I did a rough calculation when we left Duck Key this morning. We have put about 7500 km on the car since leaving Coalhurst Oct 5. We left Duck Key about 930 this morning to start our long drive north to home….we are at the half way mark of our trip.
As we left Homestead we noticed miles and miles of planted crops…January veggies is my guess. There were nurseries one after another…with all kinds of tropical trees, shrubs and flowers. As we continued down this agricultural area, a half ton truck stopped suddenly in front of us…..his shepard cross dog fell out of the box into the middle of the highway. We stopped…not wanting to hit the dog and behind us…a ways back was another truck similar in size to a U Haul. The driver wasn’t paying attention and in order to prevent rear ending us, drove into the ditch…which fortunately was even with the road. That was adventure enough for us today. I am happy to report after bouncing on the pavement a couple of times, the dog got up and ran off. The owner called and chased him…..but no way…that dog wasn’t going anywhere near the truck. Can’t say as I blame him. Given the speed in which he ran off, he obviously wasn’t badly hurt.
We were able to set the navigation system to avoid toll roads and it took us on highway 41commonly known as alligator alley. We certainly saw parts of the everglades and a few birds but not really much else. We stopped in the National Park Visitor center and the guide gave us a touring brochure for a road trip, just ten miles down the road. She said she was sure we would encounter wild life. At her direction we drove the 16 mile Turner River / Birdon Loop road. It is located within the Big Cypress National Preserve.
The first wild life we saw was a blue heron, followed by a small deer. Keen eyed Brian spotted this big guy on the right sunning himself. We were quite a distance away and I would guess this gator was 8′ long. I did spot the top of one further down the road, but that was it for gator spotting. We saw several large birds which I will have to look up to see if I can identify them We saw lots of great white egrets, wood stork, white ibis and these fellas. I have no idea what they were doing but three of them were in the middle of the road with their wings extended. They weren’t particularly afraid of us and I did get a close shot and discovered they have a neck similar to a turkey, so perhaps they are turkey vulchers. LATE ENTRY: I have found they are simply called black vulchers. Turkey vulchers have red heads. As you can see the road is gravel and full of pot holes. I think we averaged 10 km /hr. I was intrigued to see air plants growing on the cypress trees. At first I mistook them for bird’s nests. It was quite exciting to see the various birds and animals. I hope I can book an everglades tour for Saturday. Finally I thought of something for Brian’s birthday. Tomorrow we are booked on a Manatee tour. If we don’t see a Manatee we don’t pay for the tour, so I fully expect the next post will have a photo of the rare sea cow.
After a 16 mile loop we were back on the road heading to Naples Fl. We checked into the Best Western Inn & Suites. They would not take the coupon saying it was for walk ins and based on availability. However upon seeing the grounds and the room, I don’t mind paying a higher rate.
Our room has a bathroom with tub, sink, loo, separate dressing area with another sink and spacious counter, two queen beds and a flat screen TV. In another area is another flat screen TV, sofa, desk, lazy boy chair and a PC beleive it or not. We have a main floor level room with patio chairs. The courtyard is amazing with tropical plants, koi ponds, two pools, two hot tubs, three or more sitting areas, swing sets( for adults) and mini golf.
After spending some time in the hot tub, we walked over to Red Lobster for dinner. Don’t you just love their warm buttery biscuits?
Road sign of the day:
” We buy junk and sell Antiques”