Key West Gouge update (20191104)
Gouge for those attending Key West come-arounds
(Key West new and old salts are to read)
Key West Come Around overview
The Key West Come Around has unique issues for newcomers. Prior planning is essential. The campground is on Naval Air Station Key West (NASKW) property within Truman Annex. Truman Annex is now a neighborhood of residential units, National Park site, Coast Guard facility, Municipal Amphitheater and Park as well as the Naval facility. The campground is part of a NASKW MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) beach recreation area. This is a secure Navy facility requiring privilege to access. RV camping at this facility is ‘dry camping’, i.e. no hook ups. Campers may use the potable water and dump station facilities at both the Sigsbee and Trumbo campgrounds. These facilities provide a convenient opportunity if you need to dump tanks and/or take on/top off potable water before arriving at the Truman Annex campsite. Directions to each are provided later in this gouge sheet. See “Camping” section below for details. Several meals, Happy Hours and activities will be at the Come Around site under a large tent rented by the Chapter from MWR. Several organized meals and/or activities will be off-site. A schedule for the entire week is published in a separate document created by the volunteer Firsties in charge of the Come Around. You can participate in as many or as few activities as you desire but there are activities that will require your RSVP for accurate planning.
Chapter Come Around fee – assessed to cover expenses incurred to conduct the events, e.g. tent, table and chair rental; meals or entertainment if provided, other rentals and purchases necessary; etc. The fee is usually in the range of $75-$100 per person. Cash or Personal checks are accepted; no credit cards. MWR daily camping fees – see “Campsite fees” sub-bullet in the Camping section. Fees associated with certain optional activities, e.g. golf fees, group lunch, etc. Personal expenses associated with activities designated “on your own”. The Key West Come Around usually has about 20 – 25 RVs. Sometimes we have non-RVers who stay off-site and join us for activities.
Less than paradise-like weather conditions, i.e. cold and/or rainy, are possible. Packing appropriate inclement weather attire strongly recommended.
Register for event with the Firsties (Everyone) Make reservations with Navy Getaways Campground if planning to stay at either NASKW Trumbo or Sigsbee campgrounds in conjunction with come-around (applicable only to members with DOD-issued ID cards) Plan the route to Key West, check maps and satellite images of Key West. Print these guidelines and share with fellow campers and guests. Pack your chapter or class reunion name tags. We may have stickers for guests and forgetful grads. Load aboard as recommended for food, clothes and activities – see What to bring section for details.
Driving to Key West:
The night before departing the mainland, campers often use the Miccosukee Resort & Casino, a reasonably easy drive the next day. *RV friendly overnight lodging facility enroute to Key West. *Convenient and affordable, excellent jumping off site for final approximately 3-hour leg of the driving! *Located along SR 997 just north of intersection with US 41. *Dry camping in designated area – no charge. *Must obtain parking pass from inside the Casino at the security counter to visibly display. *Key West “newbies” are encouraged to place something USNA related in their rig’s front window so they may be easily recognized by other chapter members who are heading to the Come Around. This provides opportunity for early welcome and any additional late-breaking and/or miscellaneous “gouge” before they proceed down the overseas highway to Key West. *It is wise to arrive no later than 1630, after which designated parking area is known to sometimes fill quickly.
The day of travel to Key West:
It is recommended that you refuel or top off on the mainland. Fuel is expensive in the Keys. Allow a travel time of 3 hours on the mostly 2 lane highway through the Keys and pay attention to the speed limits. All campers may proceed directly to the Truman Annex campsite during the approved dates.. Many will want to stop at MWR Sigsbee campground to prepare on-board tanks for extended dry camping.
Arriving in Key West and In-town Driving Directions:
Notes: In Key West street names are often painted on street level sign or light posts.
There always seems to be street construction somewhere in Key West. While the directions below are accurate, they will be verified via on-scene route reconnaissance several days prior to Come-Around starting date. Changes, if any, will be broadcast to attendees. Southbound on US 1 – monitor your speed as you come off the bridge approaching mile marker 35, someone is often “taking pictures” as you exit the bridge.
