The camp is situated on the north end of the Everglades so we had easy access to wildlife viewing and activities in the Everglades. It was fully booked as all the state parks have been.
The park had a nice boat dock and a walking trail with a boardwalk that went over some of the Everglades. It even looked to be wheelchair accessible. The trail was well maintained and had various markers to point out plants and their historical significance.
The trail was dog friendly so we were able to take a 45 minute walking loop with the dogs each day to keep them sane.
At the beginning of the trip I had some ankle problems and had to wear an ankle support so it was great to be walking freely again!
It was quite beautiful and fun to some extent, but I must admit that afterwards I felt it was disruptive to zoom over the plants and disturb the wildlife.
I am sure that there are many necessary uses for airboats and I’ve read about the accessibility they provide people to the Everglades as being positive.
From his belly it looks like he ate something large recently.
At the restaurant we shared what was called “On The Wildside” which consisted of fried alligator, huge frog legs and fish. Next time I will stick to the key lime pie. It wasn’t bad, but not up my alley.
We were standing on the side of the road watching a flock of wonderful large pink birds called Roseate Spoonbills (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roseate_Spoonbill) when we heard the unmistakable roar of an airboat. We looked up to see the boat head directly for the flock of birds feeding in the water. The boat then did a few full spins and gunned the engine to zoom off. I doubt that it was even legal to do that in a National Park and it certainly was disruptive to the wildlife.
The Seminoles and the United States fought three times, the longest being seven long years. Many Indians were deported to Arkansas. The Seminoles were finally driven to the Everglades and dwindled from a nation of 5,000 to only 100, but they never surrendered. Today’s Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes came from these last 100 people. They each have their own government and tribal organizations but they do intermarry and share some customs. According to The Tales of the Everglades they remain “an independent, unconquered people, proud of their Indian culture and heritage.”
OK, enough of the gator talk.
It was filled with wildlife!
We left Collier-Seminole Park in the Everglades and drove through Miami on our way to Lake Okeechobee. We admit it was a long drive but we planned it when we didn’t know we would both be ill. I heard great things about the Art Deco buildings in Miami so we decided at least do a drive through instead of walking tour and day of exploration.
Miami had a completely different look and feel that was quite interesting and lively. We were not feeling well enough to take the walk we had planned but I easily drove our Roadtrek down busy crowded streets in an unfamiliar metropolitan area. It was so easy to drive, navigate it and PARK. I parallel parked it on Ocean Drive, a hot spot right on the main drag that has a row of historical Art Deco buildings. Miami has more Art Deco buildings than any other city in the world and was worth the effort to see. One one side of Ocean Drive are the great Art Deco buildings side by side and in front of each one there are large square umbrellas connecting to each other to form a completely shady sidewalk. I can see that this area is a great place to socialize, eat and drink. My friend, Asandra, who lived in Miami for 14 years told me that I should see Ocean Drive in particular. On the other side of the street there is a shady park with large trees, a walkway, some muscle equipment, a volley ball courts and then the ocean. It was full of people milling around and enjoying the street life in the middle of the week. There were more people with baby strollers than seniors. The clothing was scant and the bodies were buff and tan. We saw many young people with incredible muscles working out on the gym bars by the ocean or just strolling around with their muscled bodies glistening.
We walked for one block and ate lunch in camper. Due to illness that was the extent of being out of the RT in Maimi. We did see quite a bit on our drive by though.
The park was run by the Park and Recreation Department of West Pam Beach and was very well run and maintained.
Both Tom and I noticed at the Winn-Dixie supermarket that everyone had a very slow sauntering walk. I suppose it is so hot most of the time you don’t want to move quickly and why speed up when it’s cool just a few months? We also saw this pace of walk in Barcelona, Spain years ago when on an 8 week driving trip through Europe. We had some good friends living in Barcelona and we all joked about it. They felt that we were missing something in life by walking too fast. Our friend kept telling us to slow down and savor life, but we weren’t used to the slow walking pace.
We lost our awning since it was bent in the middle in two places and the factory said to ditch it. The camp is run by the local Park and Recreation Department and they recycled it for us. We imagine that someone will use it for shade in their home instead of our camper since it still cranked up fairly well. Then within the hour for the first time on our trip it rained so we had to scramble to cover the holes from the lost awning with duct tape. Duct tape is not meant to be used in the rain in case you get the idea as well. We now have caulking to fill the holes until we get home and repairs are made. The insurance will allow us to get a new awning installed after our $250 deductible. The new awning Mwill be latched down as a sailor would do to an immovable object.
For those fellow Roadtrek owners reading this I wanted to mention how well the RT is doing for keeping us all cool in the heat. I cut out pieces of insulation to snuggly fit into each of the windows that were a great help. We found that we could keep the inside temperature within 2 degrees of the outside temperature while parked in the full sun at 80 degrees for over an hour. I would not even do this for 5 minutes in a car. We tried it without the dogs and then increased time slowly over an hour and a half. We would close everything up tight with insulation including the top three windows, but we would leave one window open in the back on the shady side of the rig. We left the top vent open that has a Fantastic fan that is temperature sensitive to turn on when hot. We set the temp to be just above the current temp so it was triggered easily to vent. The dogs always had water and were never hot so we were able to leave them securely and see places that were not dog friendly.
Next we are heading back to the beautiful warm Gulf Coast waters for a few more weeks.