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  1. #1
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    Some friendly suggestions for the Key West Drive

    Folks... Just wanted to chime in with some suggestions for those making the drive down to Key West. My family and I have been heading to the keys for decades, there are many things to do but I’m not going to suggest a ton of things because we really won’t have the time to do all of them, but I wanted to toss out some things for those that have not made the trip before.

    The Keys are absolutely beautiful and it is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT world when compared to Miami. So here are a few friendly suggestions for you to consider on the drive south (technically southwest) towards Key West. I’ll try and let you know some details that will be helpful about the spots/suggestions as well. One last note: When you get into “The Keys” locations are determined by mile makers on the “Overseas Highway” which is the southernmost end of US Highway 1 (US1). Key Largo is the northernmost key we will hit. The road starts at mile marker 106 (MM 106) and ends at Key West MM 0. When we come into the keys in Key Largo, we’ll cross MM 106) Now that we got that out of the way... here are some suggestions:

    Key Lime Pie is called “Key Lime” pie because of the Florida Keys. Needless to say.... you have to get some while down here. With all due respect, Key Lime Pie tastes better in the Florida Keys. :-) There are many places to get great pies, but these are a few places I have had pie at and will blindly recommend: Key West Key Lime Pie Company in Key West, Blonde Giraffe in Tavernier Key (MM 92), Mrs. Macs Kitchen (MM 99). These places are just crazy good, maybe two pieces... one on the way in and one on the way home...

    Feed the Tarpon at Robbies (MM 77). This is an iconic place, on the right side of the highway as we head south to KW, where there is a huge population of majestic Tarpon. These are beautiful fish that will range in size from 2 or 3 feet (small) and can range up to 6 or 7 feet. At Robbies you can pick up a bucket of pilchard (bait fish) and feed the Tarpon. It’s definitely a new experience and one that is just cool. When you see a 6 foot long Tarpon come out of the water to grab a bite, its crazy. A GoPro can capture some crazy footage. Let’s see who’s brave enough to let the tarpon cover your hand... or how fast you pull it back! *** NOTE: This is a gravel lot for parking. I have gone in and parked my Viper in there in the past, but this is a gravel lot so be aware just in case.

    Seven Mile Bridge (MM47) is something you’ll be crossing heading to Key West but there is a small paved lot on the right side just before the bridge that you can stop in and walk a bit onto the “old 7 Mile Bridge”. It’s a nice spot for some photos at an iconic location. It’s not a huge lot so you won’t be able to do this with 20 cars, but some folks could do it in small groups. If you have a GoPro, I’d definitely film yourself heading over the bridge. The views of Florida Bay (north or right side as you drive to KW) and the open Atlantic to the south are gorgeous and worth getting.

    Florida Key Deer Refuge (MM 30) is on Big Pine Key. Key Deer are a very small (I believe smallest in North America) species of Deer native to the Florida Keys. A population of them live on Big Pine Key and are a protected endangered species but due roam happily all over the Key. If you turn off the Overseas Hwy into some of the residential roads, you’ll sure spot a few of them. They are quite used to it so they may happily let you take photos. *** Note here, the lower keys, and Big Pine Key especially, were HEAVILY DAMAGED during Hurricane Irma in 2017. The roads and streets should be more than clear now, but I have not gone through after Irma hit. The deer are still there though!

    Bahia Honda State Park (MM 36) is a nice place to stop and get some shots of a piece of history, the Bahia Honda Railway Bridge. Before the overseas highway was in place, the route to Key West was via rail. This bridge is one of the last few places to see the original railway. There is a nice little beach there as well and you’ll be able to get some nice shots.

    Lunch in Key West... There are a ton of places to go. You’re sure to find a place either right on Duval St. (the main road in the City) or just off of it as you explore. Sloppy Joe’s is definitely the most famous though and it might be worth it to grad a cold one while there.

    Again, not a huge list of things to do... but it will, at least, give you a couple of ideas. Also, feel free to hit me up with any questions. I’d be glad to help....

    See you all next week!!!

    Why I love the keys??? The photo below will give you a hint!!!

    Luis V.
    Miami, Florida
    2002 Dodge Viper GTS - FE #298 & 2013 Dodge Viper GTS

  2. #2
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    ViperPete's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info and that is an amazing photo!
    2013 Viper GTS Blue (no stripes!) with Sepia interior- only 4 made! WannaGOfast 1/2 MILE BEST OF 157.89 mph @ 600WHP
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  3. #3
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    WE are so looking forward to the adventure.

    I kidnapped my wife for a week at Tranquility Bay on Marathon in December of 2016. During the drive from the airport to the Keys, the only Viper owner I knew - Keda - returned my call since I was entertaining buying a Viper. That was December 11th at approximately 10:51 AM. We talked for 30 minutes. Apparently, he set me on a wild a crazy path.....