Traveling directly to Truman Annex, not requiring dry camping tank preparations:
Large rigs and rigs towing (see Figure 1 below, red dots on yellow line)
Turn left onto South Roosevelt Blvd at the stop light as you enter Key West,
Take South Roosevelt to Flagler Ave (stop light),
Turn right onto Flagler and follow it to White St (stop light),
Turn right onto White and follow it to Southard St (stoplight),
Turn left onto Southard and follow guidance in All rigs (Truman Annex) bullet below.
Cars and smaller rigs without tow (see Figure 1 below, solid red line)
Turn right onto North Roosevelt Blvd at the stop light as you enter Key West,
Continue on North Roosevelt to Palm Ave (stoplight, by municipal marina),
Turn right onto Palm and follow it to intersection with Eaton St,
Turn left (~45 degree turn) onto Eaton and follow it for very short distance to White St (stoplight),
Turn left onto White and follow it to Southard St (stoplight),
Turn right onto Southard (note: a very tight turn for larger units) and follow guidance in All rigs to Truman Annex) bullet below.
NOTE – you can also use route recommended for larger rigs above, there may be less traffic congestion than via North Roosevelt Blvd.
All rigs to Truman Annex (see Figure 1 below, solid red and yellow line) Continue on Southard St through town to the gate at Truman Annex Condominiums. Proceed through the normally unattended gate and continue through to the roundabout.
Take the Angela St exit toward the entrance to Ft Zachary Taylor.
Turn left onto Covington St at the next intersection and proceed to the guard gate at the NASKW Truman Annex.
Present your IDs to the guard and inform him/her that you are with the USNA RV Chapter gathering.
Turn right after entering the Annex and drive thru the barracks looking complex to the pink building, then make another right toward the beach. You will see us on the big field to your left front as you approach the beach parking area. Someone should meet you at the tent to direct you to where to park.
Figure 1. Driving directions (in town) directly to Truman Annex
Traveling to NAS Key West Campground Office and dump station/ potable water facilities at Sigsbee from US 1 (do NOT follow GPS if driving a large rig or towing) Google Maps, GPS, etc. will likely show a more direct route to the NASKW MWR Campground Office at Sigsbee as you enter Key West. This route would be via N. Roosevelt from US 1 (right turn onto N. Roosevelt at the stop light as you enter Key West). While the directions are accurate, the right turn into Sigsbee from N. Roosevelt Blvd is extremely tight for larger rigs or rigs towing.
Large rigs and rigs towing (better route)
Turn left onto South Roosevelt Blvd at the stop light as you enter Key West. Take South Roosevelt to Flagler Ave (stop light).
Turn right onto Flagler and follow it to Kennedy Dr (stop light)
Turn right onto Kennedy and follow it straight into Sigsbee and NAS gate.
Follow guidance in All rigs (Sigsbee) bullet below.
Cars and smaller rigs without tow
Turn right onto North Roosevelt Blvd at the stop light as you enter Key West. Continue on North Roosevelt to Kennedy Dr (stoplight, Ibis Resort on your right) Turn right at stoplight and proceed to NAS gate.
Follow guidance in All rigs (Sigsbee) bullet below.
All rigs (Sigsbee)
After entering Sigsbee bear right where the road splits. There should be signs pointing toward the Commissary and Navy Exchange.
Follow the signs, pass the NEX gas station to the MWR Campground office on the left (Building V-4113, across street from Commissary).
The speed limit on base is strictly enforced.
While on Sigsbee, topping off fuel, emptying grey and black tanks, topping off fresh water is highly recommended for this extended dry camping experience. Continue past the MWR Campground office and NEX to the campground at the end of the road. In the center of the campground is the bath house. There are two-way dump stations aside of the bath house and fresh water facility diagonally across the intersection. See Figure 2 below.
Traveling from Sigsbee to Truman Annex
Large rigs and rigs towing
Exit Sigsbee and proceed straight through the stoplight at N. Roosevelt Blvd onto Kennedy Dr to the intersection with Flagler Ave. (stoplight)
Turn right onto Flagler and follow the In Town (Traveling directly to Truman Annex) directions described above for large rigs and rigs towing.
Cars and smaller rigs without tow
Exit Sigsbee and turn right at stoplight onto Roosevelt Blvd. (Note: This turn can be tight for larger units if there are cars in the left turn lane northbound on N. Roosevelt).
Follow the In Town (Traveling directly to Truman Annex) directions to Palm Ave described above cars and smaller rigs without tow.
