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Lil Guys & Codger Teenagers
Written By: O.C.fotoguy Travels
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Lil Guys & Codger Teenagers
Lil Guys & Codger Teenagers
Lil Guys & Codger Teenagers
Lil Guys & Codger Teenagers
Lil Guys & Codger Teenagers
Lil Guys & Codger Teenagers

    A couple weeks ago (Feb 18th) I took a break from Big Cypress, where I’d been camped in my nest (slide-in camper on a pickup truck) 26 miles deep in the EverGlades, took sunrise rise walks to see all Mother Nature’s creatures up close and personal, and once again the little guys stole the show. Yeah, I saw three panthers and a 300-lb. bear, but to me an earth worm with a head shaped like a hammer is as fascinating, plus there were big orange ants, little green frogs, and bunches of colorful beetles, spiders, bugs & butterflies, plus there’s a myriad of little flowers. Many are shown in photos on my Fb and web pages.
    My break was to Marco Island via Ever Glades City. I wanted to catch some of those 8+” crabs that I know are there, but they eluded me, so I just stuffed myself with the Seafood Depot’s Salad Bar, that includes AYCE cold steamed local shrimp.  The next morning I was off to Naples to eat Cracklin’ Jaclin’ Jack’s pulled pork and a big piece of pecan pie; that was after my morning walk back from the Fakahatchee Strand boardwalk (on US Rt. 41 midway between Fl Rt 29 & Naples) to check out the eagle’s nest, a short stop at MegaMart to stock up on ACBs and other stuff, and then on to Marco Island.
    I sometimes go to Marco by way of the Goodland Bridge on Fl. Rt. 92. I always walk the bridge to see what’s in the Marco River water below. Manta Rays are usually there, sometimes by the herd!  I’ve also seen Manatees, large fish, along with many water birds. Once I put the kayak in and found many tasty oysters a little ways from the bridge. In Marco I’ve been successful parking my nest in the overflow parking of the food court at Wintergreen & Collier Blvd. for years, so I did it again.  After a delightful walk on the beach in the morning and collecting conchs and pink shelled oysters for tacos later, I did the HH thing and loved a wet burrito at Nacho Mama’s, then spent the evening at Rookies sports bar, carrying on with the delightful Irish girls tending bar, which was an enjoyable twist as I watched college basketball on TV.
    Marco Island’s beach is an unadvertised Florida Gem.  Seashells can be available by the bushel-full at the right time of the month, when the tide is right, and they include types that will catch the eye of any interested beachcomber. I was treated to a contest between two hermit crabs that were after the same meal, as each tried to tug it away from the other! I did Jane’s Scenic drive (near the juncture of Rts. 29 & 41) the morning before returning to the Everglades. I’ve walked many of the trails behind the gates, but now I usually just do #12. A cabin is up it about two miles and there’re unique air plants, that I don’t see anywhere else; plus there’s a lake at the cabin that usually has many alligators and other stuff, plus I’ve seen huge panthers on the trail. I think that trail may go into the Florida Panther preserve if you walk far enough - too far for me.
    That walk was a precursor to the event of the day and filled the time, so the temperature would come up to over 70, which makes kayaking pleasurable. Kayaking the mangrove tunnels on the Turner River near EverGlades City is an original Don’t Miss for me. My first time was in 1997. As I put my kayak in the water, it was obvious that the water level was higher than ever for me.  This was the other end of a problem -  when there’s too little water to paddle through the tunnels, but this time I needed to duck so not to bang my head into some of the Mangrove branches, that other years were well above me. There’re alligators, turtles, water birds, an occasional snake amongst the mangroves, a fascinating mix.
    When I left Florida I headed up the west coast. “No ice on my windshield,” that’s what the guy said on the radio when I woke up. The forecast included a freeze warning for the Sarasota County fruit growers. No smog pots were needed where I’m at in Siesta Key, just a little south of the city of Sarasota, Fla. It was 50 degrees  in my nest and 40 degrees outside at 7 a.m.  That’s cold for here for mid February, but there’s usually a cold snap about now. At 8 a.m. it’s 43 degrees in the shade and 65 degrees in the sun and it’s supposed to be a high of 70 degrees today. That’ll be 40 degrees warmer than in Ocean City today.  Winter is over here!
    Why am I here, rather than O.C.?  That’s a no brainer. This morning the sun is shining brightly, there’re no clouds, the sky is blue and the wind is not blowing. The sun really feels good as I sit here in my “cock pit,” driver’s seat. I see Siesta Key has “America’s Best Beach” signs up everywhere. I’ll have to go online and find out what the criteria is for that title. Is that just another voted best by a town’s council or other obscure group, or is it a legitimate award? There is a powder soft sand beach that stretches 4-5 miles.  I the texture of the sand is the criteria, they got it, but I’ve never seen a “collectible” sea shell here, which is a favorite pass-time for me at any beach. There is a large free parking lot for about a 1,000 cars.
    This morning when I parked here at sunrise to use the comfort station and go for my morning walk, there were already two RVs here.  ne had a ticket for being here overnight and the other didn’t. I wonder why, but I didn’t see any activity around either yet, so I could ask the occupant(s). I did see the fine was $25, which is less than an RV campground would charge.  I found a small inconspicuous sign that says no vehicle parking overnight. This is my third year to visit here and have seen few police.  aybe low key enforcement of regulations has something to do with their Best Beach Award.
    When I’m here the place is populated with codger-aged teenagers and they should know how to act. Just go to Happy Hour and watch. Yeah, I know I said should!  As for rules, if I know what they are, it’s much better to obey them; if for no other reason, it lowers the stress level. I have a good overnight parking spot here in a lot. There’s a sign that says “customers only” and I have an account with that megabank, so the sign applies to me and it works. That’s all I ask.
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy. more photos @
&, articles @

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