Florida Day Eight: An Early Morning Walk And Then , Going Mobile, A Drive Through The Everglades
I left my room at the Bar Harbor Lodge in the morning twilight and walked south along Route 1, also know as the Overseas Highway, that connects Key West with the Florida mainland. Usually a very busy highway in the day time there was little early morning traffic.
Once again I was on a mission to find a place to watch the sunrise. I came to a street that intersected the main highway and followed it east hoping to get a view of the ocean. I did find the ocean but the view faced to far south to see the rising sun.
Once again I enjoyed the rising of our sun over the ocean. It was breezy but still mild, with temperatures in the low 70’s. As I watched the sunrise I reflected on my visit and the many other places I’ve watched the sun rise and set on this planet. Fortunate I have been, but every time I count my blessing I reflect on my losses too and great they have been. I so miss my parents, who lived a long life and my beloved sister and here husband, who left us much too soon.
I grabbed a cup of coffee and checked out of my lodge. Soon I was going to be on the road again, driving north to the Florida mainland. I wasn’t quite sure where I was going yet. Originally I planned to meet some friends in Clearwater for a few day and watch some Phillies Spring Training baseball games. But, because of the corona virus, Spring Training was cancelled. While enjoying my coffee, and a scone, I decided to stay at Venice Florida and made a reservation at a hotel. It was a perfect day for a drive.
However, when I stopped at a gas station I realized for the first time, how the corona virus was affecting our Nation. There were gloves and hand sanitizer at the gas station and they were not selling coffee. Moving on I found that many of the restaurants, tourists and sightseeing shops were closed.
The landscape was changing. In the low sea of grass, cypress trees started to appear. The isolated trees gradually transformed into a forest. I had driven into the Big Cypress National Preserve.
I had read about this wilderness area and wish I had time to explore. I made a quick stop at a visitor center but it was closed. Only the restroom facilities remained open. Onward I drove and found a place that was open, Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe!
In addition to the great conversation, while waiting for my food, I was able to explore the many artifacts that were displayed throughout the dining area, which used to be an old warehouse and cattle barn. Interesting items were displayed including on the bathroom walls. These, however, would not be suitable to share with anyone under 18 or offended by nudity. It was an interesting place.
I continued my drive through the wooded and isolated cypress swamp. You could produce some good horror movies here and I think they have. I followed Highway 29 north and eventually came to the main interstate that crossed the Everglades, Alligator Alley or the Everglades Parkway. I have traveled on this road before. Soon I reached the suburbs of Naples and civilization. I drove through light traffic and made my way to the gulf town of Venice. I arrived early in the afternoon. I never heard of it before but I will never forget my short visit to this delightful town, starting with my check in at this wonderful hotel. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my early morning hike and drive to Venice. : Florida Key Largo Day Eight morning walk March 17 2020.