Monday, February 15, 2016

To The Everglades...Not Quite

Everglade Seafood Festival (2015)
Saturday Feb 13-2016
The temperature climbed high enough today that finally it was going to be somewhat of a decent day. My plan was to head down to the Everglades for the Everglade Seafood Festival but first take a few detours while we were down that way. Honestly I was more excited about the detours. (as for the festival, we have been many times before and I wasn’t going to bore you too much by writing about it again, unless something really cool happened <grin>).

The first detour was to be the smallest Post Office in the United States located in Ochopee on Tamiami Trail [FL-41]. The last time we were there I was on my Yamaha V star 250 and my BF on his Honda . I have been wanting to get a photo op of the Harley’s in front of it ever since we got the bikes a few years back. The next place I wanted to visit was the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters, this is where a man named Dave Shealy spends his time looking for a creature that supposedly lurks in the Florida Everglades. Although I believe it is just a kitchy way to attract tourists to his Campground...or is it ... <smile>  Anyway it would be good for a laugh. Next, onto the festival in Everglade City. My BF had never sampled any of the tasty treats offered and wanted to get some shrimp or something fishy this time around. (as I am not and never will be a fan of seafood I was going to pass on the taste test) Afterwards, I wanted to head over to Chokoloskee Island which is situated just past Everglade City. Sounded like a good day of riding and sightseeing to me... 

So at 11 am off we went, it was still a little on the cool side for me, so I was glad I had left my jacket liner in and wore my hoodie.(after all it was only 70 F)  We headed on down FL-82 to get to FL-29 (FL-29 brings you to Everglade City). I really don’t like driving on either of these roads, in my opinion they are the worst in all of Southwest Florida, but to get to where we wanted to go there wasn’t any other choice - at least that I know of. We waited until we passed the town of Immokalee to top off the tanks before heading down the long stretch of 29.  
(Map shows location of Everglade City)

At the Auto Parts store
After the tanks were filled my BF tried to start his bike and the battery was dead. It was not a surprise, he had been having problems with it since we got the bikes out of storage. He knew he would eventually have to get a new one, of course today would have to be the day. Lucky for us he had foreseen this, he had brought his battery charger... so after a quick charge, we headed back into Immokalee to pick up a battery somewhere... the first man we asked only spoke Spanish, (I definitely have to start learning Spanish) but seemed to understand ‘Walmart’ and pointed us down a street, after a few minutes I got the feeling it wasn’t right, I guess my BF did too and we pulled into a gas station to ask a man filling up his truck. The guy asked his phone and I guess the phone told him Walmart was down Main Street. So back out onto what I thought was Main street, actually the road morphed into New Market Road. We were almost out of town by this point (I was thinking the man’s phone lied to us) and pulled into a plaza and asked a woman in a WinnDixie uniform who was getting into her car. We found out that there really wasn’t a Walmart in Immokalee after all, but there was an auto parts store just down the road. (Just have to point out, it was a woman that finally gave us the right information <grin>) After passing the store and back tracking we finally pulled into the auto parts store. My BF installed his new battery and we were finally on our way again. It was already going on 1 pm and we still had a good hour on the road before even getting close to where we wanted to go. 

I forgot to snap a this is compliments of Google
Not only is FL-29 a very boring road to ride a bike on, for the most part it is straight as an arrow and I always find it very windy, even if it isn’t a windy day. We stopped for a break just before a bend in the road. (I did say for the most part, there are a few curves but not many) I guess it is like a soft shoulder, although I really don’t know the purpose of it as it abruptly stops for no apparent reason (that happens a lot in Florida). Anyway we start to notice that the steady stream of cars passing us seem to be backing up a little just beyond the bend... could this be an omen?... well after we get back on the bikes we barely make the bend and came to a dead stop...yes, yes it there we were gradually inching along the road, but mostly standing still. My bike idled for what seemed like an eternity, eventually the heat from it was starting to burn the inside of my thighs!  Actually we sat for about forty minutes or so, barley making a quarter of a mile from where we had stopped for a break. At this rate we would be lucky to make the first stop by sun down. It was then that we decided we really didn’t need to see the festival again, or for that matter any of the other attractions I had planned, so we called it a day.

I figured it out on the map when we got home that we were a mere 2.5 miles to the intersection of FL-29 and FL-41 - the place we were going to turn for the first detour. On any other day it showed it would of taken 3 minutes!

Compliments of another Google Map - Entrance to Janes Memorial Scenic Dr.

As we headed back my BF made a turn down a road called Janes Memorial Scenic Dr. and stopped to pull out the map. We realized we could cut through Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve which would take us back into Immokalee. Great, at least we could take a nice scenic ride and salvage some of today’s ride... 

Well on the day of “not to be’s” we pull into the park and stop to check it out. Wow, now this looked interesting and had that ‘this was going to be a nice ride’ kind of promise to it. However we did notice that the paved road ended, no biggy, we have done gravel before so I wasn’t really worried. My BF seen a Park Ranger Truck coming towards us so he flagged him down to ask how far the gravel road went. Our scenic journey would take us 11 miles through the park and would eventually bring us out in Immokalee, but as luck would have it we were also informed that the road had been closed due to flooding. (Lucky we asked, there was not one sign posted about this!). 

That was just great, maybe we could find another road so we pulled into the information center to have another look at the map. Again luck was not with us, so back to plan C, driving all the way back on FL-29. If nothing else at least we found a new road to eventually ride...when it dries up! 

The rest of the way home was uneventful and we finally pulled in the driveway going on 4pm.
Drink Please!!! 

Just goes to show, even the best laid out plans can change. But even when things change, when on a bike any ride is a good ride...

Until next time... 
Cruising through life and enjoying the ride...


  1. Oh for some of that sunshine - we are biking in chilly, damp weather here in north-eastern France. Not that it stops us!

  2. I will try to send some sunny warmth your way :)