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Sun-lover's Odyssey
Road Trip to the Florida Keys
by Chad Whitney

Road Trip with a Teardrop Trailer
Jetta + Teardrop = Roadrip to remember!

Teardrop Trailer galley
"Home-cooked" meals on the road

Fun at the seashore
Fun in the sun!

Southernmost Point in thr Continental U.S.
Southernmost Point of the "lower 48"

Keys Sunset
Sunset in the Keys

Since I have been a teenager, I have always dreamed about kicking off the loafers and bare footing across the Florida Keys. I am not so certain why I have always been drawn to these little islands at the end of the world, but I finally made it there. A few months ago my wife, daughter, and I climbed into my 2000 Volkswagen Jetta TDI for a long-awaited roadtrip. It was going to be nice to be on the open road once again. This time we had an extra attachment in tow, our 1938 replica teardrop camper. We figured we would camp on the beaches and stay in State Parks along the way. A teardrop camper is a tiny little trailer designed for sleeping and not much more. It does have a galley kitchen in the back and allows for "home-cooked" meals on the road.

Well, we made it down to Curry Hammock, about 50 Miles from Key West. It is Florida's newest state park and has only been open for two years. What luck! As we pulled in, someone else was pulling out, having cancelled their week-long reservation. This was like hitting the lottery. WOW! A week at Curry Hammock! It is probably the nicest state park in the keys, if not in all of Florida. There are only 28 spots, and they take tents, campers and RVs.

The Keys are just as wonderful as I imagined them. Soft coral beaches, crystal clear water, and lots and lots of sun. It's a sun-lover's dream! In the Keys, we feasted nightly on pink shrimp, Florida lobsters and a variety of other amazingly fresh seafood. We even found the locals' favorite place for "cracked conch". It is Little Italy in the Long Key area around Mile Marker 68.5.

One of our goals on this trip was to find the home of the best Key Lime pie. We did exactly that at The Blond Giraffe. Just a note: when looking for key lime, if the pie is GREEN, say, "No, thank you!" and order anything else. Really good key lime pie should be white or a slight yellow color.

We made it to Key West and were happy to finally take our picture in front of the "Southernmost Point of the U.S." buoy. We also learned that every night at sunset, there is a party in Mallory Square. Local artists and performers come out and the party rolls on into the night. We hit all the main sites in the Florida Keys and saw the mysterious signs for the elusive and endangered "key deer". I am not sure if they exist or if they just use the really aggressive endangered species signs to keep traffic going 35 MPH. Either way, we followed the speed limit on Deer Key and did not see any trace of this unique species.

The keys have something for almost every one of us. If you are into fishing, lounging, partying, or even just doing nothing, I think the Florida Keys are for you. I have to say this is the best road trip I have ever taken. The locals are friendly, and I think the keys call me now, more than ever.

Chad Whitney
6/17/07

 

 

Chad Whitney is one of the owners/operators of Outside Supply based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Chad gained his interest in outdoor technologies from his love of outdoors and traveling. His background includes work as computer technician, network programmer, and solar panel installation in recreational vehicles. He and his wife have personally tested many of the products they sell during road and boat camping trips in the Gulf state area. (An overview of the types of inverters that are used by dashboarders and RVers is online here. If you have any questions about solar panels, inverters, portable power devices or GPS navigation systems, visit outsidesupply.com, or email Chad at outsidesupply@gmail.com.

 

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