Nov 072012

Since we only had 27 miles to drive yesterday morning, we were in no hurry to get on the road. This new relaxed lifestyle is really going work to out well, if I can keep a rein on my Type A personality that always thinks I need to be doing something every waking moment.

Terry and I really liked Jolly Roger Travel Park on Marathon Key. Debbie, the manager, told us that the place started out as a fish camp that has morphed into a comfortable, laid-back RV park over the years. Their sites are not huge, but our 40 foot motorhome had no problem on one of the interior Passport America  sites. They have some long-term sites that people rent by the season, and Passport America members are welcome year-round for a maximum of five nights stay on a space available basis.

Jolly Roger trailer

Winnie at Jolly Roger

Their waterfront sites have a great view and go at a premium price, obviously.

Jolly Roger Waterfront sites

Fortunately, they don’t park RVs under these big palm trees. It’s bad enough to have acorns falling on your roof, could you imagine one of these coconuts coming down? And they do come down! There was one laying under one of the trees.

Coconut palm2

Terry and I walked down by the water to check out the fishing/swimming pier, and I stopped to admire this beautiful Mako center console fishing boat. If we lived in Florida, I’d have one of these babies!

Jolly Roger pier2


I’d love to come down here and sit in the shade and read my Kindle and just soak in the salty air and the feel of the islands.

Waterfront cabana

We left about 11:30 AM with Terry at the wheel because I was being a wimp and didn’t want to drive over the Seven Mile Bridge. But to my credit, I didn’t snivel!

We have two weeks reserved at Sunshine Key RV Resort and Marina, which is an Encore park. Their regular rates are much more than our budget can afford, but with our recent Thousand Trails upgrade it’s only costing us $23 a night. For the Florida Keys, that’s a steal!

The regular RV sites are a bit tight, and it was a challenge getting into ours even though it was a pull-through. In fact I managed to put about a four inch scrape in the paint on one of our bay doors navigating a tight turn to get to the site. Hope I can buff it out.

Sunshine Key RV sites2

They have waterfront sites here too, which are very nice.

Sunshine Key waterfront sites

But I do have to say that both Terry and I agree that we like Jolly Roger better. This place advertises that it has a pier, but it’s in poor shape and is closed. And it just doesn’t have the same atmosphere. It’s run by a corporation and just doesn’t feel warm and fuzzy like Jolly Roger did. But again, $23 a night is a steal in the Keys!

Several people had recommended the white pizza at the No Name Pub, which has been a Keys landmark since 1935. It’s located a couple of miles off the highway on Big Pine Key. They told me it wasn’t easy to get to, but it was well worth the trip.

No Name Pub sign2

The place started out as a general store, then became a brothel, then a bait shop, and today it’s a bar and restaurant that can only be called a dive. But as dives go, it’s a good one. It’s a tradition for customers to sign dollar bills and stick them on the walls, and the place is covered with them. There’s not an inch of bare wall or ceiling showing, just dollar bills. Lots of dollar bills. Over 70,000 of them, according to our waitress.

No Name Pub money

No Name Pub money2

No Name Pub money3

The pizza was fantastic! Well worth the trip. And Terry said the salsa that came with her chips was awesome too.

There is a lot to see and do here, but today we plan to just hang out here at home. I’m learning folks, I’m learning.

Thought For The Day – You never really realize what you have until it’s gone. Toilet paper is a good example.

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Nick Russell

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  7 Responses to “Settled In On Big Pine Key”

  1. We have left Wyoming & are getting our camper serviced in Zion, IL before we head to FL. Sheila will be driving a 16′ Budget truck with more stuff being moved from our storage unit in Clinton, IA to our park model in N. Ft Myers, FL. We won’t make it to SSK until 11/25 which will be after you guys leave unfortunately. We will be workamping there again starting 12/1 & I will be in guest services on second shift doing mostly electrical, sewer, plumbing, horticulture, trash hauling, & cleaning of the fish house … But if you are going to work hard you may as well spend the winter surrounded by palm trees. I think they will have us over on site 313 by a couple other workampers near “dog run row” since we have a Beagle & more convenient to refill the doggy-pot bags. Most other places down there only hire for your RV site, so we are thankful both of us will be working full-time this winter in paradise! It beats freezing in Wyoming all winter where we workamped the summer, LOL!

  2. I have to say that your description, “The place started out as a general store, then became a brothel, then a bait shop, and today it’s a bar and restaurant that can only be called a dive.” of the No Name Pub conjured up oodles of images. What a great sentence!

  3. I’ll bet that Greg can get the scratch out of your bin door. I did that same thing to my motorhome but it didn’t happen in the Keys. It happened in California. It was still there when I traded it in a few years later. How far was it across rhat bridge?

  4. Seven miles, Art.

  5. Damn, you are making me want to be back in the Keys. My wife would leave me but I am sure missing that warm, laid back place. Beautiful writing as always.

  6. I guess I’m really lucky, Don, because Terry loves it here too.

  7. That’s about what I thought it was. I looked at my map. I’m pretty good at figuring out distances by looking at a map. Course mine is pretty old. I think I got it free at a gas station in California.

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