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June 16, 2006


The weather the past few days has been great. It's been sunny and warm. I guess Florida is called the sunshine state for a reason... Anyway. today I drove down to the Florida Keys - all the way to Key West actually. The ride through the Florida mainland was uneventful and somewhat boring. I-95 and the Florida Turnpike aren't that interesting. Though when you start going by Miami on either road they turn into something akin to a gauntlet run. Of course, I like gauntlets so that provided me an hour of entertainment.

Oh, before I left I did manage to catch a small lizard. I took pictures :)

Once I made it to the bottom of mainland Florida, I hopped onto US-1 and started driving down through the Keys. There are a bunch of them. And by a bunch I mean some multiple of 10 - probably around 20 or 30. A lot of them are connected by a series of bridges (US-1) and I drove along those all the way to Key West. That was pretty cool. The view is amazing - you can see the ocean a lot of the time and surrounding islands. One of the bridges was 7 miles in length which made it fun to ride on.

I made it all the way to Key West around 5:00pm I think, and cruised around there for a while. After a bit I returned north (about 30 miles) to another island where I'd seen a relatively cheap campground. It's about 3 miles south of a beach and a few miles north of some restaurants and an "Internet Cafe" which I'm hoping to use tomorrow to update my website.


I setup my tent, which is on a site literally on the edge of the ocean, and called some family and friends. I also walked along the ocean edge for a bit and found a family of hermit crabs. They were pretty neat. I eventually went to get dinner and ended up finding a place that had really good pizza. Dinner done I returned and went to sleep - pretty tired.

June 17, 2006 9:19 am

Well, it's morning, and I didn't have the option of sleeping in past around 8am since when the sun came up everything got hot really fast. I'm sitting at my campsite typing and will probably soon head to the Internet Cafe in search of breakfast and Internet access. It's once again a beautiful day. I plan to go to the beach most of today and relax. We'll see how it goes.

June 17, 2006

The Keys are pretty cool - especially the water that surrounds them. After getting a great breakfast (the ranger at a state park suggested a place that, while cheap, serves a ridiculous amount of food). There I met a waitress that suggested a spot for me to go snorkeling at. It, apparently, was a place that for the most part only the locals know about. I discovered that fact when other waitresses started talking to her in a slightly annoyed tone about how she shouldn't be telling me how to get there. Regardless, that pretty much setup my day. I decided I was going to go snorkeling :-).


Following breakfast I started driving to the suggested spot and stopped by a place that rents snorkel gear. Once I'd gotten that I continued on a long road that led to one of the corners of the Ramrod Key. Having found the spot she had mentioned, I jumped in and started swimming around. It wasn't quite as spectacular as the coral reefs offshore (I've seen them on the Discovery Channel) but considering the fact that I don't I have a boat (or the money to rent one) it was still really cool. I saw some really big lobsters, crabs, and a bunch of other sea life. There were also two sunken vehicles that had rounded a corner too fast and ended up underwater. One of them looked like a bus; I'm not sure what the other one was because it was half buried.


Once I finished exploring the area I decided to check out the place that the snorkeling shop had recommended - Bahia Honda State Park. There was an entry fee, but it was for the most part worth it. Snorkeling in the ocean there, the sea life was sparser (probably because it was a beach). However, when I found some it was almost more interesting than the earlier spot. I saw some of the really brightly colored saltwater fish (think Nemo) as well as some interesting coral-looking things. Once I was done snorkeling (I think I snorkeled for probably four or five hours today) I sat on the beach for a while. Following that I went walking around - I walked up to the old Bahia Honda Bridge and saw that, and then I wandered around the rest of the beach exploring. Finally, thoroughly exhausted, I decided to return to drop off the snorkel gear and return to my campsite.


I spent the remainder of the day sitting in my chair watching the ocean and the sunset. There were a huge number of hermit crabs that walked by on the shoreline (at least 20). Oh, my campsite is about 10 feet away from the ocean's edge :). I got up and walked along the shoreline for a while too - where I saw even more interesting animals. There were small crabs (and a couple of larger ones), hermit crabs, birds and other weird animals. It was all really cool.

The sun down and temperatures finally dropping, I'm off to bed.

June 18, 2006


Today sucked. I left the Keys, and for the first couple of hours everything was nice and sunny. I managed to take I-75 most of the way west across the Everglades without any problems too. The scenery was pretty interesting along the way. After that it started raining - a lot. I wasn't able to make it all the way to Tallahassee because I had to go slow, and once I even had to stop under an overpass. There I met a group of guys that went to school in Florida and were attempting to transport a couch (without a tarp) in the back of a truck. Needless to say, they were still there when I continued on my way. As we were waiting under the overpass we saw a white car about a half mile up the road lose it and do a bunch of 360's down the interstate. Amazingly he didn't hit any other cars, and ended up on the shoulder. He paused and then started driving again. That had to be fun...

Once the rain let up some I continued on my way again. I eventually made it out from under the storm and found an RV park where, since it was starting to get dark, I decided to setup my tent and go to sleep. I was still two hours away from Tallahassee.

June 19, 2006


Today was much better - the weather was nice, which made things a lot easier. I basically drove right through Tallahassee without stopping, since I still want to try to stay close to my itinerary. I made it to New Orleans without any trouble, where I immediately realized that they were far from having recovered from Katrina. I have yet to make it all the way downtown, but suburbs are still complete disaster areas. People are living in tents and motor homes in their yards, and most buildings are uninhabitable. It's really the epitome of a catastrophe.

There isn't any place to camp anywhere near here as far as I can tell, and so I found a relatively cheap motel to spend the night in. I'm tired, and I'm going to bed.