This morning started with another spectacular sunrise which we were both up to enjoy after jet lag struck again last night. That and the dodgy internet connection were what sent me to bed early enough to have me wide awake at 5.30am. It was well worth getting up for, mind. Just look at this.
After admiring the view from our balcony for a while, doing 'stuff' on the laptop and packing up, we checked out of Vero Beach and headed off into the sunset. Literally. Keep reading and you'll see. We had a 308 mile journey ahead of us and we set off at about 9.30. We had the Tomtom set up, a huge map in the car, plus printed directions courtesy of Google maps. We did not intend to get lost.
It was a fairly uneventful drive. We used the Florida turnpike to get most of the way down and then switched to Highway 1 – not that there's much choice once you get to the Keys as there is only the one road. We stopped to stretch our legs at one point on the Keys scenic route and take a few photos of course.
I should mention that 'techno-boy' had struck again halfway down FL-91. He'd been messing with the settings on the Tomtom or the car – we're still not sure which – and something kept beeping. Very similar to the 'you haven't got your seatbelt on' type of beep. Three beeps, intermittently. Frequently. And very, very annoying. I do wish he wouldn't mess with buttons. Still, at least I should be thankful that when he found and pressed the button that opened the boot trunk, we were stationary.
I did have him worried at one point. I seem to have a bit of a reputation for doing a lot of scrapbook shopping on holiday. About forty miles north of Miami I was gazing out of the car window when I spotted, sitting in the middle of a strip mall, a scrapbook shop. I reacted by telling Stephen about it. I got quite excited actually as you don't spot them all that often. Poor man, he must have thought I wanted to go there as he started to explain, in a panicked sort of way, that the next exit was at least eight miles and he might not be able to find his way back to it and did I really want to go all that much out of our way. I think he thought I wanted him to just slam the anchors on so I could leap over the barrier, swim the wee canal and run over the road to get to the shop NOW THIS MINUTE. Oh dear. I may have dragged him to one too many scrapbook shops in the past.
But, on with our road trip. We'd had some toast and philly etc before leaving Vero Beach and started looking for somewhere to eat a late lunch as we were driving down the Keys. Then we spotted an Ihop. Aha I thought. Pancakes. Yum. So, we pulled in and managed to get seated where we could see the car as we were slightly paranoid about the fact that you could see most of the luggage due to the teeny trunk on this car.
Stephen had Mediterranean lemon chicken with broccoli and red skin potatoes with a side of onion rings. He said it was very nice.
I had Pumpkin pancakes – yum yum, which I'd been looking forward to for ages. I had the basic breakfast with those – eggs over easy, hash browns and those lovely little spicy sausages. Maple syrup on the pancakes, of course. I'll just share a photo of the pancakes here, but it was all delicious. Total bill was $26.
We left Ihop at 4.30 with 50 miles still to go and as we carried on down towards the Keys we came to Seven mile bridge. We'd seen some nice views as we'd been driving along but taking photos from the car on the bumpy road was a bit like trying to take photos while riding a bucking bronco. Not that I've ever ridden a bucking bronco but you get the idea. This one didn't come out too badly though and gives a fair idea of what it was like driving down there.
This was the last of the daylight and as we did the last twenty or thirty miles the sun set giving us a lovely welcome to Key West. There, told you I'd get to that, didn't I? We found our hotel fairly easily, despite the one way system and we only had to go round the block once after missing the turning. Check in was quick and easy, a nice young man took me and our bags up to the room while Stephen parked and once I was alone I did a happy dance as the room is stonking gorgeous. I'm sure Netflights made a mistake as there's no way I should have got it for the price I did. I mean, just look at this!
That chest to the right has a 40" flatscreen telly on it! There's free wireless internet. The beds are amazingly comfy and if you thought we'd had nice bathrooms up till now? Just look at this one.
Yeah, yeah, that is me standing in the bath. It's the only way I could get it all in. Lush, innit! And, right on Duval Street. There's even a Starbucks in the lobby. Heaven!
So, there's our day. Sunrise to sunset. From a lovely beach resort to a gorgeous city hotel. And three hundred miles in between. Tomorrow we explore.