Warning: This is a long one.
Florida... what an incredible state. I have been through 11 other states so far it is like no other place I have been. It is flat (REALLY FLAT) covered in little (and big) bodies of water, swamp and beaches plus palm trees everywhere and a tropical environment. Its like a peanut butter and banana sandwich, it does seem to go together until you taste it. This place is hot, HOT! and humid but the nights are glorious, with a nice ocean breeze. I couldn't see myself living here but I sure could come here to vacation, often. I am loving it so far.
My friend Melani has lived in Florida most of her life and I have been lucky to have her as my tour guide. She was gracious enough to give me a place to crash and feed me while I was in town. I am lucky to have the friends I have.
I have found that once I got rolling it has been hard for me to stay in one place for too long. I just want to keep moving and seeing. That has worked out perfectly here. Once I got settled and decompressed from the road we headed out to Key West. On the way we stopped in the Everglades to take a "Gator tour". Let me tell you, if you come to Florida that should be a must. You get to cruise around the swamp in an airboat and see alligators from no further away then a couple of feet. I got some really great shots.
From there it was off to the Keys. Just so you know, maps lie! If you look at a map of Florida the Keys look a short distance from Miami, but it takes 5 hours to get to Key West. What a trip. There is a bridge that is seven miles long, where you drive over nothing but water for miles. The water is breathtaking, soda blue and dotted with little islands (keys).
Key West was great. A cute little tourist town. It has the furthest point south in the US, which is only 90 miles north of Cuba. An entertaining little tourist trap street called Duvall St. where you can drop a pretty penny in no time. The butterfly conservatory where they breed butterflies and let them fly all over, what a wonderful experience. The west side of the island, by the docks, has a nightly celebration of the sunset. It is like a carnival experience, with live entertainment and food and shops. It is a lot of fun and Friday night on Duvall St is a lot like Bourbon St, it like one giant party. We rented and electric car and cruised all around, picked up a couple of people and ferried them down Duvall St just for the hell of it. Great times. Just as an aside, I checked the price of real estate while I was down there, the low end houses (shacks on the beach) were 450 and the highest house price I saw was 1.9.
After the Keys it was off to Miami and Miami beach. Mel promised that I would see a Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini and Rolls Royce while we were there and we did, within and hour. Sat on South Beach and then it was off to a Marlins game. I hate multipurpose stadiums. They just suck. Joe Robby Stadium is probably great for football but it sucks for baseball. Huge and not well set up, with crappy food. I was not impressed. The game was great and once again the home team won (that makes me 4 for 4). Today its a boat ride and alligator for dinner. Should be an interesting experience.
Sometimes there is little voice in the back of you mind that is telling you something and it is the wise man that listens to it. I bottomed out my truck on a huge (semi sized) pot hole while I was in West Memphis and I thought something might be wrong with the truck. That little voice told me to get it checked and I am glad I did. The impact actually bent something on the truck. I took it in and the wonderful people at the Toyota place where able to fix it and even gave me a deal on the service. You can't ask for much more and boy am I glad that I did take it in, I could just picture my wheel falling off in the middle of nowhere South Dakota. More to come.