Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, January 21, 2013

Homestead to Flamingo. (In the Everglades) Jan.7

57.8 miles with lots of side trips through areas of interest in Everglades National Park. Flamingo was an old fishing town that no longer exists, but now is a campground with a marina and national park visitors center, at the southern most tip of the Everglades. There is one road in only. Everything else in the park is accessible by canoe and hiking. Leaving Homestead and Florida City, the road has no shoulder whatsoever, and the land is very agricultural----beans, corn, squash, and some other 'winter' crops I couldn't identify. There were migrant workers, huge irrigation machinery spewing water, and traffic was flying---mostly workers in beat up vehicles of some sort, and trucks filled with produce, mixed with snow birds whizzing by in there Rv's on the way to the Everglades.
Last chance for food, water and phones before we enter the Everglades!!  Ha Ha!

On the road between Homestead and the Everglades National Park

Irrigation systems

Panther crossing!  Unfortunately, we didn't see any!

Upon entering the national park, the roads are okay for vehicular traffic, but the grainy, bumpy asphalt was not conducive to bike speed. There were once again, no shoulders, but traffic was sparse and sight distances were very good. I took some side trips to some of the northern campgrounds, and rode on some boardwalks that were built on some of the interesting hammocks (elevated pieces of ground that held trees and other thicker vegetation). I learned a lot about what I was looking at by reading all the placards on the side of the road and on the boardwalks. The exotic birds, with some endangered species, became as thick as spring robins in Pennsylvania. The cars going by didn't seem to bother the birds, but I spooked so many more, that I got to see them all flying just ahead of me. I saw nine alligators in about 40 miles of park road, and later learned that some of them could have been crocodiles. The Everglades started out pretty dry, and became wetter as I rode south, with the dry grasslands turning to grasslands with water running imperceptibly south towards The Bay of a Florida. Grassland swamps then turned to plush swamps that supported mangrove and other types of tall trees.
Southern entrance to the Everglades

First alligator of the Everglades

One of the many placards that I read to get information on the park.

Walkway out into the Everglades

The campground was very large, with mostly tent sites, and sites with no hook ups, except for 41 sites with electric (that you weren't gonna get without reservations) But of course Pam did make a reservation and we had electricity!!. We settled in before dusk, when the mosquitoes go wild. We watched the national championship football game, between Notre Dame and Alabama, and marveled at the amount of stars are in a sky with no light pollution. Somewhere along the line we learned that we had no phone service or Internet. We eventually discovered a pay phone at the marina, but basically we disappeared without notice from emergency communications with family and friends, and from the social media. Lesson learned.  Once again I apologize to my dear friends who panicked when they couldn't reach me, and of course they worry about us, so they contacted our son.  Thank you Buddy for letting our friends and Grandpa know that we were safe but in a different world without communications!  For those of you who might someday visit the southern part of the Everglades, be aware that AT&T cell phones work, all others do not! But honestly, it was kind of nice being out of the loop - but I did miss checking my weather app all the time!!!

Sunset in Flamingo

Interesting sky

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