Sunday, December 27, 2020

Key West: Final

Day five we checked out of our Airbnb in Cudjoe Keys and drove to Miami Beach. It took about four hours. 

We checked into our hotel, Freehand Miami, and walked to the beach. Paradis did her thing, looking for treasures, while Anna did hers, watching Netflix. 

We stopped into a couple shops on the way and returned to our hotel. It is quiet in Miami Beach. Again, some are wearing masks but not all. Little did we know our hotel hosted a popular restaurant. It is a hotel that hosts single beds, similar to a hostel, so it wasn’t expected. 

Our goal was to order Door Dash and hang near the pool. It got a bit busy since the restaurant was located by the pool so we ended in a quint garden eating great food enjoying our last night together. 

We returned to our room to hear the party was next door. Literally. It was so loud we couldn’t stop saying “This is crazy loud” while laughing in pure shock. A 10pm craving for ice cream brought us to the lobby for our Door Dash pickup and we realized why Miami has such high Covid numbers. The restaurant was packed with 20-somethings out for a night of fun. We were happy to hang inside our room listening to the music (the playlist was awesome by the way). 

The final day we checked out and stopped for gas. The girls went inside for some flight food and ended up with the best Cuban sandwich in Miami. You can plan endless activities and experiences and yet a gas station sandwich may end up being the memory your children keep from a trip. 

We took advantage of my lounge access at the Turkish Airlines’ lounge enjoying some extra sitting space, drinks and snacks. 

The flight home was full (Sun Country), but oddly felt safe with our N-95 masks and sitting in a row together. 

Trip Summary:
  • Two states
  • One country
  • Total page views: 180,565
  • Covid Safety factor: Good
Thanks for following along my friends. I know many of you are not traveling, for obvious reasons, and I get it. We have our Covid tests waiting for us at home and will find out how we did on trying to return to some normalcy during this crazy pandemic. 

Stay safe! Rae Ann

Friday, December 25, 2020

Key West Day Four: Pool

Day four was a lazy day in the sun. I woke earlier than the girls, did my sorting and tidying thing, showered and rode my bike to the pool. Beautiful day to catch up on my blog and read!

The girls joined me after sleeping in. We have bikes at our place and the girls grabbed a couple to ride to the pool. Anna’s bike had zero air in the tires. I She was exhausted when she arrived and said “I just thought I was out of shape!”  

The pool was really warm, although the air outside was a bit chilly (63°) when they got out. The sun would warm you up though as it fleeted through the clouds. Even at 63° it felt good to be outside. 

We cleaned up and returned to Big Pine Rooster for dinner. We were the only ones sitting outside. The waitress would run out shivering as she took our order. None of us had jackets and kept saying “we are from Minnesota”. 

Merry Christmas to all that celebrate! 

Key West Day Three: Snorkeling

Day three required the setting of our alarms, which is never desired on vacation, to make our way back to Key West for snorkeling at 10:30. We went through Fury, doing to Double Dip tour. Wow, so fun! The rain from the night previously (we did not hear it)  prevented us from going to the coral reefs but it gave us a much smaller group on the boat and still tons of fun. When you are from Minnesota seeing anything in the ocean is a bonus. 

I’m claustrophobic so wearing the snorkel is a bit challenging. Deep breaths...deep breaths. Anna has anxiety and the the wet suit was too much. We are all a bit of a hot mess but we do our best to make things fun and challenge our weaknesses. 

The crew was so much fun and the girls had a great time. We got off the boat, had lunch and did some shopping. I had to take a nap in the car while the girls went on their own....a little too much fun on the boat! 

We landed back at our place and realized it was Christmas Eve. Ordering dinner at 7:00pm found to be a bit challenging but we got the last meal of the night from Big Pune Rooster. Great burgers!

The weather was perfect. Warm. No rain. Another great day. 

Key West Day Two: Key West

Day One we got on the road and drove the hour to Key West. I imagine it is a four hour drive from Miami but I would strongly recommend making some stops along the way as we did. We did the required Key West tourist stops...

We spent the day walking and shopping. Again, some were masked and some were not but it was quiet enough to navigate the idiots. We ended the night in Mallory Square watching the street performers and watching the sunset - as one must do while in Key West. But it got too crowded for my liking so we left early. 

It is so nice to be outside. It (apparently) snowed near ten (10) inches back home in Minnesota. I’m so happy to be here. To simply be outside walking and eating and drinking is such a simple pleasure for me right now during Covid. Being with my girls is icing on the cake. 

We drove back to Cudjoe Key where we are renting a trailer in a gated community through Airbnb. Another beautiful, safe feeling, day. 

Key West Day One: Tarpon and Fun

An uneventful flight brought us to Miami. Flying felt very safe. We donned N95 masks for a bit of comfort and although the plane was pretty full we had a row to ourselves. 

MIA was fairly quiet. Not dead like JFK a couple months back but there was no pressure to walk near people. We picked up our car and jumped on Highway 1 which leads to Key West. We stopped in Key Largo for lunch waterside. 

We continued along the highway to Robbie’s of Islamorada where we fed tarpon. Such a simple activity for $4 but the girls loved it. Mask wearing isn’t as common here. We did everything outside, and could navigate the idiots, but I would say 85% are masked. Workers wear them, but not always properly. Much different from Minnesota. Sad this is such a political thing. It really does make travel riskier and impacts their livelihood. 

We landed at Banana Bay Resort in Marathon for the evening. Simple resort but with all the amenities. We walked to dinner at Overseas Pub and Grill. It was karaoke night and we were definitely the only ones from our of town. 

We stopped for dessert and drinks and landed back in the room. It was a perfect first day. 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Key West 2020

Today the girls and I are traveling to Key West, Florida. This has been such a crazy year. Besides a work trip to Atlanta, a road trip to Denver, a staycation with my girls and my two hour excursion to New York, this is my first vacation. I hate Covid. 

We fly into Miami, will stay in Marathon our first night, the next three nights in Key West and the last night on Miami Beach. I'm looking forward to feeling the warmth in my bones, soothing my soul with the sounds of the ocean and spending time with my girls. 

We have been conservative since the election and I'm happy to say just received a negative Covid test. Sigh of relief. I understand many of you will be judging us for traveling, and I do not judge you for judging us. 

I've done a ton of research on flying since the plague, so I'm sharing below. 

  • Wear a good mask. We will be wearing N-95 masks while flying. 
  • Although the air is well filtered on a plane it is recommended to avoid removing your mask. This will require us to avoid eating or drinking. I'll miss my bloody mary. I hate Covid.
  • Avoid the bathroom. Toilets on planes use a vacuum system (which scare me Pre-Covid) so when you flush the air is pulled through the vacuum. This will be the toughest change for me. 
  • Wash your hands. And wash them again. 
  • Maintain that 6-foot distance.
  • Load the plane when asked as they are loading to decrease interactions.
  • Stay seated until it is time to depart the plane. I hope this common sense remains after Covid. 
  • And...avoid interactions within the airport. Avoid bars. Spread out in the waiting areas. I've read it is more dangerous in the airport than on the plane.
I've also been watching Covid numbers along our route. Positive cases are much lower in the Keys than Minnesota (we are sucking right now). Miami is slightly higher, so we will be extra careful there. 

I fully realize we are taking a risk by traveling during these times but we are committed to following the CDC rules. We will wear our masks and maintain our distances. We will not gather in crowds. We have selected lodging to minimize interactions. 

I realize I’m writing all this to justify our actions. Here we go!