American Locations 43 – John Pennekamp 2

The trip is from New River, West Virginia, to Stinking Creek, Tennessee, by way of Long Key, Florida.

 John Pennekamp State Park, Florida


The next morning we got an early start. We drove south on Hwy. 1. Since the glass bottom boat at Pennekamp had been damaged in the hurricane, we stopped to see about a ticket for a cruise on a commercial boat. Where the actual boat used to film the movie “The African Queen” was docked.

1553_Florida Keys

We continued south through the Keys. Where we saw a lot of clean-up from the hurricane still going on.

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But the Keys are beautiful no matter what.

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We found a good-sized iguana.

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We crossed from Key Largo onto Plantation Key.

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Where the water was just as beautiful.

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At Long Key State Park we learned from a ranger the damage was more extensive further south, and many places weren’t open. This state park was completely closed, not even open for day use. So we decided to turn back. We had driven all the way to Key West 24 years ago and had fond memories, so we had no desire to see it all torn up. Long Key State Park was as far away from home that we got on this trip, from here on we would be getting closer to home rather than farther.

So we returned for the afternoon glass bottom boat cruise. As you can see in the photo, our boat was moored next to The African Queen.

1571_Glass bottom boat

I hadn’t been on a glass bottom boat since I was a kid. We have done a lot of snorkeling in the Caribbean, but the water here was too choppy. I’ve tried that in Mexico before, and it’s such a struggle trying to stay oriented in a rough surf it’s exhausting and frustrating. So we took the boat instead. There were a lot of pelicans hanging around the dock.

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It was fun cruising out.

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We saw more birds when we reached open water.

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The water was beautiful as we approached the reef.

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This was the view from inside the boat. The glass was really clean, but it’s just not the same as snorkeling.

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We motored around the reef for about a half-hour, then it was back to land.

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And past some beautiful homes.

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We drove back to our campground then for another relaxing night.


Next Location – Everglades National Park, Florida



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