I recently returned from a trip to Key West, and all I can say is, “What a trip indeed!”
I am creating this ‘extended-blog-entry’ page because I feel that there is too much that happened on this trip to fit into just one blog entry. Besides, I have to include pictures, right?
The trip actually began on Wednesday, May 4. We’ll call this night ‘Trip Eve’, which is not to be confused with the drinking game we played in college with those sorority girls. The participants on this misadventure were Scott and Larry (my partners in crime) and me. The game plan was to trailer our motorcycles to Miami and ride into Key West from there.
Scottie and I arrived at Larry’s on our bikes Wednesday night and loaded the trailer. It was pretty uneventful until we all showered (NO!!!!…NOT together) and tried to wind down for the evening. That’s when Larry broke out the rum and Coke! Needless to say, I ended up conking out on the sofa, and Scott and Larry were up until 3:00 AM. So much for getting out on the road early.
We woke up (well, Scott and I did) on Thursday and started getting ready. We were pretty much ready to go when we realized that Larry was still asleep. I am not kidding when I say you can set off a bomb in his house and Larry will not wake up. I was banging on pots and yelling and he was still sound asleep. I made Scott double-check that he was breathing. Just thinking about Larry not being alive that morning makes me cringe, because that would have REALLY delayed us getting out to Key West!
So we got on the road and had a very uneventful ride to Miami. We arrived at my brother’s home in Kendall and got ready to roll. The skies were threatening, but it looked liked things would hold up on the ride down. Or so we thought. We were 15 minutes into our ride when the rain began to fall. You ever see bikers underneath a highway overpass waiting out a storm? That was us! Then, as is with most storms in Florida, the sun came out and the sky cleared. “Cool beans” we thought. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Not more than five minutes after illegally running a toll booth, it REALLY started coming down. We pulled off the side of the road on US-1 to wait out what turned out to be a 30 mph gusting, tornado watch summoning storm. When the lightning crackled at what appeared to be five feet from us, we all remembered that we would be insulated if we sat on the bikes while we waited. I am sure we made a humorous site. Three grown men sitting on their respective motorcycles in a torrential downpour. At one point I actually considered crying.
The storm eventually passed and we got back on the road. We pulled into Key West later that afternoon. I was completely drenched from the storm, and my nads felt like raisins that retreated into my shoulders. (Was that sharing too much?)
We dried up and cleaned off and made our way to Duval Street. Cinco de Mayo, baby! Bars are gonna’ be hop’n, right? Errr…. ummmm, no! It was relatively dead that Thursday night in Key West. Larry had a theory about tourism season and the devaluation of the dollar versus the yen. I personally think people in Key West have something against Mexicans, which explains the dirty glances I got all night. So given the fact we were tired, the bar scene was lame, and this guy in a white, hooded costume kept following me around, we called it a night a bit early.
We awoke on Friday to the promise of a better day! And, boy, was it ever. We took part in a boating excursion on the Sebago 3. This was a snorkeling and kayaking trip and it lasted the better part of the day. The trip got off to a bang as we headed out to the snorkeling point. Being guys, we were obliged to check out the onboard talent. Nothing to write home about, with the exception of this one girl who had been wearing a sarong to cover herself. Well, now I know why. When it came time for her to get ready for the snorkeling, she peeled out of her sarong and revealed what can only be described as the best derriere this side of Vida Guerra. I don’t know how any guy would allow his girl to wear a bathing suit like that on a trip like this! One of the deck hands was passing out anti-fog cream for our masks. Larry was so taken aback he almost applied the cream on his bald head. And if her were in private, I am sure he would have applied the cream to his ….. um, nevermind.
The snorkeling was fun and the kayaking was great, with the exception of Scottie and me getting paired up with these older, rather portly Russian women. No, these were not the Anna Kournikova types. I think Kournikova and Maria Sharapova together do not weigh as much as just one of these women did. Needless to say, paddling a kayak against a very aggressive current with these behemoths acting as dead weight was not a walk in the park. Nevertheless, we made it to the mangroves and it turned out to be a great excursion.
When we got back to the boat, we had a chance to relax as the second group went out on the kayaks. I thought I would go for a swim in the shallow waters which were just the right temperature. I was in the water for about 10 minutes when Larry called out to me with a very perplexed look on his face.
“Um, dude. I think there is a shark in the water.”
