Key West then out west.

In the last post, I said that there were alternative plans for Kelley’s 60th birthday. Well here’s the second part of that plan, after all, this was her birthday month.

One of the 42 bridges on the 113 mile drive down to Key West.

We thought on our way up to see the kids in Arizona we would do a little side trip for a drive we’ve been wanting to do for some time now. So we caught a flight to Miami, rented a truck, tuned in some Margaritaville, threw on our flip-flops, and headed down Highway 1 to Key West for a little more birthday celebration.

Now that’s a lobster!

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for the drive down. Of course, everywhere you looked there were seafood restaurants and beach-themed stores selling anything that had to do with the sunny beachy lifestyle of the Keys. There were some gift shops you just had to stop at, especially when they have a giant lobster out front.

Stone crab season had just opened, so of course we had to have some.

We avoided the bigger touristy restaurants and bars, but instead chose the more local looking places that had more character. There were more fresh seafood choices than you could imagine and of course when in Key West we had to have some key lime pie. We ended up finding some nice little places that overlooked the water where we could grab a cold drink, watch the boats, and check out all the big Tarpon that cruised around the docks.

There it is, the original boat from the movie.

For the most part, we just drove all the way down to Key West stopping at State Parks and checking out interesting watering holes along the way. The only tour we did was a cruise on the original “African Queen” from the 1950’s movie. We thought it would be cool to take an actual cruise on this piece of movie history, and it really was. The boat was built in 1912 in England and then shipped off to Africa where it worked until it was picked up in the 50’s for the movie “The African Queen” starring Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn.

We’re not quite Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, but we are on the same boat.

It is an amazing 5 ton steel hull boat with a coal boiler that in turn runs a steam engine. For the tours, they just had a small outboard motor that powered it. They said it was just impractical to keep the boiler fired up all day long to run the engine. The engine did work though, and the captain did take the break off the prop shaft so we could see the engine turn over as if it was actually running on steam.

The steam engine and the boiler on the African Queen. Extremely cool!

After the movie was done, the boat was purchased and shipped to a company in San Francisco in the late 60’s. Then in the 80’s it was sold to someone in Florida where they now conduct tours. I know a lot of people have never seen the movie “The African Queen”, but it’s a classic movie that’s worth checking out.

Stacks of boats everywhere.

If anyone can ever have boat envy, this was the place to have it. Most of the boats in the Keys were center console fishing boats from small to very large. There were boat dealers on just about every corner it seemed. A lot of them had yards full of new and used boats and some even had racks where the boats were stacked 3 stories high.

My dream fishing boat.

Most of the bigger center console boats were usually running four 450hp+ outboards. The one running four outboards was well over the million dollar mark. I knew we’d never have one of those boats, but it was still fun to imagine cruising one of those big horsepower boats around the Caribbean doing a little island hopping.

Our hotel in Marathon about halfway down to Key West.

It was a great side trip down to the Florida Keys, but now it was time to continue on to Arizona to see the grandkids and prepare for Halloween.

Grandkids Tyler, Allison ,and Luke are all dressed up and ready for Halloween.

This year the kids dressed up as a police officer, a little witch, and a stick figure. The boys were super excited to get started, but the little witch Alli had just woken up and it took her a little bit to get going.

Ever since I can remember we have had a big Halloween party, but since we moved out of the States some 15 years ago we have passed all our decorations on to our son and his family.

Our son Randy ‘aka Doug from Liberty Mutual Insurance’ electrocuting a naughty nun. I’m sure she didn’t deserve it.

Over the years, they have acquired more Halloween stuff than you can imagine, luckily they have a place to store it. In fact, they have to use a forklift to put pallets of stuff up on racks in the shop, plus they have a room full of all the latex creatures in their house.

The aliens have landed.

This year some new additions were a spaceship complete with aliens, flashing lights, and a fog machine under the spaceship for effect. Another new one was a couple of old skeletons watching a bony dancer on a pole.

Just a couple of guys and a dog enjoying a good dance.

Of course, there were coffins, hanging heads, hillbillies roasting a corpse, a train full of zombie babies being attacked by giant spiders, an electric chair (that really works), and many more things around the yard.

Getting ready for a big barbecue. Yes, this is a moving prop that actually rotates around.

Another addition this year was an old couch they refinished, which made for the perfect spot to get your picture taken.

The great purple couch where I was an alien butcher from the Alien Sausage Company and Kelley was a baked baker handing out free brownie samples.

It’s always a great party seeing the decorations and the creativity everyone puts into their costumes. We are so happy that they continued the tradition and really get into the spirit of Halloween. After all, we are “The Adams Family”.

A picture with the grandkids.

We had a great time in the Florida Keys, a lot of fun with the grandkids, and of course, the Halloween party where we got to see a lot of our friends. Now it was time to head back to the jungle to get back into our routine and relieve Amanda of garden duties.

Until next time remember…it’s a big world out there, get out and explore!


One thought on “Key West then out west.”

  1. Family did great with Halloween. Cholla Bay is getting bigger and better every year. The kids have such a great time. And of course the adults. Chili, cornbread โ€ฆ chips and salsaโ€ฆ dessert and a few cocktails. Thx for sharing. ๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿผ

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