#69 – Thursday, February 28, 2013 (Day 24)–Florida Keys

So here is what I have learned about the Florida Keys so far……

The keys stretch from Key Largo to Key West.  They are linked by 42 bridges along the 126 mile highway U.S. 1.    Everything on the eastern coast of the keys is the Atlantic Ocean and is called oceanside.  Everything on the western side of the keys is Gulf of Mexico and is called gulfside.  Also directions here are by mile marker.  Just like the mile markers on any highway.  The keys are referenced as Upper Keys, Middle Keys and Lower Keys depending on where they are.

So last night the state park I was in was at mile marker 102.6..they list them like this on everything (MM102.6).  Tonight I am at Curry Hammock State Park, mile marker 56.2 (MM56.2).  The park is oceanside.  It is a couple of miles north of the town of Marathon.

I left Key Largo about 10:15 this morning after stopping at KMart for some supplies.  Most of the drive was at 45mph.  The rest was 55mph.  Some is 4 lane and the rest is 2 lane.  The keys widen and narrow as you go along.  Sometimes you don’t see water and there are rows of houses, businesses, etc and sometimes you are on a 2 lane highway with some grass on both sides and water along the edges.  You see quite a mix of residential, small business, local motels, resorts, etc as you drive along.  In the larger towns are the normal fast food restaurants along with non-franchise local restaurants.  So far I have not seen any chain sit down restaurants like Chili’s, Applebees, etc, etc.  They also do not have Wal-Mart in the keys. They do have KMart, Publix, Winn-Dixie, CVS and Walgreens.  After that it is local shops.

Obviously parking is at a premium here with so little land, so parking with the trailer is a little more of a challenge.   Check in time for Florida state parks is 3:00pm and check out time is 1:00pm.  They let you check in early if your site is ready.  I arrived at the park at 11:30 and my site was not ready.  With the parking challenge I did not really want to go on into Marathon with the trailer.  The park staff said I could park in the day use area and they would send someone down to let me know when my site was ready.    So I parked there and made some lunch and sat under a palm tree and ate my sandwich.  Then I cleaned my trailer windows…they were getting pretty dirty.  Of course the people on my site did not leave until 1:00pm.  I got checked in and parked, unhitched and was leaving the park by 2:00pm.

Here is my site……………..

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Now before anyone remarks about my crooked parking job……I did that on purpose so I have an ocean view out of my window and door…….yes that is the ocean behind all that greenery.

This is a very small campground….only 28 sites.

So I love the site…ocean view, plenty big enough, privacy and it is on pea gravel instead of sand.

I went into Marathon for a few hours to check out the town and stopped at a few stores.

I was back at the campground by 5:00pm and I went down to the beach…….oh my……I don’t think anyone swims here…..

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Surprisingly I have good cell service here so far in the keys which allows me to use my hotspot for the internet.  I am not surprised that my TV antenna did not pick up any channels last night or tonight.

The population of Key Largo is 10,500.  The population of Marathon is 8,400.  I will be going to Key West tomorrow.  The population of Key West is 25,000.  It is supposed to take 1 hr and 15 minutes to get to Key West from here.

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