Keith Stokes'
Key West Trip
December 7-12, 2006
Day 1 - Naples, Florida
Day 2 - Fort Lauderdale - Key Largo
Day 3 - Big Pine Key & Key West
Day 4 - Key West
Days 5 & 6 - The trip home

The road trip began Friday. Since Sherry's convertible was in the shop, we had Jack's small SUV. Actually we were going to exchange vehicles anyway. We needed the room for our 4 suitcases, snacks, and huge cooler of sodas, ciders, and sparkling wines.

Our first stop was near Fort Lauderdale, Florida at Palace Indian Restaurant. Sherry had been craving Indian food and normally has no one to go with. It was a good meal and I think Sherry will stop there again with her girlfriend from Fort Lauderdale.

Waiting for the boats to pass at the drawbridge, before we cross over the Intracostal Waterway on Highway A1A

After lunch, Sherry continued to drive and I navigated. We had plenty of time, so we decided to go along the ocean on A1A through Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Bal Harbour, and Miami Beach. South Beach looked interesting with fine shopping and I bet that Sherry ends up there some other time.

Resort along A1A (Ocean Drive)

Then farther south, taking the alternative Card Sound Road and stopping for a drink at Alabama Jacks. Jacks is a canal side dive near the bridge over Little Card Sound. The seating is outside and we were watched by hungry blackbirds as I tried conch fritters for the first time. And probably the last.

Keith and Sherry at Alabama Jacks

Blackbird eyeing my conch fritters

Then over to Key Largo where we caught up with Highway One. We first stopped at the wrong resort, but finally found the Key Largo Grande, a new resort on the water. We had a lovely room with luxurious beds, pillows, towels, etc. My only gripe was the poor Internet service (for which I had to pay $10).

For supper, Sherry picked the nearby Ballyhoos where we both had all you can eat stone crab claws. Good, but I like crab better warm rather than cold.

Then we went in search of night life. The bartender at Ballyhoos, had suggested the outdoor bar at the nearby Holiday Inn, but It was a piano bar with music for folks a generation older than us.

The bellboy at our hotel had previously told us there were more interesting spots about mile 82 (15 miles farther down the keys, so we headed on down. Nothing looked great on the way down, but we decided to give a few places a try on the first back.

The first place was the World Famous Tiki Bar. The bar was slow, but the band was supposed to start soon so we ordered drinks. The bartender was surly with Sherry, and my margarita had ounces of salt around the rim, so it started with two strikes against it. The band was more enthusiastic than good - they were very young. We listened to 4 songs, then headed on to a place that the Tiki Bar's bouncer said would have a band.

The third time was the charm. Hog Heaven Sports Bar & Grill was lively and more friendly. We played some foosball (we tied) them moved to the water front deck just before the band began. Much better than at the other bar. We stayed until midnight, getting to the bartender and other folks. There wasn't much dancing and only a tiny dance floor, but I danced for the first time in years - with Sherry and an attractive Brazilian woman at the same time.

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