Sunday, June 23, 2013

Our day on Big Pine Key & No Name Key

Sometimes the journey is as fun as the destination...                                                           

Florida Oldscool Campers renting out vintage VW buses :)

Big Pine Key hides a key that you have to kinda know about to find. No Name Key is a very unique area, and it's how I imagine the keys use to look like. Random homes that range from well kept to barns, driveways of vegetation where you see no houses, and huge gates that look like something out of Jurassic Park.

Back in the late 90’s when staying on Sugarloaf Key, up early before the rest of my party. I grabbed the keys and headed for Big Pine Key in search of the key deer. They were easily spotted while driving down the main stretch on Big Pine Key. All but one was numbered. This time, I have not seen any numbered, which must mean their numbers are on the rise. 

We stayed at Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge for one night after Bahia Honda. It's family owned and has been in business for over 40 years! They have a combination of rooms on the canal. All types of boats and a large camp ground. We stayed in the Rustic Area as it was cloudy with a nice breeze. They have a cool game room with some old school games. Some reviews say you can hear traffic on US1, but we did not.        

Our journey just a little south brought us to the center of Big Pine Key. If traveling south, you will take a right. The road splits shortly after the turn. No Name Key & Pub is the street on the right. If you take the long old bridge to No Name Key you have gone to far. It is actually on Big Pine right before the turn off. 

Our mission to No Name Pub was to look for the dollar bills that our renters hung with our buses names. This was much harder than we ever imagined. We would need a map of where in the pub to start looking, as I have never seen so many dollar bills! All I can say is the owner has a nice nest egg if he ever closes his doors.

We passed right by the pub without seeing it. We drove across a cool old bridge with a few locals fishing. We drove along this forgotten part of the Keys. I am shocked it still exists. With dirt roads running in one directions and a wild life refuge in the other.  As you pass by, you can see several mailboxes lining the dirt roads with a Key Deer roaming the street. Defiantly, a great place to hide from the world.

 We drove to a dead end. It looked like a hike in front of us, but ended abruptly to water. It had been raining for days in the keys, so maybe in the dry season there is one? We snapped a few shots of autumn and turned around in search of the famous ‘No Name Pub”. 

We crossed the cool old bridge on the way to Big Pine Key, and there it was! Before you even walk in the door, you can not help but see dollar bills!!!

                   Yeah, we found it!!!

After 10 minutes of pictures we enter into this little busy pub. 

Wow, all the dollar bills hanging everywhere! We had a sweet girl greet us and we grabbed two bar stools at the end of the bar. A blonde with a kind smile and blue eyes was right on us. Being the day after Memorial Day the bar was busy, but not for her. I could tell right away she is use to high volume. She served us up drinks, and we ordered a appetizer. She checked back often, and was some of the best service in the keys. The nachos were yummy! We were going to try a burger, but we were both full. When we received the bill, it was the cheapest meal I EVER had in the keys. Don’t miss this place! 

'Daddy Key Deer'

Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge

Big Pine Key Fishing Lodge
family owned and lots of fun!!!

The easiest way to get a ticket in the keys is to speed through Big Pine Key. They do not play around due to the Key Deer. Respect their town, slow down and look for the small key deers. Big Pine holds the Blue Hole. It is the only fresh water in all of the keys. If you take the fork to the left, the hike will be on your left hand side. I have not hiked it yet, but they say an alligator calls this his home...

No Name Key

Dead End at No Name Key

Key Deer are all over the place!

Mike & Dixie

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