Access to NAS Truman Annex and beach camping facility
Participants who have DOD Issued ID card – your ID card is sufficient for access to the camping site.
Participants who do NOT possess DOD issued ID card(s):
Background check will be required for all event participants NOT having a DOD-issued ID card. This includes any guest(s) of a person having a DOD-issued ID card.
Upon satisfactory completion of background check, participant’s name will be added to the list of event participants approved for access to designated areas of NAS Key West (NASKW), e.g. Truman Annex and Sigsbee and Trumbo campground facilities.
Participants not holding a DOD-issued ID card will be required to present driver’s license to the sentry at the gate, sentry will check name on driver’s license against list of participants not having DOD-issued ID card who are approved for base access to designated areas.
Key West Come-Around Firstie will collect required personal data for those impacted participants and coordinate completion of required background check with MWR/NASKW Security.
If you do invite guests to a happy hour or to stop by, please advise the Firsties or a Board member in advance of their arrival.
If guest(s) do not have DOD-issued ID card, a sponsor for the guest(s) is required for the guest(s) to be granted access to the NASKW facility at Truman Annex. If you do not have a DOD-issued ID card yourself, you will need to get a sponsor for your guest(s) who has a DOD-issued ID card.
Please introduce your guest(s) to the group.
Vacant field at the Truman Annex Beach as shown in red shaded area in Figure 3 below). Being able to camp at Truman Annex is both a real treat and a huge privilege. The USNA Alumni Association RV Chapter is the ONLY group allowed to camp there overnight.
You can watch cruise ships arrive and depart and enjoy the small beach. (In the past Cuban refugees have been known to come ashore at night!)
Campsite is within easy walking distance of downtown Key West.
Dry camping – no hookup facilities.
Clean restroom and shower facilities and a nice gym are available at the Truman Annex Fitness Center.
Fitness Center is located ~75 yards from the campsite.
The restroom and shower facilities are available 24×7 for our group.
Generators: Can be run except during “Quiet Hours” (10pm – 07am). There are no quiet hours police, just common sense and consideration for fellow campers. Vertical exhaust pipes (often referred to as Gen-turi) are highly recommended in the interest of both common sense and consideration for fellow campers.
Let’s all ensure that we have the ability to direct the exhaust from our on-board generators away from our next-door neighbors’ entry door and immediate surroundings.
Strongly recommend arriving with your fresh water tank full and your gray and black tanks empty. Potable water and dump facilities are available at both the Sigsbee (Figure 2) and Trumbo (Figure 4) campgrounds if a middle of Come Around servicing is needed.
Figure 4. Trumbo campground dump station and potable water facilities
Campsite/vehicle registration and fees
All event participants, except as stated in “Exception” bullet below, must pre-register with NASKW MWR for this event. This is a change from NASKW MWR policy in prior years.
Pre- registration and payment of campsite fees to be accomplished via the following process:
Chapter to provide NASKW MWR POC (hereafter referred to as MWR POC) with roster of all event participants who will be camping at the Truman Annex campsite. Event Firsties are responsible for this action item.
The MWR POC will prepare pre-registration documentation for each camping unit occupying a site, as required, to include method of payment as Follows:
If camper’s data already exists in MWR data base, the MWR POC will use that data to pre-register the participant.
If camper’s data does NOT exist in MWR data base, the MWR POC will contact camper to obtain required data. Mode of contact may be via either email or telephone, or both.
The MWR POC will bring all pre-registration documentation to the Truman Annex campsite for camper’s to sign. Date/time/specific location for this activity to be coordinated by Firsties.
Campers are permitted to drive directly to the campsite at the Truman Annex. There is no requirement for campers to visit the Campground Office at Sigsbee for the purpose of registering for their campsite unless they should arrive AFTER the MWR POC has completed the pre-registration document signing exercise at the Truman Annex campsite as cited above.
Those who arrive after the MWR POC has completed the pre-registration document signing activity as cited above will be required to visit the MWR Campground office at Sigsbee at their earliest opportunity to complete their registration.
Exception to pre-registration process cited above – pertains to campers having previously registered to camp at either the Sigsbee or Trumbo campgrounds either before or after the Come-Around and for whom registration at respective campground overlaps with the Come-Around dates.
