Day 3

Friday 13th November 2009

Woke at 4.30am, sleeping for 5 hours which was better than yesterday. Matt snored for a while last night and loudly. I had a shower then went and fed the meter for a couple of hours parking, walked along the beach for a few minutes before going back to the hotel room.

Matt had showered so we decided to go for a walk to get some breakfast. Unfortunately there were no suitable places nearby so we ended back at the hotel restaurant. I had scrambled egg, bacon and coffee whilst Matt had French toast and maple syrup. We both also had orange juice.

We checked out of the hotel and then set off for the Everglades not before taking a couple of photos of the hire car with the top down.

I did notice that the car boot wouldn’t lock properly but didn’t think much of it so we set off for the alligator farm near Homestead. The sat nav avoided the toll roads but I ended paying some guys $5 when we stopped at some lights when they cleaned the windscreen, without much choice on our part I might add.

We made good progress getting to the alligator place around 10.45am. And then we discovered a problem with the car. When I tried to put the roof down it was stuck and I think it was linked with the problem I had noticed earlier when the boot wasn’t locking. And of course with the cases in the car with us as well this posed a problem as we couldn’t secure the car containing our belongings. I rang the help number and spoke to a nice lady who tried to help sort out the problem. She also had a convertible so knew the way the roof worked. After speaking to an engineer for advice she decided we would have to take the car back to Miami. Typical. Looks like Friday the Thirteenth was striking us.

Back on the road, this time I decided to ignore the sat nav and use the Florida Turnpike, which although is a toll road was a lot quicker. We eventually found the car rental returns place, explained the problem and was given an exchange of an SUV (like a gangster mobile).

Back on the Turnpike and we arrived at the gater place around 2pm.

We paid the entry fee and then boarded an airboat and went out into the Everglades. We saw a few alligators and were thrown around in the boat before returning to the farm. We then watched a load of alligators being fed.

We then agreed to drive to the Keys.

We said we would go and check in at the hotel and then go explore the keys before finding somewhere to eat.
The hotel was fairly easy to find once we got the on right side of the road. The room was clean and functional but the WiFi didn’t work which pissed Matt off. Also we had ask for some coffee as the machine wasn’t in the room.
We set off in the direction of Key West some 90 miles away not intending to go the full distance but to turn around once the sun had gone down.

Progress was slow with many speed limits but we managed to get to the seven mile bridge at dusk. I then decided to drive on to Key West to find a restaurant, expecting there to be many but when we arrived we only spotted a couple. We pulled into a car park for one, asked for a table for two and sat in the bar with our cokes that we had ordered. It was then we realised the tables were set for parties of 5 or 6 diners with a chef dedicated to each table. We made a quick exit and drove to Chico’s Mexican restaurant that Matt had spotted earlier after driving around Key West for a while.

The meal was good, with free nachos included. I has chicken fajitas and Matt had enchiladas. We left the restaurant after finishing the meals which cost $40 including an extra tip.
We then set off for the long drive back, which although seemed quicker was tiring after a long day.
We got back about 10.15pm, checked the WiFi which still wasn’t working before going to bed.