3/19/22 - Key Largo, FL / Destination Naples, FL
The kids slept in today which rarely happens! 7:45 am felt incredible. Enzo actually woke up earlier, but Nick took him outside to go on a walk (to see the sunrise over the water) so the rest of us could sleep. Very kind. After we all tumbled out of the van we ate breakfast and then it was time to pack up. We are getting much faster and efficient at this and today was our best time yet. We rolled out of there at about 10:30 am. The drive to Naples is about 2.5 hours from Key Largo. You drive back toward Miami, but then turn West and drive strait across the southern tip of Florida. You basically skirt around the Everglades. It was a nice drive and we thought we might stop along the way to experience an airboat ride, but then all the boys fell asleep! So we just passed them all and continued driving. The open land of the Everglades was a definite change from the Florida we have seen so far. A canal of water paralleled the length of that road. We saw tons of sun bathing turtles on the rocks. Nick and I were talking about how we hadn’t seen any alligators in the wild yet (which I was okay with btw.) But not long after that I saw a guy on the side of the road pointing his camera toward
the canal. I looked in the canal and sure enough there were two alligators in the water. I gasped. The road was very narrow. We couldn’t pull over, but I really wanted Nick to see them. We continued driving but didn’t see any pull outs. Then the first crossroad we came to happened to have a small parking lot with a boardwalk built specifically to view alligators. It couldn’t have worked out better for us. We parked and walked on the boardwalk immediately seeing several alligators! I am convinced there is nothing creepier than an alligator in the water. There were eight or nine of them that we watched there. There was also a ranger guy who answered questions and educated us about the alligators a little bit. It really was very cool to watch them and understand what they do and why, but they are absolutely soulless creatures to me. Nothing creepier. We spent about 20 minutes there and then hustled back to the van. It has been VERY hot. Like 90 degrees hot and muggy. We drove the rest of the way to Naples and went right to campground. We set up our tent (we use it for storage at each campsite) loaded the totes we didn’t need in there, and then left again to meet up with Gram and Grandpa. We met them at Lowdermilk Beach. Spring break season is ramping up here and the beach was packed! Busiest one we’ve seen. But it was also very beautiful. Soft white sand and gentle waves. We found a spot to set up and all started playing in the sand and water. We had a good time there, but we weren’t able to stay too long. Dinner and bedtime came fast. We decided to meet back at our campground. Gram and Grandpa picked up Thai takeout on the way and we enjoyed that together on the picnic table outside our van. Enzo was already asleep and after Ozzy and Fitz were done eating, they went right to bed too. The rest of us stayed up and chatted until Gram and Grandpa had to leave (they have an early flight home in the morning.) We said our goodbyes and then went to bed. We will miss them!