The Florida Keys to My Heart

For the next few weeks, I’ll be pulling out some random items from our National Tour that got lost in the shuffle. As you know, we traveled to 25 states during the months of September, October  and November.

In mid-to-late October, we were fortunate enough to be tooling around Florida, visiting some schools and getting some work done on the now-released Pete the Popcorn iPad version, available here. While we were there, we also took advantage of our proximity to one of my favorite places on the planet: the Florida Keys.

Driving down U.S. Route 1 all the way to Key West can take your breath away. It can also relax you… or get you drunk… or inspire your artistic side… or turn you into a Parrothead. Whatever happens to you, you’re going to love it.

Oh, but first, make sure you create a playlist of music like this. Blast it in the car.


The start of your scenic journey.


See all the State Troopers in a nice row? We went on the busiest weekend of the year: Fantasy Fest… all those extra people require all of these extra officers.


The first Key you’ll pass through, Key Largo.


Approaching Big Pine Key, you’ll see many road signs warning to slow down for Key Deer. The National Key Deer Refuge is here… and this is taken from their website:

The 84,351 acre National Key Deer Refuge is located in the Lower Keys on 25 islands and consists of a patchwork of small and large tracts of pine forest, mangrove forest, hardwood hammocks, freshwater wetlands and marine waters. Key deer are found on these 25 islands. The Key deer is the smallest sub-species of the Virginia white-tailed deer. Because the Key deer population is low and remains under threat of extinction from human interaction, the subspecies is federally listed as endangered. The current population is estimated between 600 and 750. Key deer can best be seen at dawn or dusk in the field at the far end of Key Deer Blvd. and along Watson Blvd. on No Name Key. 

I’ve driven down to Key West on a few occasions… and have never seen one of these little guys. Until this time. It was pretty cool.


What made it even better was this… a mommy deer.


And… the little baby deer…


Of course, traveling anywhere during election season, you’ll see plenty of signs. But I got a good chuckle out of this one… Scott Hopes for State Senator. I bet he does.


Approaching the No Name Pub, I really liked these signs. And it makes sense, doesn’t it?


Nothing worse than seeing a beautiful tree all marked up with crap.


We stopped at No Name Pub for a brew and a pizza. Part tourist trap, part local establishment, part awesome damn food. It’s definitely worth the trip… if you can find it. Accessible in Big Pine Key, you take a road to the right and end up on No Name Key, where you’ll find this gem. And bring a dollar bill that you won’t get back 😉


Will somebody buy this for me? I don’t know where I’ll drive it. But I want it.


Traveling in the Keys is great… but to make it even greater, camp! And send me the thank-you note later.


Fantasy Fest is just this insanely wild, adult-themed celebration of Halloween. It goes on for the entire week before Halloween, culminating in the biggest celebrations on the Friday and Saturday night before Halloween. Catch the parade on Saturday… and leave with a ton of beads. I opted for a pretty simple costume… and the ladies loved it!


These… er… ladies were out for a good time.


Seriously the best costume I saw because of it’s simplicity and dry humor. Watching this guy shrug at everyone was hilarious.


Prior to our departure on Sunday, we had to go read Pete the Popcorn at the Southernmost Point in the continental United States. Only 90 miles to Cuba…


But before we skipped town, we had to stop and grab a pizza from Mr. Z’s… I had it for the first time in 2004 and dream about it all the time. Just good, greasy, cheesy pizza.


Rarely do I get depressed at the end of vacations or getaways… because I always know the next one is just around the corner. But, making the beautiful drive back towards Miami, I do look at that blue water with a question in my heart, “how soon can I get back?”

For more of our travel-related posts, be sure to browse through our archives.

Talk to you soon!



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5 comments on “The Florida Keys to My Heart

  1. I know the feeling..i LOVE the keys!!! I would move there in a heartbeat if i could! US1 is always in the top 10 drives in america. I always just want to pull the car over on one of the bridges and just jump in! Lol I’ve stayed at that koa on sugarloaf…did you and joe get to walk out on old US1 at all? Part of it is accessible from the campground! Your pics are making me want to get back down there bad!!!!!

    • I loved the Free Shrugs guy! LOL.

      Our stay was so short that we didn’t have a chance to do much but sleep, Fantasy Fest and swim.

      But I know what you mean about moving there… I was on Craigslist scoping out jobs and apartments. LOL.

  2. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post
    was great. I do not know who you are but certainly
    you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

    • Thank you so much! Not famous… yet. But I do have a series of Children’s Books available for purchase. And one of them is all about kids offering encouragement to each other. And, let me tell you, your comment was very encouraging, indeed. Have a great night.

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