Tag Archives: Keys Disease

Wow, what a hangover! 4/1/15 – 4/7/15

A sad day leaving Florida after our 5 month "residency"

A sad day leaving Florida after our 5 month “residency”

We officially started our return trip back to the NW, estimating it will take us about 7 weeks. The decision on when to leave Florida was postponed 4 times, as we were originally scheduled to leave Feb. 21st, then March 7th, then March 21st, and finally April 1st. As Traci mentioned before, there is this little thing called “Keys Disease” and we both came down with a severe case. But the hardest part of it all has been the days since we left, several times a day asking each other can we go back, should we just turn around now?? We both knew we would eventually have to return home, but the hangover from that place still stings and we have already been gone for a week. I keep thinking of a line I read in another blog we follow, and it said something like “where else in the world can you drive to a tropical island” and that best describes the Keys. I know for sure, we will be back!

With our extended time in the Keys, we are now making up for lost time, with some longer driving days scheduled for a while. We have had days of 250-380 miles, a lot longer than we would like. We did two nights in Arcadia, FL, two nights in Cedar Key, FL, a night in Eastpoint, FL, and a night in Hattiesburg, MS (our 5-month stay in Florida finally came to an end). We have already filled up diesel twice within 6 days and prior to that it had been Nov. 23 as our last fuel stop. Fortunately, fuel prices are still under $3/gallon. We are going to hit Shreveport, LA, then Dallas, TX for a couple days, a stay or two in western Texas and time in Colorado to see friends, before we get to our next area of exploration. We are focused on getting to New Mexico, an area we did not spend much time in yet, as well as Wyoming and Montana, so we will slow down a bit before we arrive home in late May. Click here for an update on our general itinerary.

Our spot in Arcadia at Riverside RV Resort

Our spot in Arcadia at Riverside RV Resort

There was a baby gator living in the lake that came up onto the grass

There was a baby gator living in the lake that came up onto the grass

A great bar in Arcadia - The Nav-A-Gator

A great bar in Arcadia, The Nav-A-Gator

It has been a challenge locating places to stay along our journey this past week, as many of the parks on our travels have already been booked up full. We are hearing that a lot of people, like ourselves, who stayed south for a bit longer due to the extended winter in the NE. Nobody wants to go home to snow; so many are taking their time to drive north, making it a bit more difficult for us to find accommodations.

Cedar Key, FL - considered "Olde Florida"

Cedar Key, FL – considered “Olde Florida”

Another thing we have noticed, at least for the first few stops, was how much different the ocean and Gulf of Mexico has looked. When we were in the Keys, especially Marathon, the water was picturesque blue. But as we have moved north, the colors have become grey and in some cases brown with the brackish waters of the coastal areas we have stayed. Did I mention we really miss the Keys!? Also, now that we have turned north a bit, we have come to the realization we will not see an ocean for at least a couple months, as we journey through the country back home.

Eastpoint,FL - they harvest A LOT of oysters here

Eastpoint,FL – they harvest A LOT of oysters here

I know the tone of this post sounds like “poor us” and that is not it at all. We have been so taken aback by how much we enjoyed this last portion of our trip, it really has been like a long hangover, and it is not getting much easier to get over it. I would have never thought I could move from the NW, but that door may have opened following this portion of our journey. But for now, we are making our way NW, and we will keep you updated as to our adventures along the way.

Enjoying opening day of the Mariners at our campground in Eastpoint

Enjoying opening day of the Mariners at Coastline RV Resort in Eastpoint, FL

Keys Disease

Enjoying St. Patty's Day

Enjoying St. Patty’s Day

Yep, we’ve got it! We are now on our 4th and final extension down here. We officially leave the Keys on April 1 and unfortunately that is no April’s Fool Joke. It is time for us to start making our trek northwest toward home. If we had unlimited funds, I think we could possibly set up shop here for awhile. Well, I know Mike could, but as most of you know, it takes me a bit longer to make these types of decisions. But, I do know that we have absolutely LOVED our time here and Marathon has been such an unexpected surprise. It is such a great community and we have met more great friends here than we have combined on all of our travels.

We just love our campground.  The Tike Bar in front is where everyone hangs out

We just love our campground. The Tiki Bar in front is where everyone hangs out, right in front of our MoHo.

Here are a few things we have been up to the past few weeks.

Marathon Seafood Fest
This is the 2nd largest event in all of the keys and luckily for us, it was just down the street. We went with our new friends, Greg & Carol who are staying at the campground and Gene & Sandy, friends we met last year who are working down here for the winter. It was a toasty day, so we actually didn’t stay long at the festival. Enough time for a few cold beers, a sampling of food and a stroll through the merchandise booths.

