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Old 03-12-2012, 08:09 PM   #16
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Home at last......
That little Florida journey amounted to 3453 miles, and according to the vehicle timer, 72 hours and 10 minutes in the driver's seat. Yes "it" is a bit sore.
When I get the pictures sorted out I'll try to post a few...Right now, it's tax time.
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:44 AM   #17
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Glad you made it home! Looking forward to the pictures!

I like the Keys a lot! It's been years since we drove down. The last two times we've been we were on a cruise. Key West is such a "unique" place ..
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Old 03-13-2012, 07:11 AM   #18
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Home at last......
That little Florida journey amounted to 3453 miles, and according to the vehicle timer, 72 hours and 10 minutes in the driver's seat. Yes "it" is a bit sore.
When I get the pictures sorted out I'll try to post a few...Right now, it's tax time.
Ick! We came home from our trip and did taxes, too. It's a rude awakening... brings you back to reality, quickly. I'm glad you had a great time. Can't wait for pics!
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Old 03-13-2012, 08:35 AM   #19
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Key West is beautiful, but a hard place to live for all the service industry workers. My son lived there for about 9 months working as a bartender at a place on Duval Street. Housing is so expensive there... he had to pay $1,000 a month to live in a roach-infested motel room. After nine months he decided "paradise" really wasn't, and returned to Minnesota.



P.S. As you may have noticed, some of the beaches down there are "clothing optional". My son decided to take the option. Fell asleep in the sun and woke up several hours later. Any idea what happens when a part of you that is normally NEVER exposed to sunlight spends several hours baking in the intense Key West sun? He was one hurting dude for awhile!!

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Old 03-13-2012, 08:58 AM   #20
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I got word yesterday that it's time to come back and mow the yard. Maybe one of our neighborly neighbors will do it.

I haven't had to mow once down here.

Well, we need a change, from golf and being on the water to golf and being on the water.
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Old 03-14-2012, 04:45 PM   #21
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First stop was "The Villages," Florida.
This is a 55 or better community of about 80,000. It is billed as the largest such place in the USA. It is about 60 miles north of Orlando.
As big as the place is, you can drive anywhere in your golf cart on either a dedicated path or special lane on the street People go everywhere that way. The number of things to do is mind boggling.



More Later
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:36 AM   #22
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Naples and The Everglades



Naples is a real enclave of wealth. Many beautiful homes and condos.
We went to a beach in a state park which was very nice except for the shell laden sand. I admit I have sissy feet, but I could barely walk on many parts of it, but if you were hunting shells it was perfect.

The above picture was of a resort entry. Just one of many great settings. There were some timeshares to die for. I wouldn't own a timeshare, but I wouldn't mind a few nights in one of them.

Moving on to the western Everglades our first mission was to take an airboat ride. We really picked a winner thanks to the fact that the pilot was only slightly sane, but a great guy anyway.
As we pulled away from the dock he says, " we'll get to the eco stuff in a bit, but the first 20 minutes we are going airboating, YEHAWW!" Wild ride through the grass and a couple of times on land (opps). My only thought was coming around a blind curve and hitting some unknown object,
So on to the birds and gaters of which there were many.



Here our pilot is about to give us a surprise. He reached down and grabbed the gater and spread his jaws. DW forgot the picture in the excitement.



In one swamp section they had built some floating platforms (as above) and the gaters took to them like bees to honey.



Pretty much everywhere you looked there were lots of birds.

On our way back to port our pilot suddenly cut the engine and drifted to a halt.
He says, "you know, no airboat ride is truly complete without doing some high velocity 360's, but I would never do them unless you consented."
Hmmmm, OK I guess..
Wow, words cannot describe..and no seatbelts Ms Hamilton.

The next portion of the trip was through the everglades to the starting point for the 110 mile trip to Key West.
This drive was really quite cool because on the enourmous number of gators we saw in the ditches (water on both sides of the road) Driving at 60 MPH we could spot them about every 50 yards in some areas. A few gator roadkill being consumed by the vultures. A few tourists parking and getting up close and personal.
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Old 03-15-2012, 11:44 AM   #23
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I got word yesterday that it's time to come back and mow the yard. Maybe one of our neighborly neighbors will do it.

I haven't had to mow once down here.

Well, we need a change, from golf and being on the water to golf and being on the water.
You may be in for a shock when you see some of the areas that have been cleared along 13 between OO and 76.
Looks a good bit different, but there is now room to land a 747.
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:19 PM   #24
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The trip from the mainland to Key West covers about 110 miles.
Not nearly as scenic as I had expected. Much, perhaps most of the trip is such that no water is visible, but the 7 mile bridge and adjoining railroad bridge is cool. You can walk on portions of the railway bridge as well as fish from it. The water in this area is very shallow and quite clear.
The speed sign says 55, but we saw very little of that. Like Branson, you drive as fast as the slowest vehicle.

Roughly halfway to Key West we checked out Bahia Honda park which has lots of water activities and perhaps the best beach in the Keys. We had planned to come back for a day, but the weather turned against us.
Rolling into Key West I was shocked to see how city like it was, at least in the new part. Shopping centers, lots of chain restaurants, and plenty of traffic.
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Old 03-18-2012, 11:17 AM   #25
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I took our houseguests to Siesta Beach Friday, so thyey could say they were on the #1 beach. There musta been 5000 people there.

That afternoon we did Englewood Beach, Siesta Beach, and Venice Beach.
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:03 PM   #26
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I just swam with a manatee.

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Old 03-18-2012, 02:33 PM   #27
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I just swam with a manatee.

At Seaworld Orlando I gave a sting ray a back rub and fed her a tray of fish.



After that she swam over to the other side of the tank and smoked a cigarette.
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:37 PM   #28
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The manatee was about 100 yards out in Lemon Bay and I had watched it for about 1/2 hour. I waded out to about 10 feet from it, and spent about another 1/2 hour with it.

Then it took off.
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Old 03-18-2012, 02:48 PM   #29
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At Seaworld Orlando I gave a sting ray a back rub and fed her a tray of fish.



After that she swam over to the other side of the tank and smoked a cigarette.
I literally laughed out loud, on that one!
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Old 03-18-2012, 03:19 PM   #30
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The manatee was about 100 yards out in Lemon Bay and I had watched it for about 1/2 hour. I waded out to about 10 feet from it, and spent about another 1/2 hour with it.

Then it took off.
Cool experience..Not sure I'm inclined to be 100 yards out in any Florida water minus a boat.
So what do you talk about for 30 minutes with a manatee??
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