Florida, cont.

Florida is a big state. We’re still here. After our visit with Adrienne on Christmas, we headed south. In Homestead, where millions of people turned left to go to the Keys, turned right and headed to the Everglades. We used two National Park Campgrounds – Flamingo and Long Pine Key – because there is simply no wild (free) camping to be had. It will be a real game changer to cross the Mississippi and find much more free land. We absolutely love the flow of our days. Even chore days and travel days have their allure. Our time is our own, so every decision and action has value.

As we traveled south, then returned north, the change in climate and terrain was palpable. We are measuring our days in bird sightings. Unfortunately we are not good bird photographers, so you’ll have to trust us – and Holly’s paintings. I started typing this in Ocala where Sandy is getting routine bus service. We’re getting some fabrication done soon as well. After that, we’ll be itching to log some serious miles westward. Here are some of our recent adventures . . .

This is the rooftop view from Flamingo campground in the Everglades. It was a fine spot, but we feel boxed-in in campgrounds. Too many neighbors, too much noise. This is not what Sandy was built for. The mosquitos were vicious.
The landscapes in the Everglades were otherwordly. This pic is from a swampy bike trail. Elevation change is measured in inches, and a slight elevation change can mean radical shifts in plant and animal life.

I turned 60 while here. For a treat we took a cruise on Florida Bay (the floor of which is protected wilderness), and got to see mangrove islands up close. I sort of have an idea for a poem based on the ’sacrificial leaf’ on mangroves, which absorbs excess salinity, yellows and falls off – all to save the tree as a whole. Bird life here was crazy.

We bought Johnny a manatee for cuddling. He’s sort of OK with it, but we all miss Ponyboy. It’s also clear how much they cleaned each other. Johnny needs a bath.
Sandy was looking good and performing flawlessly at Long Pine Key.
Our bird pics really aren’t the best. We have seen a stunning range of birds. It really is humbling to witness that degree of wildlife. This is an immature White Ibis.
Tri-colored Heron, watercolor by Holly.Be sure to look at her art page here on the blog.
Here is the viewfinder of a birder at Robinson Preserve in Bradenton, with a baby Great Horned Owl.

We are really enjoying the range of places we get to park. We are comfortable in Cracker Barrel parking lots, and in remote campgrounds. What we don’t particularly care for are commercial RV parks. They tend to be cramped and noisy. Still, we meet cool people wherever we go.

Here we are parked at the southern fishing pier of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in St. Petersburg. Sometimes police will run people off, but generally parking here is OK. We were about three feet from Tampa Bay. Holly made a wonderful steak dinner here. What is grander than that?
We play Scrabble a lot.
This Royal Palm is doing a strange thing at Silver Springs State Park.
The water at Silver Springs State Park.
Tree bark looking like a squirrel.

As I type this, we are parked in the yard of a welder who will be helping us modify our door. We’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Fingers crossed this comes out OK. We are planning to head west along the Gulf coast within the next several days. We’re not quite sure what to expect. However, I am also tempted to stick around a couple weeks to be a vendor and show off a Bus Named Sandy at the Florida Suncoast Tiny House Festival on January 29 and 30. Should we do that? Comments are always appreciated.

3 thoughts on “Florida, cont.

  1. Oh I would stay. Your home is so nice and you may encourage others. Enjoy, be safe and thank you for all of the pictures.

  2. Stay and show it off with pride! Great opportunity to meet fellow adventurers and help with advice to those contemplating. TY for sharing your adventures and gorgeous photos! See any manatee, Crocs or gators??

  3. We met briefly in Long Pine Key–I was coming back from a walk with my kids and cut through your camp. I’m no ready to take the kids on the road yet, but I look forward to following your adventures.

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