I stopped at the Flamingo visitor center for a quick (less than a minute outside the car) photograph and suffered greatly for this indiscretion. I had been warned yesterday as to the extent of mosquitoes in Flamingo and they were not overstating the situation. Just don't go there during the summer. There is NO pest control in the park and it is very obvious. It is important to remember that the Everglades were once considered uninhabitable and stinging insects were one of the reasons for this assessment.
Robert Is Here fruit stand had a lot of recommendations. I had one of their key lime and strawberry shakes. They were a little pricey, but quite good. Who would have thought that someone could combine a strong citrus like key lime with ice cream and make it taste good.
I grabbed some fuel back in Homestead and headed out to the Keys. There were many places that I had heard I should stop at, but many were difficult if not impossible to locate even with the milemarkers. I stopped at Robbie’s. What a tourist trap dive. Pay $1 to see the tarpon (if they are out there) and pay $2.79 to feed them. There is a beautiful little beach right before the 7 mile bridge.Next to the seven mile bridge is the old bridge. You can walk out to old Pigeon Key on the old bridge or ride a "train" across the bridge, but the timing was just not right today.
On to Key West and the point furthest south in the continental United States. Interestingly enough there are tons of chickens and roosters in these islands, including the rooster that stopped traffic down by the docks in Key West. The downtown area is nice, but they have turned what must have been a good thing at one time into a port of call and the massive influx of tourists associated with the cruise ships.
I found to old fort and the entrances to the military bases on the island. I also found the old barracks which appear to house the poor in this town. The amount of poverty and homelessness was astounding. Sitting in my car at Higgs Beach I noticed no less than 5 homeless individuals in the first few minutes.
The hostel was nice enough. I enjoyed the outdoors common area, but hated the fact that the room just never got cool enough to really sleep. For $44 I wouldn't go through the torture of being too hot to sleep again.
ROUTE: FL 997 South>US 1 South>CR 9336 West & East> US 1 South to Key West
Lodging: Seashell Inn & Hostel
Meals: Waffle House (*Food ***Service)
Attractions: Everglades NP, Robert Is Here, Robbie’s, Higgs Beach, and the Southernmost point in the U.S.
$$$: $44 Hostel $ $20 $10 Fuel = $74