Sunday, March 23, 2014

Snowbirding in Florida Keys - 1997

We had such a great time in the Florida Keys in 1996 that we decided to make the long drive down there again in 1997.  Once again we arrived without reservations and managed to snag 3 months of combined time in Bahia Honda SP, Long Key SP and Pennekamp SP.   We were limited to two weeks at a time in each park and we bounced back and forth among them for our time down there.  We only spent 2 weeks in Pennekamp SP since they were having electric power problems.

Our favorite park that year was Bahia Honda SP since we managed to snag a waterfront site 3 times.  How could we not love it down there with scenery like the pictures below.

Bayside beach photo taken from bridge

Sunset over the bay

Barbara and the grandkids came down without Henry this time.  Notice the Easter eggs on the table.  We dyed the eggs the previous night with the kids and then hid them around the campsite.  The g'kids were up early to look for the eggs and that meant we were up early, also.  You can tell from the angle of the sun how early it was.

 We walked out onto the old railroad bridge to take this photo.  It was a railroad bridge first and then when the Flagler Railroad went bankrupt, the state of Florida bought the rights to the line.  They built a structure over the railroad bridge and converted it into a highway bridge.  It must have been scary driving over the bridge since it was so narrow and the guard rails were flimsy.  The Buttonwood Campground is in the background on the left and you can almost see our campsite.

Jared, Sean, Barbara, Ryan (without shirt) and unknown kid on the bridge

 Barbara, Sean, Stephanie and Jared enjoying some bonding time in the motorhome.  Aren't they the cutest little kids you have ever seen?  They were there for Spring break and ran us ragged with all their energy, but we had a great time.

 We didn't have cell phones back in 1997 and would arrange for the kids to call us on a pay phone in the park on Sunday at a set time.  It was always an iffy situation since there were other campers using the pay phones and we would sort of stake one out and hold it until our call came in.  We had to stand out in the hot sun for the calls, but it was worth it to chat with the kids.  It would be next to impossible to do this nowdays since it is very unusual to find a pay phone in a campground. 

 There was a mini tornado that went through the Keys that year and it hit the Marathon Marina really hard.  We couldn't get into the area for a while but finally we stopped by to check out the damage.  There were a number of boats sunk including the one in the picture.

After Barb & kids left the Keys we began a slow journey north and stopped in Orlando, FL to visit with my cousin Jim.  Jim is standing next to me with the blue jacket.  He works for Disney World and is one of the original workers when they opened the park.  His specialty is the sound tracks for the parades in the part of the parks where all the shows are.  At that time he could get free tickets for us and we went there for a number of years.  That all came to an end one year when some people abused the free tickets.  Too bad for us.

Me, Jim, Gerry and a detective arresting Gerry

After the Disney visit with Jim and his family we slowly continued our trek north.  Back then we only spent 3 months on the road for our Florida trip.  Those were great times and we really loved the Keys.

Meanwhile, back to the present time.  For some reason our neighbor to the left pulled out early this morning, heading for Minnesota.  They still had a week or so left to their reservation time, but left early.  I can't imagine driving back to Minnesota and shoveling snow after all the great weather we've had here in Arizona.

It was another basketball feast for me today.  I watched a number of the games and there were some great ones.  The Arizona Wildcats dismantled a good Gonzaga team today in an easy fashion.  I expected it to be close, but they pulled out to an early lead and were never in danger of losing the game. 

That was our day here in the desert, how was yours? 


  1. I love reading about your visits to Florida. I still prefer Arizona though and I can't imagine already heading north. It's still cold and snowing in Montana. No way.