I got up around seven and wandered into the cafe at my motel for cafe Cubano. What a way to start the day!
Sorry, I cannot remember her name. She was lovely!
At nine I was out front of the hotel awaiting the van back to the airport where I picked up my car.
Then back to the motel to load up and hit the road. Out the drive then to the highway. A nice person waved me right onto the street.
Then I stopped. We all stopped. Traffic was a disaster. Due to roadwork, I got stuck on the highway for fifteen or twenty minutes during which time I moved about a mile. Maybe less.
Eventually I was able to get onto a southbound road on the western edge of the airport, hoping it would take me to Florida 41, the Tamiami Trail. I sailed along for about a mile and then it curved east – back to the airport!
I scrambled off on an eastbound road which took me onto a tollway. Yikes! I was able to slide back off before having to pay a toll, but the road was one way north, away from 41.
More maneuvers and finally I was heading back south and made it to 41, turning west.
Down the road I went. It was busy, full of traffic, but eventually the road narrowed and became one lane each way. Little traffic. A canal ran along the north side, my side, and I kept my eyes open for wildlife.
Mostly it was birds: egrets, great blue herons, and many more I didn’t recognize.
I spotted people fishing all along the canal, and in some spots, photographers. I pulled over where they were and sometimes other places as well. Once I was moving along slowly and saw a flash of bright pink. I knew what it was: a roseated spoonbill.
I pulled over quickly but it was hard to get a shot. I drove a bit further and saw another area heavy with birds, plus one of the photographers I’d already run into.
I got out of the car, glanced at the canal, and there he was. A big old alligator.
He was on the other side of the canal which was maybe sixteen feet across. On my side of the canal was a steep incline about four feet high so I felt secure in stopping to get a photo of the gator.
I took one then squatted down to get a closeup of just his eyes. Through my viewfinder, I watched those eyes sink just underwater and move my direction. I, perhaps pretty wisely, chose to move along at a rapid pace and head for the birds just east of me.
I never saw the gator again though I watched awhile, hoping he’d pop up and go after a bird (sorry, birds). But alas, he didn’t show himself again.
I was starving because I hadn’t had breakfast, so I stopped in at a small restaurant operated by the Miccosukee tribe. They had dishes on their menu that don’t exist in Arizona!
West past Clyde Butcher’s gallery (which I’ll visit Monday) and a few small towns and parks and walking loops and finally to the northern entrance to Marco Island, my destination.
I reached the island and called Linda. She gave me directions to the condo and when I arrived, she, Karen, and Kris were standing alongside the road waiting for me.
And this was the purpose of the trip: reunion.
Karen, me, Linda and Kris
Four of us, childhood friends, decided to skip our high school reunion and get together here, just the four of us. We chose the spot because A) it was available, and B) one of the women owned it and we could use it for free. As in no cost! Just travel expense and food.
Did I mention this is a lovely condo with a balcony looking out over the Gulf of Mexico? I am one happy woman this evening!
And so the reunion began. Stories and laughter. Patio time and sunset. Dinner and wine.
I am one contented woman this evening.