Monday, June 25, 2018

Key West

We picked up Rachel this morning and drove to Key West, FL. We have possibly now driven our car as far from Walla Walla (without leaving the US) as is physically possible, to be specific 3,237 miles according to Google. There may be something farther up in Maine, but it's still pretty far.

To get to Key West, you have to drive along Route 1 across a long sequence of keys connected by bridges. It's an interesting and beautiful drive of about 140 miles from South Miami. It's also a relatively slow drive--taking about 3 hours.

It's been about 10 months since Hurricane Irma blew through here. The damage is still evident from damaged buildings and homes, to broken roads, to dead vegetation that has been completely stripped of its foliage. There are some smaller keys that are now brown because all of the foliage was stripped from the plants and they simply died. The landscape on these islands reminded me of burn areas that we typically see in the Western US. I suppose that, like those burned areas, these islands will eventually recover, but the sights are striking.

For dessert after lunch, Rachel and I had chocolate covered key lime pie. I was skeptical, but turned out to be a nice combination of flavors.
After dessert, we took our snorkel gear to the beach at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. The water was warm, but not super clear. We swam around some rocks and saw a few large fish, but it wasn't great. We're hoping to snorkel in a place off of Key Largo on the return trip to Miami tomorrow. And, hoping for clearer water.
After snorkeling, we checked into the Havana Cabana Hotel. The pool was great, also lots of fun games: cornhole, jenga, and giant yahtzee dice.

We swam around for a while and then took the hotel shuttle back to the touristy area to watch the sunset at Mallory Square and catch dinner. It's definitely touristy, but also fun and lots of historic buildings. It's interesting to think about how many hurricanes these old buildings have survived intact.
 I took a picture of Rachel taking a picture of the sunset:

 Side note, there are a lot of wild chickens running around the island.