FLORIDA TRIP - A little Drive, A Little Gambling, A Little Shopping - Monday, January 17, 2011

We slept well last night. It was the first time we had the A/C Fan on. I think the noise helps drown out my snoring so Nancy could get a good night’s sleep. With the weather forecast calling for 80% chance of rain, we arranged our day to do some driving, sight-seeing and shopping.

We headed east on Route 41, better known as the Tamiami Trail, which basically runs from Tampa to Miami. We turned south on route 29 towards Everglades City where we visited the Gulf Coast Visitor’s Center of the Everglades National Park.
OK is 'Gator Tail' meat or fish?!?!

Everglades National Park

Visitor Center

Camping Area - Electric only, no bath houses

It is a small visitor center, but they do have boat tours and canoe trips. This is where many folks leave for canoe wilderness adventures.  We saw one couple registering their plan with the Park Ranger.  They were going to be out in the Everglades for a week!! Now that sounds like fun...not! I don't think there are bath houses in the Mangroves.

As we drove north on Rt. 29, Nancy got some great photos of an osprey nest with a chick which was attacked by a rouge osprey until the parent osprey returned to the nest with a fish. We stopped the car and had the chance to watch it all happen…amazing!!
Chick in nest.

Chick fending off attack

Parent returning with fish 

Alls Well That Ends Well

It had started to drizzle, so we decided to drive north on RT 29 about 40 miles to the Seminole Indian Casino. The drive up was great. We went through parts of the Big Cypress Nation Preserve and The Panther Preserve. We saw a lot of birds and if it hadn’t been raining, it would have been nice to stop and do a little hiking in the area. When we arrived at the casino, we put $20 in a slot machine and quickly lost that. We looked at each other and realized that an hour in the casino was all we could handle.
It wasn't Vegas!!

We completed the big driving loop by stopping at a Wal-Mart to buy groceries for the rest of our vacation. We also bought a canoe paddle that Nancy can use when we are kayaking. Nancy has a metal rod in her upper left arm as a result of a bicycle accident a couple years back. She can only paddle on the right side, making the dual paddle we have somewhat useless. She wants to try a canoe paddle and see how that works.

We got back to the campground around 1 pm. I think the 162 mile trip to Wal-Mart to get groceries was a little overkill. But we enjoyed the ride and the sights along the way. It is now 3 pm and it is pouring rain. Our decision to put off kayaking and hiking turned out to be the right decision.

As I was sitting under the awning writing this blog, a squirrel came right up to us as if to say, “I’m here, where’s the food?”

I couldn’t resist giving her a few peanuts. She had no fear of us. I guess she is used to getting fed and I normally do not feed wildlife, but, I couldn’t refuse the little girl.

Hope the rain ends as scheduled and we get out doing what we love to do tomorrow!!


  1. Excellent pictures. We just came through Everglades City and surrounding parks and preserves last week too. Just as you said, the visitor center there is very small but we still found the volunteers and rangers to very informative. Everglades City itself is very pretty too.


  2. Great pics of the Osprey nest. Around here, all I see is squirrels and the occasional rabbit. It will be nice to travel and see more than that!

  3. Great pictures yesterday and today Nancy. The Osprey event was terrific.

    The Everglades was where I wanted to be about now before we had to turn back. I was surprised to hear there were any campsites with electricity. I'd read that everything there was no hookups. Did it have a dump station?

    I really want to go there, during none bug season, and spend at least a week, maybe two. I could do a few days of kayak camping I think. They do have platforms to camp on although it's true, no bathhouses. You're a riot Bill!

    Looking forward to your getting back out to hike and kayak. Keep up the good "work" :-)

  4. Sherry,
    The campground photo in the blog is in the Western Everglades. This is a very small part of Everglades National Park. The main part of the park is on the East Coast and the campgrounds there are primative. We wanted to go there, but are not up for primative camping and could not find a campground within reasonable driving distance. John Penderkamp State Park in the Keys would be a good choice, but it is closed for renovations. So we will make a trip to the Eastern Everglades at a later date.