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Miama to Maine (4/15 - 5/16/2018)

We are currently in Maine with no internet where we’re staying; We can drive down the road about 1/2 mile to check emails but to do the blog takes a little more planning and work than usual.  The laundry mart has decent wi-fi and we can also use the Forest Service Office during working hours - we'll make this work!

We spent April 15th thru May 15th traveling north from Miami to our summer destination of Bradley Maine.  We drove more than 1500 miles and spent nights in Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire.  We spent time with the Winchell Family in Mobile, Alabama for Emily and Chris Coleman’s very fun wedding, we visited Linn and Terry in Reston, VA and got to see our newest great-nephew, Jacks Schmidt, also in Reston VA.  We had a fun month of travel and now we're looking forward to a fun summer in Maine.


FLORIDA
We left Miami, Florida on Sunday April 15th and headed north.  Our first stop was in Wauchula, Florida where we spent four nights at the "SKP Resort" Escapees Park.  We visited Highland Hammocks State Park and did a little hiking and visited their very interesting museum about the CCC.  From there we drove about 1 1/2 hours west to Brandon, Florida which has a PORTILLO’S!  This very happy girl had a piece of their lemon cake which they sell for a limited time once a year.  I won’t get another piece of this cake until next year unless someone from my family freezes one for me back in Chicago (hint, hint).
 



From Wauchula we continued our drive north to Stephen C. Foster Folk Center State Park in White Springs, Florida. 

About fifty miles south of the park we had our very first tire blow-out on the 5th wheel!
YIKES!!
We were on I-75 in the middle lane and Marty very carefully slowed down and got us over to the shoulder.  He got the spare put on and we were back on the road within an hour. 

The Stephen C. Foster Folk Center is situated on the banks of the Suwanee River.  They have a Stephen C. Foster Museum and they also have a Carillon (Bell) Tower which houses some more memorabilia. The bells weren't ringing during our stay there because the tower had been hit by lightning and was still being repaired.

 
Our very large, beautiful campsite
 Our campsite was a very large (90’) pull-thru. The sites are separated by trees so you have lots of privacy.  There were some nice hiking trails and it was a short walk to the river.  There was a nice gift shop with lots of locally crafted items.  They also had a “craft village”, an area of cabins where craftspeople work and you could watch.  They have bluegrass jam sessions every Friday Night, of course we went and Marty played.  In late May they host a big bluegrass festival which must be amazing. 


Way down upon the Suwanee River.......




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ALABAMA


We left Stephen Foster Folk Center on Monday (4/23) and headed west on I-10 to our next destination of Mobile, Alabama for the wedding of our niece, Emily Winchell to Chris Coleman.  We had planned to break up the drive by staying in a Wal-Mart parking lot but the drive was pretty easy so we kept going and drove 366 miles to Creola, Alabama (just north of Mobile).  We found a county park, River Delta Marina and Campground, which was perfectly situated to where we needed to be.  This is a very nice county campground and with our senior discount it was only $15.28 per night!  We have found county parks and COE parks to be inexpensive and scenic options for camping (especially as we get those senior discounts).

As we were driving to Alabama from Florida Marty noticed that our rig seemed to be leaning towards the right side.  When we got to our campground he crawled under it and found that our leaf spring was broken in half - yikes!

Sprung Spring!
He took a picture and on Tuesday we found Johnny's RV Repair Center and they could fix it once they located a part.  The woman in the office (Mary) was incredibly helpful and called numerous places trying to find our part.  The only place that seemed likely to have it (Porters) needed more information so we drove over there to find out what exactly they needed.  Then we drove back to the rig to take measurements.  Then back to Porters with the dimensions so he could get it ordered.  He had the part on Thursday, we picked it up and went back to Johnny’s to set up the repair for Monday morning.  We arranged to stay overnight in their lot on Sunday night so they could fix it and we could get on the road at a reasonable time on Monday.  We were very happy to have this all arranged so we could enjoy the rest of the wedding week without worries about the rig.


Chris and Emily Get Married

We met up with Amie (Marty’s sister), her daughter Becky Winchell and five of Becky’s seven kids for dinner on Thursday (wedding eve-eve).  It was a good chance to catch up before the wedding. 

Friday was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner at Moe’s Original Bar-B-Q. This is quite a wedding - 11 couples are standing up with them; all four of her sisters and her two brothers plus many of their friends.  It’s nice when you’re from a large family and can have all your sibling in the wedding party. 


