Took this on my last morning walk with the dogs here in Naples! This RV park has tons of retired veterans and patriotic folks, so there are flags flying all down the road. It’s an easy 2 mile loop around the lake, and if I go early enough, I have the place almost to myself. It is fun to greet everyone I’ve met and all their dogs. Everyone thinks Lady and Jessica are so cute leashed together, until Lady tries to lick their faces and Jess goes for their ankles.
I’m going to miss Naples. It was culture shock for the first week, but after that it became so easy to live and grocery shopping is tons better than the Keys. It’s a booming area, with high-end mansions and RV parks all nestled in their own little gated communities. Surrounded by canals that have alligators and egrets and heron living in them. I can do without the alligators, they are as much of a nuisance here as the deer were at home, although it is fun to look for them sunning themselves as we drive by. The streets are all 6-12 lanes wide, and if you don’t get over to a turn lane way in advance, too bad, because no one lets you in. They are MANIAC drivers here and I hope their rates are sky high to make up for all the accidents they cause. Seriously, they are crazy drivers. And it’s not just the 12 million snowbirds that are burgeoning the road and causing trouble, the young locals do a good job, too!
I am going to miss this library. A regional one about 9 miles away from the park, we drove to it each week day for the kids to do homeschooling, for me to study for my real estate exam, and for Dan to help us all. This courtyard was my afternoon spot, and I wish I could take it with me! The library itself was in a beautiful old Spanish style, but the interior had been renovated about 10 years earlier, so the wifi worked. I got to know a few of the other regulars, characters each one, and am truly grateful for the reference librarian who proctored my online exam – even though I had to sit at the main desk with a sign in front of me that said, “ask next librarian” – and people STILL asked me questions! Funny.
We took an airboat tour today to celebrate the end of the school semester and our last day here. This lovely guy didn’t move a muscle the whole five minutes we watched him. Didn’t even blink! This is a private estate on Lake Trafford, and they run cattle back in there, and have horses and other animals all over the property. I’m thinking that going out on the big deck and seeing this guy wouldn’t be half as relaxing as the languid hot and humid days in the Keys where it was all we could do to walk to the chairs and stare at the Gulf.
The hour long tour was fun, but silly expensive, and I felt guilty for taking it as soon as we sat down. We wanted to experience the ride as much as we wanted to see the wildlife, and the boat whipping across the open water didn’t disappoint. I just felt bad that here we were, another boat load of dumb tourists, polluting this beautiful lake and the very precious habitat of so many species. Florida State University does a lot of work with the state to try to maintain this vital area, and they have to work really hard now, with the dire water situation in the whole Everglades. I’m still trying to figure out if the tap water we are drinking is desalinated and will have to research more about the whole area. For now, we leave this area having seen our fill of alligators, enjoyed the pool and hot tub daily, and met some nice people. Can’t ask for more than that!