Travel Journal

Beaches, strip joints, clothing optional bar to a cracked rib…

(Friday 11 May 2012) by Karen O'Shea
Florida Keys

These are a group of islands all linked together with bridges. 42 bridges to be exact. Some of the islands are really skinny and small and some are larger. One of the bridges is 7 miles long, a little longer than;-)

So it was a hell of a long drive to get here. But the scenery was amazing on the way, all aqua coloured beaches. We arrived late in the evening so it was straight out after setting up camp next to the water,(I hoped tonight would not be the night I started to sleep walk… to check out the town of key west. The last few weeks on this tour have been all about cities, towns and beaches. No national parks here but I will be back on them on the northern part of this trip which I am looking forward too, (mainly to balance out all the good food and booze I am consuming……;-);-);-)

The second night we spend on a catamaran sailing around the keys watching the sun set. (I will get to the first night later…… My word did the weather change later, had to really batton down the hatches on the tent. Thunder and lightning all night long no let up at all, and then the heavens opened near dawn. I must admit I really enjoyed the weather, I have always been in the comfort of home during this weather, but here I was with a plastic sheet between me and the elements and I really got a buzz out of it. It was fun trying to dismantle the tent and pack all the gear up…talk about working against the clock.

Miami (Florida)

Miami is always portrayed as a sunny warm place. When we arrived it was hot but with thunder storms. To be honest we have been lucky with the weather most of the way. We got rained on twice once in San Diego, the night before in Key West, also ended up in a snow storm and a sand storm in the desert and now the thunder storms. But I loved it all, gotta take it all, its part of the package. Just had the one night in Miami so strolled around between the showers. Miami is full of beautiful people, really pretty girls, hot guys, drug lords and sports cars.:-)

We tried to get into this swanky cocktail bar. But we had no joy… firstly we were not on the guest list and secondly she told us there was a dress code…….formal wear….and if we wanted to go home and change….bla bla bla …………….in a nut shell it was a polite way of saying………… “Are you serious????”

The following day we strolled around the beach. We were actually staying on Miami Beach itself. It’s a 10 mile strip in length and one mile in width. Really pretty alright. Some of the buildings are pretty. They are from the art deco era of the 50’s. It’s how they thought future buildings would look.

No sign of horatio from csi Miami. Also missed Grissom in Vegas. And couldn’t track jr or “swellen” down in texas….. don’t know where they all got to and I told them I was heading their way…

St Augustine florida

On the way to here we stopped off at the JFK space centre in Cape Canaveral. Didn’t go into it as we were pushed for time but it was good to actually see it anyway. Getting to the cracked rib/dislocated shoulder/some muscular inflammation… My back was sore from the god dam bed in the hotel I stayed in in Miami (which used to once be owned by al Capone), anyway the bed was missing about 6 pieces of timber under the mattress)…so there was a big hole in it, (maybe al used to hide some amo there), but it was kind of comfy anyhow…no fear I would roll out…fall through maybe.:-)

Yeah so my back just needed to be stretched, something simple. Yeah but when did I ever do simple, so Hannah my roomie/tent buddy/nurse/jillaroo/masseuse……………not chiropractor repeat not chiropractor decided she knew how to sort it out, and that she succeeded in doing but popped something in the process...funny how it happened alright. So I stunk of deep heat for a number of days…anyway a couple of days later I heard another pop and I was back to normal….no idea what we did but all good now. ;-)

St Augustine is a lovely little town on the river. It’s got very old quaint buildings. And a fort where we saw some demonstrations of old rifles they used years ago. Also stopped by the fountain of youth. I drank from it, you won’t know me when I return.;-)

Charleston South Carolina

Another lovely town, full of art galleries and more quaint buildings. And what great accents they have, pure awesome.

Fayetteville North Carolina (state no 14)

Fayetteville was just a quick overnight stop on our way to Washington. But as we were there anyhow. We went to a diner. Where if you succeed in eating a 50 oz burger, 24 oz drink and portion of chips within 30 mins you can have it for free. Oh god guys. 3 of our guys decided to do it. Fair play to them. Omg the burgers looked vile. Anyway to cut a long story short none of them succeeded although they did try, changed colour a few times in the process. Even the waitress brought over a big wheelie bin to the table just in case. They looked in pain is all I can say, hell I felt in pain for them. They left the table fairly lively when the 30 mins were up……and use your imagination for the rest….. (turned out the diner closed down 3 days later…….);-);-)

Hello Washington Maryland

Strolled around the city at night when we got there. The national mall is a long lawn with the Lincoln memorial on one end and Capitol Hill on the other. Some of the campsites we are staying here in the states are truly amazing. Free wi fi, swimming pool, hot tub, restaurants with free re fillable coffee…I love it. When I think of camping I think of some of the very basic sites we have at home…..(guys remember camping on the aran islands…………lol).