Wedding Party during the service



"parading" to reception
The beautiful Winchell sisters















The wedding on Saturday was amazing.  The weather was perfect.  The bride was beautiful (of course) and the whole bridal party looked amazing.  The wedding was held at St. Joseph Chapel on the grounds of Spring Hill College (where they met) and from the chapel we were led the four blocks to the reception by a Dixieland 4 piece band.  The bride and groom held feathered parasols above their heads and the whole crowd waved white hankies (handed out as we left the church) above their heads.  It was so much fun, I’ve never paraded to a wedding reception before.   The reception was held at  Stewardfield which is a mansion on campus. The food and dancing were outside under tents and the house was also open. There was a live nine piece band and they played a lot of Motown!  They were incredible and really got the crowd dancing.  Marty even got up on the stage at one point and sang with them!  I could go on and on but I’ll just finish by saying this wedding was definitely one of the most fun ones we’ve been to.

Marty covering Earth, Wind & Fire
We clean up well, don't we?


 

















On Sunday it was back to reality.  We packed up our rig and drove about 1/2 hour to Johnny’s RV Center where we settled in for the night.  We stayed overnight there so that we’d be taken care of early on Monday (and we were).  Our rig was fixed by noon and we were back on the road.

We spent three nights at a COE Park (Corps of Engineers) in Montgomery, Alabama.   The cost was supposed to be 26.00 per night with full hook-ups.  However, when we started talking to the couple in the office and said we’d be 62 this year he said since we’re in the year of turning 62 and have a National Park Service pass we were eligible for the 50% discount - YAY!!  Instead of 78.00 for three nights we only paid 39.00! We are definitely going to be looking for more COE parks in our travels. 

There is so much to see and do in the Montgomery area.  We left our campground and planned to drive about 1 1/2 hours south to Monroeville but the road we were on happened to be the same road (U.S. Hwy 80) that the March from Selma to Montgomery took place on.  We stopped at the Lowdnes Visitor Center and watched a short film about the march and then checked out the exhibits. 
Here's some information from the Visitor's Center:

A pair of shoes worn during the 54 mile march
     "On March 7, 1965, Rev. Hosea Williams and John Lewis stepped from the pulpit of Brown Chapel Church and led 600 marchers toward Montgomery. After just six blocks, Sheriff Jimmy Clark's mounted deputies and state troopers, dispatched by Gov. George Wallace, attacked the group with nightsticks and tear gas as the crossed the Edmud Pettus Bridge, injuring dozens. America was shocked by the brutal images of what became known as "Bloody Sunday".
  
     Two Weeks later, religious leaders from throughout the country joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the march. Alabama National Guardsmen and Army troops protected the court-ordered limit of 300 marchers as they walked along U.S. Hwy 80 during the day and slept in the fields at night. They covered the 54 miles between Selma and Mongomery's State Capitol in four days." 

     "Viola Liuzzo, a 39-year-old white mother of five from Detroit, was shot while shuttling marchers back to Selma. Her death outraged moderates, and President Lyndon Johnson was emboldened to push the stalled Votings Rights Bill through Congress." 
    
We continued driving south down Hwy 80 and stopped in Selma to walk across the Edmund Pettis Bridge. I’m sure you’ve seen documentaries or the movie “Selma” but to actually walk across the bridge where the march to Montgomery started and so many people were attacked and beaten is chilling.  I’m so glad that things have changed and African-Americans don’t have to worry about being shot or beaten simply because of their skin color - oops, sorry I guess I was dreaming. 

 
From Selma we drove down to Monroeville which was about an hour away, we had to go there since Harper Lee and Truman Capote both lived there (right next door to each other).  "To Kill a Mockingbird" is one of my favorite books and oddly so is "In Cold Blood" (I have very eclectic tastes in reading).  As I’m writing this I realized that as good as both books were the movies were just as good and that’s not usually the case. 


Hanging out with Scout, Jem, and Dill
We were able to walk around the courthouse where Harper Lee’s father had his law office.  There was much more information about Truman Capote’s life than Harper Lee’s (her papers haven't been donated, I believe there is some kind of issue with settling her estate).

From the courthouse we walked the two blocks to the street where they grew up. Neither house is still standing although there is a partial stone wall on the property where Truman Capote lived.  We ate lunch on the property of Harper Lee’s house; it’s now a Dairy Bar. 


