Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fantasy Fest in Key West

 Some time in late Oct. in the mid to early 80's one guy ask another to meet him down on Duval Street. when they met the one ask the other what he saw, and his answer was: nothing. Few tourists walking around, many of the shops closed. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, and the sun shining. The two men agreed they needed something to draw the tourists to KW in late Oct. There was very little going on in KW back then, most, or a lot of the shop owners closed their doors and took their vacations at this time because business was so slow.

 Thus Fantasy Fest was started, and today it is a 10 day event that has transformed into one of the busiest time of the year for everyone around KW. It starts off with Goombay, and ends up with the fat lady singing, and the parade on Saturday being the highlight. The party bounces from one business to another from day to day, each one hosting some kind of event, and the people dress for the event.

 Fantasy Fest is geared for adults, with a lot of people walking the streets going from one party to another, or one bar to another, dressed for the theme, or maybe a theme from past events. Many artists set up paint booths to paint themes using people as their canvas. Although it is illegal for people to walk around with paint being the only thing covering their bodies, it is accepted.

 If you happen to be lucky enough to be in KW the last week in Oct. don't be surprised if you happen to see a woman walking the sidewalks with her skin being the canvas for an elaborate painting. Some even get enough liquid courage to forget about getting the paint applied. The guys also get bold during the festivities, but something about men showing their genitals doesn't go over too well with the police, so the men have to cover that area.

 The parade we saw last night took about three hours from the time the first police escort passed us until the last entree walked by. This years theme was Habitat for Insanity, which opened the doors for a wide variety of floats. I am not one to stand three hours to watch a parade, but this one was interesting enough for me to withstand the pain of standing for such a long time, and I sure was glad that trash container was there for me to lean on.

 After the parade Duval Street turns into a big street party, but since we are not into bar hopping or getting drunk down town, we walked to Mallory Square and rested quietly watching the water. If you are interested in seeing pictures I'm sure a search on the net will show all you want to see. (Our cameras were in the rig.)

 Us having all our plans written on the "etch-a-sketch" I don't know if we will return for next years Fantasy Fest, but it is written on there right now.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Where does the time go?

 A week has passed since I last posted to the blog, I had big intentions of taking lots of pictures and posting everyday about the happenings here on KW. So Saturday I armed myself with fully charged batteries and my 4 gig memory card and headed for the heart of the action, Goomsbay!

 I was snapping pictures right and left, even over the top of the windshield of the jeep. We parked the jeep right on Duval Street and walked into the crowds of people and food. Lots and lots of food, all Escapees would be proud to see so much food. My problem was I think some of the piles of food were the same piles we saw Friday night. Although I never heard of anyone getting sick, never saw anyone barfing, or saw anyone that even looked like they weren't enjoying the food, I could see a pile of burnt sausages. I really think it was the same pile of burnt sausages I saw Friday night except today they had some cabbage grated on them.

 So here are some of the pictures, I will put captions on some and the rest will need none.

Here is Bahama Village where the music and festivities are for GOOMSBAY.

                                                                  FOOD ANYONE

  Bobbie has threatened me with Better Than Sex Cake, and has mentioned a few things better than sex, so when we saw the Better Than Sex Desert Restaurant I had to get a picture to post for her to see.
                              People walking down the streets of vendors on their way to GOOMSBAY.

 This building has three bars, The BULL, on the first floor,The WHISTLE STOP,on the second floor, and THE GARDEN of EDEN on the roof. The Garden of Eden is the clothing OPTIONAL bar where you don't have to hide behind the leaves.
                                                             HARD ROCK CAFE
                                               Key West's only "HIGH RISE" motel.
                                                        More of DUVAL STREET

                                THE SOUTHERN MOST POINT IN THE UNITED STATES
                                                           that is not on a military base
 You wouldn't think of a school being on KW, but they do have their very own High School on the island.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures because I quit taking my camera into town. When I have a camera strapped over my shoulder, or in my hands everyone treats me like every other tourist, but without the camera I kind of fit in and we get the "locals" discounts on almost everything. The mosquito pest control even gave us a couple cans of off because we were almost locals, even though I haven't seen a mosquito since we left Naples.

 Some time after the excitement of Fantasy Fest I will continue the blog, but for now this is it. I will need to spend every free minute resting for our next trip to Duval Street. There is so much to see and so much going on. The people in their costumes, or lack of a costume, or the paint job on the ones brave enough to walk around with just paint covering them. I spend way too much time and energy enjoying Fantasy Fest to let it be interrupted by sitting at the lap top.

