Saturday, February 03, 2007

Key West

For the weekend my parents and I drove to Key West, FL. It is deceptively far, a bit over 400 miles away. It made for a long day of driving on Friday and return on Sunday, especially with intermittent rain.

We went to visit some family friends, neighbors of ours from years ago when we lived in California. They hadn't seen me in over 20 years! Jerry and Ann now live... in a mobile home, and tour around the country visiting RV parks.

I have never paid attention to RV's and mobile homes, other than noting their presence on the highway. But it turns out this is a major hobby/lifestyle for people, an entire subculture I had never noticed! During the drive, I noticed parks jammed with RV's, parks I probably would have glanced right over before.

Their RV was a giant (40 foot long) bus-sized vehicle parked for several weeks on a small island in Key West. They are 1 of 100 or so other families jockeying for position in a queue that determines who gets the "dry" hookup (no electricity or water) and who gets the "full" hookup (electricity and water). Due to demand, full hookups are cycled around so everyone can get a turn. While in the dry dock ;) they have to run a gas generator for a few hours a day to charge batteries to run the electricity for the refrigerator, TV, lights, AC, etc.

Other than that the mobile home had the comforts of a very small house: shower, tub, sink, kitchen, stove, closet, master bedroom, couch, etc. It was actually fairly comfortable, although I assure you I am hardly going to sell my house and move into one!

The RV Park had a few small common utility buildings with men's/women's restrooms and showers and laundry facilities. People in full hookup can probably just skip the communal areas, but everyone else in dry hookup has to schedule around. In practice it wasn't that inconvenient, just a short walk from their spot. Of course, RV'ing in North Dakota when it is 20 below zero is probably less enjoyable; on the other hand few others would likely fill a park so it would be easier to get a full hookup. ;)

Anyway, while we were there we toured around Key West. The main party street is Duval street, with shops and bars and restaurants. It looked like a cleaner less crowded New Orleans. We drove by Ernest Hemingway's house, did a short walking tour, and found the Southernmost Point marker:

Originally uploaded by klbarrus.
Gail made it all the way to Cuba... I just got within 90 miles.

Originally uploaded by klbarrus.
This island used to be a target for military exercises. Now it is housing for the rich and richer. ;)

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