Tamiami Trail, Alligators, surprise campground,
04.04.2016 77 °F
Day 26 - Friday...after a long day in Key West, we spent this day in relaxation and reading. We only bestirred ourselves to do a bit of snorkeling in the afternoon. Otherwise, a couple of beers, some cheese and crackers and a good day off.
Day 27 - Saturday - our last full day at Bahai Honda. We chatted with our neighbours Jeff and Sally from Indiana about trip plans and places to stop along the way. One of our favourite things is to get tips on great places to see and do things along the way.
We started our day with a sunrise walk along the shore at the far end of the park. We had the place to ourselves and headed out a nature walk trail for 1/2 a mile and then came back along the beach. On the way back there was a lot of plastic debris on the beach, so we did our part and picked it up.
Jenny caught a great photo of a flock of shorebirds:
We snorkeled for a second time, testing out our underwater camera to see if it worked...it did! The snorkeling was difficult because of wind and tide direction, with both of us feeling a little sick to the stomach from the constant rocking.
It was very hot once again (93 degrees) and sunny and the rest of the day was taken up with relaxation and getting ready to pull out the next morning. By bed time we had most of the tear down done.
Dy 28 - Sunday - We left Bahai Honda early in the day with plans to have a short visit to the Everglades National Park and then head on the Ft Myers for a motel night. The Everglades were a bigger attraction than we thought they might be. There were really no bugs to speak of at the Visitor Center so we headed out to see some alligators on the Anhinga Trail boardwalk. Lots of sightings of guys who looked just like this, some bigger, some smaller:
We saw one devour a fish, but got no photos of that event. We did come across a group of characters in the parking lot. Cheeky black headed buzzards. They provide tarps and bungee cords to cover your cars. The buzzards will eat the windshield wipers and any other rubber they can rip off your vehicle.
We left the main visitor center and stopped just up the road at the "Robert is Here" vegetable and fruit stand. The milkshakes are excellent and we stocked up on local fruit.
We took the Tamaimi Trail, at one time the only way to cross the Everglades, before I-75 was opened in the 1980's. There is a scenic loop about half way across and we had decided to drive that loop on our way across to see what could be seen. However, when we came upon the MItchell Landing Campground and found it completely vacant, we decided on the spur of the moment to camp there overnight, without electricity for the first time on this journey. Eerily quiet overnight, we could hear owls in the trees hooting much of the night.
Day 29 - Monday. We awoke early and headed out to try and see some more wildlife. We cruised along the Tamaimi Trail for 3 hours stopping at lookouts and boardwalks along the way. We did come across a fine example of a strangler fig:
We stopped for a late breakfast at a Perkins Restaurant in Naples, Fl and then checked out our future plans at the local library where we go good internet access for the first time in days. We picked out a motel in Clearwater Fl for the night and headed off, planning to follow Highway 41 all the way. After 90 minutes on stop and go traffic through Naples and Fort Myers, we changed over to the Interstate. That entire section of Highway 41 is an endless strip mall...nothing but shopping! Argh.
The day ended in a fairly decent motel, a bit dated, but the internet works and the room is clean. Tomorrow we are headed to Hillsborough River State Park for a few days of hiking and checking out the area around Tampa Bay. Next blog will be Friday/Saturday. Good to have you all on board and we hope you are enjoying this blog.