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Thursday, April 16, 2015

On The Slow Crawl North

Slow Crawl North…by Choice!!

On March 19th 2015 we pulled out of Trumbo Point RV campground. This was just a few minutes after 7 am. The last thing I did there was to pull the start cord on my neighbor, Gene's generator. I’ve been doing this for a week or so because I’m an early riser and when Gene and Carol get up the coffee is ready in their 5th wheel camper. One last stop in Key West was to attend mass, which we had been doing daily during lent.
Route US 1 heads Northeast and by 8:15 am,the sun had already moved a little more East and we had no problem with the sun in our eyes. Leaving town is always a little sad. We met a lot of friendly good folks and some were already heading north, but some were staying until the end of April. By May 1st, this campground is shut down until October 1st. The reason being that it gets too darn hot and humid. There are no full hookup sites at Trumbo Point, hence when it gets too hot,the military will not allow the generators to run all night for the A/C units on the RV’s. This is not as drastic as it seems because three miles down the road, the Navy has another RV campground called “Sigsbee” they have full hookups and in the summer there is always plenty of sites.
The ride back to Homestead, Florida always seems to go faster than going to Key West. As we moved closer to the mainland, familiar places peaked our interests. McDonalds coffee break in Marathon was the first stop for both coffee and restroom needs. After that, we were in Homestead at the first Wal-Mart from Key West for less expensive resupply of food stuff. So far this doesn’t sound to much like an adventure story, does it?
The adventure really started at the Miccosukee Resort and Gaming. Back in the Keys, we had been told to stop overnight at the Casino. You just had to get an overnight permit. The Casino gives each person a $30 ticket (for the slots) and bargains on food for first timers. We did the above exactly, with the only requirement that we had to play the thirty bucks voucher on one machine. We followed directions and played the slots. I jumped up to $64 dollars and Helen jumped to $62 dollars. "Quit while your ahead", that’s what we did and walked out with $126.00! It was early afternoon and we had no intentions on really staying overnight. Our game plan was to headout on US41 and than take US 94 (the loop road) and find a campground. Mitchell Landing was our destination. We headed down this dirt road for a short distance and found this motorhome with a camp host sign in front. “Yes”, the camp host said, “$12.00 with a
senior pass", which I had. There was only one other camper in the campground and he was in a tent. After backing in and getting set- up we took a walk to visit these endangered snails that are only found in this site. The camp host had given Helen direction and just a few yards away I was taking pictures of these very unusual snail shells. Moving along to the boat landing, a sign said boat landing closed due to low water levels. Ok, I didn’t have a boat, but I settled for pictures of vultures and other birds hanging around the marsh. It was now time for a bite to eat. Helen is always good at coming up with something scrumptious. Later, we walked up to the camp host and they invited us to sit and chat. It was interesting to learn all about volunteering in the NP system. They were leaving to take up their summer volunteer jobs up at the “Great Smokey Mountains National Park"
In about an hour or so, the bugs started to come out. Another camper showed up and we started walking back to our campsite. The camp host was just returning in his golf cart and stopped just about fifty feet past us. He said, “Did you see that snake”? “No" I said. We turn around and walked toward him. There was the snake! A “Cotton Mouth” also called a “Water Moccasin” right on the trail. We must have walked right over him! He grabbed his four foot snake grabber and went towards to the snake. It jumped, for sure, two feet in the air! He moved it along to the edge and it took off into the vegetation. Our luck held out on this night. He figured that the evening was getting cool and the snake was very passive. The camp host had just finished showing us his 410 revolver a little earlier. It fires 410 shotgun shells or 45 cal. slugs. This is some firepower and I guest after this snake encounter, not a bad defensive weapon. We crawled into bed after dark and my plans for doing some star gazing and photography in the middle of the night were a thing of the past with the snake incident.

Next morning, we were on the road fairly early. The camp host had told us of this watering hole next to the dirt road, where we might catch a glimpse of this 12 foot alligator . I knew that the cold morning temperature was a deterrent against seeing any warm blooded creatures moving around, but we gave it a chance. The sun wasn’t even risen and light patches of fog covered the swamp here and there. The birds were still roosting, but they were coming to life. No alligators were visible, but I could see an occasional bubble indicating they were there and staying close to the bottom in the warmer water. No sightings, but all was not lost!
Big Cypress National Preserve Sunrise
The gravel road was extremely straight, visible for miles in either direction. I looked up and immediately spotted a photographic opportunity. The sun was just starting to rise miles away in the middle of this gravel road. Everything surrounding was still dark and with the sun now beaming, my shutter was going at full speed. My mind was thinking…This would make another contest picture for the 2016 Truck Camper Magazine Calendar Contest. The Truck Camper was in the frame with its lights on, the sun was beaming through a slight haze fog. We'll see how I do this year in the contest!

That is what we saw and did!

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