Part 14: Key West to Orlando, FL


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The Trip

We stayed several days in Key West, first at an RV park, then when rooms became available, we stayed at a bed and breakfast.  When we had our fill of KW, we headed back to the mainland and then north to Orlando to hook up with a work mate and another mogger.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

Kayaking was a popular pastime in the Key West area.

The whole area was dotted with small islands, some had piers like the one above.

One of our camping spots was right on the beach.  The beach area was actually man-made, but once you get into the water, it was quite mucky.  We walked out for several hundred yards, but never got into water deep enough to actually swim in.  But, the water was warm and it was very pretty, muck notwithstanding.

To get between the mainland and Key West, you must cross the Seven Mile Bridge.

The old bridge has sections removed to allow passage of boats.

From our campsite in Key West, I spotted this poster child for Corona beer.

At the campsite, we crossed paths with Simon and Wendi.  She is from Chicago, he is visiting from France.

After the weekend, rooms became available in Key West, so we left the RV park and went civilized.  The photo above shows the pool area of the Knowles House B&B that we stayed at.

I never did get the story on the ducks.

Key West has some colorful folks including this fellow who was selling seafood out of his truck.

More of the old bridge that connected the end of the Keys with the mainland.

This fellow had a long ride, something on the order of 150 miles with some pretty heavy traffic whizzing by at high speed.

We passed many small islands along the path back to the mainland.

The color of the shallow water was almost indescribable.

Once we got back on the mainland, we headed to Ft. Lauderdale to meet up with a family friend of Kathleen's.  He lives near the intercoastal waterway and drawbridges are a fact of life in the area.  Sometimes, traffic gets backed up for quite a distance.

Kathleen with long-time friend of the family, George Lowe.

From Ft. Lauderdale, we headed north through the center of the state to Orlando.  We were surprised, if not disappointed, to discover that they have L.A. style traffic issues.  There were several factors, not the least of which was the car that spun out in the median during a traffic accident.

When we got to Orlando, we hooked up with a fellow mogger.  Bill has several 404 unimogs, both of which are used as promotional vehicles for his headliner business.

This radio box was in very nice shape and had a fancy vinyl wrap coating.

Not a unimog, but rather a unimog wannabe.  This truck was lifted so high that you would have to use a ladder to get in and out.

Orlando is close to Cape Canaveral.  We found out that the space shuttle Atlantis was due to be launched the next day, so we positioned ourselves to be able to see it.  Plenty of folks went to the viewing area that was close to the cape, but the locals told us that the traffic there would be legendary, so we opted for viewing from the parking lot of our motel.  We were watching CNN on our laptops via cell phone modems when we heard the liftoff signal.  Within 1 second, the shuttle was shooting over the trees.  The shot above is somewhat blurry since the camera focused on the power lines, but I was amazed that we could see it at all.

Once the shuttle cleared the power lines, we could get a good view of the exhaust flames.  We were 20+ miles away, so we did not hear anything over the traffic noise.

The smoke trail was very persistent due to the calm winds.

The trajectory was flattening out as it rose higher.

Just moments after liftoff, I spotted this jet leaving Orlando airport that was crossing the smoke plume.  Look carefully, you will see that the shuttle is jettisoning it's solid rocket boosters.  What a lucky shot!!

Within about 15 seconds, the shuttle was too far to see.

The smoke plume was very persistent.

A smaller jet that was crossing the smoke plume. 

The Keys were a great time, but man it was hot.  The locals kept telling us that it was unseasonably hot, but that was a small consolation.  The camper does not have a/c, so that made things somewhat uncomfortable.  The B&B was a nice respite from the heat and we were strategically located close to the center of town.  We brought the bicycles specifically for Key West, and it was totally the right decision.  The salt air is taking it's toll on the bikes, but there is not much we can do about that.  Meeting fellow moggers is always nice, but having the shuttle launch while we were in town was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.  For those that track such things, this was the final flight for Atlantis; it will be retired after this mission.

Tomorrow, we head north once again, but to points undecided.  We will likely return to the beach route and head toward the old Spanish fort at St. Augustine.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2009, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.