Well, my first visit to Key West, Florida was quite an adventure! We took the BeeRV, and even with a blowout in North Carolina on one of the back dually tires, we made it in style. We limped to SC and got the tires replaced and then continued to Cape Canaveral to drop off the kids for a Disney cruise. Due to the delay, we had to drive down the Keys in the dark. The trip back was during the day, so we did get to see the wonderful view.

View from the pilot's seat of the BeeRV!

View from the pilot’s seat of the BeeRV!

It’s a long way down there on a two-lane highway. I can see why a lot of people stop at Key Largo or Islamorada. They get the ambiance of the keys and lots of amenities without the long drive.

That means missing out on the party that is Key West!

So, what’s a conch? It’s a shellfish indigenous to the Key West area and the nickname of folks who are from there or have been there twenty years or more. If you lived there less than 20 years you are a freshwater conch. Not sure what that means, but I think its a bit derogatory…

We arrived late on Saturday night, set up camp and just hung out at the campground. Boyd’s Key West Campground is the only RV park in Key West. It’s located just north of Key West on Stock Island, but is considered part of Key West. It’s about 6 miles from Mallory Square, which is the center of much of the tourist activity at Key West.

Sunset at Mallory Square!

Sunset at Mallory Square!

The park has a mix of long term snowbirds and transients like ourselves. It’s a bit pricey, $100 a night or so, but the closest thing you can find. Hotels run $300 and up on Key West, so it’s a little better than that! The sites are tight but they come out and help you back in. The guy told me he could tell it wasn’t my first rodeo…

Our campsite!

Our campsite!

On Sunday we hit up the Uber app, but there was nothing available. We called a cab and during the ride asked about Uber. He was proud to tell us that they ran them off the island. There are 72 permits to pick people up at the airport and when Uber came they couldn’t get any of those permits. When an Uber driver picked up two detectives at the airport, he was arrested and his car impounded! That’s why folks are still paying $20 for a two-mile ride from the airport. Uber was charging $9.

We went on the history tour and discovered that Key West was pretty much founded by smugglers and pirates. Seems like that hasn’t changed much! They even went so far in the 1800’s as to get a federal judge assigned to help them with the recovery of ships that sank off the coast on the reefs. Help them get paid for it that is…

Shipwreck observation point.

Shipwreck observation point.

Pretty sure they weren’t using the money they got to make the area safer for shipping.

I digress…we are here to talk about beer! I wouldn’t say that Key West is a hotbed of great craft beer. Like a college town, many of the patrons are there to get drunk and as cheaply as possible. And there’s a bunch of retirees with the same goal! There are several places with good tap selections and even a couple of brew pubs.

The best brew pub was Waterfront Brewing near Mallory Square. It’s a bit┬áconfusing what is going on since if search you Waterfront you get Shipyard Brewing. Not sure if they make their beer or just pulling some internet shenanigans…

Good beer here at Waterfront!

Good beer here at Waterfront!

Second place goes to Kelly’s Caribbean Bar and Brewery. In terms of history, it wins the prize. It was the birthplace of Pan Am Airlines and the bar looks like a wing. The kind you fly, not the kind you eat. I think I’d like to see a bar that looks like the kind you eat…

Food was good and there was an iguana about three feet long running around for entertainment. The beer was mostly out of stock but the two they had were drinkable. Go for the history and food. There’s more beer elsewhere.

The best tap bar was Krawl. It may be going out of business. The landlord wants to do something else with the property, so hurry up if you want to check this out. It was the only place I found on the island with Hopslam.

My look alike brother pouring beer!

My look-alike brother pouring beer!

Jerry vs Jerry...

Jerry vs. Jerry…

The Porch is much more mature and good for beer geeks/snobs. Lots of taps and great atmosphere. In Key West, everything has great atmosphere because it’s 70 there and -10 back home!

A couple of other places to check out in no particular order are: The Green Parrot, lots of locals; Sloppy Joe’s, Hemingway’s hangout; Capt’ Tony’s, the original Sloppy Joe’s; Hog’s Breath, bikers bar, and ; The Garden of Eden, clothing optional…

There’s more than craft beer in Key West as well. We went to the Dry Tortugas. It’s a day trip on a fast boat or a half day on a seaplane. We took the boat. It was a bit rough on the way back, but we survived with the contents of out stomachs, unlike several other passengers. The Yankee Freedom is a great boat with a wonderful professional well trained crew. Say hey to Jeff if you go!

View from the top of the fort!

View from the top of the fort!

There’s tons of shops and restaurants as far as the eye can see. If you are inclined towards the LGBT community there’s a whole section of the entertainment district aligned that way. Something for everyone, if you know what I mean…

We did a couple of museums about treasure hunting and ship wrecking…oops, I mean salvage…as well as general history of the Keys and even visited Ernest Hemingway’s home and office. Easy to find plenty to do in a week.

This is where Hemingway wrote in Key West.

This is where Hemingway wrote in Key West.

One thing you need to know before you go to Key West is that there are roosters running around everywhere crowing up a storm at all hours of the day and night! They were used as fighting cocks, but after cockfighting was made illegal, everyone just let them go.

Fake rooster vs real rooster...

Fake rooster vs. real rooster…

Next visit is going to be in warmer weather and involve some scuba diving on the reefs. I’m really looking forward to that! See ya then.

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

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