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Old 01-08-2015, 08:33 PM   #1
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Our Florida trip.

A few days ago I posted a pic from Key West. I figured I'd better post the rest of the pics so OK, here's the skinny on this vacation. We flew to Ft. Myers on 12/30 to spend some time with my bro and his wife. They life on the 24th floor of a huge condo development (one of 7 towers) on the Caloosahatchie(sp?) River in Ft. Myers, right where Hwy 41 crosses. Down below us are two fairly good size marinas.

We took a boat tour of the river on 1/2 but no photos of that. It was pretty much like every other river except that it's huge.

We took off on 1/3 for Key West where we'd rented a two bedroom, two bath apartment that's a block off Duval St. We took a trolley tour of KW and walked out butts off in the 4 days we were here.

Here's a pic of the place we stayed. Nothing special from the outside but nicely decorated inside, with lots of room.


There was a pool in back that we spent a few hours soaking in to cool off. Temps were in the low 80's and the humidity around that same level. Too darn hot and humid for this desert dweller.


We went down to the sunset pier each night to watch the sun set over the Gulf. There were always some pretty nice boats out and it was nice to sit, sip some cocktails and just watch the world go by.


Here's one of GW and me sharing some quality time as we watched the sun set. What a romantic place to be.


Duval Street is party central for KW. It's about 1.25 miles long and much of it (and the surrounding streets) are filled with small bars, restaurants and shops selling all kinds of wares.

KW is known for the weird people to come here to visit and live. It's fun to just walk down the street and see the "artists" who hawk their wares along the curb. Here's a couple of pics of a truck that was parked along the street. Check out the bumper sticker....


KW is also loaded with excellent restaurants. We were here 5 years ago so we knew some of them but we found a few new ones and visited one of the restaurants we'd been to before.

One of the things we did was tour Hemingway's home. He lived here for many years because of the good fishing. On the grounds are around 60 6-toed cats. They're free to roam around, get petted and just do what cats do....not much. I stopped to scratch this one behind the ears and he loved it for a minute but then stuck me with one of his claws to let me know he'd had enough. Damm nasty cat!
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:34 PM   #2
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We left KW on Wednesday and drove up through the keys. What a beautiful trip that is with the azure water, boats of all kinds and the Overseas Highway with miles of bridges. No pics of that, but as we drove north we took the old Highway 41 instead of the freeway to go back to the west side of the state. That highway passes through the Everglades. We stopped at an airboat tour place and took a 45 minute airboat tour through the swamps. Here’s where we stopped for the tour.



And the boat we took the tour on. The boat has a 502 GM big block engine that’s turning a 54” prop. According to the guide it’s capable of running about 45mph. I don’t know if that’s true, but it planes easily with about 30 people on board.



These boats are a kick in the pants. Several times we were on plane and the guide would kick the rudders hard over and put the boat in a sideways slide, and once he spun a 360* turn. Here’s a couple of videos of running through the swamps….


[video:youtube]


One of the Everglades’ residents, a Blue Heron who stood patiently by while we photographed him.



While on the airboat we saw two gators…



When we finished the tour I got to wrestle an alligator. After a lengthy wrestling match I managed to get him in a sleeper hold and he went out…..



Before we left Coopertown I got a plate of gator tail and frog legs, two Everglades delicacies. They were both breaded (not my favorite) but both were good. I’d had frog legs and they’re OK, but nothing real special. The gator was great.

From there we continued on west on Hwy 41. When we got to the point where the road turned to the NW we turned off the highway and took a secondary road (Hwy 94) that cut straight west through the swamps. It was a good choice because we saw numerous gators along the way. Here are a couple of pics of those. This one was huge, about 10’ long.



That part of the trip was pretty cool because most of the gators we saw were only about 20'-30' from the roadway.




We took our time going through that area and stopped many times to watch birds and alligators. We didn’t get back to Ft. Myers until after 6:00 so we went directly to the Smoke’n Pits BBQ in North Ft. Myers. I had a rack of ribs, GW had brisket and both were very good. The restaurant is a small one, just a plain place where you don’t need to get dressed up to dine. All you need are a good appetite and lots of napkins if you eat ribs.

