Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ready to roll

Yes, we're still here in Florida, but we've begun the departure process! Monday we filled our fresh water tank, dumped the other tanks, hooked up the tow dolly and Priscilla Prius, and headed out on the highway. At least for 100 miles, enough to get our road legs (and seats) ready for the 2800 mile west coast drive.

We managed to spend the last month in south Miami area enjoying morning calls from our neighbors at the MetroZoo next door. Most notable were the very loud cries from the howler monkeys. These loud calls took us back to the last time we had heard the howlers while we were traveling to the Mayan ruins of Yachitlan on the Mexican/Guatemalan border way back in 1990. We heard them but had never been able to see them "howling" until this visit to Miami...and here's the picture (and brief video if I can get it loaded It's sideways and I'm unable to rotate it so please bear with!) of the howler with the throat pouch expanded for the calls.

Our days were similar but rarely the same...save for visits to our regular "mataratos" (time spenders) at the local Barnes and Noble where a coffee/tea break could last for hours of reading the latest current events magazines. It answers our need for the familiar in the changing world of RV travel...all B&N are laid out the same, serve good coffee/tea and don't mind geezers and others taking up tablespace in the cafe. Plus, we always put our materials back on the shelves where they belong; a habit not universally shared.

We enjoyed the beach at Miami Beach where son Bill recently got an apartment. The ocean is a special place for us since we lived on the Pacific coast of Mexico for 2 years. It's something we miss in our desert southwest travels. This time of year the water was still in the 80's and extremely swimmable. Tom even managed a couple of scuba diving excursions off Key Largo in the National Marine Sanctuary. Nancy managed to enjoy her time reading, drinking iced tea and going along for the after-dive seafood dinner. The reefs at 25'-40' below were quite degraded but reef fish seemed abundant, even an occasional ray, nurse shark and barracuda made guest appearances.
(Cruise ships leave Miami harbor off Miami Beach)

Also spent a day exploring the nearby Everglades National Park...the "River of Grass" which flows from Lake Ockechobee 50 miles wide, a few feet deep and for 80 miles to Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The predominant vegetation appears to be sawgrass, a razor wiry sharp grass interspersed with hardwood hammocks of native mahogany and bald cypress. And, of course lots of water birds and the ubiquitous alligator. It was a wonderful day of sunshine and fleecy clouds, short, self guided hikes. This time Tom went solo as Nancy continues to convalesce from a torn achilles tendon and related conditions. Plus, she didn't want to be the mosquito trap she usually is in some place reknowned for flying pests such as these wetlands...even in the dry season. We find in our travels and with our close quarters that sometimes a day apart is a cherished event...especially when one likes to "see everything" and the other would like to "sit, relax and savor" especially with an iced tea and a good book.

Even with all this, our on the road life still requires trips to hardware stores for repair items, the grocery, Costco, as well as conducting general maintenance, washing the car/RV, doing the wash, sweeping and cleaning the homespace and just daily activities...we just feel so fortunate to do these tasks in different parts of the country with the opportunity to visit some great locations. Happy trails for now...off to central Florida and to the other end of the state...nearly 700 miles from Miami to Pensacola! At our rate that's a long drive and only the beginning. Happy trails from Loxahatchee!

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