Paradise to Parking lot

Today marked the end of two great days at Bahia Honda. We had to be off the site at 11am so we spent the morning doing a bit of van cleaning to prep us for the next leg of the jorney. The next couple months is looking to be busier (by the way of driving) than the past few months so its easier to organize now if we can. With so much great weather lately it seems silly to have winter gloves, hats and long-johns within arms reach so I decided to swap our clothes and pack our winter stuff away and officially pull out the shorts and tees.

If you haven’t already figured out, when you live in a van, you’re constantly re-arranging… Finding new places for things and getting rid of some things, re-organizing and cleaning.

After we were all sorted we spent a bit more time on the beach before we hit the road.Still lots of man-of-wars out there, really not something I’d want to be getting near as they can still sting you when they’re on shore..

We headed North across several bridges and miles of beautiful ocean with the windows down and the music going.

For anyone who’s been to the Key’s these are some familiar shots of the oversized items along the highway

Gas was also a little inflated down here – which we expected. We saw as high as $3.40 per gallon with the cheapest being in Key Largo (even cheaper than Miami).

We also stopped at a great little artsy shop, browsing around for a bit before continuing on to John Pennekamp State Park.

We arrived at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and the Ranger was over-the-moon happy that we had a reservation (which we scored a few days prior from a cancellation). While she processed us she told us we wouldn’t believe the number of people who just show up and ask for a site, and how she has to deal with people sneaking in overnight. Andrew and I played it cool but giggled to ourselves as we had just recently been apart of all those things. They really do have to put up with a lot, poor Rangers.

Driving around the park we ended up at the camper area – it was gated a second time. They really must have problems with people sneaking in!

Once we saw the sites though, I don’t see how anyone could hide in here, it was practically a parking lot for busses and large RV’s. We were rather disappointed actually. Having just left a great park we had hoped for more, or at least something similar. Instead, and for the same price, we ended up so close to our neighbours you can hear them chatting and smell what they’re cooking for dinner. This, was at least was an improvement to the general smell of sewage around the area. Since each site had a dump station each massive bus could run their grey and black water directly out instead of keeping it in holding tanks. This is the first time I’ve seen this at a State Park – hopefully also the last -It was rather unpleasant.

The little “river” running by our site, as indicated on the map, had us excited at the ranger station but it also turned out to be somewhat deceiving. We debated about going back to our little $10 spot we enjoyed a few nights before but we would loose $17 for cancellation, a hefty chunk of the nightly charge of $38.50. It would still put us ahead but we opted to stay anyway to avoid the hassel as the Ranger Station was closed. Goes to show you what you get when you book ahead and when you don’t.. Making the most of it though, we went exploring and found a nice little interpretive trail and a bit of a lake.

As it got dark we headed back to our site for some dinner and an early night.

Bahia Honda Key, FL to Key Largo, FL

Today’s track: 110 kms | 70 miles
Tomorrow’s plan: get some work done, enjoy some sunshine