Everglades National Park, Florida 12/20/2013

DECEMBER 20, 2013 (Friday)

 

Last night Michael had called to make arrangements for a tour at John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park for a snorkel tour. It just looks so beautiful and Michael and I both love to snorkel so it sounded perfect. This morning we called again to confirm, since he only was able to leave a voicemail last night.  The lady confirmed the reservation for 3:00 PM. She said to be there by 2:00 PM or the reservation would be canceled and anyone waiting standby could get it. Good to know. She said they were only taking strong swimmers and people who have snorkeled before.  (That’s us!)

We wanted the 12:00 PM tour so we decided to head to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park and be waiting standby to see if spots opened up. We figured if we didn’t get to go at noon, we would just go into Key Largo and have lunch or drive around. We left around 10:00 AM. The drive is about 1-1/2 hours.

Nice artistic touch on a sound wall on South I-75.

Nice artistic touch on a sound wall on South I-75.

Strange landscape of southern Florida.

Strange landscape of Southern Florida.

Close to Key Largo.

Close to Key Largo.

When we were about twenty minutes from the park, we got a call saying the tour had been canceled due to high winds. Major bummer. We decided to go ahead to the park to try to see it, and then drive around Key Largo. We didn’t even get into the park as they charge something like $5.00 per person just to enter. We turned around and started going up and down the side streets and checking out the areas. Fun. Saw a cute mailbox that I wanted, also a couple of homes that would be fun until it came time to clean.

We were disappointed.

We were disappointed.

Park entrance.

Park entrance.

Tiny little private park on Key Largo.  We felt snubbed.

Tiny little private park on Key Largo. We felt snubbed.

What is wrong with this picture?  You live in a house where the bet is that your stilts are high enough for the highest storm surge.  Edie wants to buy, Thank God she has me!

What is wrong with this picture? You live in a house where the bet is that your stilts are high enough for the highest storm surge. Edie wants to buy.  Thank God she has me!

Pretty home down on Key Largo.

Pretty home down on Key Largo.

 

The high dollar homes are the ones with the canals and ocean access in the back yard with a boat dock.

The high dollar homes are the ones with the canals and ocean access in the back yard with a boat dock.

 

A shuttered home that looks like the jungle is encroaching upon.  (Your sentence structure should be the proudest thing you are of!)

A shuttered home that looks like the jungle is encroaching upon. (Your sentence structure should be the proudest thing you are of!)

Half Geodesic dome on stilts.  Very interesting.

Half geodesic dome on stilts. Very interesting.

 

Big house with screened porches.

Big house with screened porches.

 

The north end of Key Largo seems pretty undeveloped.

The North end of Key Largo seems pretty undeveloped.

 

Edie loved this mailbox.

Edie loved this mailbox.

After our “drive,” we headed to Everglades National Park. Were surprised at how much agriculture we saw on the ride to the park. Once in the park there were various signs and one said “Flamingo” 34 miles. We like flamingos and headed in that direction. There was a whole lot of nothing but birds. Once we got to Flamingo, still a whole lot of nothing but birds. There was a little restaurant there (Buttonwood Cafe) and we had lunch. Don’t bother if you go there. It was pretty bland and overpriced. They also had a little center that sold souvenirs and then a little museum to walk through. If we go again we’ll stop at the main visitor’s center at the entrance to the park.

Lots of agriculture in Florida.  Great weather for growing crops.

Lots of agriculture in Florida. Great weather for growing crops.

Florida panther crossing sign.  We looked and didn't see hide nor hair.

Florida panther crossing sign. We looked and didn’t see hide nor hair.

Today's adventure.

Today’s adventure.

There were many educational displays along the way.

There were many educational displays along the way.

Dwarf Cypress forest.

Dwarf Cypress forest.

The high point of the trip.

The high point of the trip.

 

Sawgrass and tree islands.

Sawgrass and tree islands.

Flamingo Visitor's Center.

Flamingo Visitor’s Center.

 

Bird nest on the antenna.

Bird nest on the antenna.

Perspective.  My head with hat, a pretty fair distance away.

Perspective. My head with hat, a pretty fair distance away.

 

Low tide.

Low tide.

 

Edie's Angus burger.

Edie’s angus burger.

 

My veggie burger.

My veggie burger.

Ours was so so.  But I did see some folks enjoying some deep fried fish.

Ours was so so. But I did see some folks enjoying some deep fried fish.

 

Tanic acid from the red mangrove turns the water red.

Tanic acid from the red mangrove turns the water red.

 

Low tide.

Low tide.

 

Nice camero SS sitting next to us as we went to leave.

Nice Camero SS sitting next to us as we went to leave.

Edie wanted to look for flamingos.

Edie wanted to look for flamingos.

 

Birds, but no flamingos.

Birds, but no flamingos.

Horse drawn wagon with minivan seats.  Apologies for poor framing.  In my defense, I was driving.

Horse drawn wagon with minivan seats. Apologies for poor framing. In my defense, I was driving.

 

My second attempt captured what I missed in the first.  My apologies, still driving.

My second attempt captured what I missed in the first. My apologies, still driving.

Once we left we headed straight “home” with only one stop at Publix to get the meat for our taco salad dinner. Lexi is cooking tonight.  (It was really good.) Once we got to our complex, we saw Santa in his sleigh. Apparently they had a Christmas party today for the kids. Fun.

This man needs no introduction!

This man needs no introduction!

That was our day. Hope yours was great!

 

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