So we’re back in Ft. Myers now. We fly home on Saturday and will be able to look back on another great vacation.
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:50 PM   #3
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What a cool trip!

I've never seen a gator in person!

Fantastic!
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Old 01-08-2015, 08:54 PM   #4
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:24 PM   #5
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I'm jealous.
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Old 01-09-2015, 01:05 AM   #6
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Makes me feel right at home

family going back 7 generations in Florida

Great pictures
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Old 01-09-2015, 02:22 AM   #7
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Glad you're having a good time in Florida.
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:34 AM   #8
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Makes me feel right at home

family going back 7 generations in Florida

Great pictures
Me too. Greenwood Florida.
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:41 AM   #9
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I really like vacationing in FL. If it weren't for the humidity I could live here. We live in a desert area in WA and have a winter place in the Phoenix area. Both have humidity below 30%.

There are many beautiful areas of the country and after thing slow down a bit we want to do some extended road trips to visit more of them.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:45 PM   #10
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What a cool trip!

I've never seen a gator in person!

Fantastic!
Then you should one day just ride through Lake Okeechobee and see them all lined up along the bank sunning as they watch you pass.
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Old 01-10-2015, 09:50 PM   #11
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We've been to Key West 10 or 11 times in the past 2 1/2 years. However, we've never been there by car. Just boat.
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Old 01-11-2015, 02:44 AM   #12
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Wow Awesome Pictures and sounds like you had a wonderful time and that is whats most important of all !!
Thanks for sharing them......any more ?
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Old 01-11-2015, 09:47 AM   #13
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Great photos.
Florida nice place to visit BUT heat, humidity, palmetto bugs, see me nots (British terminology) red bugs, tourons (morons on tour StAug term), roofs covered with blue plastic tarps and visitors wearing black knee socks with sandals......................
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:08 AM   #14
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Hideho.


You have been following the turons. try St. Pete next time for something different.
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Old 01-11-2015, 11:39 AM   #15
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Funny how people go to tourist spots and complain about all the tourists ��
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:05 PM   #16
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Blue tarps ??? really? Come on you must have been here right after a hurricane as that is when you see them, they temporarily repair storm damaged roofs, while waiting for overworked roofers.

I captain Airboats for my neighbor and friend, have for over the past 5 years and run over 1000 trips with up to 11 passengers. The boats we run have 450+ horsepower and with a full load of 12 people run in the low to mid 40's over wet weeds.

One of the old smaller boats (8 passenger)


We now have 2 of these 12 passenger boats


Airboat Tours in Vero Beach Florida - Capt Bob Airboat Adventure Tours
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:17 PM   #17
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Great photos.
Florida nice place to visit BUT heat, humidity, palmetto bugs, see me nots (British terminology) red bugs, tourons (morons on tour StAug term), roofs covered with blue plastic tarps and visitors wearing black knee socks with sandals......................
Speaking for South Florida. First, we have enough people so not at all encouraging more people to move here. But to each of the factors mentioned. Specifically for Fort Lauderdale.

Heat. We never had a 100 degree day until one in 2009. The average high in August is 90 degrees.

Humidity. Healthy. Love it. Great for your skin. Always a breeze off the ocean and salt air good for sinuses. Dryness from running heat in other areas is what we dislike.

Bugs. We're a developed area and don't have trouble with all the bugs you mentioned.

Roofs with blue plastic tarps. Not here. Would get one in trouble.

Visitors with Black knee socks and sandals. Rare but might be a few. No more laughable though than others. Bet some would even find what you wore to be strange.

But please, we're fine here.....no more people....
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Old 01-11-2015, 01:19 PM   #18
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Funny how people go to tourist spots and complain about all the tourists ��
Funny they come to Florida and complain about bugs....
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Old 01-11-2015, 03:04 PM   #19
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Not really, lived there 38 years, like I said a great place to visit unfortunately to many visitors came back on a permanent basis. Always got a kick out of them complaining that "that's not how we do it back home". Best bumper sticker was "Now that you've visited our beaches go home" and take someone with you when you leave.
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:42 PM   #20
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