Everglades, Day at Camp

We checked the calendar this morning and there was nothing on it, so we didn’t do anything, and had a wonderful time. We had a quick breakfast and had full intentions of driving west to the Mahogany Hammock and seeing the sights, but it was a wonderful warm day, with just some scattered clouds and low humidity.  I had some trip planning to do, and I had not paid close attention to the organization of my photos, so it seemed a good day to get cleaned up, organized, and back to speed.

We took a walk and registered for another day. We had several nice talks with the hostess, Kate, and met a pair of local campers. John from points unknown,  was fixing a motorbike that he bought totaled for $300 and was checking the valve lash, as there was  600 miles on the bike, it was Chinese, and he was hoping for a little more top speed.  He said they were really cheap, you could get one for about $1,500 new, and the new ones still didn’t have an oil filter, just a screen, but they had an oil cooler that was really useful in case you got stuck in traffic.

John also had a cool 100 watt solar panel that looked all about business, as opposed to the trickle charger unit that I have on my RV.  He said that the thing cost under $200 complete, and he really liked it.  He said that he was going to eventually mount it on the roof. John was kind enough to lend me the booklet that came with the panel, and I later read it over, when we got back to the campsite.

John had a neighbor that looked like Gabby Hayes’ son. For the sake of argument we’ll call him ‘Solar Bill’ because that’s what it said on his hat.  He asked me if I was interested in solar, and when I said I had some on my unit, he proceeded to give me a class A tour of his RV.  ‘Bill” is a really nice man, travelling alone, in a highly modified, well-kept 1970’s -1980’s Toyota camper.  It probably classifies as a Class C, except that it’s about 1/3 of the size of our unit.  It suites Bill to a T.  He was kind enough to show us his current solar layout, and explained that he had a 3000 watt inverter, but it wasn’t hooked up yet.  He indicated that a good solar system was a harmonious balance of generation (panels) storage (batteries) and usage.  Bill was quite a character, and a really nice guy.

Back at the site, we enjoyed the warmth, the birds, the clouds and the warm breezes that frequently passed through.  I caught up in organizing all the pictures I took, I still have to upload them, but they are where they belong.  In the between time, I figured out what we would be doing between now and the time when we got back home.

I’m figuring that we will be in for a time shock when we return.  It is full blazes summer here, and when we return it will be winter again.  I sure that it will seem, that we somehow snuck an extra year in somehow. It’s all very nice, but I’m sure it will be confusing.

After I finished with the pictures and the planning we took off for a walk.  We returned the brochure John lent me, and when we arrived at his site, John had a sawzall in hand and had plans for modifying his motorbike. Apparently the starter was inoperative and John was making some ‘Obama modifications’.  There are more colloquial and politically irresponsible and offensive terms that have been used to describe what John was doing, but we both laughed because it the process would be crude, but the outcome would work.  A far cry from our current method where the process is first world and the outcome doesn’t work and injures people.

We continued our walk and bushwhacked through the palmetto and scrub until we were at the shore of the lake that lies just to the north of the campsite.  The shore proved to be a slippery limestone mud, so we walked on the upland portion.  It was late in the day, and it wasn’t as hot as it had been before.  We managed to chase a small white egret type bird that obviously wasn’t as accustomed to tourists as the birds at the Anhinga Trail, so as we walked, it would fly another 30 yards ahead and look for fish.  The lake is apparently man made and according to several signs at water’s edge, has bass.  The water looked nice, as the limestone ledges below the water made the water go from a brown to and aqua to a deep blue.  I suppose that all the campsite4s are made out of the material that was taken out of the lake. The signs warn that bass from the lake should not be eaten by pregnant women or children, at all, and anyone else should eat no more than one fish a week, as the mercury level in the fish is hazardous.

Tropical bass that have enough mercury in them they can be used for dinner or a thermometer, how convenient.  The real question is what the heck’s going on around here, if in the middle of nowhere, where there is poor cell service and no cellular data service, the mercury levels in the fish are so high that they are unhealthy?  The next question is how much mercury is in the bird life that exclusively eat the fish? Hit a bird with your car and file an environmental impact statement, and need hazmat?  Somehow, not everyone around here is being forthcoming.

We were about 2/3’s around the pond and answered the question ‘Is there an alligator in this body of water?’ The answer proved to be a large YES! There was a 10’ long alligator, with both eyes open, laying at the edge of the lake.  It really looked about 30’ long since we were not on a boardwalk, it was on the same level as we, and it was not snoozing, ignoring the tourists like every other alligator that we had seen prior.  This one was wide awake, and although it didn’t move a muscle, it was obvious that it wasn’t missing a thing.  There is a big difference between looking at an alligator in a controlled environment and looking at one out in the big open.  I showed pictures of alligators running at over 15 MPH when I was teaching middle school.  Let me tell you, that video was playing in HD stereo while I walked past.  Louise didn’t look at it, she just snuck on by. It was cool, after that fact, though.

Back at the campsite we had some cool beverages, made a fire and prepared a dinner of barbequed pork, loaded mashed potatoes, peas with onion, sauerkraut, applesauce and a little white wine. Louise washed, the dishes, and I took a cool shower, ran out all the water in the RV for the first time, turned on the generator, charged the batteries and ran the AC to cool off everything in preparation for sleeping. It was an unusual day, in the fact that we generally spend much more time, looking, exploring, and experiencing, but quiet days, I think, are to be treasured.  Another great day.