    The GT2 is heading out super early to watch the sunrise and breakfast 7 Mile Grill - probably.
    Brian
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  4. #4
    Supporting Vendor JonB ~ PartsRack's Avatar
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    LuisVall. Generous post sir, should be required reading for outsiders. JonB


    Quote Originally Posted by Luisv View Post
    Folks... Just wanted to chime in with some suggestions for those making the drive down to Key West. My family and I have been heading to the keys for decades, there are many things to do but I’m not going to suggest a ton of things because we really won’t have the time to do all of them, but I wanted to toss out some things for those that have not made the trip before.

    The Keys are absolutely beautiful and it is a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT world when compared to Miami. So here are a few friendly suggestions for you to consider on the drive south (technically southwest) towards Key West. I’ll try and let you know some details that will be helpful about the spots/suggestions as well. One last note: When you get into “The Keys” locations are determined by mile makers on the “Overseas Highway” which is the southernmost end of US Highway 1 (US1). Key Largo is the northernmost key we will hit. The road starts at mile marker 106 (MM 106) and ends at Key West MM 0. When we come into the keys in Key Largo, we’ll cross MM 106) Now that we got that out of the way... here are some suggestions:

    Key Lime Pie is called “Key Lime” pie because of the Florida Keys. Needless to say.... you have to get some while down here. With all due respect, Key Lime Pie tastes better in the Florida Keys. :-) There are many places to get great pies, but these are a few places I have had pie at and will blindly recommend: Key West Key Lime Pie Company in Key West, Blonde Giraffe in Tavernier Key (MM 92), Mrs. Macs Kitchen (MM 99). These places are just crazy good, maybe two pieces... one on the way in and one on the way home...

    Feed the Tarpon at Robbies (MM 77). This is an iconic place, on the right side of the highway as we head south to KW, where there is a huge population of majestic Tarpon. These are beautiful fish that will range in size from 2 or 3 feet (small) and can range up to 6 or 7 feet. At Robbies you can pick up a bucket of pilchard (bait fish) and feed the Tarpon. It’s definitely a new experience and one that is just cool. When you see a 6 foot long Tarpon come out of the water to grab a bite, its crazy. A GoPro can capture some crazy footage. Let’s see who’s brave enough to let the tarpon cover your hand... or how fast you pull it back! *** NOTE: This is a gravel lot for parking. I have gone in and parked my Viper in there in the past, but this is a gravel lot so be aware just in case.

    Seven Mile Bridge (MM47) is something you’ll be crossing heading to Key West but there is a small paved lot on the right side just before the bridge that you can stop in and walk a bit onto the “old 7 Mile Bridge”. It’s a nice spot for some photos at an iconic location. It’s not a huge lot so you won’t be able to do this with 20 cars, but some folks could do it in small groups. If you have a GoPro, I’d definitely film yourself heading over the bridge. The views of Florida Bay (north or right side as you drive to KW) and the open Atlantic to the south are gorgeous and worth getting.

    Florida Key Deer Refuge (MM 30) is on Big Pine Key. Key Deer are a very small (I believe smallest in North America) species of Deer native to the Florida Keys. A population of them live on Big Pine Key and are a protected endangered species but due roam happily all over the Key. If you turn off the Overseas Hwy into some of the residential roads, you’ll sure spot a few of them. They are quite used to it so they may happily let you take photos. *** Note here, the lower keys, and Big Pine Key especially, were HEAVILY DAMAGED during Hurricane Irma in 2017. The roads and streets should be more than clear now, but I have not gone through after Irma hit. The deer are still there though!

    Bahia Honda State Park (MM 36) is a nice place to stop and get some shots of a piece of history, the Bahia Honda Railway Bridge. Before the overseas highway was in place, the route to Key West was via rail. This bridge is one of the last few places to see the original railway. There is a nice little beach there as well and you’ll be able to get some nice shots.

    Lunch in Key West... There are a ton of places to go. You’re sure to find a place either right on Duval St. (the main road in the City) or just off of it as you explore. Sloppy Joe’s is definitely the most famous though and it might be worth it to grad a cold one while there.

    Again, not a huge list of things to do... but it will, at least, give you a couple of ideas. Also, feel free to hit me up with any questions. I’d be glad to help....

    See you all next week!!!

    Why I love the keys??? The photo below will give you a hint!!!

    Jon "JonB" Brobst ~~~~:<~ JonB@PartsRack.com


  5. #5
    VOA Mamba Member
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    Luisv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ViperPete View Post
    Thanks for the info and that is an amazing photo!
    No problem... Hope it helps a little.

    Quote Originally Posted by Viperenvy View Post
    WE are so looking forward to the adventure.

    I kidnapped my wife for a week at Tranquility Bay on Marathon in December of 2016. During the drive from the airport to the Keys, the only Viper owner I knew - Keda - returned my call since I was entertaining buying a Viper. That was December 11th at approximately 10:51 AM. We talked for 30 minutes. Apparently, he set me on a wild a crazy path.....