“No seriously, there is a shark behind you!”
“Dude, that’s not funny.” It was then that I noticed the pale look of horror on the face of the woman standing next to Larry. She looked at me and nodded her head as if to say, “No, there REALLY is a shark in the water.”
………… So did you ever hear the story about the Cuban that walked on water? I was back on the boat like nobody’s business. That’s what I needed, my vacation to be called on the account of me dying. Man, that would’ve sucked.
From what I gather, this was no tiny fish, either. The other people on the boat estimated it to be about 4 -5 feet long, with it’s dorsal fin protruding out of the water about 18 inches. Once again, I had that nads in my shoulders feeling come over me.
We got back to mainland, rested up a bit at the hotel and set forth to undertake the Duval Crawl. The exact memories of that night are a bit foggy. What I DO remember was ending up at the Sleazy …. I mean Lazy Gecko at about 2:00 AM. Apparently, this is when one of the female employees felt compelled to ‘dance’ on the bar. At first, I was shocked – SHOCKED I TELL YOU – that she would venture such a task while wearing such a revealing miniskirt. Without going into great detail (because my mom might be reading this), not only can I tell you the color of this lady’s undergarment, but I can also tell you the size. It was at this time that I turned to Scottie and said, “I TOLD you we should have brought the camera, you dumb f……!”
We some how meandered our way back to the hotel at 5:30’ish, our pockets a combined $250 in drinks lighter. A good time was had by all. It goes without saying that we slept well that … morning.
Saturday was much more relaxed. We did some shopping and some more riding around the island on our bikes. We ate dinner and hit the Duval Street bars again, but we were really still recovering from the night before.
Scott and Larry felt the urge to stop and buy ice cream cones. While they did that (which I told them looked totally gay), I felt compelled to watch a couple as they ‘consummated’ their KW trip on the balcony of the hotel. I have one theory when it comes to sex in public places. If I can see you, I am most likely going to watch. Stopping short of cheering these two on, we continued with our evening and decided we’d have one last drink before calling it a night. That’s when the fun began.
Larry pulled me aside at Sloppy Joe’s and asked me if his eye looked OK. It was a bit teary, as if he’d been poked, but other than that it was fine. Every so often I’d see him reach up and pat his face in discomfort. As we walked back to the hotel he kept mentioning that something just didn’t feel right. By the time we go to out room, his face had swollen up like a blowfish holding its breath. His eyes were swollen shut and he could barely talk. He looked like Jabba the Hutt! Again I thought of what would happen if he died! “How would we get his motorcycle back to Miami? And there’s NO way I am calling his mom!!”
What I did call was a cab to take him to the ER. Apparently, he had an allergic reaction to something he ate, and all kidding aside, the visit to the hospital probably saved his life. He was discharged at 4:30 AM, and I knew there was no way we would leave on time to head back to Miami.
But we did and we had a great ride back. The weather was perfect and the driving conditions could not have been better. We pulled into my brother’s house tired but eager to load up and head home.
“Okay, who has the keys to the trailer?”
Turns out no one did. Lost. Gone. Nothing. We had no way to get into that trailer other than to cut the locks off. So we all took a ride to the local Home Depot, bought a bolt cutter and stopped next door at Flannigan’s for dinner. The only reason I mention this is because I got to see the Heat manhandle the Washington Wizards in game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals AND we all got to see the more intimate side of the girl in the booth across from us. Not that I am complaining, but someone needs to explain to me how wearing jeans that come down to the top of your thighs when you sit down ever became fashionable.
Did I mention this was a very voyeuristic trip?
We eventually did make it back to Tampa on Sunday all in one piece. It was a very memorable trip, and I could probably write more about everything else that happened in those four days. It was great to get all those miles under me, and I feel a thousand times more comfortable on my bike. I have a new appreciation for riding, I have a new fondness for Key West, and I have the unending certainty that my boys always got my back.
This trip was wholly recreational, but it does symbolize one important thing. Don’t be afraid to live you life, and make sure you take advantage of everything life has to offer. If you live near water, go swimming and fishing and diving and boating. If you live near mountains, go hiking and camping and skiing. If you live in a large city, get yourself to museums and plays and galleries. Take in life. Absorb it. Cherish it. Share it.
We only get one shot at life, and it’s in learning from the misses that we score our biggest hits!