Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1/15/2013 On The Road Again!

(On the Road to Fort Myers)

We pulled out of Site # 47 this morning at 8:20 and didn’t look back.  Not even a glance.
We had some good times, met some really nice people, fulfilled our workamping stint and now its time for the next chapter.

Our original plan was to drive all the the way to Tampa which was around 350 miles and check into the Lazy Days RV Center and Campground.  We nixed that idea because we just don’t drive that far in one day unless absolutely necessary.

So we drove instead to Fort Myers, 156 miles away.  We took the Alligator Alley route.  There was a lot of road construction for quite a few miles.


At first we thought ok, where are all these alligators that we’re supposed to see because we weren’t seeing any.  Then in the blink of an eye that all changed.  We saw alligator after alligator just lying on the bank of the stream or half in and half out of water.


These had to be the hardest pictures I’ve ever had to take.  We’re traveling 45 mph, I had to see the alligator in the first place and then focus and snap the picture.  That wasn’t working too well.  By the time I got the camera up and focused that alligator could have been caught, killed, skinned and made into a pair of shoes with a purse to match!
So I finally just held the camera up and snapped and hoped for the best.  I took 65 pictures like that.  I had four with alligators in them.  The rest were blurry trees.  You can bet you are going to see all four pics with the alligators in them!

Here’s number two.  Yes, its blurry, we were speeding by.  I was getting desperate enough that had I seen a log in the water I was going to snap the picture and just tell you it was an alligator!


Now I have to admit, I feel guilty almost for even taking these next ones.  It’s like it was almost staged.  It was in fact taken at a alligator viewing walkway.  But hey, the alligators are technically in the wild and said alligators are laying there by their own choice.  AND…I snapped these at 45 mph.  That has to count for something.



Out of the hundreds, literally, hundreds of alligators we saw, I got four pictures.

I said to Bob, “Look at all these dead trees, I wonder what killed them.”


Bob replied, “I don’t think there dead.”  I looked at him like he was nuts and said, “How can you even say that?  Just look at them.”  He then said to me, “Snook, it’s January.”  Oh.  Yeah.

We also saw lots of birds.



That was the first part of the trip.  It went well, we were well occupied with alligator spotting, taking pictures and it was very easy to get to Alligator Alley from Key Largo.  I tell you this for a reason.  Read on.

Our GPS died.  I haven’t gotten to the bottom of if it died a natural, but premature, death or if Bob killed it.  He did some uploading of updates.  It was working fine and then it wasn’t.

Bob depends on that GPS.  He would much rather listen to that little voice in the box then depend on my map reading.  I hate maps.  On the other hand, Bob loves maps!  He just hasn’t mastered driving at 60 miles per hour, towing all of our worldly goods behind him and reading the details on a map all at the same time.  Granted, I can hold the map up, point where we are on the map, at least where I think we are, and he can figure out the next road to take.  I don’t know how he does it. 

Like I said, he loves maps!  I remember when he was going to Idaho to go deer hunting.  He wrote to the Idaho Department of Maps and asked for a topographical map of the area they were going to hunt.  When it came he all but cleared the kitchen table by pushing everything off with the sweep of his arm.  I saw a lot of squiggly lines that went in circles and ovals  and none of it made any sense to me.  He stared at those squiggly lines for hours on end.  You woulda thought he was a fourteen year old boy with his first Playboy magazine.

So anyway, we’re going some place where we’ve never been and I’m in charge of map reading.  Oh. My.  Let me tell you how map reading works for me.  If you tell me to head east, I’m gonna make a right hand turn.  If you want me to go west, you guessed it, I’m gonna turn left.  Think about it, every map you look at, Delaware which is in the east is on the right side of the map.  California, a western state, is on the left side.  East – right, West – left, north – go straight ahead, south – make a U-turn the first place you come to.  Simple.  Easy, peasy.

So we found a campground in Fort Myers in our campground book and called them to see if they had an opening.  They did.  Now when this call took place we were on the Tamiami Trail which is what street this campground is off of.  It’s also known as Route 41,,,or maybe it was 14, I forget.  So we come to one of those dreaded forks in the road.  One sign says “downtown” and other says Rt 41 (or 14)  Bob says to me, “Which one do I take?”  Oh geez, I’m doing the map thing and I wasn’t paying attention!  I yell out, “I don’t know!”  Well THAT went over like a lead balloon.  I’m sure he had visions of DUVAL STREET in Key West in his mind’s eye.  Remember Duval Street?

Well, we took Rt 41 (or 14) and you guessed it, we should have taken the “downtown” road.  Bob was not a happy camper.  I pointed out every Best Buy, Radio Shack and Walmart and begged him to pull over and go in and buy a GPS!  He wouldn’t.  I was not a happy camper.  In case you haven’t been keeping track that’s two unhappy campers.  Let me say right here and now, two unhappy campers does not make for a good time.

So we finally made it via Rt 41 (or 14), I-75, Rt 576 (or 756) Alicon Road and back on Tamiami Trail.

Now the lady behind the desk must have sensed something when I walked in to register because she said to me, “Gee, rough day?  You look like somebody who has a broken GPS.”  How did she know?

She gave me the usual campground map, cable TV listing, two Welcome to Southwest Florida books, an activities calendar, 2 wristbands that we absolutely had to wear if we left our site, a regular 12 month calendar and a little blue bag.


I needed this gift after this harrowing drive that I had to endure!


You’ll be happy to know that before the night was over Bob and I liked each again.

Oh, and we’re getting a new GPS!


Karen and Al said...

I'm directionally challenged and can't read a map.

I always prefer driving north. It makes things so much easier!

We have a gps for the car a truckers gps for the motorhome and if both of those should fail, we have my Android smartphone and Mapquest. My smartphone gps actually works the best and we use it more than than the others. I was thinking you had an iPad? The GPS works great on our android phone and tablet.

Anonymous said...

I too am directionally challenged. When I visit the PNW I learned to do everything the opposite of what I thought I should do.
Good map readers drive me crazy! I have been on several trips with a boy scout leader who reads maps extremely well. He could even tell me when a curve in the road was coming up! Maddening I say! lol
love the alligator pics! ann in decatur

Mike Volentine said...

Hope you didn't have a hard time getting a site at Lazy Days as the Tampa RV SHOW is this week and usually they are full. Are you headed fo Arizona?