I found a Tuesday Morning store and purchased a piece of luggage-a computer briefcase just isn't cutting it anymore. On my way to Old Town Sanibel and Captiva Beach, I found that it cost$6 to cross the bridge to Sanibel and Captiva-I don’t think so. Maybe next time.
Bonita Springs Hickory Blvd access #5 has tons of shells all sizes all kinds, beautiful water, and free parking. You can walk out 15 feet or more and still not be much more than ankle deep. There are so many shells that it hurts to walk on that beach barefoot. Changes are quite dramatic south of Ft Myers. Everything is very upscale with no apparent middle ground.
Marco Island was disappointing. The nice part is that the properties, while not brand new, are very well maintained. I don’t know if this is wealth or just pride in ownership. There is a beautiful beach for residents, but the public access is down at the other end. You park across the street and walk down to the beach.
The signage is different from anything I have ever encountered. Motion detected flashing stop signs. Flashing yellow lights around the pedestrian signs-very new technology.
Leaving the island you cross a bridge and then are on a very tight two lane going down the middle of a very narrow strip of land surrounded by water and lots of deciduous trees. The most expensive gas I have seen yet was $2.99 between Maroc Island and the Everglades City turnoff. I missed the turnoff due to the massive downpour that had started just as I reconnected with US 41.
I mailed the Big Cats Sanctuary postcard from Ochopee's Post Office. I opened the window just long enough to pop the card in the mailbox and take a picture of the smallest post office in the nation. Next I had to kill over half a dozen mosquitoes; unfortunately some of the evaded detection and bit the heck out of me.
Upon arriving at the Oasis visitor center for Big Cypress National Park, I found a black racer with a little strip of yellow under its jaw guarding the front door to the center. I convinced him to allow me entry. That experience pales in comparison to the gator at Shark Valley visitor center in Everglades National Park. I met a group of European tourists who seemed to be very friendly calling out "hello" repeatedly. I finally understood that they should have been calling “help” as their progress back to the entrance of the trail was being blocked by not one but two gators! The visitor center lady ran them off and I decided that it was not necessarily wise for me to start down this deserted path by myself-not to mention that if the gators didn’t get me the mosquitoes surely would have. Then I saw another alligator on the short walk back to the visitor center. Oh my! They are literally everywhere.
Decided on the $26 dive over the $25 shared room at the Everglades Hostel. It was okay, but not anything I can suggest to another person. It was very strange. I have never seen this type of construction-door opening outwards and cement blocks with eye level cantilever windows, retrofitted with a window type a/c unit.
The owner's son suggested El Toro on the main drag, unfortunately it was closed on Mondays. I settled on the regional fast food of Popeye's Chicken. Usually I enjoy their offerings, but today was the exception. I was very disappointed in the "stuffed wrap". It was barely filled much less "stuffed". The wrap that I received in exchange for almost $2 in no way resembled the photo of the item on the menu board. It was a sad little chicken strip with a tiny amount of red beans and rice in a tortilla that was much too large for the filling. A true rip off.
ROUTE: US 41 North>FL 865 South>US 41 South>FL 951 South>FL 953 South>FL 92 East>US 41 South to Homestead
Meals: Popeyes (*Food *Service)
Attractions: Captiva & Sanibel (next time), Beaches, Marco Island, Everglades NP, Big Cypress NP, and smallest Post Office in the nation
$$$: $33 Fuel $30 Motel $32 Luggage $4 Meal = $99