Thursday, March 18, 2010

Key West - Sun, Fun and More!

After weeks of dreary winter weather, Lynda, Barley and I headed down to Key West in early March to spend a week with good friends in a vacation rental house. We loaded up my little SUV and set off for the two day drive - we were so excited at the prospect of warm weather and no chores!

Day one went without incident - we got as far as Gainesville, Florida and looked forward to the next day’s drive down to the Keys. The weather was already warmer! We spent the night at La Quinta Inn – this hotel chain is very pet friendly and has no issue with big dogs.

Day two, however, was a different story. Around lunch time, we pulled off into a Florida Turnpike rest area and I bought each of us a Stromboli from an Italian fast food place. I was not that hungry and found my Stromboli to be very unappetizing... In fact, it was room temperature instead of warm and I threw it away after only two bites. Aside from being somewhat peeved about paying $6 for a mediocre Stromboli that I could not bring myself to eat, all was well and we set off once more. It was within moments of Lynda taking the wheel to drive that it hit me - I felt a knot in my stomach and then, seconds later, it seemed that my diaphragm was completely constricted and I could barely draw a breath. I did not want to panic Lynda while she was driving, and I managed to voice a fairly normal sounding request that she pull off at the very next rest stop. Thankfully, she did not question why we needed to stop again so soon and so we pulled into the Port St Lucie rest stop.

By this time, within a few short minutes of the initial attack, I could hardly breathe at all and I was trying not to panic. Once the car was parked, I told Lynda to call 911, which she did immediately when she realized I was serious. An ambulance arrived a few minutes later and carted me off to the St Lucie Hospital. En route, the EMTs administered an EKG and took my vitals – all seemed normal except my blood pressure, which was elevated. At the hospital, the medical staff administered another EKG, drew blood, and took several chest and abdominal X-rays but none of these tests showed show any abnormalities. The doctor said all indications were that I was in excellent health. So, we talked about that darn Stromboli and she said that it must be food poisoning! No nasty things that we normally associate with food poisoning were happing to me… except unbelievable abdominal cramps that left me gasping for breath.

After four hours of observation, I was released and took a taxi back to the rest stop where Lynda was waiting with Barley (I had asked her to stay there with him). We were very glad to see each other! Apparently, Barley had made numerous friends while I was at the hospital. We set off driving again for a while but I was still too sick to tackle the rest of the drive to Key West. So we pulled off and spent the night in West Palm Beach.

The next day, we set off for the final leg down to Key West and we were very happy to arrive and see our friends. With the help of Pepto-Bismol™, I recovered over the next four days. I have to admit, however, that the remnants of my food poisoning put a damper on my food and adult beverage consumption. But, maybe this was not a bad thing - Key West has other things to offer a visitor than just bars and partying!

Between us all, we had five dogs on vacation with us – they ranged from around 4 lbs to 70 lbs and we were quite a sight walking around town! We even took them up and down Duval Street, which is the very crowded main street for shops, restaurants and bars, and into the Jungle restaurant for dinner. We walked those dogs at least three miles every day and there were several days that we walked much further than that. They LOVED every moment of it!

Anyway, the highlights of our trip to Key West were hanging out with our friends, getting some good exercise walking around town, kayaking in the mangroves, riding the Conch train to learn more about the Conch Republic (Key West), visiting the Pirate Museum (which is moving to St Augustine in April), and exploring side streets and residential neighborhoods to view beautiful flowers and trees and see some beautiful old Key West houses. Did you know that the historic Old Town district of Key West contains the largest collection of wooden frame buildings in Florida? In fact, there are over 3,000 historic homes and historic sites in Key West, 300 of which are registered under the National Register of Historic Places.

Click here to view our Key West pictures..

Although many people think of Key West as a party destination, there is a much more to this community than bars and T-shirt shops!  Visit the Key West Attractions Association for more information.  For example, some attractions I did not see this trip but will be sure to visit next time include the Hemingway House, the Lighthouse and Keepers Quarters Museum, the Harry S. Truman Little White House, and the Heritage House. I also want to take a day trip out the Dry Tortugas on a catamaran... doesn't that sounds wonderful?

Yes, I definitely want to go to Key West again… but NO FAST FOOD STROMBOLI next time!


Anonymous said...

Your trip sounds wonderful except for the Stromboli.
I was just wondering yesterday about you both as there had been no new posts for awhile.
Glad to have you back. Carol

Consuelo Heath said...

Thank you Carol... we've been so busy getting ready to leave! Making curtains for the RV, getting my motorcycle license, having a yard sale, doing maintenance on the RV, etc. etc! Once we get going, we'll be making frequent posts with photos and info about places we've visited. Less than three weeks before we leave...stay tuned!

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