Florida Keys in February-March: Paradise

...the place to share tales of your travels and pics of your adventures...

Florida Keys in February-March: Paradise

Postby Bill and Elaine » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:29 pm

This thread has been updated to include both our 2012 and 2013 February-March trips to the Key West, FL
The Seven Mile Bridge is shown below:

Image

In February 2012 we set out on our own adventure, a teardrop vacation to the Florida Keys. The day we left from our Maryland home just north of Washington, DC the roads were being pre-treated with road melting agents for the forecast snowstorm due later that day. Our hope was that we'd be far enough south by the time the bad weather hit the east coast that we'd only have rain.

We are towing a 2011 Silver Shadow with a 2011 Subaru Forester. This set up was our retirement present to ourselves. Up until this year, we've always been tent campers.

We made it just into North Carolina on our first tank of gas. It was there that Elaine spotted a problem with the TD. We no longer had a trailer plate. It was gone! :shock:
91449

A call to our state motor vehilces department went unanswered as it was Presidents Day holiday weekend. Although we worried about getting pulled over we made it all the way to Key West and back without any police stops. :applause:

We spent our first night in the Savannah, GA area at a KOA. The storm we hoped to avoid as snow dumped three inches of rain on our campsite. The water was over the tops of our shoes when we left in the early morning hours.

After another day of driving, we were in Key Largo. The weather was sunny and the temperatures were in the 70's! Perfect! We had great weather the whole time we were in Florida.

91450

We made two trips to Everglades National Park. In February, Florida expereinces a dry season. This concentrates the Everglades wildlife in the wet areas, so viewing abundant wildlife was a snap.
91451

The final leg of the trip was less than 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West. The scenery was stunning!

91452
91481

We stayed at the Sugarloaf Key KOA, 18 miles outside Key West. It was a camping resort with a beach, pool, hot tub, pub, restaurant, clean facilities and a great staff. We found many very friendly people there. The pub had entertainers and bingo. Fun stuff!

91487
91455
91454
91453

Key West had lots to offer. We visited the city on three separate days. The restaurants offer fabulous seafood. There are lots of bars too. We visited all the tourist sites:

91486
91485
91480
91479
91478
91458
91457
91456
Last edited by Bill and Elaine on Mon May 13, 2013 6:01 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Image
User avatar
Bill and Elaine
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 114
Images: 85
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:09 am
Location: Maryland

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby eaglesdare » Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:39 am

:applause: thanks for sharing. sounds like you all had a great trip. :wine:
Louella
May the foam be with you.
User avatar
eaglesdare
Donating Member
 
Posts: 3151
Images: 13
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:06 pm

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Bill and Elaine » Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:22 am

Thanks Louella. The trip was wonderful. We quickly forgot it was winter in the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. We swam in the pool or the ocean daily, wore shorts and sandals and even sweated a bit when on the few days the temps got into the low 80's.

A big surprise was how friendly the other campers were at Sugarloaf Key. Probably 80% of the campers were in Class A's or 5th Wheels, but they seemed very interested in our TD. Beyond that, our visitors shared interesting stories about their lives and also gave us useful information about what to see and do in the area and in Florida in general. Many of these people spend a month or several months a year at the campground each year. When it was time for us to leave, several expressed real disappointment that we were leaving. They asked us to come back next year! I inquired about getting a reservation for next year and I was told to make one before we left. That speaks to how popular the Sugarloaf Key KOA is with campers despite the cost. We paid $83 a night, but it was worth it to us. We just can't imagine paying that rate, or more, for a full service site for 30-90 days, but that's what people are doing and they honestly love it.

What site do you use to resize your pics for this forum and what size do you choose? I used "pic resize" at both 50% smaller and 25% smaller. It made no difference in the final outcome. My posted pics were still small thumbnails instead of the pic size I see in your posts.

