Back from Key West, Florida

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    Sep 18, 2011 10:49 PM GMT
    Got back from Key West this afternoon (Sunday) after one of our shortest trips there ever. I knew a few days before that it was the weekend of a big motorcycle rally, no doubt why we got an e-mail at the last minute offering us a great rate, which usually happens when our favorite hotel has unsold rooms as a weekend approaches during the off-seaon. I guess not many guys wanna be around all those bikers and their noisy cycles, but I loved it.

    In the spirit of "it didn't happen without pics" here are some shots featuring the bikes.

    Here's the veranda overlooking Duval Street where we stayed, our room always the duplex # 24 on the far end, by the giant red high heel shoe.

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    Here's the view from the veranda, looking up Duval. The next several blocks were totally blocked to all but bikes, which could park on both side of the street at that point.

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    The veranda view in the opposite direction.

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    Street-level view from our hotel entrance.

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    Another street-level from across our hotel, with our friend Phil's men's store "graffiti" shown. These bikes stretched as far as the tall hotel you see in the distance, the no-parking rules for Duval suspended for the rally.

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    Meanwhile, out the rear entrance to our room and down those wooden steps, hot views like this threatened our cool composure while having drinks in the shade of the tiki bar (my partner's hands, not his bare ass).

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    A gif slide show by New Orleans House itself. You'll see in order:

    - the front of the hotel on Duval with the second-floor veranda
    - the veranda
    - the clothing-optional pool, hot tub & tiki (garden) bar from the second-floor sun deck
    - the pool in use (suits on for this shot)
    - the clothing-optional second-floor sun deck as we see it exiting our room's back door


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    Typical "Key West Ramshackle" as I call it, certainly not luxury in the grand sense, but we love it, the kind of local Key West flavor you won't get in a formulaic, sterile modern hotel. And for the special rate of $99 USD a night, with free breakfast and unlimited happy hour drinks, and complimentary gated off-street parking, we couldn't resist.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Sep 18, 2011 11:23 PM GMT
    makes me wish i had been there!



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    Sep 18, 2011 11:53 PM GMT
    rnch saidmakes me wish i had been there!

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    High praise, considering you live in one of MY favorite destinations, New Orleans. Of course my goal here is not to generate envy, nor even to flaunt my Pride, but rather to give guys here ideas, leads & options.

    Far better, I think, than if I were to selfishly withhold these tips to myself, of places to see and things to do. I know many of us go to incredible places, that I can only dream about, and I hope we would all share them here. I know you're a great promoter and guide to New Orleans, a fabulous place for gay men to visit.

    (Ironically, New Orleans House is the name of the gay hotel where we stayed. Don't believe their promotional hype that they're "French Quarter Charm in Old Town Key West." They're no more French Quarter than I am, though they are most definitely in the middle of Old Town. But what they do have is Key West charm, a sort of tumbledown shabbiness that only Key West can pull off. It's as if everyone's living like an island beachcomber)

    Anytime you're considering Key West do let me know. I have tons of connections, and connections that will get you even better connections than I can. That's why I post these things here. icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 19, 2011 12:01 AM GMT
    Good to hear you had a great time! How'd your doc visit go today?

    I didn't get to Key West, but I did fly to Key Largo a few times this weekend. Here's some pics you might like. icon_biggrin.gif

    Bridge to Key Largo:
    keylargo-bridge.jpg

    The bay between Key Largo and the mainland:
    keylargo-bay.jpg

    And...Key Largo:
    keylargo.jpg
  • islander24

    Posts: 161

    Sep 19, 2011 12:29 AM GMT
    Nice pix , Paul !!!
    Glad you got safely home.
    I just got back from Richmond about 6. It was 50 this morning.........WTF !
    Glad to be back to warm Key West.
    Bob
  • HndsmKansan

    Posts: 16311

    Sep 19, 2011 12:29 AM GMT
    Looks awesome Bob... some of those we are familiar with!

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    Sep 19, 2011 12:33 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidGood to hear you had a great time! How'd your doc visit go today?

    I didn't get to Key West, but I did fly to Key Largo a few times this weekend. Here's some pics you might like. icon_biggrin.gif

    Bridge to Key Largo:
    keylargo-bridge.jpg

    The bay between Key Largo and the mainland:
    keylargo-bay.jpg

    And...Key Largo:
    keylargo.jpg

    Doc visit is tomorrow (Monday), and wasn't alterable, based on a strict time schedule for my cancer treatments to begin, why we came back from Key West so soon. icon_sad.gif

    Which way into Key Largo is this? It looks like US 1. The other way is further north over Card Sound, which has a very prominent high bridge.

    The US 1 route has been under construction almost continuously for 40 years, and still is. They only recently completed a bridge section as you come onto Key Largo. If your pic is US 1, it's odd that from the roadway itself you think you're surrounded by greenery, you get no sense how close the water is all around you, as you leave the Florida mainland and reach the first of the keys.

