In an ideal world, we would have timed our stays at our three favorite FL Keys state parks (Bahia Honda, Curry Hammock, and Long Key) such that we had a week at each of them either on the front or back end of our stay at the Naval Air Station in Key West. For reasons already addressed, that just wasn’t possible, and we had to satisfy ourselves with grabbing a few days here and there. After leaving Long Key, this left us with a one week gap before we needed to be up in Coral Springs (less than an hour north of Miami) for a social event, followed by a reservation at a popular campground on the Gulf Coast. So we made the best of it and headed back to NAS Key West, ’cause that’s the sort of sacrifice we are willing to make.
We arrived a day before the monthly arts, crafts, and garage sale event put on by the base Morale, Welfare, and Recreation volunteers, allowing us to set up a table and sell more of Rosemarie’s jewelry. In addition to her usual options, this time we had an assortment of bracelets and necklaces made from paper beads, something we learned how to do a couple of weeks earlier.
They are almost cathartic to make, and we created them mainly from local magazines, maps, and brochures. They sold fairly well; I think a lot of the buyers were RVers in their last week in the keys, and so there was a certain pressure to buy gifts for their friends and relatives back home. We ended up making over 60 bucks in less than three hours, and we got to say goodbye to a lot of our new RV friends while doing so.
I’m glad we had this last week in Key West; it helped us gauge the timing for our planned stay next year. From our arrival check in at the end of January, we learned that we should probably arrive a bit earlier in that month to be assured of a spot. This week we got to see the rapid drop off in the campground population as the seasonal residents really started to head out. It wasn’t down to the 100 RVs you might find during the true summer low season, but roughly half of the drycamping spots were empty by the time we finally departed in that fourth week of March.
While there, our friends Roseann and Anthony came down to stay the weekend with us, something we hope more of our non-RVing friends will be able to do as we continue our travels. We had a great time hanging out with them, aided and abetted by copious amounts of alcohol.
We had one last meal at the on base Sunset Lounge, one of the few restaurants we patronized during our entire time in Key West. Really, during seven weeks here we went to five restaurants, and all of them of the affordable variety. Other than Sunset, we ate at Bo’s Fishwagon ( a disappointment considering how much we liked it last year), Taco Express (a great little semi-permanent food truck), Quik Chik (a fried chicken joint attached to Dion’s Quik Mart gas station, kinda a local thing), and lastly we had some of the best wings we can remember courtesy of Wing Masters. Seriously, we have been pacing out the extra buffalo sauce we got from them. The only thing to keep in mind when ordering is that if you don’t want any sauce on them but prefer it on the side, you have to actually tell them you want them “naked.” It’s not enough to simply say “sauce on the side”; you do that and they will put their usual extravagant amount or sauce on them plus bring you some extra containers “on the side.”
So that’s it, we had a week between obligations, and spent the bulk of it drycamping at NAS Key West until Jennifer and Deas from Nealys on Wheels helped us get an unexpected spot two day stay at Bahia Honda. We finally left Key West, having spent 48 days here between our two visits. Next winter we plan on spending even longer, arriving a bit earlier in January.
Lastly, here’s a little lesson I learned that should have been obvious: Even when Pad Kee Meow is on her leash attached to our awning pull cord (as a sort of make shift lead) we can’t park the Geo Tracker so close to the RV. Because if we do, trouble will ensue.