Bill
Image
User avatar
Bill and Elaine
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 114
Images: 85
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:09 am
Location: Maryland
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby eaglesdare » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:06 am

i have photoshop elements 10, and i resize in there first. then i upload to photobucket and copy/paste from there to here. i'm sorry, i don't know how others do it. i am sure there are many programs that others use.
if you try photobucket, click on the pic, then click on advance edit > image > resize > then whichever number is the largest, i change to 600px. copy/paste to here. and that does it for me. sounds complicated, but really its not. give one a try and see how it goes. any other questions, please ask and i will help if i can. pse10 and photobucket are the only 2 programs i know.


i was just talking to hubby the other day about taking a trip to key west. i have cruise ressies for next may, just because it goes to key west. key west is on my bucket list. so i was thinking maybe i could canx the cruise ressie and just take the tear down. but my problem comes with my dog. not sure about taking him to key west. a must for me is to go to the southern most point, i am wondering if i can take him to that spot. and of course i would love to hit a beach, not sure if he can go to any beaches down there either. still searching these things out.
Louella
May the foam be with you.
User avatar
eaglesdare
Donating Member
 
Posts: 3151
Images: 13
Joined: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:06 pm
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Bill and Elaine » Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:40 am

Thanks for the detailed information on picture resizing and posting. I'll look into it.

There is no reason you can't take your dog to the Southern Most Point. It is a public location, right next to the street. The only down side is that you and your dog will have to wait in short line to get your picture taken. The people in front of you or behind you in line will gladly take your picture.

I don't know if dogs are permitted on Key West beaches, but we did find a big dog park across the street from Higgs beach.
Image
User avatar
Bill and Elaine
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 114
Images: 85
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:09 am
Location: Maryland
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby jonw » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:40 pm

My wife and I are planning on a Nov. trip to Key Largo in the TD to do a few days of diving.

Thanks for your trip report.
User avatar
jonw
Titanium Donating Member
 
Posts: 523
Images: 163
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 6:22 pm
Location: Marlboro, Mass.
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Bill and Elaine » Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:36 pm

Louella,

I don't know about allowing dogs on the beaches in Key West, but I wouldn't be surprised if it is permitted. Heck, they have roosters running around everywhere including in outdoor restaurants. In fact, the roosters are a main attaction of the Blue Heaven restaurant. My pictures include one shot of a rooster at our feet while we were having lunch. That's the same place where you see Elaine enjoying her key lime pie.

Key West is VERY relaxed!
Bill
Image
User avatar
Bill and Elaine
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 114
Images: 85
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:09 am
Location: Maryland
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Mukilteo » Tue May 01, 2012 7:52 am

Image
Last edited by Mukilteo on Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Eric
User avatar
Mukilteo
Donating Member
 
Posts: 1351
Images: 14
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:14 am
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Bill and Elaine » Tue May 01, 2012 11:50 am

JonW-We camped a few nights at the Key Largo Kampground. We had a nice shady site along the outside perimeter of the campground. The main bathroom facilities are quite dated and inadequate for the number of campers using them. If you stay there, I'd recommend the bath house near the marina. This bath/shower is somewhat newer and far less crowded...also cleaner.

It was at this campground we met campers unlike any we had ever met before. There were numerous TENT campers from northern states who lived there all winter and came back each year! Their tents were covered by rainflys, Ez-Ups or by tarps forming a "tent compound" utilizing every square foot of their site. They had tables, shelves, TVs, Microwaves, Mini-fridges, lamps...all the comforts of home! Most of these folks were senior citizens having a ball in the warm climate of the Keys. They were a friendly bunch.
Last edited by Bill and Elaine on Wed May 02, 2012 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
Image
User avatar
Bill and Elaine
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 114
Images: 85
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:09 am
Location: Maryland
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Bill and Elaine » Tue May 01, 2012 11:55 am

Mukilteo-I agree with you that the license plate on the LG is in a bad spot. The clearance from the road is only 4-6 inches. LG sent me a replacement plastic bracket, but I'm afraid it will get torn off too. Like you, I worry about being seen at night with the low lights. You have a good fix there. Thanks for sharing it.
Image
User avatar
Bill and Elaine
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 114
Images: 85
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:09 am
Location: Maryland
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Mukilteo » Tue May 01, 2012 6:23 pm

