Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Winter in Florida - Everglades & The Keys

The ranger-guided tour of the Turner River was OK. It was a little too long for us. Dorothy wanted to go through the mangrove tunnel, we did and she liked it. She did manage to complain that she had trouble paddling the yak after she had to break the paddle in half to negotiate the narrow channel.

On the Turner River




The Everglades

Thursday, we drove 90 minutes south to Long Pine Key in the Everglades. Long Pines are the skinny slash pines that are semi-resistant to high winds.

Our camping chums the Dan & Rene and Terry and Betty were already there, just back from the Keys and ready to hike every trail and photograph every bird and alligator. More alligators and wading birds! Big whoop. I need a mountain! The highest point here is five feet.

Blue Eyed Bird

Blue Heron







Barred Owl





It warmed up. Now it hot and sticky, like home in July.
We drove down to Flamingo and enjoyed lunch on the beach under a tree. It was cooler than the CG and we had a fine shore breeze.

When traveling, we find it important to understand the local culture. South Florida is not Iowa. Two examples.

A Latino family was parked a few spaces down from us and had the requisite number of latinoettes playing with the family dog. Grandmother supervised the mama, poppa and the little ones. When the dog did #2, grandmother walked over and bent down - not to scoop up, but to wipe the dog’s ass.

In sunny south Florida a lot of what we eat is grown. This means there is a large population of farm workers, whose skin is brown. So it makes sense that there is a park named Benito Juarez complete with a bust of him. Senor Juarez was the first Mexican to serve as President and is regarded as Mexico’s most illustrious leader. So it is logical to honor him with a park in Florida. I’ll bet Mexico has parks honoring George Washington and George Bush.

Sunbathing on TOP of the RV????





The Keys

Monday we drove down the Overseas Highway to Mile Marker 27, Ramrod Key, to see Ralph and Mary Ann. They have an exceptionally delightful and comfortable home on the water. The weather is perfect for doing not much of anything, one of our fav activities. The temp is in the low 80’s and with brisk breeze. I have discovered that watching the wind blow palm fronds produces considerable quantities of exceptionally pure tranquility. The Keys are better than I recalled. So many properties are for sale. Buy a piece of heaven with the little you have left.

We drove south Tuesday looking for a put-in site on the lee side of the road. Did not find one. Wound up in KW. Cruise ship at dock. Very crowded. Escaped.

We went to a local Tiki bar, The Boondocks, last night to see a local band Mile Marker 24, which is the next key down. They have a devoted following, young and old. The lead singer dresses in island garb, a la Buffett.

Today, the wind laid down in the afternoon and I took one of the hosts yak’s out for a short paddle. Upwind was slow, but I just let her drift back and she found her own patch on the beach.

We will head back to the Everglades and overnight there, before continuing north. We are expected in Panama City March 1.

A delightful place to be

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