Saturday, October 12, 2019

Off to the Everglades and Keys

It is Saturday, October 12, 2019.  I am sitting in a... get this... two-story McDonalds in Fort Meyers.

I don't think I have ever been in a multi-level McDonalds, except maybe in a big city like Chicago.

I am here because... guess what...
both my replacement cards arrived in the mail on Friday!

I was greiving over the loss of my National Park pass and my State Park Pass that I was going to use on this trip.  When I was packing, I found them in  my purse!  Woo hoo!

It was great to be home, but I am excited too to be taking this trip.  Camping in the Everglades has been on my bucket list.  As I am driving I am looking around for routes for biking this direction.

This trip was meant to be.  When I contacted ATC hosts for the trip down and a different place back up, they both said, "Yes".  Easy peezy!

I wasn't supposed to arrive until 7 p.m.  So when I got to Punta Gorda two hours early, I went to Anytime fitness, and then used to find a "park near me".

 It was a tiny boat-launch park.  I think the only boats would be kayaks.  I was dining and watching a lovely blue heron across the canal/stream purched at the very top of a tree with his head and shoulders reaching out beyond the foliage.

A truck pulled out and a man in his 60s or so got out with his pole and started fishing.  He was quite talkative and trusting.  It was a pleasant exchange.  He just drove down from Tennessee and had a similar experience of being very wired and stressed by all the highway driving.  He pushed too late in the evening and then couldn't sleep.  I guess I did it right for me, shorter days and I slept well.

Last night I stayed in Punta Gorda at the home of an ATC host.  The description said they were on the water.  It sounded nice.  I didn't see the water until the morning, I was so busy chatting with the hostess and her daughter.

When I pulled up I was kind of nervous.  They still had the hurricane shutters up.  But I guess if you put them up you might as well keep them up all season.  It isn't easy putting them all us.  She said it took a crew of 8 men several hours to get them all up.
 Anna is also a recent widow.  Her husband died in February 2018, just a few months before George.  Her daughter, Kristine or Katherine (she goes by both) did this needle point for her father.  It is amazing.  Ever inch is needlepoint.  Her father was in the Air force and stationed in the locations listed.

 I slept well.  Anna refused my money.  As ATC members we leave $20 to hosts to help cover the costs of the laundry and breakfast.  I don't eat breakfast and used my own bedding.  So she refused the money.  In the morning I looked out at the canal.  Then I signed a copy of Alzheimer's Trippin' with George and left it for her.  I should get a picture when I leave a book, I keep forgetting to do that!

There is a long stretch of road heading south called "Burnt Store" road or avenue or something.  It is not real congested (at least early in the day).  AND it has a bike trail for a long stretch of it.  Keeping that in mind just in case....

I stopped by a grocery store.  I am worried about not having enough since I won't be by a store, isn't that silly.  I have so much now.  I think there is a potluck tonight before our ride.  So I bought extra salad.

Today I meet up with other recumbent riders at Midway Campground in the Everglades.  Tonight we ride the Shark Valley Trail to watch the sunset and the moon rise.  I am excited and yes, I have my bug spray packed.

I probably won't get a chance to blog for about 3 or 4 days.  FYI.

Enjoy your moments.

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