Due to a job conversion, I had an opportunity to take a few weeks off. Since it was Feburary, my choices were limited to warmer locations. I was tired of the cold! Fortunately, my good friend and brother-in-law Thomas lived in south Florida, just north of the Everlgades. He was gracious enough to let me stay for a while! Hereis a shot of his current abode and jeep!
He took a few days off, and on one of the first days, we drove over to Sanibel Island, where he had lived for a while. Here is a shot looking over the bridge from Ft. Meyers, heading to the island.
The weather was nice, and we thought we would ride bikes the length of two islands. Thomas had a bike already, but I needed to rent one from one of the many tourist trap rental spots.
Sanibel is well layed out for the bicyclist and jogger. There are many protected paths along the islands length. Thomas did a good job drafting behind me....lol.
A good amount of the island is reserved for the local habitat, so no development on a good chunk of the real estate. There are many falcon, eagle and other nests in the wetland areas.
Here is a shot looking over a bridge onto an estruary, as we crossed from the main road area to a beach access point.
Thomas leads the way to the "shell" beaches.
Some nice tourists took our photo....Thomas is standing on a box to look taller of course....:)
It was a bit on the cool side, but that did not stop the tourists from the north from getting in the water, and wear only shorts and a T-shirt.
On we pushed. We actually went about 15 miles up on two islands....passing alot of really nice expensive homes.
Here is one of the cheap "shacks" we passed. Probably 8,000 square feet at least. And that is just the main house.
Even tho it was cold, the beach vendors were out in force, renting sailboats, parasailing and the like.
We turned around on the north island, after having a nice lunch at the "Key Lime Pie" resturaunt. Where of course we had some great Grouper Sandwhiches, and Key Lime Pie. It was pretty darned good...
The beaches around Ft. Meyers have many spots where the shells are washed up in huge piles.
All too soon we had to race back to return my bike. Then we ate at a great hamburger spot, and checked out the sunset beach areas, while we waited for the heavy traffic leaving the island to improve.
Sunset on a beach in Feburary. I'm glad I didn't go to Alaska...too cold!
The next day we took off on a Swamp Boat tour....we caught a bus for the tour near Thomas's place, and after an hour, we were in the Everglades.
As usual, Thomas and I were the youngest around. Most of the people on our tour were in their 70's. This was the same at resturaunts, shops and sight seeing places.
The water on the north side of this lake area was about 3 feet deep, and choked with swampy vegetation....
And alligators...lots and lots of alligators. Thomas and I probably saw several hundred during the safari that day...
Some were small, like this 3 footer. A few were around the 12 foot size...
There were lots of water ways and paths along the glade. Some places the water was only about 3 inches deep, with a deep and sticky mud below. For many, many miles around. I'm glad the air boat did not get stuck.
Captain Sean....on Captain Sean's Swamp Boat Rides. We've never brought a passenger back. Want to try our tours? LOL.....
Here is a 12 footer......
A pair of 12 footers, and a 15 footer.
After the Everglades tour, we then got on a tour boat leaving from the docks of the National Park Service Visitor Center there.
Thomas and I lucked out, and got the front of the boat mostly for ourselves.
We passed slowly thru salt water estuaries, being maintained and even created by the Mangrove Trees....
Three times duirng the trip, groups of dolphins came by to get a free ride in and out of the bay area, by riding the pressure ridges created by the boat. Some would ride the stern wave...
And some would ride the bow pressure wave, right in front of the boat's front.
Every minute or two they would come up for air, and they enjoyed leaping out of the water...so I was able to catch a few pictures of simultanious jumps.
At the entrance of the bay and the Carribbean, were alot of nice sandy islands, more Mangrove Tree clumps, and lots of pelicans.
On the way back, more hitch hikders....
Here is a shot of three jumping at once....
A shot of me on the bow. It was a beautiful day...and Thomas and I were the youngest on the boat! As usual for that part of Florida.
The largest Banyan Tree in the United States is on his property. Planted there by some friends who were visiting him.
Thomas, Henry Ford and myself!
Souped up Mustangs from the 60's.
An early Model Ford touring car.
Cars from the 50's and 60's.
Thomas and my favorite vehicle was this old truck, with the original paint....a little rusty looking, but all orginal, and on painting/polishing needed!.
Several of the Edison Houses. Guests and family stayed in houses away from theirs. Good Plan!
A shot of the garge, where the chauffer and his family lived.
The porches wrapped around each building, and there were several large buildings to the complex.
One of the many spacious indoor rooms.
His team's lab, where they researched artificial rubber.
The collection of his inventions was staggering. The man was a serious inventor!
Here are more of the thousands of exhibits.
I would hate to pay the electric bill for a 75,000 watt light bulb!
We spent another day just exploring Ft. Meyers Beach area and the state parks south of there. There is a nice pier at the city beach, which has a good view of the coast.
Pelicans and me
Pelicans and Thomas
Ft. Meyers Beach area. A popular place at night, and not too far from where Thomas used to live.
There is a small state park on the northern point of the land, and it had alot of land tortises living there, inside little burrows they had dug.
South of Ft. Meyers and Sanibel Island. There are alot of state parks along the roads and coast south to the Everglades, which is really nice.
It was a bit cool and breezy, but the emptiness and lack of people was pretty nice.
Looking down into the estuary, you could see large shells, still alive with the molusk foot moving the shell along the sandy floor.
Thomas looking down onto the estruary. Sadly, we didn't see any manatees, which was the first time for Thomas to not spot any.