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Trip Report to Cudjoe Key:
All I can say is wow. I've been going to the keys for years and have never seen the level of damage I saw yesterday. To those going back home: be prepared, you might barely recognize what you left behind. So much bare and dead vegetation, sand, and anything duck key and south that was not made of solid concrete has been damaged or destroyed. Gas stations toppled over, etc.
If you can, load up at the Home Depot in Florida City. They have overstocked ... on plenty of cleaning supplies, gas cans, hundreds of generators, etc. They are ready for the people who are coming back to clean up. The Home Depot in Marathon is only open to the public until 2pm. Grocery stores are open and seemed stocked. There are also some local restaurants open on the way down.
Be prepared for spotty or no cell service once you get south of the 7-mile bridge.
The state has placed a portable toilet every mile down the keys incase you can't find a place to go, and also in clusters in some parks and open lots. However, since most bigger stores are up and running in daylight hours, you might not have that issue.
There is very little in terms of actual services between key west and Big Pine. Fill up gas in Marathon. There is a medical trailer in Big Pine and donation distribution for storm relief there.
Be careful driving!! I saw an impatient semi not paying attention to a car slowing down to turn left and ran his truck and trailer off the road to get around him. He was pulled over by an FHP officer who was riding two cars behind. Karma.
I have seen a couple "gawkers" driving like idiots so also be careful about that. Hitting the brakes to take pictures and stuff while no one is in front of them and there's no reason to adjust their speed (already going 10 under!). Also seen a few of these speeding on their way out going 70-80 on US1 weaving in and out of cars where they can. Just be careful.
I donated some supplies to Big Pine while I was down further south for a job yesterday. I am praying for you guys. I could not imagine what you are going through right now. People up north are whining about being without power but at least we have something to come back to. Many people in the Lower Keys do not. If you need anything, ask. I may not be going down the keys again for much longer, but if I can I will find a way to get things organized and down there for you. My favorite sign I saw heading down was one south of Key Largo that said "You can't drown a Conch". short prom selections specially for petite girlsSee More