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Lucky Again!
Written By: o.c.fotoguy
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Lucky Again!
Lucky Again!
Lucky Again!
Lucky Again!
Lucky Again!
Lucky Again!
Lucky Again!
Lucky Again!
Lucky Again!
Lucky Again!

    I visited snow, I ate good, a literal ThanksGiving Smorgasbord complete with oyster dressing & oyster stew, and then I escaped to where it’s 80 degrees nearly every day, especially if you get below the smile line (that line between Ft. Lauderdale & Ft. Meyers Beach where all the people are smiling because they’re warm.)  I watched the snow through the window in Chambersburg, Pa.  That was close enough!  If you like it, enjoy it, for me cold hurts, it is no fun, and I don’t need it!  During my 600-mile marathon drive I zipped around Norfolk to Rt. 58, then down US95 without much effort, then in the last hour the traffic got challenging as I approached Savannah, Ga.  The traffic would grind down to a snail’s pace for no apparent reason, then speed back up to 60 mph over and over, very taxing.  I saw several fender bender accidents!  Next year I’ll know where there’s other megamarts, where I can park overnight.  By the time I get to Savannah all I want is to eat, take a walk, and go to sleep.  I can do that any place if the traffic gets bad in Georgia.  Driving around Norfolk on a Sunday to avoid the commuters rushing to work is an idea that I won’t change.
    The next day I was headed for Deerfield Beach, which is familiar territory, where I spent the winter in 1998 and rented Seacret’s HatMan’s house he owned there then.  I had only about half the miles to drive as I did the day before.  My truck had picked up an annoying vibration, which I learned was much less if I drove less than 60 mph.  I remembered what I thought was the cause; I’d went over a curb turning into a parking lot to take a break, but the next day I didn’t notice any problem.  US 95 is straight and boring in north Florida and I relied on talk radio for diversion.
    A little north of West Palm Beach I stopped at a rest stop for a break.  I’d noticed the coloration of the bottom of a rainbow near the horizon for the last several miles.  As I got out of the cockpit of my nest (slide-in camper on a pickup truck) I watched more and more of the rainbow appear until the arch was complete.  The north end met the horizon right behind my camper, absolutely my pot of gold!  I was lucky again, I was in 80 degree sunshine wearing shorts, sandals, and T shirt and it was December!  I didn’t know what was at the other end of the rainbow in the direction I was headed though.  As I drove past the Palm Beach exits, the rain started and it was nearing 5pm.  As I got to Boca Raton, 95 became a parking lot, so I got off at the next exit and found Federal Hiway, which goes to Deerfield Beach and my overnight parking spot, which I’ve used many times before.  I got seared tuna, that is caught by the owner at RattleSnake Jakes and several cold ones.
    The next day I knew I needed to gas up, buy sweet corn and oranges at a local produce store to eat when I was 26 miles deep in America’s Jungle, Big Cypress, and hopefully get the front end of my truck checked out.  Luckily there was a mechanic’s garage near the produce store.  The guy put my truck on the lift, looked for damage, and found none, but he said the front end was out of line.  He suggested shocks, struts, and springs, which made me very skeptical.  My mechanic, Bumper to Bumper, across from the north gate of Ocean Pines, gave my truck a physical before I left and all was fine.  This guy was a shyster, but said he couldn’t do the work til the next day.  I had no interest in being there overnight, so I just drove slow.  I was done interstate driving for a while.
    US 41 through the Everglades and US 1 to Key West isn’t safe if you drive more than 60mph.  I drove the 26 miles on the dirt road in the jungle, that used to be almost impassible, but now I could put the cruise control on 40mph.  It used to take two hours to negotiate the ruts, pond sized holes full of water, and washboard roughness of the road.  The thoughts of the vibration faded.  I saw a pigmy rattle snake and several turkeys on the way and as I unlocked the gate for access to a one lane dirt road that led to my campsite, I thought I was fine and had made it this far in near record time.  I drove a couple miles and entered a cypress slough; the road had marsh on both sides and shortly thereafter I saw another pickup truck coming towards me pulling a trailer.  The path was barely wide enough for one vehicle.  There was no way he could back up, so I stopped, put it in reverse and backed about 300 yards to where I knew there was a pull off spot.
    On my first day I saw a cotton mouth snake slithering across the trail.  I gave him plenty of space.  Today as I returned to my camp site I saw a 200+lb. panther peering up the trail at me from the bushes.  He came out, made several steps in the opposite direction from me, and then disappeared in the underbrush.  Yep, I’m back for the seventeenth year in the place where I see something (panther, bear, birds, lots of little critters, flowers in the winter, and lots of familiar things, too) every day that most people never see in a lifetime.  This stint was kicked off by a full moon.   I wonder what else Mother Nature has in store for me this time?  On the DownSlide, watchin’ and Lovin’ It.  Ask me about a free photo.
Bob R  o.c.FotoGuy
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