The Boatel “Stress Relief”
This is on my to-do list for sure! Though I’ve not done this, I have stopped by and walked into one of them docked here.
You can rent your floating boatel for the night, weekend or week here at Mile Marker 103.3 on the left southbound in Key Largo. You will see the sign for this and others like this on billboards at the entrance of highway US-1. This one is aptly named “Stress Relief” and would be a great change of pace from your standard run-of-the-mill hotel or motel. So do yourself a favor and spice up an evening of leisure upon one of these floating home away from homes beginning at $75 a night… go ahead, surprise your loved one with a unique night out waking to the salt air, ocean view hide-a-way for two! I’m sure you’ll be justly rewarded for your generosity!
On The Rocks Dolphin Sunset Gate
As if the drive through the Florida Keys wasn’t good enough! On your trip you’ll see some of the most unique, beautiful and sometimes strange looking gates you’ll ever find. So let’s go gate watching or is it gate sighting… who cares, just notice and enjoy the artwork of these overlooked features. There are literally 100’s of them in the Keys & Key West.
The first of these two you’ll come to is straight out of the 1988 Tom Cruise movie “Cocktail” called Cocomo’s flanked by the visually stunning ‘On The Rocks’ Dolphin Sunset gate a few homes further down.
You can find both of these ‘Gates of the Keys’ at Mile Marker 80.5 oceanside almost… almost side-by-side across the street from a roadside park where you can break out a sandwich or snack as you’re enjoying the awesome drive.
Cocomo’s Paradise Gate
NFL Has Been
As promised from yesterday, here’s a recent blog that I’m re-posting because of the Super Bowl!
I’ve passed this sign for years catching my eye having always wanting to stop in to ask about the NFL Has Been portion of the Ocean View Inn & Pub sign. Finally over 5 years ago year curiosity got the best of me as I just so happen to have extra time on my trip down to the Keys so I finally stopped in for a visit.
This is in fact owned by a former NFL player… and not just any former player either. Gary Dunn was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976 following a stellar career at the University of Miami. Gary was a mainstay on the vaunted Steelers’ defense for 12 seasons, serving as team captain four years. The two-time Super Bowl champion is ranked ninth in the Steelers’ all-time sacks list.
Once inside this unsuspecting attraction you’re greeted with a big Florida Keys “Hello” from the bartender, look to your right where you’ll find his former jersey & photos of his glorious playing days. The ONLY bigger thrill is that one day I’ll get to meet this Steeler legend in person. I have personally stopped by 7 times since then trying to catch him there, I’ll keep trying! So Steeler great Gary Dunn if you’re out there reading this… I’m still waiting to meet you and get a photo!!!!! 🙂
This unexpected NFL pleasure can be found at Mile Marker 84.5 bayside on Highway US-1.
Gary Dunn #67 Pittsburgh Steelers
Now that we’ve begun a new year in the Florida Keys, there’s a one-time paragraph of housekeeping that needs to be passed along. As your instructor for this course I’d be neglecting my duty and obligation if I didn’t say that US-1’s mostly 2-lane roads at 35-50mph can be trying and tempting to say the least! It’s normal to take almost 3hrs to travel the 122.6 miles to Key West’s doorstep.
In order to have fun you must first arrive safely and these signs I assure you are here for the reason of saving lives… so keep your lights on, STAY in your lane and get ready to experience the Keys! Congratulations, you’ve passed with flying colors so consider this your Virtual Diploma! In keeping true to our theme “365 Things To Do In The Florida Keys” I ask you, WHAT’S THE #1 THING TO DO IN THE FLORIDA KEYS… Arriving Alive to enjoy it!
In the city of Marathon heading south on US-1 at Mile Marker 52.7 on the left side of the road you’ll find a strange set of aqua colored dome homes & buildings.
These odd shaped abodes are now a Pool Supply Company and formerly a Real Estate Office in prior years. I actually stopped in and spoke with the current occupant quizzing him on its unique style and history. In asking if I could walk around the property and take some photos he replied “If you want to!” so I did and enjoyed it.
If there’s one thing about me you’ll soon find out it’s that “I’m NOT SHY at all!” After all, the worst they can do is say “NO!” I’ve ridden in Barney Fief’s TV show police car, had a guided tour of the Presidential Train & allowed to stroll through Chicago Cubs baseball stadium completely alone for 5 minutes to take photos simply by asking! Oh yeah, that advice is free, YOU’LL RECEIVE NO BILL! 🙂
Crocodile Crossing MM 112.8
There are two ‘Crocodile Crossing’ signs on your way down the Keys. Just taking a photo with or without a family member being in it makes for a good picture to tell your out-of-town friends who’ve NEVER seen or heard of a ‘Crocodile Crossing’ sign. In fact, I’ve been told by a reliable blog reader James W. that it may very well be the only “Crocodile Crossing” signs in the western hemisphere . . . at least in English he adds. 🙂
Being 100% honest… YES, you can see an occasional crocodile heading south on US-1 but nowhere near the amount of alligators you’ll be GUARANTEED of seeing on I-75’s Alligator Alley through the Everglades. And yes, there’s a difference between Florida Key’s Crocodiles -vs- Everglades’ Alligators!
The first sign at MM 112.8 is highly unlikely of a sighting since road construction crews have erected fences on both sides of the road that now sadly appear to be permanent. I’m sure the sign there will eventually come down since it’s no longer possible for a gator to cross. So take a few minutes and get off at the access road at MM 108.2 (southbound before the bridge) where you’ll have your best chance on seeing a crocodile. Notice BOTH the standard yellow diamond road sign and the more unusual lettering on the bridge itself! (seen below)
Oh yeah, DON’T feed the gators, they are wild! In the Everglades, experienced & trained Air Boat tour guides show tourist how much the gators LOVE human food in order to get them closer to the boat for a photo-op; believe it or not it’s those large puffy marshmallows! (fact) 🙂 I can’t stress enough and repeat, DO NOT FEED THE WILD GATORS… or your friends may be calling you lefty after you do! 🙂 That would give a whole new meaning to the term HAND OUT! 🙂
Crocodile Crossing Bridge MM 108.2
If you’re lucky and I do mean extremely LUCKY you may see the illusive endangered Florida Panther in its natural habitat. I’ve spoken to a number of people including Park Rangers who’ve worked for 20 years and have NEVER seen one and others who’ve seen only one in their entire lifetime! Rangers estimate fewer than 40 of these beautiful animals remain in this portion of the state.
The “Panther Crossing” sign on your way to the Keys can ONLY be found on Card Sound Road 7.4 miles down heading east. On US-1 at mile marker 126.7 is where you’ll turn onto Card Sound Road. Again, this portion of Card Sound Road doesn’t’ have many mile markers so keep an eye on your odometer. A photo of the sign alone makes for a good picture and conversation piece to tell your out-of-town friends who’ve NEVER seen or heard of a “Panther Crossing” sign! (Though I’ve been told it looks like a big rat!) 🙂 So good luck!