Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

Now in Crawfordsville, Indiana

We are now in Del Rio Texas

We are now in Del Rio Texas

Everglades Tour

Friday January 25, 2013  

The weather is now normal for south Florida with highs in the high 70s and lows around 60 at night. With the exception of the 2 hour rain last week, the sun has been out every day. The long range forecast is for sunny days for the next 10 days! 

Yesterday we finally went on the air boat tour of the Everglades. We went on the tour that was recommended by Frommers, the tour book people. The air boat tour was from Coopertown air boat tours on US41 about 30 miles south and west of where we are parked. The cost was $22 per person which seems to be the going rate for the air boats. I really wanted to go on the smaller and higher of the water type but the price was $200 for a family up to 6 people. Since we are just 2 it still would cost $200. Needless to say we didn't do the small boat, we took the big boat. 

After taking the big boat at $22 dollars we were real glad we didn't take the smaller boat. We got the whole thrill of an air boat and it was worth what we paid. We wouldn't do it again but I’m happy I did it. I think Patty would have skipped it if she knew what it was like. The air boat ride lasted about 45 minutes with maybe 6 stops to show us a bird, alligator, turtle or some such thing. Before we left we were given cotton to put in our ears as the boat is very loud. The propulsion is a V-8 Chevy gas engine sitting in an open frame with an air plane prop on it. It is sort of cool to glide very fast on top of the water and slide from side to side across the water when making turns. However, that is just about all there is to it. It looks much better in pictures. 

After the air boat ride we went another 13 miles to just about the center of the Everglades to the Shark Valley National Park. According to Frommers, the 15 mile bike/walk trail is one of the 10 best things to do in South Florida. We were skeptical about this being that good but what the crap we will give it a try. I had loaded our bikes in the truck before we left this morning just in case the trail looked like something we wanted to do. 

We arrived around 12:30 and the sign on the road said the parking lot was full and there were cars parked alongside of the road. The park is actually in the Miccosukee Indian reservation. Just past the entrance to the park there is an Miccosukee visitors center with a restaurant. We pulled in to the restaurant parking lot and decided we would have some food and then ride into the park from the restaurant parking lot. I had frog legs that tasted like frog and not the good way (like cooked). I also had alligator. I have had alligator before and didn’t like it and, I still don’t like it. Patty was the smart one and had a salad. 

After the bite to eat we got our bikes out of the truck and we were off to the park. We knew this was going to be a different bike ride right from the start. We were just 20 feet in and a 10 foot alligator was sunning just a couple of feet along the road. 

The park had a line of vehicles to get in. They were all waiting for someone to leave and then the park rangers would let someone in. Since we were on bikes we were waved up to the front of the line. The cost was $5 for each of us and was good for 7 days. Not a bad deal at all. 

We started down the mostly wide and all paved trail and there were alligators everywhere! There were also turtles, many varieties of birds, and lots of plants. The big birds and turtles just walk almost right up to you. It was just very, very, awesome! 

We reluctantly decided to only go in a little over 3 miles for a 6 mile round trip. The park closes at 5 pm and we didn't start on the trail until 1:30. The trail is a rectangular loop with about 7.5 miles on each side. We were stopping so many times to look at stuff we were never going to make the whole trip. Also, we didn't want to hit the Miami rush hour traffic either. 

We both decided that if we had of known better we would have skipped the air boat ride and went directly to the trail and rode the entire 15 miles. This bike ride was by far one of the 20 best things we think we have done in our lives. This is a DO NOT MISS activity especially if you are in South Florida. 

We counted 47 gators in just the 3 miles we went in.
Coopertown Population 0008.

This is a 12 foot Gator in a cage.


Gator swimming toward us.

Patty holding her hat in the air boat.

Our tour guide Mike.  He just called these birds and they came.

Gator watching us

Mama gator watching us

Entrance to Shark Valley National Park.  That's Patty up ahead on her bike.
First gator and we aren't even in the park yet!

Cool gator in the weeds.

Big Bird in tree.

Lots of big birds in a tree


2 gators watching Patty

I think he is smiling.

We were told these are Gar fish

This bird just walked right up to us.  I took several pictures thinking it would fly away, then it got a little scary as it got real close.

I told Patty to run over the gators tail

Baby gators

How many gators do you see?  We counted 5

Today we cleaned the truck and the front of the RV. The truck gets dirty just sitting here in the park. There is a lot of condensation in the mornings and the palm tree dust sticks to the moisture. It was time as we hadn't washed it for 4 weeks!

I sort of wash the RV a little at a time. Last week I washed the rear half which gets real dirty with dead bugs. Sort of the same as the truck with the moisture in the mornings except that there is a pole light near the RV in the rear and bugs are around that all night. Seems that the bugs get caught in the moisture in the morning and then I have a very dirty RV. 

Today I washed the front nose of the RV. I really had not washed it since we were in Kissimmee FL in mid-November. The nose gets the most dirt as that is what is heading into the wind when you pull the RV. It wasn't very dirty however due to it had only been pulled about 200 miles since I had cleaned it last. I washed it mainly because I wanted it to look perfect while we are sitting here. It’s just some of my OCD showing.

Patty talked to the owner of the park today about helping out in the office a few hours a week. She wants to get involved and put her skills to work for a while. I still like being lazy. I think I’m real good at that. We are thinking that we will work camp in the future for lot rent. That won’t happen until 2014 though.

Tomorrow we are just going to be lazy and hang out at the pool. Hopefully I can get a water valley ball game going!

Stay tuned!


Jason Austin said...
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