Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Leaving the Keys

We left the Keys on Sunday morning and I was still impressed with the beautiful water.  It was just gorgeous  Here are some more pictures I took on our way back to Miami. 

When we hit the main land the GPS (we call it Alice) wanted us to take the turn pike and I didn't want to go that way.  According  to the atlas we should be able to go straight up what I thought was Hwy 1.  The GPS kept trying to get us to turn and I kept wondering why she just didn't accept the way we were going.  Than all of a sudden we start seeing the tall buildings in Miami.  Ed says it looks like we are heading downtown.  I say we can't be, we are on Hwy 1 and it doesn't go downtown.  So finally Ed is getting stressed, the buildings are getting closer, the traffic is getting heavier.  So I tell him to go ahead and listen to  "Alice"  and take the turn pike.  I than get my computer out and pull up Miami and after I enlarge it, I see that Rt 1 does go downtown.  It split off of the road I wanted to be on and I hadn't realized it.  We were saved at the last minute by "Alice" and missed going downtown.  We were about 20 minutes from the casino and Ed was more than ready to stop. 

We stayed at the casino 2 nights.  The next day  we were going to do some geocaching around Miami.  I figured it would be a way to explore the surrounding area,  but I had trouble getting the sites to download on my hand held Garmin.  So I called Garmin and after about 2 hours on the phone we were able to upgrade the software but I still couldn't get the sites to download.  So I guess I need to work on that in the future. 

On Tuesday morning we left Miami, the casino and our friends.   We really enjoyed hanging out with the last few days.  If it wasn't for Mike and Mo we wouldn't have went to the Keys and for that I thank them.  Plus they showed us how to geocach.  Here is our parting shot of them.

Lyn, Mo, Mike

We left Miami Tuesday morning.  We were up by 7 o'clock and on the road by 8 o'clock.  I was sort of worried we would hit heavy traffic and was surprised there was hardly any traffic at all. 

                                         Can you believe this was the traffic when we left Miami

               This was an unusual sight.  A tall building and it had a castle on top of it.  Not sure what it was just thought it was strange.

Along the road you will see bunches of these dead trees.  The park ranger at Cypress told us they planted these trees because the drink up to 40 gallons of water a day.  They planted them to absorb the water in the wetlands to lay the roads.  They don't need them now and they are to expensive to take up so they kill them and now just wait for the hurricanes to take them out.  I thought this was interesting.

We are now at Peace River a Thousand Trails Park  and plan on being here for awhile .

HAPPY TRAILS   from Ed and Lyn

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Enjoying the Keys

We left Cypress Nat'l preserve on Wed. and headed to Miccosukee Indian Tribe Casino Parking Lot in Miami, Florida.  We found out about the place from some friends who were heading there.  We stayed there for 2 nights.  .  You had to check in with security to stay there.  They let you put down your jacks and put out your slides.  There were probably 10 to 12 rv's plus a few truckers.  For a free place to stay it was quite nice.

We headed to the keys on Friday morning.  They had been calling for rain but it was just a light sprinkle when we left.  At one point we went through some heavy rain and wind but I guess we drove out of it or it stopped because the weather turned nice and sunny.  We stopped at a shell shop that had some unusual shells plus other things.  I guess it doesn't take much to impress us.

just a small sample of their shells

These look like sand dollars but were told they are called sea biscuits. They were big.

I don't know what you would do with these but thought they were interesting. 
This shop had a little bit of everything in it

this was one huge mirror
I think we spent over an hour just looking around.  We are still tourists.

Well we did finally leave and head on to our rv campground  We are staying at Jolly Rodger Travel Park in Marathon, Florida.  Marathon is about half way down to Key West.

I have always heard of Key West or The Keys and never really thought much about them.  But just look at this long string of islands.  It was amazing driving out here.  One place there is a 7 mile long bridge.

Coming off the bridge

even the electric poles were in the water 

We went to buy Ed a salt water fishing license and he was going to come back and fish at the rv campground.  After he bought the license since we were only going to be here 2 days we decided to drive on down to Key West.  It was about 35 from where we were.    It was a good thing we did because the weather was great and today the weather turned nasty.

