Saturday, December 21st, 2019
We scarfed down the free, hotel breakfast, lounged, then ate again at the ‘Pollo Tropical’ next door for lunch after checking out of Best Western. It was time for our road walk along the Florida Keys to begin! I was stoked!
The road walk was looking a bit intimidating. We had heard mixed comments about walking the Keys. Some said it was very dangerous, other said they’ve never felt safer during a road walk. It was looking like we weren’t going to have much of a shoulder to walk on. Once we crossed the highway and hopped over the turquoise-colored jersey wall into oncoming traffic, it was looking better. We had a shoulder, and it was fairly wide!
We got excited when we noticed a hiker walking our way. You don’t see many people walking this route, not even along the Florida Trail, which we had just completed. His name was Animal and he was from Portland, Oregon. He was in the middle of reading a book as he was walking towards us. He had recently started in Key West, our final destination, and was planning on making it all the way to Canada. That’s a section we haven’t tackled yet, but soon my friends. Soon.
After we went our separate ways, we found entertainment in yelling “Maryland!” and “Natty Boh!” whenever we saw an oncoming car with a Maryland tag. Maryland is our home state. We also got most of the truckers to wave and honk as they went by. You have to create your own fun when your road walking. There usually isn’t much scenery, and we weren’t getting much of anything at first.
Then we started to see water as we walked through Cross Key. It got a little windy, and a little more scenic when we crossed the bridge over Jewfish Creek and Surprise Lake.
Finally, we were in Key Largo! It was a long walk in the dark to find a place to eat. All of the restaurants were further in town. The area we were in consisted mostly of small service companies and houses. We checked out the menu at a few restaurants before we got in the heart of town. Most of the restaurants had a wait time, or were too pricey. One of the places we were planning on eating at was “The Fish House”. It was a recommendation by Gonzo and Steve, two guys we had met a couple days ago. Unfortunately, there was a line out the door.
I was very happy to see those golden arches. Hello, McDonald’s! Hello cheap, high-calorie food that my body craves! I don’t eat fast food in my “normal” life, but when I’m hiking, my stomach and my wallet both appreciate Big Macs, chicken nuggets, and orange soda. There were other wanderers and drifters hanging out at McDonald’s. None of them were hikers though. Just hobos and gutter punks. The cashier had taken a huge interest in Frisbee, and they shared social media pictures, videos, and stories.
McDonald’s was getting ready to close their doors for the night, and I had tracked down a few churches that we could potentially sleep beside for the night. The Seventh Day Adventist Church nearby ended up being perfect.
Jump Ahead to Road Walk to Key West: Chapter 8
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