A Trip Along Tamiami Trail
December 30, 2011
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We had a guest from out of town so decided to take a day ride across Tamiami Trail and play tourist. We figured we’d make little stops along the way and finish at Fakahatchee Strand, about the 80 miles point.
Completed in 1928, Tamiami Trail stretches across the State of Florida from Miami to Naples. Many funky attractions rose and fell over the years. Some of our favorites are long gone such as Frog City. Nowadays, shiny billboards rather than homemade signs grace the highway along with fancy tourist attractions and Indian villages.
Starting out at 9:30am our first stop as we left the sprawling metropolis that is Miami was “Palacios de los Jugos” for some mamey, sour sop, and passion fruit juice. We checked out “Dade Corners” which used to be the last stop for gasoline between Miami and Naples. However, too many of the souvenirs there now are made in China. To our left, we passed by the “Pit BBQ” which burned down years ago and was rebuilt to less funky standards. When we were last there, the menu had changed to a more hispanic flavor. We also passed by the old defunct shooting range whose entrance was graced by huge concrete arches.
- Reaffirmed that the Miccosukee Indian Visitor Center was not a useful stop. Expensive and not very educational. It was hosting an Art Show but the $15 price tag just struck us as too steep. They were also offering Aztec dances. What were Aztecs doing in South Florida?
- We had a pleasant visit at Clyde Butcher’s Photo Gallery at mile marker 54.5. Surrounded by Big Cypress National Reserve, it is perched in a scenic region. The large format photographs are easy on the eye as well.
- It’s time for lunch so we stop in Everglades City at Camilla’s Grill.
- Palm Frond Masks decor Camilla’s
- Honeybee outside Camilla’s
- Earl decided to do some exploring so we went to Choloskee Island. At the southern point there is an old store museum which is a slice of the early 1900’s.
They stopped making Postum in 2007.
Canoe under Smallwood Store Museum
- Choloskee Island
- Young Ibis at Fakahatchee Strand. They turn white once they mature. We made it to Fakahatchee Strand Boardwalk by 4pm. Very crowded with tourists but happily, not with mosquitoes. However, the chances of seeing the red tail hawk with all the tourists was greatly diminished. All one could see were the nests. The shop at the center was reasonably priced and our guest had a chance to buy some souvenirs.
- Blue Heron
River of Grass. Driving back, the sun was setting, the white birds were illuminated as they were doing their final flights to their roosting grounds. Backlit with a rainbow this was a stunning sight. It all happened too fast to get a photograph. We just had to be satisfied with having the experience.
River of Grass
We stopped to look at some of the roosting birds -- ibises, wood cranes, egrets, and blue herons. They arranged themselves like little white ornaments on the trees. There was a hopeful alligator hanging out nearby. A moor hen paddled by nonchalantly.
Final stop, Shark Valley, its dark now so we get out the flashlights and head out on the trail. Spotted the leopard frogs, a green tree frog, a gecko and quite a few toads. Our visitor got a little frightened by the proximity of the red glowing alligator eyes. We've seen alligators lying on the road or sidewalk at this park before. We spooked a few birds in the trees and called it a night.
Dinner was dim sum (still on the trail but back in the city). Made it home by 9:30pm. So, in total, our tourist adventure consisted of ten stops and twelve hours.