Florida Day One : Travel In The Pandemic

Florida Day One : Travel In The Pandemic

Florida Day one (25 of 29)
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It was a difficult decision, to travel in the pandemic, risk versus reward. I had every intention with complying with mask wearing, social distancing and, hiking in the Everglades, avoiding crowds.  Quarantine when I return , of course.  Still two sides to the story, and, well,  reward won out and on Wednesday  I was on a flight bound for Florida again.  As I had hoped, the flight was half empty and I had a seat in the last row without anyone near me.

It was the first time I flew  on Allegiant Air out of Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was a direct three hour flight to Fort Lauderdale. I wore a double mask and was happy to see everyone else on the flight do the same.  I only flew out of this airport once before.  Looking   out from the terminal I saw, what I think  was the Lehigh Gap in the distance behind the control tower. 

As I always do when I fly  I was glued to the window as we took off, and I had a spectacular view of the Lehigh  River and the old Bethlehem Steel towers.  

I have hiked the Lehigh River many miles as it flowed out of the Pocono Mountains and have written many blog post on these hikes. 

As our plane climbed into the sky I saw in the distance another familiar sight, the dual cooling towers of the former PPL nuclear power plant in Salem Township. This is where I hike almost every weekend, the PPL Wetlands. Such an interesting perspective seeing  how close the two rivers I hike, the Susquehanna and the Lehigh, really are. 

I was a little worried having to wear a mask for three hours but it was no problem. I passed the time learning about my new camera and watching the scenery pass below. Art first it was snow covered, but soon, somewhere over Virginia I think the ground was bare. This photo is from somewhere over North Carolina I believe. 

A low lying cloud cover soon appeared below and I actually dozed off for a bit. I never did this in my younger years. 

I knew we were nearing Florida when the warm weather cumulus clouds appeared. 

And soon we were off the eastern coast and descending over the Fort Lauderdale area. 

Once this was part of the vast Everglades I have come to visit. Now, it is almost covered in residential, industrial or farming uses. 

Our plane landed on time and I was surprised to find my luggage at the baggage claim when I arrived. I like this airline. However, in the airport I realized my greatest fear to travel in a pandemic. A number of people walking boldly unmasked. I wasn’t going to confront them. I avoided them and made for the exit.

It wasn’t long until I got my car, I was told it would be a Volkwagon Jetta but instead I was surprised to have this nifty white Dodge Charger available for me. I was ahead of schedule! It is usually  a one hour drive to my hotel in Florida City. I had my car a 3;50  p.m. and hoped to be at my hotel before 5 o’clock. Plenty of time for a quick visit to the Everglades. 

However, as the say about the best laid plans of mice and men. they oft go astray. It was rush hour. Traffic was crazy. And the turnpike was closed. Alternate routes they said.

 Well I roamed the backroads of southern Florida in a traffic jam for over an hour. I didn’t arrive at my hotel, the Best Western Gateway to the Keys until almost 6 p.m. The sunset sets at 6:17 so no visit to the Everglades. 

Instead, I checked into my room, and took a nice two mile hike in the Florida twilight.

It was still almost 80 degrees with a pleasant breeze as I walked under the clear sky and crescent moon. 

It was nice to see palm trees again,

as the sun was setting behind clouds in the west.  

I stopped in my favorite restaurant, the Farmers Market Restaurant.

It was almost empty so I sat in a corner and enjoyed their delicious southern fried catfish. 

After eating I finished my walk. It was dark when I returned . It wasn’t long before I was asleep, looking forward to my visit in the Everglades in the morning. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my travel in the pandemic.  Florida Day One Flight to Florida City February 17 2021. 

“Flying might not be all plain sailing, but the fun of it is worth the price.” – Amelia Earhart

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