There was a street with all kinds of shops and eating places.  We had a hard time finding a parking place.  We stopped on one street with parking meters.  I put a quarter in and than I read the meter and it said 1 quarter for 10 minutes.  We decided to try and find another place to park.  We did find a free one a little later.  We stopped at a cafe and had dinner.

It was almost empty but later that evening around 9 o'clock it was packed.  The place sort of reminded me of what I think New Orleans would be like (although I have never been there).  People on bicycles, a trolly car, people on bicycles hauling people around, like a rick-a-shaw. 

some really neat buildings

 there are trees growing on the roof

I was hoping to be able to get back there and see more, but the campground here is full and we only had a 2 day reservation, so we have to leave tomorrow.  But I am so glad we came.  If it hadn't been for our friends Mike and Mo, we probably wouldn't have come.  I had heard the roads were narrow and the campgrounds were hard to get into and very expensive.  But we were able to get in here with Passport America for $33 a night.  Otherwise I think it was $72 a night.  Which is a lot and I would want to pay for very many nights at that rate.  But I am thankful for the 2 nights that we had.

I guess we are heading back up to the Thousands Trails CG Peace River where we were before.  We are going to take a couple of days getting there.  We are planning on stopping at the Casino which is 100 miles from here and than I am not sure where we are going to stay Monday night.                                                                                                      

All in all we have had a very nice stay here and I have to say I had a nice birthday in the Florida Keys.                     

Happy Trails from the Keys.    Ed and Lyn                                 


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Being off the "Grid"

I think that is what they call not having any internet or cell phone service.  Nobody can call me and I can't call out.  But we do have Dish Satellite TV, so I guess we are not completely off.  Ed can still watch his Fox News.  We go 5 miles down the road and have perfect reception.  So here I am sitting in the Jeep writing this blog.  I just had a long conversation with my sister (Bonnie) until I ran my phone battery down.  Than I read all my e-mails.  Ed is probably wondering where I am.

We went to a place called Shark Valley which is in the Everglades National Park on Monday.  It was a good thing we went on Monday because it rained all day Tuesday.  They have a paved 7 mile path (round trip 14 miles)  for walkers and bikers.  So we decided to ride our bikes, I don't think I could walk that far.  But other than riding around the campground, we really haven't been riding our bikes that much either.  Starting out was fine but by the time we got to the observation tower, I was exhausted.  Ed stopped about every 5 minutes to take a picture.  It looks pretty much like our pictures of the trails, but it still was a very nice ride.  Except on the trails we didn't see much wild life.  On this one there were a lot of birds and alligators.

This was Ed being a dumb tourist, seeing how close he could get to the gater.  This one wasn't paying any attention to him.  Later one actually moved toward him and he almost dropped the camera.

These are called solution holes
We found them on a path we decided to walk down, underneath is running water.  I put my foot there so you could see the size of it.  I would not want to be walking there after dark. 

These birds swim under the water and than when they come out they sit with their wings spread out.  When you go down the canal you will see one every few feet.  Neat to see.
These birds were really tall and they would let you get pretty close to them.  I guess I should have down my homework so I could tell you their name.  I will have to give Ed that assignment.
This was one of the bigger alligators we saw. 

This was our destination.  By the time we got there Ed had to pull me up to the first level, that's as far as they would let you go.  All in all it was a very nice bike trip. 
We have really enjoyed our stay here at Cypress Nat'l Preserve.  We leave tomorrow.  It has been 10 day and the time has just flew by. 

 We are going to meet some friends at a Casino in Miami.  We are going to stay in the casino parking lot for the night.  Than we are heading down to a small park called Jolly Roger Travel Park.  Not in the Keys but closer to it than we are right now.  At least we will be close to it.  They normally charge $72 a night but with Passport America we get to stay for $33 a night.  They would only give us 2 nights at that rate.

