Coconut Times - Ocean City Maryland
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Written By: OC Fotoguy
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I don’t come to south Florida to see panthers, alligators & bears; party in Key West; kayak or watch gorgeous sunrises or sunsets.  I come because it’s warm here when it’s cold in Ocean City.  There’s no snow here.  It’s that simple.  Of course, all those other things and more come with the package and that’s terrific.  The hordes of swarming tourists in Key West were getting to me as I was winding down my stay there and in Islamorada HH became a little boring; but it was warm, so I’m a little nutty to complain.  If you read this prattle regularly, you know the first day of my Adventure #17 tire trouble began, resulting in losing the tread on one tire. When it came loose it ripped the wiring bundle for rear lights away from its fasteners, and later I lost the tail, backup lights and turning signals.  Luckily I found good repair shops to get me another tire and fix the lights.  After that I thought, well, each Adventure something always goes wrong and I have to overcome the challenge, which I did again.  I thought, gee, it’s never happened this early in my meanderings, but at least it’s probably behind me.
Well, not quite.  As I neared Key West I started feeling a familiar vibration, like when the tread on the other three tires came loose, because the steel/nylon bands inside the tire began to break.  I hoped it was just rough macadam on the road.  In Key West I rarely drove more than a couple miles a day or didn’t drive at all.  I knew the camper draws on the truck battery to start the refrigerator and a couple other things, but while kayaking in the day, eating fresh caught shrimp and other luscious seafood at HH at Alonzo’s (700 Front St.), partying and listening to tremendous music at Sound Check at the Green Parrot (601 Whitehead St.), at Sloppy Joe’s (201 Duval St.), especially the Doerfel Family with those little kids, and John LaMere at Willy Tee’s (525 Duval St.), and more, I lost track of how many days had passed without driving enough to charge the battery back up.  Oh yeah, it went dead.  I have a second battery, so I replaced the run down battery with it, and found an electrical outlet and charged up the run down battery with my battery charger, but I couldn’t use the outlet long enough to fully charge it.  Another challenge to overcome, but I let it happen again in Islamorada.

Yeah, I should’ve known what was happening.  I jumped that battery with the backup and the truck started easily.  I made frequent stops to where I’m parked/camped, now at Long Pine Key in Everglades National Park.  I hoped the battery had been sufficiently charged as I drove.  I’ll let it run for a while tomorrow to charge it some more.  At least the gas price has dropped to almost $2.00 a gallon, so I won’t be wasting too much money, but if it keeps the battery functioning I’ll pay it.  The backup battery still may not be fully charged either.  On a long driving day I could swap them, so each would be used for hundreds of miles, which would charge them up fully, but here in south Florida I won’t be doing that ‘til I head west to Las Vegas for their big St. Patrick’s Day Party on Freemont Street.  Til then I’ll just have to run the truck for a while every couple of days when I don’t drive.  I better remember!

Long Pine Key camp ground is on the road to the Flamingo part of EverGlades N.P. (  It has over a hundred campsites, no reservation is needed as is the case for other park service camping areas in the EverGlades, and it’s the closest campground to Miami.  I’d recommend arriving early in the day to assure there’s a site available, but the several days I was there in early February it was not full.  It is rather touristy, probably not the place you’ll see a panther or bear; a more remote place like Bear Island in Big Cypress ( is a siting that is much more likely to see wildlife.  I did find some good secluded hiking trails, which should be very good for birding, within walking distance of the campsites.  All roads are paved, restrooms have flush toilets, and safe drinking water is available.
Oh, and the vibration - it got worse as I drove from Key West to Islamorada.  The next day I removed that tire and put the spare on.  The vibration disappeared.  A tire should be nearly level across the tread.  The one that caused the vibration was kind of like a soup bowl across the tread.  At least I didn’t lose the tread.

Another challenge overcome - enough, already!!!  I’ve had enough!  I’m warm though.  That tire didn’t hit a curb or anything, but had the same problem as the one that did, so hitting the curb didn’t cause the trouble, so it wasn’t me.  No matter, I still have paid more than $500 for two new tires.  I had to replace the two on the back last April for the same reason.  Now the truck has a whole new set of “shoes” and tire trouble shouldn’t happen again.  Challenges didn’t affect my last wish in the Keys.  That was breakfast at Harriet’s and I ordered my usual, a Spanish omelet, plus a piece of apple pandaddy cake and a key lime muffin to go - YUMMY!  On the downslide and lovin’ it!  Ask me about a free photo.
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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