Naples

20130122-181429.jpg We left Sue’s folks right after lunch Thursday for the ninety minute drive south on I75 to the Rock Creek RV Park in Naples. It took another ninety minutes to get set up and have the park maintenance man change the power receptacle to accommodate our 30 amp plug and turn on the water. After a little angst all was made good. Jean and Craig arrived later in the afternoon; we had a good time catching up after not seeing them for a month.

Friday morning we walked through the old Naples commercial district window shopping and looking at all the exotic cars in this very upscale town. The morning started out cool but by noon the weather had warmed enough have a nice lunch at an outdoor restaurant. Afterward we walked down to the beach and out onto a very long fishing pier for the requisite tourist group picture.

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Later went to Delnor Wiggens Pass State Park beach. A OK beach but bad red tide with hundreds of dead fish on the beach and with an occasional strong smell that would get me coughing. We drove a half hour to get here though so walked a ways anyway and were rewarded by seeing an osprey methodically tear up and eat a large fish.

20130122-213657.jpg He was able to pin the fish to the tree branch with one foot, hold on with the other, and tear bits of flesh off with his beak. The nest with babies peeking out was a hundred yards or so down the beach.

Saturday we packed a lunch and drove down to Collier Seminole State Park at the northwestern edge of the Everglades. We rented canoes and figured we would paddle down the Blackwater river for about an hour, find a nice spot to pull up the boats for our picnic and paddle back. Turned out the river winds through mangrove swamp for 13 miles to get to the Gulf.

20130122-213934.jpg Absolutely nothing but mangroves. We tied the canoes to a mangrove root to avoid drifting backwards and ate our lunch in the boats. Took an hour and a half to get back paddling against the outgoing tide but it was all fun and the cheapest canoe rental ever – five bucks an hour and the lady let us slide on the extra half hour. A round of ice cream cones in pricy Naples cost as much as renting the canoes.

We ended our day at the park by checking out the antique walking dredge they used to build the highway through the swamp in the 1920s. Craig and I both enjoy looking at old machinery that is simple enough that we can figure out how it worked without needing an electrical engineering degree.

Sunday morning we packed up to head north to Cedar Key. To our dismay the trailer had one very soft tire which wasn’t dead flat but didn’t have enough pressure to move the air gage stem at all. Craig and I took turns pumping up the tire with a bicycle pump (wasn’t as hard as it sounds) and lucky for us there was a tire store open Sundays just a couple of miles away

The tire store had two mechanics and no other customers so we were in and out in about 15 minutes. When I went into the office to pay, the guy said ‘don’t worry about it, just tip the kid’. We definitely owe someone a good deed for this.

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