Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost in Miami, or Get Me to The Keys on Time!

I've been away from internet service while on vacation, so I'll make my entries one at a time, over the next few days. The Florida Keys were great!

Here is day one's entry:

We have arrived in Florida, not without a few kinks along the way. Traffic was very heavy on I95 to the airport, and the plane was late taking off in high winds in Philadelphia, but it wasn't as bad as I had feared. Once we were aloft, the ride was quite smooth. We landed 30 minutes late in Fort Lauderdale but found sunshine and warm weather to lighten our mood. We waited for another person from the diving group to join us. He had arrived on another flight.

When we were all together, we headed to ground transportation and made arrangements for our 2 rental minivans – we were 9 passengers in all, with a lot of dive gear and suitcases. We arrived in the Alamo terminal to pick up...1 car! That was all there was available. We waited a long time for more cars to arrive in the terminal. Finally, we were underway, in two minivans, heading for Ocean Pointe Suites in Tavernier. The plan was to arrive at the Conch Republic Dive shop, where some of our party (including DH Wayne) had shipped some of their clothing and dive equipment ahead of time.

We started out from Ft. Lauderdale airport with a GPS that thought we were still in Pennsylvania. No matter what we did, the Garmin refused to acknowledge that we were indeed already in Florida, and it was intent on having us make a right off of our street! At last, I figured out the GPS mode was turned off somehow. After rebooting, the satellites did their thing and sent us on our way. So we thought. Let me tell you, traffic in Miami was the pits – just as bad as Philly! The GPS would tell us to keep left and then keep right. By the time we were able to get to the left, there wasn't a prayer of moving right again! We missed I95 south several times and took some short scenic routes through the streets of Miami. All the while, I was cursing, hubby was cursing, sister-in-law was laughing, and the other two passengers were mortified! They've never been a part of a Stewart family road trip before - it's definitely not for the faint of heart! Finally, not sure how we managed, we did find I95 south, and then the turnpike, and were well on our way to the Keys. Not in time to make the dive shop before closing, however. I did see an alligator, though! It was on the bank of a large pond/small lake behind a large housing development. Not a place to let your pets or children roam, I think!

In Tavernier, after a quick trip to the Winn-Dixie for groceries, we settled into the rented condo and had a bite to eat – a microwaved frozen dinner. One slight hitch here as well – ants! UGH! Hopefully, housekeeping will get that problem solved in the morning – it's almost 10PM as I write this and no one is available to kill ants after dark! Lucky for those ants!

Plans for Friday morning are for Gladys and I to travel to Key West, while the divers are out for the day. They'll be diving the Spiegel Grove wreck, and do some reef diving as well. Gladys and I will start out early so that we are home well before dark. Hope it's a nice trip and worth the drive!

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