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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

We're Back!

~Sunday, February 26, 2023~

Day 988 (Travel Day)

Once again, we were greeted by the sounds of our Red Wren friend

who has taken a liking to our trailer ever since we got here. Every morning, like clockwork, it flits from trailer to branch, though we’re not sure what it’s up to. Is it guarding a nest? Maybe we’re disturbing his natural home or he likes the useful prop of our tall grab handle next to our door? It’s been a treat seeing him each morning and he will be missed. Though we liked the campground of Collier-Seminole this past week, we will NOT miss the very tight quarters of campsite #86. Hopefully, they’ll take note of my improvement ideas of combining site #86 and #85 or accurately describing the site to fit a 20-foot RV, not 30. Other than that, we thoroughly enjoyed touring the Naples area and the neighboring towns of Bonita Springs and Marco Island as well, though I could have skipped the alligator encounter.😬🫣

Today we crossed much of the state (about 130 miles worth), through the Big Cypress National Preserve, making our way to Long Pine Key Campground near Homestead, Florida where we’ve stayed 2 times before. Obviously, we like this very special place that sits right inside Everglades National Park. As we got closer to the town of Homestead, we immediately noticed the high number of non-native crops that are grown here, especially corn, and the plethora of fruit stands. We look forward to paying a visit to our favorite smoothie stand of Robert is Here which is best to be avoided on weekends. Today would just be a driveby as there was no place to park the trailer on our way to the campground. Once we entered the Everglades National Park entrance, it was nice to see that our National Park Annual Pass was still good until the end of the month. About 6 miles further, we finally arrived at our campground and immediately encountered some very positive changes from the last time we were here. It seems they’ve installed a cell tower nearby offering us the luxury of WiFi (mind you, I’m only thrilled because it offers me the ability to update ya’ll). They must have gotten tired of all the people gathering at the visitor center entrance to make phone calls. And even though we’re not big t.v. watchers, Jeff was thrilled that we had reception enough to tune into the Create Channel during his cooking time. We still plan on making our time here very disconnected!! But here’s even better news……the generator hours are within a much more manageable timeframe….8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The last time we were here, it was a mad rush being able to power things up with a 2-hour window in the morning and a 2-hour window in the evenings. The 12-hour option is way better!

After we filled up the water tank, we headed over to Loop G, where we became like a couple of kids, giddy with excitement about our wide open campground space……way opposite from the last. A large grassy area, palmettos

and long pines surround our campsite, offering us the privacy we prefer. As the campground loops get further back toward the tent sites, they become smaller. So our loop has only maybe 4 other sites in it and we’re all very spread apart.

The only thing that is strange about our spot is that the pavement for the trailer orients the living space on the opposite side of where it should be. Our only other option would be to park the trailer parallel with the road, on the grass, not directly on the asphalt. So Jeff went to the front to ask if we could park our rig in that direction. The answer was a polite no as only trucks are allowed to park on the grass. Evidently, these campsites in our loop used to be ‘TENT ONLY’ sites, which explains why they’re oriented strangely for an RV. Wow, what a large campsite for a tent! You could easily fit 10 of them. Anyway, glad we didn’t go through the trouble of setting up BEFORE we asked. Firing up the A/C (it was 90 degrees inside the trailer), I did my routine set up while Jeff pulled most everything out of the back of the truck for our 7-day stay. There are no hookups at any sites in the park, but there is a dump station so thankfully have a convenient spot for our Blue Boy trips and fresh/potable water for our 5-gallon collapsible bottle refills. And you can’t be in the Everglades without a bug tent. Unfortunately, we learned the hard way several times before purchasing one, and are they skin savers! We’re also here a month later than last time, so will likely encounter more buzzing creatures this go around. As the sun descended, you could hear the bugs begging us to come out from our shelter to satisfy their hunger. No thanks, especially me, since they seem to just love my blood type.

After we got all prepped for a garlic pasta dinner, we considered the 3-hour time difference in Facetiming my sis and bro-in-law in Oregon (our 8:00 p.m. to their 5:00 p.m.). We had a great time catching up learning all about the crazy, record breaking weather they’ve had lately. Kind of strange that we’re trying to dodge the heat while they’re seeking it. I think Jeff said there was a 50-degree difference between the 2 states. Crazy! 🤪

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