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All Rights Reserved
by Lloyd Treichel
Dateline: December 22, 2004 -- Naples, Florida
No sleigh rides...
No dreams of a white Christmas...
No dashing through snow...
Greetings from Florida...
May Your Holidays
Be Joyful and Happy
Future travel plans... After I spend Christmas at the SKP park at Wauchula and a few more brief stops in Florida I will head in a westerly direction along the Gulf Coast to Texas.
Port St. Lucie, Florida ... was the next stop at an Elks Lodge to check out the hurricane damage. Both Frances and Jean came ashore here along Jensen Beach. These pictures give some idea of the damage to the real estate structures. It may take a couple of years before some real estate is back in business. The vegetation will take much longer to recover the beauty of the beach.
Even with the destruction to man's creations, the beauty of nature is within view. The ocean waves provide me with scenery and provide thrills for the surfer. Walking the beach is a palette of nature's art in the shells washed on the shore.
St. Lucie Lock and Dam ... is a Corps of Engineer park near Stuart. With nine RV spaces and eight slips for full timing boat people, it is a beautiful spot. This was a great spot for catching fish as one of my RV neighbors proved. He seemed to be living off his almost daily catches. The evening brought beautiful sunsets. Daytimes I could watch birds, manatee, turtles and alligators. When I bored of that, I watched as boats passed through the locks going from the Gulf to the Atlantic. This cruise ship was one of those.
This neighborhood's hurricane damage was evident here in downed trees and roofs covered in blue tarps. In spite of the hurricane damage here and along the coast, there wasn't a dip in real estate sales or new home construction. It continues at the same rapid pace as before.
Seeing all the hurricane damaged areas gets depressing so it was time to head to the ...
Florida Keys ... To get there, it was 100 miles of Miami suburbs and freeways. That was a stressful drive. I parked at the Elks Lodge in Tavernier and from my front yard, this sunset was my view. This was my home base as I explored the Keys. This was 100 miles from mile marker one on US 1 where...
Key West... is located. This is the southern most point within the continental United States. The first land route to Key West was via a railroad that Henry Flagler finished in 1912. Ever since that day, people have been moving to land areas all along the Keys -- and it continues. The warm weather draws large crowds from the north every winter. The day I visited Key West there were two giant cruise ships anchored at the pier. That made the town even more crowded.
After a guided tour of Key West history and layout of the the island, I hopped on my bicycle for several more hours of touring the back streets and beaches. One of the stops included conch fritters at a Gulf side restaurant. When I found this restaurant, I had spotted a nearby shop with a sign for "Frozen Key Lime Pie on a stick dipped in chocolate". That was the next stop. Great dessert!
Everglades National Park... was my first stop after leaving the Keys. Considering Florida's population seems to cover most land areas, it was refreshing to arrive and find it was remote. The Everglades is a 50 mile wide three inch deep river right on top of limestone rock. That does slow down housing development.
Florida is flat and the Everglades elevation is between one or two feet above sea level. The highest pass in the Everglades is a little higher. The National Park Service marks this elevation with this sign. For a guy who comes from Colorado, I enjoyed the humor.
Cinnamon Roll Search ... I did find a "dumpster" cinnamon roll. That is where it went after the taste test. The cinnamon/sugar filling was almost non-existent. It didn't provide enough balance for an enjoyable roll.
As I traveled through Florida, I've had several Key Lime pies. The best was "Frozen Key Lime Pie on a stick dipped in chocolate".
"A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles." – Tim Cahill
The great part about email and cell phones is that I can keep in touch with these new friends as we travel in different parts of the US.
Vanity License Plates ....
IB CRZN --- on a PT Cruiser
GOLF DR ---
FLIBYNT --- It takes guts to put this one on your truck used in the construction business
Clever business names...
The Rip Off -- An Upholstery Shop
Squid Row Restaurant
(both were spotted in the Keys)
The Age of Gold by H.W. Brands. The subtitle of the book is The California Gold Rush and the New American Dream. This is an easy read history of California beginning at the Gold Rush of 1849. His narrative continues as he describes the impact the state has had on the history of the United States for over 150 years.
In Enslaved by Ducks, Bob Tarte writes about the rabbits, parrots, and other fowl that have invaded his life and home. They become his family and with lots of humor he relates their personalities, what he does for his adopted family and how they react to his efforts.
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