heye, did you get Abby's talking e card?