Happy Trails.    Ed and Lyn

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day on the trail

This was on the floor
Monday we went into a small town called Everglades City.  We had to get gas.  It was $3.38 a gal.  We should have filled up before we came down here.  We had a nice lunch at a local restaurant.  Here are some of the local sights.  It was a slow day.  Hardly anyone was on the streets.

Than the next day we went out to the back country with the Ranger.  We had a really nice day, the weather was beautiful.  The trails started out covered in gravel but some places were a little rough.  Ed says it looks like Elkhart's street.
  We went off the trail several times this is one place we went and found a fire pit.  Hunters come back here and spend the night.
We didn't see much wild life except for a couple of deer.  Ed says it was because the Ranger is so noisy.  We came across this and Ed said it looks like an alien pod.
We were out for about 4 1/2 hours.  Several times we left the path and went down side trails.  It looked like places swamp buggies had been.  It was so muddy and the ruts were so deep that usually it looked like we were going to get stuck so we would turn around and go back to the regular trail.  We saw one of the swamp buggies in the parking lot.  Ed said " Get me one of those".  I said " No".  But we were able to get his picture in it.
doesn't he look happy

Here is a sign you don't see very often.  We haven't seen any panthers but I guess they do get hit by cars.  The park rangers says there are about 125 of them in the preserve.  About 20 of them get hit during the year.
We were also told that sometimes the alligators come across the road and get hit.  The park ranger said  you would think people could see that some thing was in the road.  It is not as if they run out in front of you.

Happy Trails.   Lyn and Ed

Monday, January 10, 2011

Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve

We made it to Big Cypress Nat'l Preserve yesterday about 1:30.  We made good time.  We came down I-75 and there wasn't much traffic.

 Once we turned onto 41 going into the preserve there is a canal right beside the road.  There are alligators everywhere.  Everyone seems to be fascinated with them including us.  The last one looked like he had been lifting weights. 

The Everglades are just south of us so we would like to go down and check them out and also drive down to the Keys.  Gas here is $3.38 a gal.  Wished we had filled up before we left Peace River.

The campground we are in is right on the preserve, so with the senior pass we are paying $10 a night.  There aren't any water or sewer hook-ups at the site.  We have 50 amp electric but we have to fill up our holding tank with water and when our tanks are full we will have to drive down to empty them.  It is a very nice campground.

To use the Ranger we have to buy a permit.  When we went in to inquire about it and they told us it would be $50, we sort of had sticker shock.  But we decided that is what we are here for and we can spend that much in eating out a couple of times.  Since we are in the middle of nowhere, we won't be eating out much, so we decided to go for it. 

So we will be heading to the back country tomorrow and make a day of it.  We will be taking our back packs, hopefully we don't get lost.  Oh, did I forget to tell you it is 80 degrees and sunny today with a light breeze and seagulls.  The weather is absolutely beautiful.   

Happy Trails.    Ed and Lyn

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Last day at Peace River

We have had a wonderful time here at Peace River.  The time has went so fast,  We got so wrapped up with looking for shark teeth, we haven't done much else.    We played pickle ball once.  Well we really didn't play, we just went down and hit the ball back and forth.  We did take the Ranger out once and explored the campground.  Ed even let me drive.
While we were here, we went to a place called Solomon's Castle.  We really enjoyed it.   They give you a guided tour, but it would have been nice just to wander through on your own.  We were so busy taking pictures, we really didn't get to look at everything.

These are just a few of the things this guy has made.  He makes everything out of scrap.  What an imagination.

Tracy text me they had 12 inches of snow and were expecting 6 to 10 more.  I sent her a text back that we were roasting hot dogs over a campfire.  I know that was mean but I couldn't resist.  We are not missing the winter weather at all.
We are heading  south tomorrow.  We are going to Big Cypress National Preserve.  It's a National Park so they don't take reservations.  The first campers  there get in, if they have any open spots.  Hopefully we can get in.  Because Ed has a senior pass we can stay they for $10 a night.  We plan on staying there for 2 weeks.   We would like to check out the everglades and the Keys while we are there.

Happy Trails.  Ed and Lyn