Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Back to the Glades

Back to the Glades! Sounds like Back to the Future, doesn’t it! Off the Keys to Homestead and then southwest back into the Glades but this time we headed for Long Pine Key – no electricity, no showers NO WIFI! The Everglades are known as a “River of Grass” and this “Key” is a high spot with trees! There’s even a sign on the road about a spot with an Elevation of 3!! The campground had nice big campsites and Ron and Nancy joined us on Monday. The evening program at the amphitheater that night was all about the Nike Missile Base there in the Glades. The young man in charge was very knowledgeable about World War II, the Cold War and how this secret base ended up in the middle of south Florida. Some said he was a bit “dramatic” but he sure made that part of history come alive and interesting. We were in high school when all of it was happening and most of us never paid any attention!

Tuesday we investigated the remaining National Park Visitor Center at Royal Palm. H and I took a quick walk on the Gumbo Limbo Trail and learned that the Gumbo Limbo tree is a smooth barked tree sometimes called the “tourist tree” because it’s red and peels! It’s used to make baseball bats, toothpicks, and fence posts – that usually end up growing! And then, we all took a guided tour of the old Nike facilities. Our guide on this tour was older – our era -and filled in even more details of how the missile parts arrived; how the 41 foot missiles were built in a 42 ft building, about the cement block garages where they were stored and even the underground bunkers where the men went for safety. Lead paint and all! Once the tour was over we hooked up our trailers and hit the road – further down the road - to the end! Flamingo! Still no electricity, but nice warm showers! Then the rains came. All night and half the next morning as we moved out and back up to the Tamiami Trail. We missed getting to park again at Midway but parked at yet another National Park campground at Monument Lake – like Midway with a large alligator in residence in the small calm lake with campsites encircling it. The sunset over the “pond” was yet another pretty one! Needing a place to settle for one night, we ended up back at Collier Seminole State Park. H lucked out again and got the last two sites but only for that night! He deftly backed that 7 - foot wide trailer between several trees that were only 8 feet apart! And I finally got out my sewing machine! Before I even got one potholder completed – the lady in the neighboring trailer came over and promptly bought 5 from my bag of wares!

So, now we are done with the Glades and have headed north – but just a bit! Ron found us a deal at Whispering Creek RV Resort in Labelle, for 4 nights. We’re parked in their new area called “The Glenn” – aka The Big Field! The deal came with 2 free breakfasts, a free lunch and a free boat ride! On Saturday we shopped at the Fleamasters Flea Market in Ft Myers. We have taken advantage of the HEATED outdoor swimming pool, ridden our bikes, and enjoyed our deck-boat ride up the dark river lined with all kinds of old working boats, houseboats and interesting elderly sailing craft. We especially enjoyed the ride back down the river when R had his hat blow off and Captain Dan had to circle around and around to get close enough to nab the slowly sinking straw shappo! At coffee and donut time this morning in the recreation hall, I even sold over a dozen potholders! Now I’ve got room to make some more!

Tuesday is our last free breakfast and then we’ll be off again!