If relocating to the Truman Annex campsite during the Come-Around, duplicate registration is not required.
To maintain reservation in either Sigsbee or Trumbo respective queues while relocating to the Truman Annex campsite during this Come Around event, camper is responsible for informing the Campground Office at time of registration of planned transfer to the Truman Annex site.
All vehicles are required to register in order to access the facility.
Vehicle registration will be included in the pre-registration process.
“All vehicles” means just that – all vehicles, e.g. RVs, towed vehicle, motorcycles, etc.
The usual vehicle information, e.g. vehicle’s VIN, license plate number, proof of valid registration and proof of insurance is required to register the vehicle for access to the facility.
MWR Campsite fees as of 2020:
DOD ID card holder – $17/night
Non-DOD ID card holder – $21/night
Payment can be made via either a valid credit card or cash. Personal checks are NOT accepted by MWR.
Payment via credit card can be accomplished via the pre-registration process cited above.
Event participants who prefer to pay with cash or who do not wish to provide credit card information concurrent with the pre-registration process cited above will be required to visit the Campground Office at Sigsbee (Building V-4113, across from Commissary) to make payment. The Campground Office hours are 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM (M – F).
What to bring:
Name tags, either USNA RV Alumni Chapter or USNA Class Reunion.
Food items to share as assigned by Firsties in advance.
RV items and non-RV things for the white elephant auction that you know your shipmates are just dying to own. Proceeds from the auction benefit the chapter. Remember – one person’s “junk” is another person’s treasure. $$$$ (checks accepted), REMINDER – you can’t win at the auction if you don’t bid!!!
Books for free book exchange (not part of the white elephant auction)
Bring your own beverages as well as plates, flatware, cups or glasses, etc. for all Happy Hours and meals.
REMEMBER to provide for any guests you may have in attendance Happy Hour liquid refreshment is BYOB unless stated otherwise in the Plan of the Week.
Food: ALL participants are asked to provide some appetizers, desserts and a potluck dish(s) when so assigned in the Plan of the Week.
Specific details to be published in the final event Plan of the Week distributed at the Welcome/Check-In.
Bring your personal recreation equipment as desired, e.g., golf gear, diving gear, etc. as there are lots of opportunities to “play” in Key West.
See “Miscellany” section re motorcycles on base.
Navy paraphernalia (if you have any) for individual campsite and/or table decorations.
And last, but definitely not least…proper attitude for experiencing Key West!
Fuel Management in Key West:
It is recommended that you leave the mainland with full fuel tanks. Fuel is more expensive in the Keys (even at the NEX gas station) and there are good prices just before you enter the Overseas Highway.
Extended dry camping means running the generator to manage your battery charging and electrical needs. This too consumes fuel.
Grey tank management in Key West:
It is recommended that you arrive at the campground with empty waste tanks and a full fresh water tank. There are convenient facilities off-site at the Sigsbee campground to do this as you enter Key West on your way to the Truman Annex campsite. See “Traveling to NAS Key West Campground Office and dump station/ potable water facilities at Sigsbee”
The grey water tank can be problematic.
If you are using the bath house for showers and toilet, the extended stay is manageable as many have proven over the Chapter’s many years in Key West.
One tip that has come in quite handy is to use a plastic basin in your sinks to catch the grey water. Then empty the basin in your black water tank which will have extra capacity if you have minimized the toilet use. Every little bit helps.
There is risk of the presence of fire ants at our camping location.
Some years are “riskier” than others.
Firsties MAY have fire ant repellant available for event participants.
Motorcycles on base:
Must be registered per vehicle registration instructions cited in the “Campsite/vehicle registration and fees” section above.
Must comply with following safety considerations:
Motorcycle’s safety and signaling equipment fully operable.
Required PPE (personal protection equipment) for rider and passenger
DOT approved helmet
Appropriate eye protection
Long sleeve shirt or jacket, i.e., arms fully covered
Long leg wear, i.e., legs fully covered
Closed toe shoes
Reflective vest (clothing) if riding on base at night
Bicycles on base:
Persons riding bicycles, scooters, skateboards, etc. on base must be wearing following PPE: *Helmet on head and fastened.
*Shoes, shirt and shorts or long pants.
Welcome to Key West!
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