Florida: Our Journey to Key West

Throwback Thursday: May 2011

As a traveler, I’ve always loved going on road trips. Sometimes it makes sense, and other times when it doesn’t. This was one of those times where it made little sense, at least not the way I did it. Oh, I have learned from my mistakes, but I decided anyway to drive from Fort Lauderdale to Key West and back in one day. This is about a 4-hour drive each way, and the way back was not forgiving. But I still had an amazing time that I will never forget.

key West Florida Marina

Water Spouts

Key West Florida Water Spouts

While the drive down was long, it was definitely interesting. Driving from key to key, there were water spouts off in the distance. Before this trip I had never seen a waterspout or even a tornado. These were so awesome to see firsthand and it was definitely worth the stop off the road to get closer. They were surreal.

Car Damage

You can’t have a road trip without a little something going wrong. Whether it is a flat tire, a radiator not working in the dead heat of summer, or a clutch going out, things seem to happen. Luckily for me it was just a loose strip of tire smacking hard off the road and into the bumper of the car. It still freaked me out not knowing what made a loud thump on the front of the car. So sure enough, after I pulled the car off of the freeway there was a nice crack in the bumper. I had no control over the damage and was hoping I wouldn’t get charged for it.

Rental Car Damage

I told Brianna that if they didn’t charge us for it I would buy a drink for us on the plane. Not knowing whether I would be charged for it later down the road, I didn’t jinx it and waited until our next flight to Colorado for Christmas. Then I got drinks on our 6 am flight. This completely threw off the flight attendants at that hour and as a result, they completely forgot to charge me.

Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe Key West

Since this trip was for my 10-year anniversary of being together with Brianna, we were definitely living it up. We had to stop at the Hard Rock Cafe as it is one of those novelty things you do as a tourist. After having some burgers and drinks, we set off to the Southernmost Point of the continental U.S.

Hard Rock Cafe Key West Florida

Southernmost Point

Why would I want to go to the southernmost point in the US? Because it’s there. There was nothing special about it – it is just a monument – and I’ve been to other such points in the US. However, thinking about how I was only 90 miles from Cuba got me thinking about going to other countries, especially the closer ones. It still took us another 4 years after this trip before we went to Japan, my first country outside the U.S.

Southernmost Point Key West Florida

Key Lime Pie

This was a must for this trip and for Florida. Without it, it would be kind of like going to Chicago and not getting deep-dish pizza. We found it at Kermit’s Key Lime Pie. We ate it, and we definitely enjoyed it. We’ve since gone gluten-free, but still seek it out when it is available in a gluten-free version. Yum!

Kermit's Key Lime Pie Key West Florida

Sunset Sail

Going on a sunset sail was a surprise anniversary gift for Brianna. Getting out on the water is a must for this kind of trip. The tour included hors d’oeuvres, wine, “sneaky tikis,” and beer. The crew of the boat was amazing, and I’ll never forget it. Brianna had a great time too.

We bumped into someone on the boat for some casual conversation, and Brianna mentioned the Aerosmith lyric, “life is a journey, not a destination.” The person thought that was the most profound idea ever. Ha! We still find so much truth in that statement.

We warmed up for the cruise by going to Fat Tuesday where you could get almost any drink you could think of in the form of a slushie. That seemed so different from anything we experienced locally, so we had to try it.

Afterward, we sobered up with some real food. Our night had ended, so we headed back to our hotel.

Driving Back to Hotel

After a long day of sun, fun, walking, and eating too much, I had to drive back. It was already late after the sunset sail, and I was completely exhausted. If I planned the trip better, a night in Key West would have been ideal. But instead I drove all the way back to the hotel – 4 hours away! – arriving there around 4 am. While this wasn’t ideal, we still had a very memorable time in Key West and we highly recommend going there if you get the chance. Just get a hotel there when you do.

Sunset Sail Key West Florida

What is one thing you learned the hard way while traveling? 

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One thought on “Florida: Our Journey to Key West

  1. Daytrips always seem like such a good idea until you have to leave! Sounds like a great day though 🙂

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