    The GT2 is heading out super early to watch the sunrise and breakfast 7 Mile Grill - probably.
    That is a great idea. I think my wife will kill me if I wake her that early though! ;-)

    Quote Originally Posted by JonB ~ PartsRack View Post
    LuisVall. Generous post sir, should be required reading for outsiders. JonB
    Thanks Jon!
    Luis V.
    Miami, Florida
    2002 Dodge Viper GTS - FE #298 & 2013 Dodge Viper GTS

  6. #6
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    Hey... as a few things come to mind, I'll add them as they come to me.

    Here's another. This one is for the ladies or guys if you want some brownie points with the significant other. :-)

    Kino Sandal Factory, Key West It sits just a few minutes walk from Malory Square which sits at the end of Duval street. Duval is the "Main Street" of Key West. The factory was started by a Cuban couple in the 60's that had just fled their home. They've been in the same spot for 40 or 50 years. They make leather Sandals for the Ladies and Men and they are very "Key West". It's extremely common to see folks all over the keys in them. They're comfortable and last forever.

    Hemingway's Home Something for the literary buff. Ernest Hemingway's old home in Key West. You can walk there and take a quick tour of the grounds. They've got a store there so, if you have a fan, it would be cool to pick up a book for them from his old home.

    Worldwide Sportsman - Bass Pro Shops & Islamorada Fish Co. (MM 81) Bass Pro Shops has a location in Islamorada that is right next to the Islamorada Fish Co. You can walk back and forth between them. The Bass Pro Shop has some nice shopping for gear and clothing. The Islamorada Fish Co has a nice restaurant and bar that sits on the water. If you are heading back home and can get a table for the Sunset, its real nice. You can also hang out behind the pro shop on a huge porch they have in rocking chairs to watch the sun set. They also have Tarpon here you can feed although it's not the same experience as Robbie's that I mentioned above. Parking here can be a challenge but it is a nice paved lot. If you can swing getting a spot, worth a consideration.
    Luis V.
    Miami, Florida
    2002 Dodge Viper GTS - FE #298 & 2013 Dodge Viper GTS

  7. #7
    Enthusiast My98RT10's Avatar
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    Great post Luis!! I was fortunate to visit the Keys in October of 2019 (my last vacation before the pandemic, sniff). My wife and I immediately fell in love with Key West. We were lucky because at that time there was as well the Fantasy Fest going on which added to the relaxed vibe of Key West. We really want... no, NEED to come back one day.

    We can recommend the Rum Bar on Duval Street. It is located on the southern half of Duval Street, so a bit away from where the main party is taking place (but still in walking distance ;-)).

    I really envy all of you going there, I am sure you will have a blast! Enjoy!!!


    Edit: Found a pic of me enjoying a nice Mojito at the Rum Bar. The Painkiller is also very good

    Rum Bar.jpg
    Last edited by My98RT10; 04-22-2021 at 03:46 AM.

  8. #8
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    Luis, Great Post. If owner's hit half these places they will surely know why we Floridians cherish our proximity to the Keys. I can't believe this event is only a few days away.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by My98RT10 View Post
    Great post Luis!! I was fortunate to visit the Keys in October of 2019 (my last vacation before the pandemic, sniff). My wife and I immediately fell in love with Key West. We were lucky because at that time there was as well the Fantasy Fest going on which added to the relaxed vibe of Key West. We really want... no, NEED to come back one day.

    We can recommend the Rum Bar on Duval Street. It is located on the southern half of Duval Street, so a bit away from where the main party is taking place (but still in walking distance ;-)).

    I really envy all of you going there, I am sure you will have a blast! Enjoy!!!


    Edit: Found a pic of me enjoying a nice Mojito at the Rum Bar. The Painkiller is also very good
    I've never been to that bar... I am a Rum drinker though, so I may hit that one... thanks!
    Luis V.
    Miami, Florida
    2002 Dodge Viper GTS - FE #298 & 2013 Dodge Viper GTS

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheWessss View Post
    Luis, Great Post. If owner's hit half these places they will surely know why we Floridians cherish our proximity to the Keys. I can't believe this event is only a few days away.
    Definitely everyone can't hit all of these places because we simply don't have time. Not to mention, very few places have parking for 30 or 40 cars showing up at once on top of their normal volume. But in the end, the ide was to throw out some options for folks to pick.

    BUT.....If there is one thing that HAS TO BE DONE....... KEY LIME PIE!
    Luis V.
    Miami, Florida
    2002 Dodge Viper GTS - FE #298 & 2013 Dodge Viper GTS

  11. #11
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    Thanks, Luis. My wife and I are planning a road trip to the Keys next year and your recommendations will help us plan it.

    On a side note, I was at a business meeting in Miami several years ago and drove south in the rental car into Keys.....had an epiphany when I drove into Key Lime and see a billboard or two advertising pies, then see a guy on a bicycle riding down the side of the highway with a huge branch of limes slung over his shoulder. I never realized that's where my favorite pie ever got its name until that moment. :-)
    2009 Viper Red ACR w/stripe delete & black/red interior (1 of 1)
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