May 8, 2014
Not up until 8:30!
Although we stayed with the Mordorskis we had to put our rig in storage very nearby as RVs are not permitted in Pelican Landing. Suspect they don’t want “snowbirds” parking in friend’s driveways for the winter.
By 9:30 we had repacked the rig and were off for a major shopping. We had to clean out most of our food to put the rig in storage for 2 days.
Drive was short (55 miles) to the NW Everglades Gulf Coast Visitor Center. On the way a new warning light appeared on the dash. Not sure what it is but what we can figure out at the moment, we can drive at least 500 miles without a problem.
The Everglades National Park protects the ecosystem of the southern 20% of the Everglades and was dedicated in 1947 by Truman from the small airport near the visitor center. There are nine ecosystems that vary in size depending upon amount of water present. After Death Valley and Yellowstone it is the third largest national park in the lower 48 states. It is a network of wetlands and forests that are balanced by fresh water river and the salty Gulf of Mexico. It contains over 10,000 islands (any land mass that has at least one tree) and the largest ecosystem of mangroves in the western hemisphere. There are red, white and black mangroves. The reds filter the salt out of the water and the black and white absorb the water and expel the salt on their leaves. The blacks are the tallest giving an island a “crown” look. The water looks very murky (but is actually very clean because of the large oyster population) because it contains tannins from the hundreds of pounds of mangrove leaves that fall in the water.
We took an 1 ½ hour boat tour from a private company within the national park. We learned most of the above plus the following. Saw the blue crab traps on the way to the national park where no commercial fishing is allowed. On the way we also saw an osprey nest with mama and chick and lots of dolphins playing. Dolphins have no natural predator in the area. Interesting, the only animals that occupy the islands are raccoons. For fresh water they need to lick leaves. It is the only place in the world where crocodiles and alligators coexist. Fun ride and we learned a lot!
With our rig issue we headed for Miami. We stopped at what was supposed to be a new KOA in Hollywood. It was abandoned! So now we are in Pembroke Park in what seems to be a residential tree covered spot. The fellow who pulled up when we turned in was surprised to see us. Asked for $35 in cash and gave us a key to the restrooms!
It was nearly 6:00 so we are staying. Is only 2 miles from the Sprinter Repair Service. Bob took a dip in the pool. I am still aggravated with bites so took a shower in a small but very clean bathroom which rates the camp “good”!
Dinner is not exciting but expedient. Tacos!