The law office of Harper Lee's father

and inside the courthouse

Outside the courthouse












   

We spent a day in Montgomery visiting the newly opened Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. 

Our first stop was at the Memorial, here is some information from their brochure: "The National Memorial is designed to take visitors on a journey from slavery, through lynching and racial terror and into the modern era of mass incarceration".




 


 

There are more than 800 steel monuments, one for each county in the United States where a racial terror lynching took place (including Cook County, IL!)  The names of the lynching victims and the dates when these lynchings occurred are engraved on the columns. 

Jars and Jars of dirt from lynching sites around the country
The Memorial and Museum are about one mile apart.  The Legacy Museum is located on the site of a former warehouse where black people were enslaved in Montgomery, Alabama.  It is a small museum that is packed with information and history about lynchings that occurred after the Civil War and the mass incarceration of African Americans that is still going on today.







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Here are a few of the reasons people were lynched:






























 


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Virginia
After almost two weeks in Alabama it was time to continue our northward travels. We left Alabama on May 3rd and spent that night in an Eastern Tennessee Walmart.  We had reservations for the weekend at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virgina but, while at the WalMart, Marty noticed that three of our rig tires looked worn.  Since we had just replaced one (due to the blowout) we decided to go ahead and replace the other three.  There was a tire shop in Wytheville, VA just a little east of the state park so we stopped there first and replaced the three tires.  We finally got settled at Hungry Mother S.P. and had a quiet weekend.  This park is located in the Blue Ridge mountains and has lots of hiking and biking trails. 

The one "touristy" thing we did while in this area was visit Mt. Airy, NC, home of Andy Griffith.  We toured the Andy Griffith Museum and ate lunch at an “old-timey” soda fountain diner.  Donna Fargo was also born in Mt. Airy but when I asked at the Museum if they had any information about her I was told “this is the Andy Griffith Museum”. 

Downtown Mayberry, oops I mean Mt. Airy, NC





















We left Hungry Mother State Park on Monday, May 7th and headed east on beautiful Interstate 84 to Reston, Virginia.  It was a pretty easy 325 mile drive and we arrived at our next campground, Lake Fairfax County Park, around 4:00.  A very nice campground but all the sites only have electric.  We stopped at the water spigot to fill up our fresh water tanks and we’ll stop on our way out to dump our grey and black water tanks.  $45.00 a night for just electricity is pricey but the location can’t be beat.  We are a 10 minute drive from Marty’s sister Linn and her husband Terry and also 10 minutes from our nephew, Kevin and his family.

Once we were all set up we took a drive over to Linn and Terry’s house.  They drove us to a Japanese restaurant, Ariake, where each couple ordered a “Bento Box” which contained an assortment of items.  Marty ate everything with fish and I ate the chicken.  We both ate the veggies and it was all very good. This was a neat little restaurant housed in an old McDonalds.








On Tuesday morning (5/8) Terry drove Linn, Marty and I to the subway in Reston which took us into Washington D.C.  Most museums in Washington are free but we decided to visit one that wasn't,  the Newseum.  Our money was well-spent, the Newseum "promotes, explains and defends free expression and the five freedoms of the First Amendment.  Outside the museum they have the front page of one newspaper from every state, we got up to the O’s and then headed inside.  There were
six floors of exhibits, impossible to see and read everything in one day, we did the best we could.  

And now for the rest of the story......






Standing in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall























From the Newseum we grabbed a quick snack at a food truck and then headed into the National Archives.  We didn’t have enough time to tour the building, just visited the gift shop for some postcards. There was a kiosk in the gift shop where you can enter your last name and find out the origin.  I entered my maiden name, Merkes, and this is what I found out:

“The meaning of Merkes”: Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): metronymic from the Yiddish female personal name Merke, Mirke (see Mirkin).

Since our family has been Catholic since they came over from Germany this was a bit of a surprise. 

Terry picked us up back at the subway in Reston and we went out to dinner at a Vietnamese Restaurant, Pho 75 Dulles.  Another very good meal!

At the Observation Tower
On Wednesday Marty and I had some errands to run as did Linn and Terry.  We met them for lunch at an Indian Buffet - Angeethi.  The food was good but it stayed with me, I could taste the curry for two days.  After lunch we chilled for a while before heading to the Smithonian Air and Space museum near Dulles Airport. Our first stop there was the Observation Tower where you can watch the planes landing at Washington Dulles International Airport.  Then we just wandered the museum looking at the historic airplanes.  The Enola Gay is here as is the Space Shuttle Discovery.  There were a lot of older gentlemen being escorted around, they were on an honor flight from the Chicago area - how cool is that?  I talked to a few of them, they were mostly Korean war veterans from the south suburbs.


standing at the back of the Discovery Space Shuttle


Mary, Linn, and Terry enjoying dinner
After the museum we headed back to Reston where Linn made us a delicious pulled chicken dinner and we had a very enjoyable evening hanging out and watching videos of past vacations.  They’ve been on some amazing trips!  Terry put together a video of their photos set to music of their Africa trip - quite impressive.  We also watched the YouTube video that Marty did of our trip bicycle trip with them to the Baltics in 2014 - such good memories!  We are going on another bike trip with them this October to Belgium and the Netherlands. 




We have more family living in Reston, our nephew Kevin, his wife Mary and their one month old baby, Jacks Benedict Schmidt.  We stopped by on Thursday morning for a quick visit and baby snuggle.  Jacks is the 19th great nephew/niece born on my side and we have a new great niece coming in June - Wow!  When we left Chicago back in October of 2013 we only had 8, this family just keeps growing.  On Marty’s side we even have one great-great niece, 4 year old Mila. 

Jacks Bendict Schmidt - I think he likes me!

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Pennsylvania

We left Reston on Friday Morning following Terry’s excellent directions on avoiding tollways.  Bath, Pennsylvania was our next stop and we spent four night there.  Why Bath, Pennsylvania?  It just happens to be the closest campground we could find near Nazareth, PA which is where Martin guitars are made.  They offer weekday tours of their factory and on Monday we took the tour. 

The campground we stayed at was nice but with very tight spots to get in and out of.  It was wooded and right in the foothills of the Blue Mountains.  When we checked in I looked over the “rules and regulations” and noticed that you can’t walk your dog after dusk.  When I asked why, they told me it was because of the bears.  Ok, we’ll keep Maddie inside and we’ll stay inside with her to keep her company. 

Saturday and Sunday were both very rainy days.  The rain was no problem because we had cable with the MLB station and the Cubs were playing the White Sox and we got to watch the games!  We did do some Walmart shopping on Saturday and on Sunday we drove over to Bethlehem to check out the town.  It was still raining so we couldn't get out and walk around but we did happen to notice there was a Hollywood Casino so we spent some time in there.  It was a good place to spend a rainy afternoon, there was a mall with a food court attached to the casino so we didn’t spend our whole time gambling (just most of it). 

"I pulled into Nazareth...."
On Monday morning we headed over to Nazareth and toured the Martin Guitar factory.  The tours are hourly so we had to wait about 45 minutes but they have a very nice museum and gift shop so the time went quickly.  Walking through the factory was fascinating, you see the guitar making process from start to finish. 



Ok Marty, we can go in and watch them make guitars

Clothespins, low-tech but effective
Sanding braces



















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Tuesday was another travel day.  We drove through five states (Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire)  We spent the night in a Walmart parking lot, one of the nicest ones as far as nearby amenities - there was a Michaels Craft Store, a dollar store and a grocery store in the same parking lot and a Panera’s right next door. 

Wednesday (5/16) was our last full day of traveling - YAY!  We left New Hampshire and crossed over the Connecticut River west back into Vermont to head north on 91.  I 91 is one of the prettiest highways we’ve ever been on and hopefully when we leave Maine we’ll be able to spend some time in Vermont.  From I 91 North we got on Highway 2 east across New Hampshire and finally into Maine.  Highway 2 has lots of warning signs to look out for moose but  sadly we didn’t see any. 

We are spending the summer at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum but since we won’t have any utilities there we decided to spend one last night in a full hook-up campground 3 miles south of the museum.  We set up our rig and then took the short drive to the museum to check out our summer home and meet our new boss.  You’ll have to wait until my next post to read about Maine.  I will tell you this much, it's "buggy" and beautiful.  Here's a link to the museum where we're working: www.maineforestandloggingmuseum.org

3/15 thru 4/15/2018 - Our month in Miami

We loved Miami (except for the traffic)!  From the beach to the ballpark (with family) to the Everglades we had a great month.

We stayed at the Larry and Penny Thompson Memorial Park which is a South Dade County campground and it was very reasonably priced, especially for Florida.  It's just about impossible to find any campground in Florida for the winter unless you book a year ahead.  And most are very expensive especially compared to our usual winter destination of Arizona.  We were very lucky to find a spot and for $600.00 for the month including electricity it's one of the best deals we've found since we started our travels.  We never expected to be this far south in Florida this winter but once I saw the Cubs schedule and realized they were opening their season in Miami it was a no-brainer.  I'll follow them anywhere and Marty is happy to come along (right, Marty?)

Map of our campground
This is a nice campground with some very nice walking trails and a swimming pool.  The land was originally a fruit orchard and there are still many fruit trees along the trail (no picking allowed).  The park is laid out in 11 pods (9 pods with 15 sites and 2 with 20 sites).  Many of the people who come here in the winter have been coming for years and stay in the same pod so each pod is like a little community with pot-lucks and outings. There is also a large building (Cabana) next to the pool and once a week they have an ice cream social.  Staying here is a cross between a state park with lots of hiking and a private park with social activities.  The "snowbirds" start leaving in March which is why we were lucky enough to get a spot (we came down on 3/15).







When we arrived in Miami the weather was perfect - sunny and mid 70's!  On our first full day (Friday, 3/16) we took a drive over to Key Biscayne to visit Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.  It was lovely!  We walked along the seawall and then climbed the 109 steps to the top of the lighthouse and then checked out the beach.  Considering it was Spring Break the beach wasn't too crowded.  After leaving the beach we drove to Costco and discovered the very worst thing about Miami - THE TRAFFIC!  Floridians like to blame all the tourists and snowbirds  for their bad traffic and bad drivers but we were down here after most of them left and it never got any better.  Lane changes without turn signals were the norm - very aggravating.  It's a good thing we're retired and are never in a hurry.


The couple in the site next to us (Ken and Rosanna from Ontario) were extremely friendly and gave us lots of ideas of things to do in the area.  On Sunday (3/18) they had us follow them to the Miami Flea Market and gave us some tips on how best to navigate it.  We walked around for a couple hours, bought a few things (mangos and orange t-shirts) and headed back to our rig.

Later that week, we took a drive south to Key Largo and stopped at John Pennecamp State Park.  We are having visitors (Yay!) next week and are looking for places to take them.  When we got back in the car we drove a little bit further south in the Keys to an Elks Club that has 10 RV sites right on the Gulf!  We were thinking about leaving Miami a few days early and staying here a couple days.  Decided not to but it was very tempting.

An amazing, emotional day!
Saturday, 3/24, was "March for Our Lives" and we were proud to be able to march with the Parkland Community.  And now I'm getting on my soapbox:  The NRA puts out so much misinformation and too many people believe that their guns are in danger of being taken away.  If you have no mental health issues, have never been convicted of a crime and are licensed and trained and feel you need a gun to protect yourself and your family go for it.    Just please keep it in a safe place and away from young people.   We have been on the road for almost five years and have never felt that our lives were in danger.  The people we meet in our travels are friendly and kind as are the majority of people in our great country and I'm so tired of all the negative news that is put out just to scare us. STOP IT!   

Below is a list of what March For Our Lives is all about (nothing radical, just common sense laws).

  1. Universal, comprehensive background checks
  2. Bringing the ATF into the 21st century with a digitized, searchable database
  3. Funds for the Center for Disease Control to research the gun violence epidemic in America
  4. High-capacity magazine ban
  5. Assault weapons ban

Guns are a huge problem in our country and something needs to be done.  I just recently found out that the NRA is a non-profit (501C 4) organization which makes no sense to me.  Organizations like Moms Demand Action which are all about educating people and fighting for common sense gun laws don't get the tax break.

Or at least use some of your millions of dollars for common sense laws!





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VISITORS!
On Sunday, 3/26 (Happy 30th Anniversary to us!) Sue, Earl, Sarah Beth and Megan drove down from the Chicago area to spend spring break with us.  The girls stayed with us and Sue and Earl stayed at a nearby Quality Inn which turned out to be the "No" Quality Inn, it was disgusting!  They ended up moving over to a LaQuinta which was even a little closer to us.

Monday (3/27) was beach day.  We drove back to Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and set up our chairs and beach umbrellas and enjoyed the day.

Bathing Beauties!

We are here!  It's so convenient to have a world map tattooed on your back. 

