To celebrate our 400th day on the road, we headed south to the Everglades and climbed a wooden tower to get a look at the area – gorgeous! But exactly what we’d been seeing in the Keys, so we weren’t surprised. Everglades City and the National Park service area here weren’t quite what we expected – a little run down and tired and hardly anyone around. We had to take the selfie below because no one else climbed the tower while we were there!
I wanted a shot of us as a family on this auspicious day because I can still remember Day 1, Day 100, Day 222, etc. Little did I know then how much we all would have changed by Day 400. Dan and I are looking and acting more middle-aged than I ever would have guessed. We both have aches and pains and things wrong that if we really talk about it, we end up laughing. Eliza has morphed into a young lady with all the chutzpah of a princess. She can go anywhere now. Nate, dear Nate, has matured into a young man who’s 7 inches taller, has a deep voice and a mustache, and knows what he wants to do with his life. All that out of 400 Days on the Road.
We wanted to have a fun lunch somewhere, but there wasn’t any place open, so we settled for Subway in an old gas station. A fervent plea from me to “not touch anything you don’t have to” will tell you how the sanitation was.
After a quick lunch, we hopped back in the car to drive Alligator Alley. I’ve been waiting for this for months! I’ve heard alligators splashing in the water near me and seen their snouts sticking out of the water, but had yet to see one full size. This highway is known for them and so many people told me to drive it, so I was excited.
After counting about 20 of them on the sides of the canal, and me yelling and screaming, “I saw another one, Nate, how many is that?”, Dan finally pulled over and the kids and I ran across the road to get the picture below. This guy was huge! He didn’t even blink, and barely moved, but I was thrilled. We’ve read so much about them, and to finally get to see them all basking in the sun was really fun. We lost track of how many we got to see.
Alligator Alley took us right to Marco Island, a popular and very upscale resort area here in south Florida. It was beautiful and the shops looked nice, but who cares, let’s go to the beach. Which is easier said than done. You find beach access, then you pay $8 to park (I know, Dad, it killed me, too) and then you walk out to….a bay. Only they don’t tell you that when you pull in and none of the signs say it. Smart Eliza read a funny sign and figured out that we had to drive to the southern most point of the parking lot, then walk to the beach. Which was a mile out! Over a boardwalk for the swamp, left at the bay, then walk on sand until you reach the water. Took us about 15 minutes to get there!
The beach was gorgeous – white sand, warm air, and beautiful blue sky. I loved the sky and then Eliza got in the shot and now I love it even more. The water was really cold, so I didn’t even contemplate swimming and somehow got caught up in a conversation with a man from Boston who had just been to Silverton for a wedding, so he wanted to share all the details with me. Agh! I just want to walk the beach and pick up shells! After about 20 minutes I was finally able to get away. The rest of my family had been watching and enjoying their beach time and here I was, engaged by a talker. I need to learn to be more rude.
After I got my fill of the surf, back we went to our little RV park. We rode our bikes to the hot tub/pool, dodging the golf carts carrying dogs and older-than-me-people slowly riding bikes on the wrong side of the road. I’m sure I made some spectacular dinner to celebrate our 400 days without killing each other, but since I didn’t note it in my journal, I’ll just state here that I did, and it becomes fact.
Another perfect day on the road.