A Little Detour
The original itinerary called for us to wake up in Key West and drive 24 straight hours to New York City. After our long drive the night before, we were looking forward to it about as much as we were looking forward Trent sharing another one of his “favorite” songs. It was nice to sleep in a little bit, but with the long haul looming, we woke up and started preparing to head out. Matt and Trent took bags out and began loading up the car, expecting Gary and Rob to join shortly. But they never came. No, they were sitting on the balcony, drinking strawberry beer and enjoying the lovely ocean view. This was after Trent found them sitting on the other balcony which overlooked a pretty decent garden, and let them know they were dumb because they were using the 2nd best balcony instead of the 1st. Right after Matt realized what they were doing, but just before he went into rant number 28 (It’s Too Early for Drinking/The Real Housewives are What’s Wrong with America) he realized he was standing on their hotel room’s ocean view balcony, which he was previously unaware existed.
As we sat outside, Gary proposed a little change of plans. We were a day ahead of schedule at this point, thanks to skipping the Four Corners, and the Porsche Headquarters in Atlanta would sort of split our drive to New York into two more reasonable chunks. The decision was quick and unanimous; we would drink another strawberry beer before deciding whether to go to Atlanta or New York. We did that, then we agreed to go to Atlanta.
The Southernmost Point X3
On the way out of town (but in the complete opposite direction) we made our way to the end of Key West. Matt found the southernmost point on the GPS and directed us to a beautiful beach. We took a few pictures of the car, met some new friends, stood in the water, looked at girls in bikinis, and quickly realized that we were, in fact, not at the southernmost point. We climbed back in the car and went on the hunt once again.
After getting directions from what may have been some kind of Park Ranger we made our way through the narrow streets until we saw the big mostly red marker and the long line to take a picture with it. Well, three of us saw the marker and the line. Gary had taken a phone call, and when he hung up he was quite confused as to why we were already on our way back north. After a bit of arguing, we turned around and did another drive by, but this time Gary jumped out of the car and snapped a quick picture.
The Greatest Sandwich in the World
After spending five days with Rob, Matt was beginning to have sympathy diabetes and his low blood sugar had him wearing his exceptionally cranky pants. As he complained from the back seat, Rob and Gary discussed a sign they had seen on the road the night before. The sign said simply, “Lobster Reuben.” Everyone was excited by this idea, and even the angry guy in the back was willing to wait the hour it would take to get there.
We eventually pulled off the highway and into the sand and gravel parking lot of our dreams. A toasted roll, thousand island dressing, a little sauerkraut, a little cheese and a pile of lobster, that’s the Keys Fishery Lobster Rueben. As if that wasn’t great enough, the dining area is a dock and the drinks are served by Rob’s new BF, Eric, the single friendliest man behind a bar.
Florida’s Newest Fugitive
After lunch, we continued up the highway with Trent behind the wheel. The idea of toll roads is something new to those of us that drive exclusively in Southern California, so we were about 10 feet from the toll booth when the first person realized that were in the Sun Pass only lane. After a little panic and a short discussion about what to do next, we decided we would just drive and ask about it at the next booth (which meant we would need to remember to be in the correct lane). The person we spoke to was of little help, and the phone number he gave us was equally useful. We’re not 100% sure, but we think we have 10 days to pay somewhere between $4 and $41. Hopefully we’ll figure it out soon.
Just in case Florida’s finest were on the lookout for us, The Wild Card provided fake mustaches that we quickly donned before pulling into a service center that happened to contain a Highway Patrol Office in addition to the gas station we were aiming for.
It has been quite amazing how we’ve managed to find such beautiful and peaceful places to stop each day for our sunset toast, but of course you can’t win them all. Next to the highway and under a power line isn’t exactly what we were hoping for, but that’s where we ended up. We were thinking Gary seemed more upset by this than the rest of us because he was standing by himself off in a corner. It turned out that he was drinking the last strawberry beer and was hiding it because he didn’t want to share. . .and because he’s a jerk.
We all agreed to try harder tomorrow.
The Cat Nap Motel
As we made our way into the late, late night we realized how unnecessarily large and useless most of Florida is. The one other bright spot was our stop in Orlando for some authentic Mexican food, which we all know is really hard to come by where most of us live. We did make quite a few friends while we ate outside, thanks to the wrap on the car. Our server was especially friendly and as soon as we finished explaining our trip and letting her know that we still had about seven more hours to drive tonight, she immediately insisted that we come back to eat dinner there again tomorrow.
God only knows what the folks at the front desk must have thought Gary was up to when he checked in to the hotel just before 6 am, and then checked out three hours later. Which, by the way, was because we forgot to set an alarm and accidentally slept an hour longer than we had hoped to.