I was very excited to do a stand up paddleboard race in Key West on Mother’s Day weekend. We rented a waterfront campsite at Boyd’s Key West Campground, finally removed the hideous window shaker A/C and installed a proper A/C unit on Riva’s roof. It worked like a champ – a very necessary accompaniment for a trip to the tropics.
Unfortunately, Justin had to work Saturday evening – he had a fundraising party for United Way. So, my darling hubby schlepped me and The Riveted Roost all the way down to Key West on Thursday afternoon, then went home Saturday morning.
My dearest friend, Becky, whom I’ve known since the fourth grade, came down from Fort Lauderdale to stay with me and cheer me on during my race. It would be a fun, girls glamping weekend!
We had an amazing camp site right by the water with a spectacular sunrise view. Boyd’s is a great campground with clean restrooms, a beautiful pool, and a well-stocked store. It’s technically on Stock Island, just a few miles from downtown Key West. We highly recommend it and will certainly be back.
On Saturday, I had a great, albeit grueling race against high winds and choppy seas, followed by a fabulous post-race party where the Kona Beer was flowing. Becky and I went out on the town that night and had a blast. I slept like a champ inside an ice-cold Riva that evening.
The next morning, Becky and I headed to brunch at Hurricane Hole. We enjoyed ourselves immensely, sipping on mimosas and eating a decadent meal while the palm trees swayed. We watched the boats come in and out of the marina and we agreed that, “Life is good!”
Justin soon called to say he was right down the road with the pups. He had returned from his fundraiser to enjoy some much needed rest and relaxation. I told him to join us, since the outdoor restaurant allowed dogs.
Justin arrived and the dogs lounged under the table. I was so proud of how well they behaved. Then my friend Kat joined us. Becky was heading back home that afternoon, and Kat was going to camp with us that evening. We wrapped up our meals and paid the check. We were just getting ready to leave when the sh!t hit the fan, quite literally.
Justin had failed to mention that Jackson had a terrible bout of diarrhea the evening before. Well, he STILL had it and proceeded to squat and CRAP without warning all over the deck by our table. The diners around us looked on in horror and I froze in my tracks, shocked. Becky had the quick thinking to take the dogs to the parking lot and walk them around.
I freaked out and asked Justin what to do and he said to get a bucket with some water so we could wash it off the dock into the marina below. I couldn’t find one and finally yelled at Justin, “Do something!” and he put a plastic chair over the putrid pile that was big enough to be a cow patty. I apologized profusely to all the neighboring diners, then ran out of the restaurant to find Becky and the dogs, mortified. On top of it all, the man who owned a neighboring business gave me a hard time for moving his potted palm in order to find a parking place.
It took me a few minutes to shake the shame, but with Becky’s help, I finally laughed it off. I was worried about my Jack, but it tuned out it was residual nerves from the night before. There had been a big thunderstorm back home. He was back to normal by the next day.
Later that afternoon, Kat and I took a sunset paddle from the dock by the campsite. When we returned, we enjoyed some cocktails and ordered pizza and wings from Roostica, an amazing Italian restaurant within walking distance from the campground.
Kat took off the next morning and Justin and I headed to Duval Street to traipse around with the dogs. It was a nice, lazy afternoon filled with icy rumrunners from Fat Tuesdays and a warm, tropical sunset at Mallory Square.
We had to head home the next day. We packed up Riva and our belongings and headed north along the scenic Overseas Highway. As we pulled into Marathon, I heard an awful noise and asked Justin, "What is that?!" He brushed it off saying it was an airplane landing (we were right next to the airport), but I turned around and looked at Riva through the rear window. I could see her underbelly dragging the ground and I told Justin to pull over - stat! Luckily, we were right next to a gas station.
Justin with his MacGyver tendencies was able to quickly tie a belt around Riva made of camouflage rope and a bright yellow tow strap. It was quite the fashion statement. I’m sure she was embarrassed, but it’s better than draggin’ arse for 220 miles.
We made a stop at Alabama Jack’s for a quick bite before we left the Keys for the mainland. Since it was late afternoon on a Tuesday, we were able to find a parking spot for Riva right across the street. Parking is a rarity on the weekends at this popular hole in the wall near Key Largo on Card Sound Road. But the conch fritters and the view are well worth it
Other than the diarrhea doggie dump and the underbelly episode, we made it home safe and sound. Riva’s second and biggest outing (535 miles roundtrip) was a success.
Follow our adventures on Twitter @RivetedRoost, or find us on Facebook and Instagram.