 I will do a blog on Fantasy Fest, but it will be later, after I have recovered from the 10 day festival....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life on the Island of KW

We have been on Key West for 4 days, we have drove up and down Duval Street top-less in the jeep several times, We even walked it a couple times. You can see some really strange people walking Duval. We have also rode around the base, and have enjoyed the perfect weather. Today the high was 83, and the low tonight will be 76, so I am a HAPPY CAMPER.

 The cold I picked up a few weeks ago hasn't gotten any better so yesterday I went to see a doctor. I tried Monday but here you have to call at 7:15 to get an appointment to see a doctor, and I just drove over to their office. That is when they informed me about needing to call first, so yesterday I called and saw the doctor at 10 AM.

 He gave me several perscriptions to take, a Z pac, prednisone, mucinex, and a jell cap for the cough, so maybe the meds will kick in and I will be able to enjoy KW even more.

 The skis are still down, I am going to change all the fuel lines, the filters, and the gas. I got on a ski-doo forum asking for instructions and they gave me several things I need to do to get them running right. The bad part is here on the base you can't work on anything, so I will have to take them to the auto hobby shop on the next island up to do the things I need to do.

I guess that isn't too bad, at least the weather is good, no it is GR8................

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Key West Revisited

 After the comical day in Marco Island we left the west side of FL. We wound up at the casino on the corner of hwy 997 and US 41. ( I won't attempt to spell the name). Our day in the casino was as bad as our day on Marco Island, and wasn't near as funny, so we thought it best to get away from the casino.

 New Years Eve of 09 we spent in a Wal-Mart Parking Lot; trying to avoid being associated with the several other RV'ers that were there having a party. This Wal-Mart is on hwy 997 in Homestead FL just before you get to the Keys, and a great place to grab all the things you want or need from Wal-Mart before you go down into the Keys.

 Our plan on the "etch-a-sketch" was to stop there and spend the night, but (I'm glad our plans are written on the etch-a-sketch) as we pulled into the parking lot I see some new signs saying  "NO OVERNIGHT PARKING for TRUCKS AND RV'S."

 We had blown a fuse to the brake lights on the jeep so I needed to fix that, and I wanted to pull the skis with the RV and not the jeep any way so we switched things around, and I wired the lights on the ski trailer to fit the MH. By this time it was getting late so I ask Marcia to ask the manager about the signs. When she returned she had bad news The city / town / or what ever Homestead is has passed a law stopping any overnight parking in the town.

 With that news we had to choose between driving back 25 miles to the casino, finding an RV park there, or heading on down to the Keys. Charleen (our GPS) said we could get there by 7:30 PM which would be OK except the KENTUCKY WILDCATS was going to be on ESPN at 6PM. We decided to head to the Keys and stop at 6 (where ever we were) to watch the game.

 We was about 50 miles from KW when I stopped, Marcia went to get us a pizza while I got the TV set up to watch the game. The track-vision really made my job easy as I only had to hit the button once before it locked onto the satellite. Marcia returned with the pizza and we watched the first half while we ate. At half time I was thinking I should have kept on driving because South Carolina was running all over KY. SC had us 28 to 10, and we shouldn't have had the 10 except SC had three turn overs.

 I thought long and hard about forgetting the second half and driving on, but the BLUE BLOOD running in my veins told me to wait it out. After watching the CATS "come-back and take the lead with less than 2 minuets left in the game I was really glad we stayed and watched the rest of the game, and when KY intercepted a pass in the end zone with 4 seconds left I was flabbergasted.

 The 50 miles to KW from there was a breeze even after dark. Now we are sitting in the late arrival area on the base on KW. Tomorrow we will get signed in and set up for the next two-three weeks.

                                                                             GO CATS GO

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jet Skis, OH what a pain.....

 We picked up the jet skis Tuesday, drove down to Naples Wednesday, and met Wanda and Wallace on Marco Island today. They drove down from Bushnell so we could all go shelling today. We got there before they did so we unloaded the skis, parked the jeep, and while we were waiting I thought it might be a good ideal to try them out.

 Getting on one I started it and took off, just putting because of the no wake zone. I get about 200 yards out and it dies, so I run the battery down trying to get it started again. After a few minuets I got Marcia's attention and motioned for her to bring the other ski out to pull me back in. After several minuets I see she is still hanging out near the dock.

