Started the day by walking the dogs south from our RV park, and went through a grassy field to get off the highway. Didn’t know about a weed that would grab their hair and stick all over them. I couldn’t figure out why Jessica wasn’t keeping up, and knelt down to talk to her and saw all 4 legs and her stomach covered with these little green 3/8″ oval weeds. At first I thought they were bugs and I was ready to throw up, then I figured out that they were just stuck to both dogs. Not burrs like we’ve had all over, just sticky. I turned around and took them back to the rig and Dan came out to help me pull them off. We couldn’t get them to come off, so we grabbed the scissors and I started cutting the hair off their legs. They were NOT happy with this, but we couldn’t leave them because they were trying to get them off with their mouths, and then their faces were getting covered. They really didn’t like us pulling them off their faces. After an hour of working, we had gotten most of them off and I left to go walk again. A neighbor saw what we had been doing and told me that those weeds are only bad in the early morning when they are wet, and if we had waited until they dried, we could have pulled them off easily. He watched us for an hour and didn’t say anything?! Grr.
My walk turned out to be beautiful. Online we had seen that there was a neighborhood just south of the RV park, and I walked an almost overgrown path along an inlet/lake (couldn’t tell which) to get to it. I happened to glance right and saw an alligator snout resting on the water and I screamed, saw him go under, and I took off running. As if I could outrun an alligator. The kids told me later that they learned that I should run in a zig zag pattern. I kept thinking about how I’d do that with the dogs in tow. (On other days, I walked the 1/2 mile down the highway to the neighborhood, or drove the car and parked and then walked the dogs.)
Walking in the neighborhood was a pure delight. It was so fun to see all the different plants and the smell was different from one area to the next. There were tons of flowering plants and I stuck my nose in every one that I could when no one was around. I had no idea there were so many varieties of palm trees – short, fat, tall, and a light green to dark green with a blue/green in between that looked fake. Many of the homes were so landscaped in the front that I couldn’t see the houses, even on a small lot. On the lots that were empty, the vegetation was dense I guessed that people would have to work really hard to fight it back. Each home had 8-10 large “plastic” garbage cans out front filled with palm leaves, stems and other vegetation from their yards. The majority of the houses were square, built up off the ground. They parked under the house, or stored junk, or had table and chairs set up to enjoy the view if they were on the water.
This is what the streets look like in the neighborhood. This big huge green and yellow plant is my favorite – I’ve seen it in other yards 5′ tall, so this one must be old. It gets sun all day.
We went to the little local library for the day to do school, and we were so disappointed to find it small, dirty, and full of homeless men inside and out. Right next door to the sheriff’s office and the hospital, it wasn’t a bad area per se, but we learned quickly that the homeless population is huge in the Keys because of the warm weather. The town of Marathon is a very popular spot for them because there are services here and they used the free wifi on their laptops just like we were. Definitely some mental instability, alcoholism and poor choices that the kids witnessed first hand.
The kids and I stopped at the state park on our way home and bought a pass for the month. I couldn’t wait to get to the beach and check it out!