Image
Last edited by Mukilteo on Sat Mar 14, 2015 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Eric
User avatar
Mukilteo
Donating Member
 
Posts: 1351
Images: 14
Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:14 am
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Bill and Elaine » Tue May 01, 2012 9:32 pm

In my opinion, the tail lights don't show up too well in the dark either. We had a frightening experience coming home from FL. We were on the road before sun up. We drove into torrential rain that reduced visibility to ten feet. Since we were on I-95, the major north-south route on the east coast, I was sure someone would crash into the trailer. We were moving at 5-10 MPH and no where near an exit. Pulling off the road was a possibility, but I wouldn't have felt any safer sitting there waiting for an impact. You really couldn't see the what lane you were in anyway. God helped us through that storm, but I honestly don't plan to tow the Silver Shadow in the dark, or in torrential rain, ever again. To be fair, even without towing the LG, the experience would have been harrowing enough. Those southern thunderstorms can produce an unbelieveable amount of rainfall in just a few minutes.

BTW- I mentioned this story to a police officer from FL, telling him I had my flashers on during the incident. He told me that driving with flashers on is illegal in almost every state. Who knew?
Image
User avatar
Bill and Elaine
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 114
Images: 85
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:09 am
Location: Maryland
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Goatdog » Wed May 02, 2012 10:29 pm

Bill and Elaine wrote:In my opinion, the tail lights don't show up too well in the dark either. We had a frightening experience coming home from FL. We were on the road before sun up. We drove into torrential rain that reduced visibility to ten feet. Since we were on I-95, the major north-south route on the east coast, I was sure someone would crash into the trailer. We were moving at 5-10 MPH and no where near an exit. Pulling off the road was a possibility, but I wouldn't have felt any safer sitting there waiting for an impact. You really couldn't see the what lane you were in anyway. God helped us through that storm, but I honestly don't plan to tow the Silver Shadow in the dark, or in torrential rain, ever again. To be fair, even without towing the LG, the experience would have been harrowing enough. Those southern thunderstorms can produce an unbelieveable amount of rainfall in just a few minutes.

BTW- I mentioned this story to a police officer from FL, telling him I had my flashers on during the incident. He told me that driving with flashers on is illegal in almost every state. Who knew?


While true, i don't know many officers that would cite someone for making themselves a bit more visible in that kind of hard rain. I was an officer and rarely would my fellow officers even bother with a traffic stop in heavy rain. Some did, but they quickly learned.
User avatar
Goatdog
Teardrop Advisor
 
Posts: 77
Images: 24
Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:24 pm
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby Bill and Elaine » Tue May 08, 2012 9:18 am

In case you are planning a trip to Key Largo, there is a new attraction available which should appeal to classic movie buffs. The boat "African Queen" from the 1951, Bogart and Hepburn movie, The African Queen has been restored and tourists can now take a ride. I don't have any details as I just saw this info on the news last night, but is sure sounds like it could be a very popular tourist experience.

I'm adding a link to the MSNBC video clip:

http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news ... /#47330141
Image
User avatar
Bill and Elaine
Teardrop Master
 
Posts: 114
Images: 85
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:09 am
Location: Maryland
Top

Re: Florida Keys Feb 2012

Postby logman7777 » Wed May 16, 2012 10:51 pm

Thanks for sharing your trip! Ill be going down there in February 2013 camping in whatever I dig up or build this year.

Agree with you on the visibility issue..I sold my 63 Valiant because I had too many close calls with being rear ended (itty bitty brake/turn signals on em) Whatever Im going to tow it will have a nice bright LED 3rd brake light. :)
Coleman Keepers 200A Gang
Green Lantern Corpsmen
High Wide and Handsome Probationary Member
Happy Camping!! -Andy
User avatar
logman7777
500 Club
 
Posts: 525
Images: 12
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 3:44 pm
Location: NE Indiana
Top

Next

Return to Trips, Pics and Hiway Tales

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest