Driving to Key West

No picture can ever do this day justice. Whenever I visit my bestie, we always do our utmost to make the time for just the two of us to have a single day together without any of the kids or anyone else. Last time I visited her in Florida, we went to the Everglades, and the time before that (when she was still living in Utah) we took a day trip to Zion. I always appreciate these rare opportunities that I get with her because I know how difficult it is to get someone else to juggle all of the kids for the day. This drive down the keys was probably one of my favorite day trips with her yet. It was full of misdirection and misadventure and absolutely delightful in every way.

The first half of the keys disappeared in a blur while we laughed and talked and played loud music and reminisced about the old days and joked about the new ones. I couldn’t believe how quickly it seemed that we made it to Key West, considering it was a three hour drive from Cutler Bay. But before we knew it, it was lunch time and Brooke was driving around looking for parking spaces that didn’t exist with a pregnant woman’s bladder and an inexplicable amount of patience.

Finally we gave up and drove out of the downtown area looking for a place to eat. We passed by a Cuban restaurant and decided it looked good, so we turned onto a side street so we could turn around. The single lane side street turned into a hotel parking lot, so we parked and went in to use the restroom. As we were getting back into the car to drive over to the Cuban restaurant, several ambulances came blaring down the single lane and completely blocked us in. There was no way out. We laughed and threw up our hands and decided to walk to the restaurant instead. I ended up having the most delicious Cuban sandwich, and by the time we were done eating the ambulance had ferreted away whoever they were there to rescue and we were able to return to our expedition on the road.

One of the best things ever about traveling (or adventuring of any kind) is when unexpected things happen… which happens to me a lot because I’m terrible at planning. But they always end up way better than anything I would have planned anyway so most of the time I just let life decide what will be the most fun and it’s amazing how beautifully things tend to unfold.

The one thing that I really wanted to do in key west (besides visit the beach) was to go to this one dessert restaurant called Better Than Sex that is supposed to be amazing. Well, in typical Tien fashion, I didn’t take the logical course of action and actually look up their hours of operation. Because, hello, it’s a Saturday. Everything is open on Saturday. So we fed the meter a dozen quarters and walked to the restaurant only to discover that they don’t open until late (long after we would be headed back up the keys.)

So we decided to take a stroll in the opposite direction and found ourselves in the middle of a drag race. But not your typical drag race. This was pretty much the best drag race I have ever seen…. and a thousand times better than what I had planned anyway. Then we walked up the street a ways and we shared key lime pie paired with a glass of Pinot Noir (for me of course, Brooke would never) and it was the first time I’ve ever actually loved a slice of pie.

We stopped at several different keys on our drive back north, including the giant lobster statue (because of course, HELLO, we cannot drive by him without stopping to make faces and pretend he is chasing us) and at Bayside Marina as the sun was getting lower in the sky. A man was there tossing fish to the pelicans (and also the sharks right underneath the pelicans. You can’t see them in the photos but trust me, they were there!!) It was a brilliant photo opportunity; I didn’t even have to change lenses, they were so close. Our last stop was a fancy little restaurant where I (very excitedly) got to try alligator ravioli.

But the string of events and the photos don’t capture the laughter and hilarity and fun that we get to have when we are together. Days like this with her are extremely rare any more, and I treasure them.