    Great aerial photos as always, thanks!
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Sep 19, 2011 12:44 AM GMT
    Great pictures from both you guys! This looks very appealing to me right now as I'm getting a little tired of looking at nothing but Orlando!!

    Looks like the weather was good there as well. Someday....someday....
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    Sep 19, 2011 12:48 AM GMT
    Art_Deco saidDoc visit is tomorrow (Monday),
    Oh...oops...I keep thinking today is Monday. I need a day off. Eventually. icon_lol.gif

    Art_Deco saidWhich way into Key Largo is this?
    First pic: US-1, looking south to the island (visible in high res).
    Second pic: Over the top of Key Largo, looking NW.
    Third pic: About seven or eight miles SW of the main bridge, looking NE (distant bridge visible in high res).

    Art_Deco saidThe US 1 route has been under construction almost continuously for 40 years, and still is. They only recently completed a bridge section as you come onto Key Largo. If your pic is US 1, it's odd that from the roadway itself you think you're surrounded by greenery, you get no sense how close the water is all around you, as you leave the Florida mainland and reach the first of the keys.
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    I've never driven it. Now I don't want to drive it. icon_lol.gif

    Art_Deco saidGreat aerial photos as always, thanks!
    Thanks! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Sep 19, 2011 1:11 AM GMT
    islander24 saidNice pix , Paul !!!
    Glad you got safely home.
    I just got back from Richmond about 6. It was 50 this morning.........WTF !
    Glad to be back to warm Key West.
    Bob

    Again, so sorry we missed seeing you this trip, by mere hours. But we had a great time as always, even without you this time. LOL! As you know, this sudden offer from Neal at New Orleans House could not be turned down.

    Because my daily cancer treatments will begin soon, our next reservations in Key West aren't until Nov 19-22, for the SMART Ride. We planned my treatments around the SMART Ride, with the final surgical portion done after we return in early December.

    We'll talk before then, but maybe you'd be interested in attending the closing ceremonies Sat, Nov 19 on the White Street Pier, get there around 3 PM. The custom-painted SMART Ride HIV bicycle I got for "C" from The Studios of Key West will be used as the symbolic "Riderless Bicycle" that represents all those fallen to HIV/AIDS. (Phil at graffitti originally commissioned it)

    It will be a special moment for both of us, having each lost a partner to AIDS, to have our own bicycle the focal point of that ceremony before thousands. "C" will likely be on the stage, as one of the Ride founders and committee members, but being just a flunky myself, and hopefully a rider or maybe crew, you might see me in the crowd there.

    And locals you no doubt know will be on stage, and in the crowd, so I encourage you to attend. We'll e-mail & phone privately.
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    Sep 19, 2011 2:21 AM GMT
    turtleneckjock saidGreat pictures from both you guys! This looks very appealing to me right now as I'm getting a little tired of looking at nothing but Orlando!!

    Looks like the weather was good there as well. Someday....someday....

    Well let me know. One day's drive from Orlando, all easy highway until you hit the keys for the last 100 miles. I can name a dozen gay guest houses, all online.

    If you want cruisy I can suggest cruisy. If you're coming down with someone, other choices would work better. Men-only, or mixed, clothing optional, not clothing optional, right in the tourist section, a little more quiet, just tell me. Lots of choices. Likewise with places to eat and drink. When you're ready contact me.
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Sep 19, 2011 2:44 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    turtleneckjock saidGreat pictures from both you guys! This looks very appealing to me right now as I'm getting a little tired of looking at nothing but Orlando!!

    Looks like the weather was good there as well. Someday....someday....

    Well let me know. One day's drive from Orlando, all easy highway until you hit the keys for the last 100 miles. I can name a dozen gay guest houses, all online.

    If you want cruisy I can suggest cruisy. If you're coming down with someone, other choices would work better. Men-only, or mixed, clothing optional, not clothing optional, right in the tourist section, a little more quiet, just tell me. Lots of choices. Likewise with places to eat and drink. When you're ready contact me.


    I will do that. The way things are looking now, I will not have any time for a "vacation" until next summer. I'm trying to get out of where I'm working now to find something more rewarding, and when I do....that vacation will be well deserved!! It's a "pick your poison" as far as getting there from here, but right now, I would likely fly in there.

    Thank you. I will let you know when the time is right.
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    Sep 19, 2011 2:57 AM GMT
    turtleneckjock saidIt's a "pick your poison" as far as getting there from here, but right now, I would likely fly in there.

    Thank you. I will let you know when the time is right.

    Well, you could always drive down I-95 as far as Wilton Manors, park your car here, and drive the rest of the most difficult way with us at the wheel. And stay at our duplex we always get, or choose your own place. You have too many options to mention.

    In Key West you hardly need a car. We park ours once and never move it. Taxis are very inexpensive, for the places you can't walk, or if the weather turns bad.

