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FL Day 4: Leaving Key West...Twice

It was Sunday morning and time to leave sunny Key West. We packed up and hit the road fairly early for a leisurely but long trip to Crystal River. We took some pics of the scenery along the way.

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In Islamorada, we stopped at a souvenir shop and this is where the course of the day changed. I paid for my souvenirs but when Brenda went to pay for hers, she realized she did not have her wallet. The last time she remembered having it was at dinner the night before at Alonzo's. So we gave them a call and unbelievably, our waiter had retrieved it from under the table and put it somewhere safe. This of course meant that we had to drive two hours back to Key West (four hours round trip) to pick it up. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper and didn't talk much on the way back.

After the long interruption we finally made it to Key Largo where we had reserved a boat tour through the mangroves with Captain Sterling's Eco Tours. Our ride was waiting for us.

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We took some tasty beverages with us on the tour.

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I thought we were taking an airboat tour but in this part of the everglades, airboats are not allowed. So we putt-putted around in our pontoon boat and made our way through the mangroves.

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A couple of birds were hanging around.

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And some iguanas which are not endemic to Florida. Our guide told us that the iguanas in Florida came from personal aquariums.

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We made our way to the canals to see if we could find any manatees.

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A couple of guys were cleaning their boat and a manatee came up to drink the clean water.

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Just outside of Key Largo, we stopped for a quick dinner at Alabama Jack's. I had read about this hole-in-the-wall place on Trip Advisor. It was supposed to be a must-stop. I wasn't impressed. There was a decent band playing but the food was nothing special (and I don't usually complain about anything fried). There was one old lady out there dancing by herself in some kind of square dance outfit. She seemed to be pretty well-known. There were pictures on the wall of Kathie Lee Gifford dancing there with her husband a billion years ago. I guess that's their claim to fame. It's one of the few times Trip Advisor has let me down.

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We left there after dinner with a long drive still to go to Crystal River. Almost immediately after crossing onto the mainland we got stuck in a major traffic jam on the Florida Turnpike. This delayed us another hour. By now, we're a good five hours behind schedule and I'm pretty tired of driving. And what the hell is the deal with the lack of places to go to the bathroom on the Turnpike? In Texas, there are gas stations and bathrooms every few miles in most places. But not in Florida. I had to pee on the side of the road at one point. We pulled into Crystal River about 2 a.m. and set our alarms for 5 a.m. We had to be up early to swim with the manatees.

Posted by zihuatcat 21:12 Archived in USA Tagged keys florida brenda

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