On the 25th May we thought it best to finally hit the road, leave the comforts of air-con and seriously start this road trip for real. With a now roach-free, fully loaded ve-ha-kill, we said our goodbyes to the Aunties and hit the I-75 - heading south towards the Everglades. We took the coastal scenic route and passed Bradenton, Sarasota, Fort Myers and after Naples, found our 1st nights campsite. We pulled into Collier Seminole State Park and set up camp for the night - all very excited to be in the 'Glades and all.
For dinner & sunset, we headed for a picnic area, which overlooked a river. There was not a soul in sight which we thought at first to be very romantic and perfect for sunset, but after 5 mins we understood why no one else was around…… forget the alligators, any exposed flesh was eaten alive by mozzies, miggies, and no-see-um's!!! no amount of spray and candles would rid us of these pesky little fekkers. So we thought we'd get them intravenously…. We drank enough vodka with dinner to soon see them flying away in a very hammered flight path, dropping to the floor with us dancing over them in a foolish miggie victory dance! We had another visitor that night, an alligator smelt our pasta and very sveltely swam up close in the hope of some nosh - us or the pasta - not having my penknife or rubber mallet on me, we got in the car and promptly left. At camp we did see another couple but we thought they were there doing research for the national park, cos they were head to toe in protective suits, with NASA looking netted helmets…seemingly this is how one camps down in the swamps, not very romantic looking at your loved one through a netting visor if you ask me…
I woke the next morning with self-diagnosed tonsillitis (which pleased me in a way, I thought it might stop me eating for a few days - not so!) Trying to get through a fever, sweats and sever pain through the power of positive thinking was not quite doing it for me, so I sent the wife on a wild goose chase for pain killers…..we headed for Everglades City, where she returned to the car with an offering of home brewed penicillin from a toothless swamp man she met in a bar….I said no thanks, I'll stick with my positive thinking….
We then entered Everglades National Park, where we stayed at a campsite called Flamingo, for 2 nights. Not much happened other than the wife nursing me (through sickness and in health right?) On exiting the park, we tried to pay the ranger the money for 2 nights camping, she promptly laughed at us and said camping at this time of year is free, only fools camp in this heat and brave the bugs….we should've done some research, but were happy with the freebie camping J
Leaving Everglades National Park, we visited the Alligator farm, where we went on an airboat ride, which was cool. And just to prove that Booley were still in charge and had successfully survived the Glades, we had alligator tails for lunch….tough we are not - we were quite freaked out actually, eating little cousin, whilst watching mother, father, sisters and brothers swim around, so we chucked it away and left feeling as guilty as sin!
Everglades done - it's not quite CSI Miami with dead bodies floating in the swamps, in fact you don't see much swamp at all unless you do an airboat ride. Pleased to say we survived the alligators, mozzies and panthers of the Everglades!