 About 15 minuets later the wind and current has taken me out of sight of the dock, and using my sandals as paddles wasn't getting the ski any closer to shore. I guess boaters are like bikers and RVers, because a hero pulled up and ask me if I wanted a pull back to the dock.

 Back at the dock Wanda and Wallace had arrived, and Marcia told me the battery was dead on her ski, and that is why she didn't come to get me. Oh well life goes on and we just take the bumps in stride. We loaded the skis back onto the trailer and took them to a repair shop.

 At the repair shop the guy caught one on fire, which was a good thing because the fire extinguisher on the ski didn't work, and he had one that did so he was able to get the fire out before is caused any damage to the ski. After two hours of working on them we know they need fresh gas. The 6 gallons each that we put in this AM was enough to revive the old gas that was in them, but we figured they would be OK and we would clean the filter bowl again tonight.

 With both skis running at the shop we decided to try it again, after all it was only 2PM and we had already paid the launch fee. So we drove back to the dock and put the skis back in the water. Marcia and Wallace attempted to get on one ski. When I saw how deep the ski went in when Wallace got on I knew we were in trouble. Marcia was leaning one way and when Wallace started to lean that way too the ski decided to let them both off as it rolled over.

 I knew I should have been passing the hat around because you couldn't have planned any better entertainment for all the spectators watching, but I was laughing too hard. With Marcia back on the ski and Wallace standing on the dock I had the bright idea of Me taking Wanda the 500 yards to the island, and Marcia could ride over and I would pull Marcia's ski back to the dock so Wallace could ride it over.

 It was a good plan, except when Wanda got on the ski behind me she didn't want to let go of the dock. By the time Wallace and I has convinced her to let go it was too late, and I went off one side and she went off the other side. Again nobody was there passing the hat.

 Now the thing that makes it really interesting is Wanda can't swim, or at least that is what she said. We had no worries because we all had on life jackets, and there was no way Wanda was letting go of that jacket. With her holding on to the jacket for dear life her feet naturally came to the top too. After we managed to get to to loading ramp she still could not get her feet to go down so she could stand up.

 She is 15 feet between me and the shore on the ramp, and I am standing in water about 3 feet deep. Wallace is telling Wanda to stand up, and Wanda is saying my feet won't touch the bottom. She was not letting go of the life jacket enough to help herself stand up until I got to her and helped her up. The crowd was really getting their moneys worth, and we were all laughing too, except Marcia because she had cut off her ski about 200 yards out and it now wouldn't start.

 I attempted to start my ski to go pull Marcia in, but my ski wouldn't start. We watched Marcia dig into the skis hull and emerge with a paddle. We had seen them while the guy was working on the skis. She didn't paddle too much before a boater pulled close to her and offered to tow her in.

 I am really glad that I have no pictures to share with you all, and after next week I will delete this blog and say it never happened. I am convinced that it is not the destination, but the journey that makes the stories.

Maybe I will do like the mechanic said and drain the gas tank............

Monday, October 11, 2010

Too long

 The title says it all, it has been too long since my last post, too long since I put any pictures up, too long since seeing friends and family, and too long feeling under the weather. The last one is the one that has caused some of the others.
 The doctors warned me when I was doing the radiation treatments that I would catch bugs easier, and keep them longer. Up until the past couple of weeks I haven''t been bothered too much by this, but this one has me thinking I need to see my doctor again. So I will have to decide if I want to hang around the Tampa area, or if I want to get enrolled in the Miami V A system, since we want to spend time in Key West and the East coast of FL. It isn't like I've been bed ridden, its more of a nagging cough and sinus problems.
 We took 8 days, staying at a couple different parks to get from Bushnell to McDill AFB in Tampa. A whopping 65 miles, but then it isn't as much the destination, as it is the journey. We have been enjoying the weather, and the area. FL has a lot to offer in things to do and places to see, and Oct is a good time to do it if you aren't disturbed by hurricanes, because there isn't many snow birds down this far yet.
 Monday we will be picking up two older jet skis that we found on Craig's List. The price was right and the skis are in really good condition for their age, (1996's).  We will see if the skis will fill the desire to have something to do keeping us from spending fortunes on the tourist trap excursions here in FL as well as down in the Keys. After all there is A LOT of water down there in the Keys.
We will be hanging out here on the Air Base for a couple extra days getting the skis ready before heading to Naples area for a couple days of shelling before we make it down to the Keys. I will try to do better on keeping up with the blog, and I'll try to put up more pictures, but then I have said that before and it hasn't worked out very well, so I guess I'll do what ever I do....................