Deas and I spent most of March in the Florida Keys. I thought when I wrote this post I’d have lots of stories to share about kayaking, happy hours, and sunsets….but I’m also going to tell you about root canals and endodontists. So as you can see, it didn’t all go exactly as expected.
It all started when we arrived March 1 at John Pennekamp State Park, and our friends Denny & Veronica (RV Outlawz) were staying just down the road for us. We met up with them a couple of times for dinner and sunset and had a great time.
On our 3rd morning in the Keys, Deas came down with a really bad toothache. He’d had a cavity filled on this tooth a few months prior and it had been bothering him ever since. He’d been in contact with our regular dentist who didn’t seem overly concerned about it. However, the pain this time got very, very bad – and it happened very, very fast. By the end of the day, poor Deas was in extreme pain. And unfortunately, it was Friday. When we went to bed that night, we figured he would have to suffer through the weekend and that we would get him to a dentist on Monday. He spent all day Saturday in bed. I’ve known Deas now for 12 years and he is no wimp when it comes to pain – when he wouldn’t get up I knew it must be really bad. Still, we thought there was nothing we could do until Monday. I did call a few local dentists/endodontists that had emergency numbers, but no one called me back.
On Sunday morning, Deas woke up and the entire left side of his face was swollen – he could barely even open his eye. Not knowing what else to do, we went to the emergency room. They couldn’t really do much for him from a dental perspective – they just loaded him up with antibiotics and told him to get to a dentist as soon as possible on Monday.
Monday morning I got on the phone bright and early, and found a endodontist who had offices in Key Largo in Miami. Much to our relief, we were told the doctor would be able to see us at his Key Largo office that afternoon.
Once he examined Deas, he confirmed our suspicions – Deas’s tooth had abscessed and he needed an emergency root canal. They got to work on him right away, and the procedure took over 2 hours because it was such a bad case. By the time we got him back to the RV and settled, he was having some relief from the pain.
Then came the next piece of bad news – the antibiotic that Deas needed to take for the next few weeks came with one very strict instruction – no alcohol whatsoever! I felt really bad when I had to break that piece of news to him.
So, long story short, even though we spent the next few weeks in the Keys, Deas was not feeling well the whole time. The infection from his tooth had spread to his sinuses, and ended up with a bad sinus infection. So he was sick and couldn’t drink the whole time we were there, which did put a damper on things. Most of our time at John Pennekamp was just spent letting him recover. The most exciting things that happened were seeing iguanas in the campground, and seeing another black German Shepherd like Nikki.
Even though Deas wasn’t feeling his best, we did manage to see a little bit more of the Keys. After leaving John Pennekamp we headed south towards Curry Hammock State Park. Just driving down the road in the Keys is an experience – so many shades of beautiful blue!
We really loved Curry Hammock. If we ever go back to the Keys, I definitely want to spend more time at this park. It was small, quiet, and the beach was beautiful. I took my beach chair out there one day and I was the only person on the beach – it was awesome!
There was another couple staying at Curry Hammock that week that I had been following on Facebook and Instagram for a long time, and I was so happy to finally meet them in person – Jack and Rose from Shell On Wheels. We all went out for happy one night and had a few cocktails. Well, all of us except for Deas of course (darn antibiotics!) At least we had a designated driver for the night! (Photo credit to Jack and Rose.)
Just down the street from our campground was the Dolphin Research Center, which I learned was dog friendly. So we brought the 3 dogs there, curious to see how/if they would respond to the dolphins. Well, they REALLY responded to them – it was hilarious! As soon as they saw the dolphins, they ran straight to the water to get a better look. I swear Jake would have just jumped in the water if I let him.
We also got to see the dolphins performing a few tricks.
But the coolest thing was how much the dolphins reacted to the dogs! One in particular wouldn’t take his eyes off of Jake – if Jake looked away, the dolphin would start making noise until Jake looked at him again. It was fascinating to watch!
One afternoon we headed out for lunch to Burdine’s Waterfront. We got a table overlooking the water and watched boats coming in and out. The fish sandwich and french fries were crazy good. We also got their house specialty for dessert – fried Key Lime Pie. A must-do if you’re in the area.
Next stop for us was the very popular Bahia Honda State Park. This park is beautiful, but super crowded, and it’s very hard to get reservations. We got very lucky in that we booked two different waterfront sites on back-to-back reservations. Our first site (#13) had panoramic views. On the left was a small boat dock, in front of us was a large catamaran (that we later learned one of the park hosts lives on), and to the right was another site, but we could see the water through the trees. And it was a huge site!
Next we moved to site 17, which had a more open water view, but was a smaller site. We had a little road noise from the bridge, but hey, we weren’t complaining.
Sunsets at Bahia Honda did not disappoint.
One afternoon we drove over to the Blue Hole on nearby Big Pine Key, where we got an up-close view of an alligator, and a osprey flying overhead. Even though we drove through Big Pine Key a couple of times, much to my disappointment we never saw any of the famous Key deer.
That afternoon we had happy hour at The Wharf Waterside, which had some great food and drink specials. But my favorite part was this funny little dog at the bar.
We decided to head into Key West one day, and took the dogs with us thinking we could walk them around town. But it was ridiculously crowded down there – we couldn’t even find a place to park. And we quickly realized walking the dogs with all those people around was going to be more trouble than it was worth. I remembered seeing on the map that there was a state park nearby, so we headed towards Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. Ah, instant relief from the crowds and plenty of room to walk the dogs.
You can also wander around the actual fort which was built in the mid 1800s (no doggies allowed in the fort, though, so we had to take turns.)
On the way home we decided to drive by the marker for the southernmost point of the US and try to get a picture with the dogs. But as we expected, it was way too crowded. We took one look at all the people in line for a picture, and quickly decided to keep driving.
On the way back to Bahia Honda, we got a great view of our RV from the bridge. That’s our RV 3rd from the right.
Since it was our last night in the keys, we decided to just hang out at our site and watch the sunset.
And as sunsets often do, this one just kept getting better and better. A beautiful way to wrap up our time in the Keys!