    But Key West does have a full airport, and you can do that. You'd be a short distance from the gay guest houses, not an exorbitant taxi fare to reach them. Then rent a bike, a scooter, take cabs, or just walk, the place is small enough you don't need a rental car.

    Talk with me privately when you're ready.
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    Sep 19, 2011 7:10 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidGood to hear you had a great time! How'd your doc visit go today?

    I didn't get to Key West, but I did fly to Key Largo a few times this weekend. Here's some pics you might like. icon_biggrin.gif

    Bridge to Key Largo:

    The bay between Key Largo and the mainland:

    And...Key Largo:
    This project for colour theory that I got 90-something on = relevant:
    26313_10150157171025088_510605087_122428
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    Sep 19, 2011 1:00 PM GMT
    jprichva saidAnd while you were lying about sipping mojitos, you missed a firestorm of drama right here on RJ! (lucky you)

    Actually I did see something about a bunch of the right-wingers all leaving. As usual we brought the laptop, because New Orleans House, despite its quaint Key West "charm" does have Wi-Fi.

    I'd take it out on the veranda (aka "Grand Balcony" which hosts Key West's biggest New Year's Eve event each year, the Sushi Drop) right outside our door, while having a little breakfast and waiting for hubby to regain consciousness. And throughout the day whenever I had a little down time.

    So what exactly happened to them? Is there a thread that tells all? Frankly the site looks healthy enough, good volume of posts. And nice I can post something without being deluged with personal attacks (well, except for 2 general troublemakers who didn't follow the right-wingers out the door).

    I'd much rather post about Key West than US politics, and without the propagandists here creating controversy there's little need. Other than issues relating to gay rights, I have little interest in politics.
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    Sep 19, 2011 2:53 PM GMT
    Thanks for sharing, Art. I don't follow much of the political discussion on RJ, but the Art Deco Derangement Syndrome had unfortunately spilled over into the non-political forums. With your stalkers mostly absent, the atmosphere around here is much improved. I hope it stays that way.
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    Sep 20, 2011 3:58 PM GMT
    paradox saidThanks for sharing, Art. I don't follow much of the political discussion on RJ, but the Art Deco Derangement Syndrome had unfortunately spilled over into the non-political forums. With your stalkers mostly absent, the atmosphere around here is much improved. I hope it stays that way.

    I agree. And paulflexes got confused above about when I would be seeing the cancer doc, as he posted above. It was yesterday (Monday). I didn't know they would be sticking a catheter up my dick, to overfill my bladder with contrast dye for their 3-D scan and do the prostate mapping.

    Rather bad. They apologized for not having told me beforehand. I replied it was just as well. Had I known I might have chickened-out, or would have certainly spoiled my Key West weekend with anticipation.

    Because I've had catheters before, conscious and without any pain relief, as they did yesterday, and they were rather awful, too. This one was rather large, since they had to introduce a lot of fluid quickly, rather than just slowly drain my bladder through a smaller tube, as I've had done. And afterwards all day yesterday, every time I had to pee it was like barbed wire was being pulled through my dick, the residual dye burning like Hell.

    Ah, well. They're trying to extend my life, so what am I gonna do? Complain about it? But I have a new respect for cancer patients, of all kinds, who likewise have to endure treatment miseries that most of us never imagine.

    Still, I remain positive, I've got one of the easiest cancers to treat. With my partner having had the same thing 7 years ago and now totally cured. And trying to rationalize that my Father, who died of prostate cancer, is not my model, since he delayed & resisted getting the treatment he was told to have.

    I'm very much my Father's son, and proud of it, but also not my Father in many respects. His mistakes are my guides, and I don't intend to repeat them, whether regarding my health or anything else.

    And so now we're back from Key West, a treat for my partner I sprung on him without notice, but maybe also for me. My late partner's nickname for me was "Iron Bob." But maybe I don't wanna be Iron Bob anymore --- for once in my life I just wanna lay back and be spoiled. Let others make the plans, let others be in charge, I'm just really getting burnt out. Or maybe just old? icon_sad.gif
  • Hothouse

    Posts: 2204

    Sep 20, 2011 6:04 PM GMT
    I love Key West, but haven't been down there in several years. It was always a great vaction during February when it's cold as hell here.
    I love just being able to walk everywhere, no phones, no TV, just relax, get to meet new friends, and eat at some of the best restaurants.
    It seemed to be "less gay" as time went by, and more expensive to travel there, still some of the best vacation memories ever.
    Miss Atlantic Shores - always a good afternoon of sunning, drinking and people watching - shame it had to close.
    I know I'll make it back sometime, but damn, I want to go now!
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    Sep 20, 2011 6:23 PM GMT
    jprichva said
    Hothouse saidIt seemed to be "less gay" as time went by

    That's my impression too. I used to go down from time to time and stay at Big Ruby's (is that even there anymore?) but the last time it really felt like the fratboys and the breeders had taken over the town.
    Yeah big Ruby's is still there and flourishing.