April 27th through May 4th, 2024

We were still in Key Largo, and we'd been seeing the sights. Miami wasn't too far north, so we had to check that out, too. This was the start of our love affair with big boats.

We spent a long day in the city by first going to the harbor and getting on the Millionaire's Row Cruise. The weather was lovely, and the boat left from Bayfront Park which was also really gorgeous and vibrant. The cruise took us around the harbor and the huge cruise ships. The coolest part was seeing all of the monstrous boats that people own. Huge! The houses that also belonged to the people who owned the huge yachts were also insane. We'll never live this large, but it sure was fun to see how the other half lives.

We were coming back in when it started raining like crazy. We were able to go inside on the boat to get out of the rain. By the time we got back, the rain stopped. Handy!

When the boat got back to Bayfront Park, we walked around to grab some lunch. We got lucky and got a spot right on the water. We saw a pirate ship and a crazy fast boat taking people out on tours. It was a busy spot.

After that, we got on a Hop-On Hop-Off double-decker bus tour of Miami. It didn't look like it was going to rain again, so we headed for the open-air top of the bus. We figured we would get off of the bus at places just to check out the city, but we ended up just riding it around the loop and seeing everything from the bus.

Miami is so beautiful, with clean, bright architecture they try to keep looking art deco. We were taking pictures left and right, and really loving it. That is, until the bus took an onramp and suddenly we were on the highway! We went for only a couple exits, but to be on the top of an open bus on plastic seats with no seatbelts was pretty crazy. Everyone's stuff was flying out of the top of the bus, but we held onto our papers and things. Madness, but we were still laughing about it.

After the tour, we took a scenic route home. The banyan trees created canopies over the road, and all of the nice houses made it such a pretty drive.

We were still checking out national parks, of course, and Biscayne National Park was right there near Miami. Our next trip up from Key Largo was spent there, and we took Lacey. She wasn't able to go into the buildings, but they had a nice boardwalk along the water's edge where dogs were allowed.

The weather looked a little menacing, but how bad could the rain be? We were from Colorado and we were used to little rain showers that took a long time to get started and didn't amount to much. Miami is different! We got out on our walk on the boardwalk, it sprinkled a little, and then it was a crazy downpour. We were close to the end, so we kept going, hiding for a bit in the cypress trees with a bunch of other people. When we got to the end, we pivoted and immediately started heading back. By the time we got back to the car we were all soaked. Lacey loved it!

On the way back to town, we stopped at a little roadside stand. Two women had us pick out coconuts, and they cut them for us and stuck in a straw. Yum! Fresh coconut was a first for both of us. We were hanging out there, and the women took the coconuts back, poured the coconut water out in cups, and then cut them down more. They gave us spoons and we scooped coconut meat out. What a treat! We're going to be on the lookout for coconuts, now.

The other thing we were introduced to is a turron de mani bar. It's a Cuban treat that is peanut butter with a ton of sugar and honey mixed in. We split one and OMG that was one of the most delicious things we have ever tasted. Wow!

Another night in Key Largo we went to an Asian restaurant, and they had the plates delivered by robot waiters. Florida is like a completely different world for Coloradoans.

We loved our time in Key Largo, but there was one experience that we didn't enjoy all the way through. We took the Key Largo Princess, a glass-bottomed boat that you can take out to the coral reef. It puts you right over the reef, so it's like scuba diving without the gear. It sounds great, right?

We really enjoyed about half of the trip. On the way out to sea, we went through the fancy part of Key Largo. There were gorgeous houses right on the water, with some nice boats docked at them. We were on the upper floor outside, right at the front, and we stayed there all the way out to the reef. Queens of the World! The ride was fantastic.

We got to the reef and noticed other boats nearby that were really rocking. The wind made it pretty wavy. We went downstairs and inside to look at the glass bottom and the reef. Monica lasted about 15 seconds before feeling queasy and moving to the outer seats where she could look at the horizon. Margot lasted a bit longer, a minute or two, before she came to the seats, too. Then we went outside.

The staff gave us ice cubes to crunch while we took in the sea air and tried to walk upstairs while the boat was swaying and trying to throw us overboard. We managed to keep it together, and we made it back in one piece. Dramamine next time!

Monica's birthday was coming up, and we were going to spend a few days in Key West. Key Largo is at the top end of the Keys at the Florida mainland, and Key West is near the far end of the Keys about 100 miles away. We had plans to leave the motor home in Key Largo and drive down, spending our days at a resort with Lacey. It was a vacation from our vacation. It promised to be awesome.

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