Journey to Tortugas includes key lime pie

My trip to the Dry Tortugas National Park felt like a never-ending journey. The day began at 3 a.m. As my alarm rang, I thought to myself, “This is going to be a long day,” and it was. Yet, I was excited because I had never been to the Dry Tortugas and since I had to drive to Key West to get there, I was looking forward to walking down Duval Street and eating a slice of key lime pie before driving back to Miami.

I quickly got up, got dressed, brewed some espresso, and left to pick up my colleague, Emma Reyes, who was joining me. At about 4:07 a.m., we were finally on our way to Key West. As we drove down U.S. 1, I noticed several liquor stores along the road. I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of that—liquor stores alongside a main road usually used by travelers driving long distances.

After we passed the liquor stores and made our way into the Keys, there was nothing but the pitch black sky and open road ahead of us; the only visible light was that of my headlights and other incoming cars. It being that I had never driven on a road trip at night before, I was a bit nervous. I was also worried that we would not make it to the marina by 7:15 a.m. and miss the Yankee Freedom ferry that would take us to Fort Jefferson. I quickly snapped myself out of my anxiety and just drove and listened to the radio.

Before I knew it, we were crossing over the Seven Mile Bridge and the sky was slowly changing colors from pitch black to shades of purple, red, and orange. Not long after we crossed the bridge, we made it to the marina right on time to board the ferry. The rest of the day went by fairly smooth.

When we got back from Fort Jefferson, I was on a mission to find key lime pie—not just any key lime pie, but a slice from the original Key West Key Lime Pie Co. So I walked into a tourist gift shop not far from the marina and asked where to find this little piece of key lime heaven. The very attentive cashier directed me where to go and told me to look for the shop with yellow wooden panels.

I followed his directions, but it turns out I walked into the wrong one. Thanks to Emma’s iPhone, she was able to find the address for the Key West Key Lime Pie Co. store and lead us to the right place. With a smile of victory on my face, I walked into the shop and bought one large slice of key lime goodness. Success is how I summed up my day.

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