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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Reservation Gone Wrong

~Saturday, February 18, 2023~

Day 980 (Travel Day)

Moving to Naples day. Ah, did I getcha? It’s just campground moving day. We will miss our little sanctuary by the water and promise to be back next time WITH kayaks. It was painful to watch our neighbors launch right from their campsite this morning as we were packing up. And we loved his simple way of getting them down too. With his rack anchored to the top of his truck camper, he effortlessly climbed up to his roof, tied ropes onto each kayak and slowly lowered them down to the ground (and yes, he’s about our age). Who needs those fancy, expensive showdown rack systems when ropes seem to do the trick?

Once we hit the road, it didn’t take long to be reminded just how much building is going on here, and I’m sure it’s not just along the Highway 75 route we were taking. And it’s not just highway construction. They’re building homes like crazy as well. Listen to this jaw-dropping statistic….the state will have over 845 new residents each day for the next 3 years. But then you’ve got the people leaving as well. That rate is about 500 each day. With the simple math, they better keep up their new home building. Florida is a beautiful state that we love to VISIT, but could never live. We like the variance of seasons too much and we need mountains to climb. Those things really speak to us for sure. And I don’t know if I could handle the worry of hurricanes and worsening storm surges. No thank you.

Continuing our southerly direction in Florida, our destination today is Collier-Seminole State Park in Naples, Florida. Speaking of hurricanes, along the way we anticipated seeing more damage than we did from Hurricane Ian, but all we saw were a few downed trees. Let me tell you these guys are on it when it comes to storm damage clean-up. You’d never know that a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds came roaring through here.

We’ve noticed several things about this state so far other than their beautiful beaches, kind people and lovely winter weather……..their drivers are crazy fast; not so pleasant when towing a trailer. Best to stay in our 60 mph slow lane and have everyone else just go around us. Another thing we’ve noticed is a very low homeless population, though we haven’t been in too many metropolitan areas. Florida ranks 17th in the U.S. for homelessness which more specifically, is around 27,000 people. Yes, you guessed it….New York holds the number 1 spot. Florida typically has limited homeless facilities not to mention unfavorable outdoor conditions in terms of humidity and bugs, so it completely makes sense why there isn’t a huge attraction.

About 20 minutes away from our destination, we decided to make a stop at Costco for a few items…..AA batteries, a bag of pistachios (our favorite nut), french bread and tequila. I stuck to the list, and basically got in and out in about 15 minutes; not bad for those Saturday crowds.

We arrived at our campground at around 3:30, excited to see what our new home of 7 days would look like. Hmmm….not quite what we expected. We immediately looked at each other in shock and thought there must be some mistake. In terms of the site, it wasn’t so much the length that was the problem as it was the width. We proceeded with the challenge of backing in, Jeff doing an excellent job while I was his “eyes” through the entire process. Teamwork always! After walking the campsite later in the evening, we came to realize that we definitely had the most difficult site to back into and the narrowest in which to live. Even the guy next to us who had been watching us the

whole time was amazed that we got in our tiny space at all. So while Jeff stayed with Sadie, I marched over to the ranger’s station (about a 10-minute walk), to politely ask for another site, though I knew the chances were 1 in a million. What I found out made me even more frustrated. Evidently the online reservation system is a bit flawed in their campsite profiles. It’s been an on-going issue with 5 other complaints just today. The ranger can’t do anything about it, but we were told that customer complaints directly to the manager’s office shouldn’t fall on deaf ears. Seriously, we would normally just deal with it if we were only staying 1 or 2 nights. But we’re here for 8. Anyway, one of the staff, named Henry, was nice enough to add a little overtime to his 4:00 ending shift to help us out and trimmed both sides of our space so we could at least get our slides fully open and our entry steps to the point of not stepping in poison ivy. I offered him an ice cold brew for his efforts which he politely declined. But he didn’t turn down a lemonade. After all is said and done, our new home in the jungle will work out just fine. Oh, and it appears that we’re here just in time for the Everglades City Seafood Festival this holiday weekend. In fact, from here on out through the spring and summer months, we’ll be scouting out even more festivals wherever we may be.

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