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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Boating Through the Everglades

~Sunday, January 24, 2021~

Day 224

I think I have mentioned this before, but when the time comes to use our Blue Boy, it’s always a time of dread, and it’s not because we have to make a trip to the dump station. The way our Lance is designed, makes it difficult to use the Blue Boy. Obviously this was not a deal breaker for us because there are soooooo many more appealing, amazing things about this brand of trailer, for instance, gas efficiency. For them to achieve better gas efficiency in towing, they build them lower to the ground. This makes it challenging when connecting the hoses from the trailer to the Blue Boy, since there isn’t enough height to slope it toward the Blue Boy and let gravity do its thing. You really couldn’t design the Blue Boy shorter because then you’d just need it longer. And it does work for most rigs since they have a higher clearance. Now going from the trailer directly into a dump station tank is no problem because that’s just a hole in the ground. With that being said, what normally might take 30 minutes takes us an hour. And we needed to make two trips. So even though it cuts into our day, all you have to do is look around and think….yeah, it’s worth the 11 days of no hookups and all that comes with that, to be at this beautiful campground in The Everglades.

When all was achieved, including filling our fresh water tank, we had another day of excursions planned. Today…..The airboat ride!! We found a very highly rated company, about an hour north of us (near the Miccosukee Reserve area), called Coopertown Airboat Rides. Since we have no cell reception at our campground (11 days is quite a lot to be disconnected-we even missed the historic inauguration 🥲), I wanted to take advantage of the truck’s hotspot, and worked on video editing and photos while Jeff drove. I do pop my head up once in a while when Jeff is quick to point something out. Oh, one thing I did, as we do for any “tours” is look up promotions or offers on Groupon. And what do you know, I found a 50% discount for the 2 of us. So people…...USE GROUPON!!

Everything went smoothly when we arrived. They don’t take reservations but have boats leave every 30 minutes. And they’re dog friendly-yeah!! We were led to a gimmicky photo op with an artificial alligator (knowing we wouldn’t purchase the photo). They also allow beverages on board, so Jeff snagged us a few beers while we waited for our boat. They did offer a small “animal show” before the boat ride but instead, we opted to look around. Boats were going in and out (man are they loud!) and there were a few caged areas with baby alligators and their grown up versions. The babies are allowed to come and go from the caged area to the swamp. When it came our turn to get in the boat, Sadie was a little hesitant in getting on, but with all the attention, she finally calmed down.

After a short safety introduction and the handouts of cotton ball ear plugs, we were on our way. We started off with a slow ride through the grassy canals that eventually opened up into a large grassy swamp. That’s where the fun began as our guide, Sam sped up the boat, performing some fast turns and other fun maneuvers through the water. From his high perch, Sam was very good about prompting us to check out birds, vegetation, and of course the many alligators along the way.

Sadie was such a trooper for the 45 minute ride, though I think she was much happier to be back on land.

Since we were up in the northern part of The Everglades, we decided to check out the 25-mile loop road through Big Cypress National Preserve. The beginning of the preserve is paved, with the remainder, hard-packed dirt. It is along this stretch where the real beauty reveals itself. For those of you who haven’t done this drive, you must add it to your list. The road drives perpendicular to the flow of water from the Okeechobee to the ocean. Because of that, the water has to flow somehow, so there are numerous 10 foot or smaller overpasses for the water to pass through, which is also great for the viewer to check out egrets, alligators and the like. And seeing this in the latter part of the day we thought, was perfect. It’s so beautiful, you don’t want it to end.

The drive home was long (1-½ hrs.) with all 3 of us exhausted. So will tomorrow be a restful/relaxing day, or another one of adventure? We shall see!

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