So day two of Washington we hit some of the Smithsonian institution museums. Apparently Smithsonian was an English dude who willed $4.1 million in 1826 as he wanted to increase peoples knowledge. There were so many museums to choose from and the best part is they are free. Fantastic.

Started with the national air and space museum which was interesting. This is where I should be writing about what I learned and all that stuff but I went on a flight simulator. Oh my god I cried with the laughter. Myself and nikki could not get the swing of it at all, we were upside down or on or sides all the time. We couldn’t stay the right way up. My jaws were so sore from laughing….even as I write this I am still laughing. Such fun.;-)

Next museum was the national history. They had the most amazing photographic exhibition of animals in the wild. It was my highlight. Next stop was the US holocaust memorial museum. This was interesting especially ‘David’s story’. It was told through the eyes of a Jewish child. I thought it very moving. What I think I found more moving was some of the photos from Bosnia Herzegovina, Serbia. These photos are so recent. It’s shocking that this ethnic cleansing still exists today…:-(

Onwards we go….went to see the O’Bama’s. When we arrived at the white house my response was IS THIS IT ????? I was disappointed I was expecting the lead up to be like the mall on the way to Buckingham palace. Turned out we were at the back door. So around the front we go. Much more impressive.

Arlington cemetery was another good stop. It’s full of white headstones from soldiers who have died in combat. I had seen it on TV before. Also saw where JFK was buried. Wanted to see the Vietnam War memorial as I saw how the Vietnamese did their memorials I just wanted to see how the other side portrayed it. And wanted to see iwo jima, which is a war memorial to the marines, it’s a sculpture of the marines raising the flag…it’s a famous photo, but time was so against us.. I really enjoyed Washington.

For the fun of it I bought the Washington post from a dollar machine on the street as it was the thing to do. Attempted to read it on the escalator just to annoy people…….very funny. Then I attempted the cross word on the subway, such a laugh, you know when you’re in a giddy humour and you fall about at the silliest thing, well that’s what the day was like. Some places I would have liked to have stayed longer but just not possible…….or I would be touring the states for about two years…..:-):-)

New York

Didn’t want to reach New York as it meant the five weeks of this leg of the tour was up. And six of the salty crew would be heading home, leaving six of us behind to do the north leg. The goodbyes were horrible. I honestly thought when I left home that that would be the only time I would get choked up on goodbye, wrong, it doesn’t get easier. I was so sure it would. But the goodbyes from Asia, Australia, New Zealand and now the US have been rough. It’s amazing how close you get to people when your stuck on a bus, camping, really living in each other’s pockets. But I suppose if I didn’t feel anything it would be so much worse, because I have really met some great great people, some of which I know I will see again.;-);-);-);-);-);-)

Well New York is New York. Went to tiffany’s, Rockefeller centre, ground zero, battery park, times square. Got to Yankee stadium to watch the base ball but the tickets were too expensive, so we watched part of the game in the bar next door along with a couple of hundred others who wouldn’t pay the money. So after 5 weeks, 18 states and 10,500 km on the road I finally made it from LA to New York!!!!!Pretty awesome. Did I mention I knocked my filling out of my tooth………just add it to the dodgy rib……….and broken camera lens.

So finally for you Mandy ………………………

From the start of my trip last November I always went with the expression………..”When in Rome”. So to cut to the chase, Night no one in Key West, we accidentally stumbled into a strip joint………….where I thought I would have to get an inhaler from the laughter…priceless!! ;-)
Just to follow the theme of the night we than ended up on a rooftop bar where “clothing was optional!!!” (so not the queens), My god do you know how difficult it is to have a conversation with a naked people in a bar……… idea what we talked about as I was keeping firm eye contact……I did wonder a number of things, like where is your wallet and do they bother ironing their clothes before coming out?????….the name of the bar for anyone interested was…the garden of eden ……

So on that note folks………Ciao!!!!!!!!!

p.s. tried to upload photos for this entry but the connection is brutal...will upload at later date.:-)

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