Swamps, Keys, Family and Friends

 

On March 10 we headed back south to Florida but we were not alone this time. My parents joined us in their camper. The first night was spent in Valdosta, GA at Lake Park Campground. The evening would have been perfect except my parents did not have hot water. Pops got so ticked off since it was a new camper he wanted to return it, his boat, his house and just about anything else he could think of. We tried everything but they resigned to just take showers in the bathhouse. Well Mom saved the day again when she noticed the handles in the camper were plumbed backwards from normal. Turn on the cold water and the hot water just kept coming. Disaster averted once again and everyone had hot showers.

The next day we drove further south to Long Pointe Park in Melbourne, Florida. The weather was perfect and the kids had a great time in the large field behind the camper. That evening we had a great hike to a Scout Island that was connected by a foot bridge to the campsite. Some great little trails and the views were great.

The next day we stopped at MacArthur State Park near West Palm Beach. This was a neat little park with beautiful beaches. They even picked you up in a golf cart to bring you from the visitor center to the beach area. A couple hours later we were back at Markham Park in Ft Lauderdale. We ate at a local Italian Eatery that started great but they only had one waiter and the cook was out sick. We finally got our food about an hour later. Well, everyone except for Eva. They forgot her all together. After some apologies they said they would rush her food. Twenty minutes later they brought out her food. She grabbed her fork, moved the cheese around and started to eat when she asked “where is the grouper?”   The meal given to her was for the lady at the table next to us. The waiter had messed up again. Funny thing was the waiter still gave the plate to the lady next to us that Eva has stuck her fork into. At least we ate cheap!

The reason for my parents joining us in Florida was to see our new to be floating home. We visited our boat the following day and were not happy when we found out that no work had been done again. I had to look on the positive side and still be happy that our boat was floating while others hit by Irma were sitting at the bottom of the ocean. We headed back to Markham Park and had a great evening bike ride around the park. My son, Marco, complained that he wanted to ride the mountain bike trails. I could not take everyone on them so I made a promise to get up early and ride.

Early the next morning Marco, Mei, Eva and I headed out while Makai went to my parents camper to watch Looney Tunes. We had a great ride and Marco and Mei amazed me with their trail skills.

Our next stop was Everglades National Park. After a stop at the visitor center for maps and guides we headed into the swamp. The first stop was a great boardwalk hike where we saw some beautiful bromeliads. We then drove further into the swamp to our campground at Flamingo. If you look on a map you will see how Flamingo is really in the absolute middle of nowhere. Everglades Park Map

The sunrises were amazing so it was worth a morning run to the beach to see one.

At the park you could take a short bike ride from the campground to the rest of the park. We saw some nesting Ospreys and a number of Crocodiles when we went canoeing there. There is a huge croc in the picture below but they were so well camouflaged it is tough to see.

DCIM100GOPRO

My parents headed home on the 16th and we headed up to John Prince Park north of Vero Beach. The park was huge and we had a nice site right on the water. There were multiple lakes, tons of playgrounds and a five mile paved bike trail. We took the trail all of the way to a splashpad the last day we were there so the kids could play.

Next up were the keys. We were all excited beacuse our friends, the Haramija’s, were joining us. We spent the first four nights at the Key Largo Kampground and Marina. It as all “old Florida” and real kitchy. There was a pool that the kids loved and a small beach to watch the sunrise. The best part was it was Spring Break so NO HOME SCHOOL! We swam, drank a few beers, and just hung out. It was great to see April, Darren and Dylan.

We did take a day trip out to Grecian Reef off of Key Largo to go snorkeling. With winds in the 20-25 mph range and some swells I was worried about the kids. When we got out there we all jumped in and saw some beautiful fish; Barracuda, Parrotfish, Spotted Grouper and much more. After about 30 minutes the kids got cold so I brought them back. Eva and I each jumped in for a few more minutes and got our money’s worth. I was so proud of the kids. The waves made snorkeling tough and we had kids that were 6, 7 and 9 in the water. The next youngest person was probably 18 or so.

On Friday the 23rd we headed to Boyd’s Key West Camprground. We spent all day Saturday in Key West. Duval Street, the southernmost point in the continental U.S., Sloppy Joe’s, Mallory Square; we did all of the touristy stuff. Everyone was exhausted when we caught an Uber ride back to the campsite. We said “bye” to our friends on Sunday and drove back to Markham Park again. Two days and three mountain bike rides later we headed back to Georgia. We had another appointment for Makai’s feet. Crossing our fingers this will be the last one for a while.

 

 

 

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