Mike, Sandy, Gene, Carol & Greg at Seafood Fest

Mike, Sandy, Gene, Carol & Greg at Seafood Fest

Enjoying the Seafood Fest

Enjoying the Seafood Fest

St. Patrick’s Day
We had a great time for St. Patty’s. Our campground is right on the border of an area called Key Colony, which is a nice neighborhood with a few fun bars. A group of us from the campground decided to ride our bikes for a St. Patty’s Day pub-crawl. We hit 3 bars and drank our share of green beer and cocktails.

Mike & I, Randy & Lea, Greg & Carol sporting our green!

Mike & I, Randy & Lea, Greg & Carol sporting our green!

Happy St. Patty's!

Happy St. Patty’s!

Mike was able to go ocean fishing five times! He went once on a charter with some others in the campground, twice with our neighbor Ron, and twice with Greg & Carol. I actually went once with Greg & Carol and what an exciting trip it was. We heard the familiar spin of the wheel and it was clear that Greg had a big one on. As the fish got closer to the boat, it looked like he had a shark hooked! Actually, he had landed a pretty big fish that a 7-foot hammerhead shark had latched onto. The shark held on until about 10 yards from the boat. All that was left was the head of the fish and a hammerhead circling us for about 10 minutes! It was pretty wild to witness.
On some of the other trips, Mike caught Snapper, Bonita, Jack Crevalle, Wahoo, Mahi Mahi and Blackfin Tuna. This has been pure heaven for him to be out on the water fishing. For one of the Thursday night potlucks at the campground, he grilled up the Snapper, Wahoo and Tuna for all to sample. It was very tasty and oh so fresh!

The shark chasing the fish in

The shark holding onto the fish as Greg reels it in

He was a big one!

He was a big one!

Mike and his Jack Crevalle

Mike and his Jack Crevalle



Friends from the campground, Randy & Lea, organized a day for us to get out to the reefs. This area is extremely popular for diving and snorkeling. They are both certified divers, but we are not, so Mike opted to snorkel and I decided to try something called Huka (also known as Snuba). It is basically diving, but your tank is on a raft at the surface that you are tethered to. This allows you to breathe underwater, but you are still only about 15 feet from the surface and a dive master is with you monitoring the tanks. I was a bit anxious at first, but got the hang of it quickly and really enjoyed it. After that was done, I had the chance to snorkel with Mike for awhile. We stopped at two separate reefs, The Donut and Coffins Patch. We saw tons of fish, coral and sea plants. I even saw a small nurse shark. The day couldn’t have been more perfect – the clearest visibility in weeks and water temp of 80 degrees. Not bad!

Do I look anxious?  Practicing how to breathe

Do I look anxious? Practicing how to breathe

Randy & Lea

Randy & Lea surfacing from their dive

Mike’s Birthday
March 24th was the big day and he had a great one. It is always odd to be away from home for holidays and events that we usually celebrate with friends and family. But, he heard from many and was definitely feeling the love. We started out with a nice breakfast out and then had a relaxing day around the campground. Then, we ended up at one of our favorite bars, Keys Fisheries, for sunset and cocktails. Capped off watching Star Wars back at the MoHo (his choice, not mine).

Celebrating Mike's Bday at our favorite bar - can you believe that view?

Celebrating Mike’s Bday at our favorite bar – can you believe that view?

Biking the Bridge
The famous 7-mile bridge is at the south end of Marathon. This is the iconic bridge that is shown in movies such as True Lies. An old bridge parallels the current one and is open for pedestrian and bike traffic. It provides a great vantage point to look for marine wildlife and beautiful views of that blue Florida Keys water.

7-mile bridge behind us

7-mile bridge behind us.  We’re on the old one.

End of the road!

End of the road! You can see the current bridge to the left.

Pretty views

Pretty views

Favorite Restaurants/Happy Hours
We have been sampling many of the local places and have found some great spots!
No Name Pub – Best pizza
Tarpon Creek – Best happy hour food and a bonus that we can walk there
Cabana Breezes – Cheap Wings/Shrimp with a great ocean view
Frank’s Grill – Best Italian, a total hole in the wall. We had a nice joint b-day dinner here for Mike & Greg
Burdine’s Chiki Tiki – Best Burger and Fries
Hurricane – Coldest beers in town
Keys Fisheries Bar – Our favorite spot with the absolute best view
Sunset Grille – Best party bar/Sunday Funday
Stuffed Pig – Best Breakfast (Banana Bread French Toast – OMG!)

Never get tired of seeing the Manatee - they love to drink the fresh water

Never get tired of seeing the Manatee – they love to drink the fresh water dripping off the boats