This is the third of three installments that describe our min-vacation to South Florida & Key West. Most of the photos you see were taken by our friends David & Deb who were kind enough to share them with us for our blog.
Thursday was get-away day where the only trip into town we needed to make was to the post office so we could mail home photos that were too large to be packed safely in our luggage. It was nice to ride along the Atlantic at Key West one last time and I’m pretty sure we’ll make the trip back at some point in the future! Once back at the hotel we had our final breakfast on the rear deck and then returned to our room where I made quick work of getting us packed for the trip home.
I had the bike loaded and on the front portico by 10:30am and we were joined shortly thereafter by David & Deb. After checking out and binding a fond farewell to our Check-in Host Angel, we pointed the Harley’s into the wind as we headed East North East on Route 1 and the Over Ocean Highway. In addition to a fairly stiff headwind we also were treated to a couple small rain showers and wet roads where showers had passed just ahead of us, which made for a bigger mess of the bikes than the little showers we encountered en route. Thankfully, nothing so hard or long that we’d need to break out the rain gear we’d packed in part to ward off the rain gods.
We stopped at the Islamorada Fish Company next to Wide World Sportsman for lunch on Islamorada where we had a nice meal as we watched them feed the Nurse Sharks in their holding tank along-side the outdoor tables. We had a few more sprinkles of rain during lunch, but a quick check of the radar showed the rain was behind us and that was a good thing.
The rest of our ride back into Homestead was pretty uneventful and the wind was now blowing in from slightly behind and to our right which was good because we were once again in a 65mph zone. It was far more enjoyable than the same stretch of road with a 20mph headwind.
After getting back to David’s mother’s house I shifting our gear from the motorcycle touring and saddlebags back into our suitcases for our final day in Homestead and the trip home on Saturday. For dinner we decided to check out the local On the Border to see how it stacked up against our OTB back in Kennesaw. Instead of taking the bikes we opted for the truck as I’d had more than my fair share of windblast for the day and the 42-mile round trip would be best taken via the Toll Road. It was good to to have some familiar food and drink but Debbie and I both over indulged a bit so we’re both on the same page when it comes to getting home and getting back into our regular eating patterns, perhaps with a bit more fish in our diet before we went to Key West.
We didn’t last long after we returned to David’s mother’s house and hit the sack before I feel too deeply to sleep on the couch.
I was up around 5:30 and did my best to quietly slip out of bed, get my laptop and exit the room without stirring Debbie. So, I had quite a bit of time to myself to begin tapping out my thoughts on our week-long vacation which at this point is well over 4,500 words. During our visit to Hemingway’s home it was said that Ernest Hemingway would try to write 750 words a day when working on a novel so I’m thinking I may need to redirect my energies towards some other type of writing!!
Our mission today was to make a trip up to the Everglades and take an air boat tour with the Missicaouga Indian crew at Buffalo Tiger’s on 8th Avenue in the middle of the Miccosukee Indian Reservation. We left out of the house around 10:00am and arrived around 10:45am.
The tour was only 45 minutes, but it was truly a bucket list item that more than lived up to and exceeded expectations. We had a small air boat and our tour guide – Ernie Red Wing – all to ourselves. It made for a special experience since he didn’t have to attend to the needs of a dozen guests, just the four of us.
During the tour he found five alligators that we had close encounters with, four of which he’d seen in the past and a new female gator with two young gators that was new to his little part of the Everglades. It was quite amazing to see how docile the gators were when they’re in a food rich-environment. Ernie noted the only time Alligators become aggressive is when food is scarce, when young gators need to be protected, or when they are agitated by humans or other predators.
He also took us out to the small island where Chief Buffalo Tiger was raised where we were also introduced to a large colony of wild raccoons who were essentially domesticated given all of the hand feeding they’ve received over the years. After giving us a brief tour of the four structures on the island, telling us their purpose and sharing some other history on Chief Buffalo Tiger’s efforts to have the Missocauga Indians recognized we hopped back on the air boat for a final trip back to the main dock, collecting a couple water lily flowers for the two Debbie’s along the way.
It really was an awesome experience and Ernie was a great guide. We visited the gift shop afterwards and picked up a few necklaces make with alligator pendants for the grandkids and another one for Debbie that had a lovely little silver dreamcatcher with a small stone heart and silver feather pendant.
We headed back towards Homestead for lunch and then dropped by the local Harley-Davidson dealership — Peterson’s South Miami — just to check that box. Dinner was a return visit to the Mutineer which was so-so after enjoying some really spectacular seafood down in Key West. The rest of the early evening was spent getting the trailer hooked up to the truck, the motorcycles on the trailer and then most of our luggage put in the back of the truck so Debbie and I could make an early departure on Saturday. David & Deb would be driving back to Marietta with David’s mom in her car.
Pretty much uneventful aside from the ubiquitous traffic jam on I75 heading into Atlanta. We made pretty good time, got lousy gas mileage and were back at home before 6pm. It was good to get home on Saturday knowing that we’d have all-day Sunday to get caught up on chores, etc. before we faced the start of the work week.
All-in-all, it was a really great time with really great friends.