After the Everglades we moved into a park in Miami. We really didn’t think we would find anything, especially anything reasonable, but Larry and Penny Thompson County Park had spots for as long as a month and cheaper than most places we stay where we pay weekly. We got lucky and showed up when it was fairly empty and got a place all the way in the back with our own private yard and facing some brushy palmetto area. With the truck parked perpendicular to the front of the trailer, it blocks our awning and yard area from everyone else and we feel pretty much alone, as we like it. The park holds something like 250 RV’s plus tent campers so having some privacy could have been hard if we didn’t just have great luck sometimes. We decided to stay a month because, although we look forward to snow, theres no rush, and there are tons of things we haven’t seen in south Florida yet and ran out of time in the Everglades (you only get 2 weeks a year there sadly, though we may try to sneak back in).
Our first weekend at Larry and Penny, we headed to Shark Valley just 40 or so miles away towards, directly inland on the top side of the Everglades. We took the bikes to ride the 15 mile loop, expecting to see Alligators all over the road like we have in pictures, but we certainly got to see enough of them without having to worry about falling off our bikes or having our path blocked completely.
There were moms with babies, juveniles and small adults everywhere, making for some pretty great photo ops but the best encounter was when, about halfway through the bike ride, we decided to walk down a trail into a Hammock, and after about 100 yards of walking, I joked that there should be alligators draped across the trail at least, and just as we turned a corner, there were! All large adults resting on the trail where it met with a large pond. We counted about 6 but couldn’t really see around the next bend and there may have been more.
The bike ride was long but easy, except for my seat being uncomfortable due to my camera box being strapped onto my behind the seat bike rack. It was worth it though because it held my excellent quality, 4lb medium format camera and I got some great shots of the alligators on the trail (which will eventually be developed).
Here’s what I have on digital:
Alligators on trail in Shark Valley
Arranging a nice place to lay
Susa has been doing really well on the leash. I had put the harness on her a couple times in the house before finally jumping into the leash on her first visit to the vet. She was really good besides destroying my shirt at the sight of people, cars and especially a weed whacker. She sat in the waiting room and watched the other animals go by, not even flinching when a huge hyper dog went by. We don’t have a cat carrier but who needs them anyway when you have a leash cat! I’ve always wanted a cat that would walk on a leash. Shes got the leash part down, and she doesn’t struggle with it or freak out at all.. but the walking has actually yet to be seen.
Chena is as always adorable and unconventional. I got her into the habit of climbing on tables and walking on concrete walls in Argentina during walks at the park. Though once she went to jump onto a wall, unleashed, that had a 12 foot drop onto concrete on the other side. Now I make sure to keep a close eye. I guess I got into the habit of wanting dogs comfortable with height having had a wolf hybrid as a kid that would climb trees and a boston terrier as a teen who would walk up and over cars while we walked and balance on my wood fence. Plus I’ve always wanted to be in the circus (my own of course) so strange animals is kind of my thing.
Just wanted to mention that I find myself remembering fondly the harder times of the trip. Moving fast across the country, boondocking behind the North Shore Yacht Club while it was being renovated, running our generator in a Walmart parking lot so we have electricity to work while transitioning to another spot, staring at google maps for hours trying to figure out where we’re going next while already driving there. Like a band of gypsys, down the highway we would go. RV shaking and noisy, Chena on my lap – and halfway on the cooler. Things and places to photograph. All the while without running water, showers, predictable bathrooms or healthy food. Sometimes without propane in the cold, sometimes without protein for weeks (it seemed). I miss it. I hate being in one place so long (and only 2 weeks) – yet unable to go anywhere really without a car and nothing close to walk to. There’s a city bus but I don’t exactly feel like going downtown alone in the cold. I also have to work almost the same hours as Ross and by the time we’re done its dark and the only place nearby is a mini mart with a grumpy Iranian guy who doesn’t take debit cards. In his defense he did make a joke tonight after seeing my out of state ID, he asked me why I didnt have a drivers lisence “drinking and driving hahahaah?” – hes ok. It’s understandable why its odd to not have a drivers license here. Nowhere so far has a transit system or bike lane system like Portland.
We go to Austin Tomorrow and we’re tying for a place closer to town, The weather should be getting better next week and I plan to do something with it (and blog more) . Stagnation and stability are my ultimate killer, or maybe just boredom and the lack of someone to meet for coffee?