In my previous post I mentioned that the boys were flying to OKC from Key West. We were in Marathon at the time I posted. Since then, we moved the boat down to Key West to get them to the airport. The saga begins:

We called around to find out what it would cost to take a taxi from the dinghy dock to the airport to drop off the boys. It was $37.50! So, we called around to find out what it costs to rent a car for a day. Turns out, we could rent a car for 24 hrs for the same price. Great! Now the only problem is how to get to the airport to get the car. They have a shuttle service. Great! The guy at the desk told us to call 30 minutes before we needed to be picked up. No problem…

We arranged the whole car deal online while in Marathon, Fl. We had to get up at 7:00am to move the boat down to Key West before the last shuttle service pick up time of 5:00pm. It was a stretch, given the freaky west winds when they should be southeast, but we made it to the anchorage by 4:00. Just enough time to get the dinghy launched and motor over. We called Dollar Car rental to dispatch the shuttle at 4:15 at which time they said the van would be here in 30 minutes and it would have a Dollar Car Rental sign on the outside (this is a key point later in the saga). 30 minutes lapsed and we decided that this is Key West, they’re probably on island time, so we gave them another 15 minutes before we called, although they had our cell phone number and should have called us if they would be delayed. We assumed that since it would be a long distance phone call for them to call us, that we would just call them.

While we waited, I became the official tourist photo taker. (We were standing in front of this post that had little signs in all different directions that pointed the way to various locations and how many miles away it was. It seemed to be a popular tourist attraction and everyone wanted to have their picture taken in front of it.) During our wait, we also happened to witness two fairly obvious drug deals. However, in Key West, I believe that if you’re a pirate, and/or dressed like a pirate, or wish you were a pirate, the laws about illegal drugs are more like guidelines. AND… we also got to see our neighbor from our last visit who has the pirate-like eyebrows tattooed on his forehead—we are once again neighbors. grin. It was a very entertaining wait.

In between photo sessions and drug deals, I called Dollar back to tell them we were still waiting, and they said it would be 15 more minutes. No problem. After 1 hr & 30 minutes passed, we called again—only this time I made John call: “Oh, he left 10 minutes ago, so he should be there soon.” (Yeah, right).

Meanwhile, back at the boat: I failed to mention that Travis and Kimi stayed on board while the rest of us went to pick up the car. We weren’t going to be gone long, and Travis had my cell phone and could handle any problems. But what could happen? Well, he calls us while we’re waiting to tell us that the anchor alarm kept going off. (The anchor alarm tells us if the anchor is dragging, which, if the anchor drags your boat can end up crashing into another boat.) There are numbers on the screen that tell how far out the boat is from where the anchor is so as long as the numbers aren’t bigger than the amount of chain you have out, all is okay, its a false alarm. That seemed to be the case, so we didn’t worry too much. Still, you naturally think, “what if it does drag. Is Travis capable of resetting the anchor, which means starting the engine, raising the anchor, moving the boat forward, dropping the anchor again?” Travis knew enough to let out more chain, and that seemed to settle things down. It had been raining and the wind had been howling, so the boat was swinging and moving alot. Things calmed down, and it there was no cause for alarm. Plus, if the boat was dragging, there are always friendly sailors that come to the rescue. In fact, one of our neighbors dinghied over to tell Travis that its a good idea to set two anchors. (Hey, thanks.) Anyway, while there was no real problem, it added to the frustration because we should have already been back to the boat by now.

Back to the waiting game:

Now, 2 hours later (yell-Regis style-when you read that last part), we were still waiting! John is pretty mad by now (we all were). He calls again. They guy said that his driver said he went by there but didn’t see anyone. He said he would send him back. We told him that we had been watching the street diligently for the whole 2 hours, and that there hadn’t been a single van stop at the place we told them we would be—which, by the way, is a very popular, very well known, very common place–there was no way that you could live in Key West, or work there and not know where this place is. There had been no van that was even a remote possibility of it being our shuttle, and there was no way we could have missed him if he even came within the vicinity. hmpf. We wait.

About 20 minutes later, I saw a woman at the corner of the street a block away talking to a man in a black van and pointing in the direction we were at. Yep, our driver. He drove around slowly, then drove around again. He finally stopped and rolled down his window (a tiny bit) in his UNMARKED, NO SIGN IN SIGHT, COMPANY CAR and asked if we called Dollar/Thrifty Rental. We walked over to this unmarked van, hoping, and sure enough it was our ride. Aparantly, the “sign” was on the guys baseball cap logo which we should have seen through the tinted windows from 50 ft. away. The guy barely spoke English, and obviously had no idea where he was or where he was supposed to be, although he was very nice and seemed to commiserate with the fact that we were told to “look for the sign, but there no sign, you looking and looking but no sign, aye.” Each time we spoke with the office, the guy told us to look for the van with the Dollar sign on it. Can you say “M I S C O M M U N I C A T I O N ?” Anyway, we got to the airport.

