We were a little worried the return would not be as good as going out. Obviously it never can be, but we still managed to find some new and unique things on the way back that we’d missed on the way out.
For instance, we went to see the mile 0 marker for route 1, which may not sound exciting, but we have actually driven most of it and it originates in Maine. It was an absolutely epic drive, so it was a bit nice to do something to commemorate that:
And of course, given it’s an island, the end is also the beginning:
We also went to the southernmost point in the continental United States (i.e. other than Hawaii and Alaska, which obviously include the southern and northernmost points):
Key West is actually closer to Havana than Miami.
A naval base was at the true southernmost point which Chris found unsatisfying . When double-checking this on the Dodge map, he noticed a pier that appeared to extend further south. Here’s a Google map illustrating the point:
So we also went to the real southernmost point. Someone who grew up in Key West explained that the pier was extended since he had left as a teenager. We had a lovely chat with him, some of which is on the video below.
We also went to what almost has to be the southernmost Polish shop in the US:
Something unexpected that Key West has is wild chickens and roosters that just wander the streets:
After the less than stellar beaches on Key West, on the way back, we went in search of better ones and of anything else interesting we missed. Something interesting was that there are Key deer, which neither of us had expected. We managed to see one after spending about 30 minutes on Deer Key:
We tried several little areas of beach, all of which were beautiful, but few of which we were especially good for swimming or even paddling (see the line of red along the water – that is all smelly seaweed):
Finally, thanks to some thorough research on Chris’s part, we did find a properly sandy beach without seaweed. I think the issue is that most of the beach is south facing. That is the seaweed side. This tiny bit was north facing, but due to the islands being so small, there was not much other north facing beach. It was lovey though. It’s just behind a library and you would never think to go there otherwise as the beach is fully hidden from the road:
If we go back to the Keys, I think we may pick a less touristy key (a more low key key if you will). The second major section, Islamorada, seems like a good choice.
We spent the night near the Miami airport (because it had the cheapest hotels in Miami, yet they were still quite expensive being in the 80 dollars range), which was rubbish. There was horrible road construction and traffic, and we spent about 45 minutes lost but very near to our Days Inn. The Days Inn itself was pretty lack luster. It is the only place in 29 states that has charged for parking and the next day, we didn’t get to leave till 1 PM because they had such horribly slow dryers. To a make it worse, the man at reception nearly tried to charge us 35 dollars for the privilege of staying past noon to put our clothes on for what ended up being 4 dry cycles. We highly recommended against the Days Inn Airport Miami, but it was still worth it for the Keys experience.
Do check out the video of the rest of our Keys experience: