We left the Keys a few days ago and are in southern Alabama on the Florida border. A little town called Florala, how unique is that name? Don was determined that we were going to get another state sticker on our map. And we did!!! And after looking at all the other little state stickers we realized we’d camped in 8 other states. How exciting is that?
But let me backtrack to the Keys and give you a little lesson on the Portuguese Man of War. Not only is it not a jellyfish, it’s not even an”it”, but a siphonophore, an animal made up of a collection of organisms called polyps working together. They are 12″ long and 5″ wide, with tentacles up to 165′ long (that’s 165 feet) although 30′ is typical. The tendrils are covered in venom filled nematocysts used to paralyze and kill fish. It is excruciating when a human comes in contact with them, but rarely deadly.
A couple of other shots near Marathon in the Keys. I love trees, so here are a couple. Fred (at least I think that’s his name, I’m just gonna change it to Survivor), survived Irma on the old 7 mile bridge.
We went to Key West the last week in the Keys. We went to Hemingway’s house and the Butterfly conservatory (a place at which I cried because I was so overwhelmed at being surrounded by such incredible creatures). Don thought it would be funny if I were an employee who stood around crying and talking about how wonderful it was. I would hire me.
From Marathon in the Keys we traveled across Alligator Alley and saw these beauties. It was very cool to see them in their own habitat. I was not afraid but perhaps I should’ve been. I was about ten feet from this guy.
From there we traveled up to Sarasota for a couple of days to visit with Walter and Janet. Had a great visit and wonderful lunch. Thank you for lunch Walter and Janet. So good to see you again. We’ll be back next year.
From there we headed up to a place we’d never visited before. Thank you Tom and Dee for steering us to Cedar Key. About 4 hours north of Sarasota there is a place that makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time. It’s an area named after the eastern red cedar. Cedar Key used to be on an island now named Atsena Otie (which we visited and toured the burial grounds). A hurricane wiped out the settlement in Atsena Otie in 1896 when a 10 foot storm surge swept over the town and killed more than 100 people. It was after the hurricane that the remaining people relocated to what is now known as Cedar Key. The current population is around 1000 with clam fishing being a multi million dollar industry. The old fashioned fishing village is now a tourist center but is extremely laid back. Cedar Key is the second oldest settlement in Florida and habitation began as far back as 1000 BC with pre-Colombian habitation.
We also walked the Shell Mound trail which is a sea kayakers playground. It was created by archaic Eastern Woodland Indian cultures by discarding oyster and clam shells that they had used a food source. The area was inhabited for at least 1000 years. The shell mound covers an area of about 5 acres. We walked the Shell Mound trail to the water and wondered when we’d see this large shell mound only to discover that we were on it.
We had a great experience one day while driving into town we passed a woman walking along the road and we thought she looked very familiar. It turns out it was a friend from Jolly Roger, Laura Jean. We followed her back to her campsite and talked to her and Al and they ended up coming to dinner at our campsite. Who’dve thunk. It’s amazing to me how things turn out in life sometimes. They are from Ontario and were visiting Cedar Key during the same time as we were. We had a wonderful visit and look forward to visiting with them in the future.
From Cedar Key we headed to New Orleans where we tripped the light fantastic. It was a hoot and I look forward to going back next year. I don’t think we’ve danced that much in 10 years. The music is amazing and it isn’t hard to find a band to your liking on Bourbon Street.
We’ve had a little hiccup and have to head to San Antonio to have our brakes replaced on Monday but we’re still in Louisiana, Shreveport to be exact. And then head onto Big Bend. So that’s all for now. Love to all.