The guy at the desk was apologetic and offered us a free upgrade to a convertible (it was raining outside). We told him that we would rather he just give us the cheap car for free or give us an extra day for free. He said he wasn’t authorized to do that, that his manager was the only one that could. Naturally, his manager got off at 5:00, which we would have been there before then if the shuttle had been on time. However, at the time we were asking that, the other girl working there was on the phone with the manager to ok the upgrade. When the desk guy said he couldn’t give us a free day without his manager’s approval and that he was already gone, I said, “But wasn’t she just talking to him? Could you call him back and ask him?”

“Oh.” pause. “Ok.” But alas, it was a no go. Either the upgrade or cheapo. We took the upgrade.

Now, the problem was that since it was now 7:00pm and not 5:00pm, to get the full benefit of the 24 hours we paid for, we would now have no way to get back to the boat because their shuttle service ends at 5:00pm. We had to ask them to call Mr. Manager again to find out if they were going to provide transportation for us at 7:00pm tomorrow evening. He said ok. Ordeal complete. We took a deep breath and went to find the car. It’s nice.

We get the car and head to McDonald’s since it was so late and nobody had eaten. It starts to rain. We go inside to order because we just didn’t think we could deal with ordering through the drive-thru and having to risk them messing up the order for our very particular, special order family. We go inside and have a wonderful order clerk experience. She nailed it perfectly. Where we messed up was in assuming all would go well from there. While we are waiting for our order, we are becoming chilled to the bone from the air conditioning (we are used to our 90 degree cabin). We start to shiver, but it didn’t take long to get the food. We leave, but failed to check the order before we left. (Foreshadowing).

If you’ve ever been to Key West, you are probably aware that there aren’t a lot of places to park a car without paying a lot of money. If you’ve never been here, that is the case, especially in the downtown historic district, which is where we were. We had to pay $16.75 to park overnight! Wow. That’s half of what the car cost!!! What are ‘ya gonna do?

We get the car parked and John accidentally bumps the car door onto the car next to him. Ooops, happens all the time-no big deal, right? Wrong! There was a lady sitting in the back seat (the door that he dinged) with her very cute, one month old, infant son. She rolls down the window to tell him that he just banged her car. She then gets out to look at the tremendous damage (sarcasm-sorry). There was a tiny scratch that was surface only. I said, “it should buff out, no problem.” She agreed that it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. John apologized a bunch and told her how cute her baby was. It’s all ok, and we were free to go.

It starts to rain.

Our dinghy is wet from the rain. The food is getting wet. We are wet. We sit in the wet dinghy and it rains a little harder. We get to the entrance of the channel and the motor dies. It starts up again, though. We proceed and it dies again. We’re wet, freezing, and pretty far from the boat. I remarked that God was punishing us for getting fast food. Garrett laughed at me. The motor died again. At least it stopped raining now.

We make it to the boat, open up our food bags. Discover a missing sandwich. The fries are cold and the drinks are watered down. Who cares! It’s fast food: yummy, greasy, unhealthy goodness!

The boys packed their bags. We all took a shower. Lights out (we have to get up at 4:00am to get them to the airport). Now my story is all told. It has been our pleasure to endure these small trials for the express purpose of providing entertaining reading for our subscribers. THE END.

4 Responses to “Key West—A Saga! (a little Votaw tale to entertain you):”
  1. futurehope says:

    That is so hilarous! From my viewpoint anyway. lol (In a really sweet sincere voice): What doesnt’ break you makes you stronger. Shelley

  2. oldschoolpyro says:

    lol well it will be nice to see you guys agen. By the way this is Eric, and the 90 degree weather, well that’s nothing. When I went to summer camp in Fort Worth, my troop and I had to deal with 103 DEGREE HEAT, and that’s before
    the humidity factor O.O lol but luckily I had all water activities and camp was nice and windy (except when I was sailing and wind surfing) but other than that
    it was awesome. Well im going to the store now so I’ll talk to you later ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Samantha says:

    That made me laugh both times i read it!

    Just wanted you to know that the boys got off to camp without a hitch this morning. Sarah and Victoria are ready to see Kimi!!!

    We are ready to see you guys too. Hurry and get here!

  4. rwestbrook says:

    Yes, very entertaining reading to say the least. Just think of all the wonderful memories you are storing up that are already turning into fantastic stories! Do yall have email? I had Johnny’s from Victory, but don’t know if yall use it anymore. I don’t know if yall remember, but we do some ministry in Mexico and Honduras and I need to know what it would take to have some supplies taken to Honduras. You have my email, so when you read this, if you would, get in touch with me so I can explain. I talk a lot faster that I type.

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