On Tuesday, 3/28, we drove to the central part of the Everglades.  We had planned on taking their tram tour but when we got there people were parking outside the park because the parking lot was full.  We decided to drive a little further west on HWY 41 and check out the Big Cypress Visitor Center.  It would have been nice to take the 2 hour ranger guided tram tour but there were plenty of alligators to see outside the Visitor Center and a short movie inside so our visitors had their "Everglades" taste.

Alligator Watching
First time we've seen one with his mouth open - looks a little hungry
Wednesday (3/29) was "hang around the pool" day.  It was pretty hot so the girls were very happy to go swimming and sunning.



















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GO CUBS!!


Ahhhh, Thursday.  Cubs opened their season in Miami (you didn't really think they came down from Chicago just to see us, did you?)  We had great seats, the Cubs won and we have very high hopes for the rest of the season. The ballpark was filled with Cubbie Blue - there were at least as many Cub fans as Marlin fans.  As I'm writing this on 4/14 the Cubs have been struggling and are just at .500 but they just had an incredible comeback in a game they were losing 10-2.  They WON 14-10!!  Go Cubs!

The White Sox fan wearing a Cubs shirt - I'm so proud!



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Our visitors left us early Friday morning (4:30!) for their 22 hour drive back to Chicago.  My crazy brother-in-law does all the driving and on the way down put in a 17 hour day!  I think if I was driving 22 hours I might split it a little more evenly but, hey, that's just me.  Once they left, we went back to sleep and had a very lazy day.

Full time Rving isn't all play. We didn't make it to the dentist when we were last in Chicago so we found one in Miami with a "new patient" rate of $59.00 for cleaning, x-ray and exam.  They were very thorough and even re-glued Marty's crown which had been bothering him and fell out during the cleaning.  I was talking to one of the technicians (Yulietta) who was pregnant and asked if she knew what she was having.  She knew that she was having a girl but was waiting for one of her co-workers to get back from vacation before telling the staff.  She tried to tell me she was having a "gender-reveal" pinata to make the announcement but wasn't sure how to say it in English so she asked one of the other girls.  Poor Yulietta accidentally told me that it would be filled with pink items and was so upset with herself because she thought the other girl heard her.  I was sure she hadn't noticed but it was pretty funny how easy the slip was.

Yum!
We asked the dental staff for a recommendation for a good Cuban restaurant and they suggested the nearby LaCarretta.  When we got there at 3:30 the parking lot was pretty full which is always a good sign.  The food was just ok but the Mango Mojito was pretty tasty.









We've spent some time shopping thrift stores and estate sales.  We are going to a wedding later in the month and don't travel with "wedding-worthy" clothes.  We both did pretty well, I found a brand new dress and Marty found a nice jacket, tie and shoes.  I'm still looking for shoes but we still have a few weeks.

Banyan Tree at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Where the Boys Aren't


We had two more tourist days.  The first was on Tuesday, 4/10.  We drove north to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in Ft. Lauderdale.  It was very hot and muggy but we still hiked the 1.5 mile trail - yay for us!  Then a quick peak in their visitor center and a walk across the street to the beach - Do you know what movie this beach was a major part of? 





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Our next and final tourist day was on Friday, April 13th.  We drove to the south part of the Everglades. We stopped at the Edward Coe Visitor Center and watched a movie about the Everglades.  Did you know it's not a swamp?  I learn something knew at every National Park we stop at.

Did you know that there's a missile site in the Everglades? From their brochure "Everglades National Park houses one of the best preserved relics of the Cold War in Florida.  A historic Nike Hercules Missile Base, dubbed HM-69 remains virtually the same as it was when official use of the site was terminated in 1979."

There was an open house at the Missile Site so we stopped and checked it out.  It was very interesting learning about this time in our history and seeing an actual (deactivated) missile.





Here's a quote from John F. Kennedy which was printed on the brochure we received:

"It is insane that two men, sitting on opposite sides of the world, should be able to decide to bring an end to civilization" (10/27/1962)

Ironic, isn't it?


Southern most point of mainland Florida

From the missile site we drove all the way to the bottom of Mainland Florida to the Flamingo Visitor Center.  They sustained quite a bit of damage during Hurricane Irma and haven't fully recovered but we did get to walk along the waters of Florida Bay (we even saw a manatee!).  We checked out the campground which at this time of year was pretty empty.  Some sites had electric so who knows, maybe someday we'll be back.






That's it for our month in Miami.  We are now heading north to Maine for the summer with a stop in Mobile, Alabama for a family wedding. 











This is a sign from the Everglades parking lot