With our batteries charged, water full, and holding tanks empty, we headed out of Myakka to our next stop; a first come, first serve campground off Route 41/Tamiami Trail called Midway. We had some fun with all the different ways to say, “Tamiami” and off we went.
About an hour later we stopped at the Walmart in Fort Myers for food and supplies. As we prepared for departure, Preston Parker and his wife approached us in their truck and asked about our campers. They have a truck camper and a fifth-wheel and were admiring our rigs. The very next day Preston subscribed to the magazine and referred his friend, Gary, who also subscribed. You just can’t beat word-of-mouth.
Back on the road, we turned on Route 41 and a few hours later we pulled into the Big Cypress Visitor Center. Outside of the visitor center there are dozens of alligators, fish, and birds in a small body of water. It’s like a mini-Everglades with boardwalk viewing.
A few miles down the road we pulled into Midway Campground and saw a bad sign. It read, “Campground Full”. Did we have a plan B? Of course not. Then the campground host recommended the Walmart in Florida City or the Miccosukee Indian Casino at the corners of 997 and 41. We had heard that the Walmart in Florida City didn’t allow overnight camping, so off we went to the casino.
Angela and I had never camped in a casino and we thought it was a bit of a gamble. But sometimes you have to roll the dice, play the cards you’re dealt, and put your chips on the table. All cliches aside, the Miccosukee Indian Casino was a good bet.
After we parked near the other RVs, we registered with the casino security for our overnight stay. When the security guard handed us our pass, Angela and Reta started hootin’ and hollerin’ like they had just hit the jackpot. They were all excited because there was an illustration of a truck and camper on the pass. The guard thought we were nuts. It was a funny moment.
Somehow refreshed from our day of driving, we then explored the casino. While we didn’t drop a single quarter into the sea of slot machines before us, we did gorge on the free soda and bountiful $12 buffet. After the disappointment at Midway, this was the perfect ending to our day. Full of food and ready for sleep, we walked back to our campers.
The next day was a story day so Angela and I were up at dawn completing the story and putting the Extra’s section together. After publishing Jack Cole’s interview, our MIFI internet stopped working. My only guess was that there was a large cell tower nearby and they turned a switch at about 9:00am that killed our internet reception. The email alerts hadn’t gone out yet. Ugh.
We quickly cleaned up the camper, closed all the vents and windows, locked the camper door, put up the step, put the cat in the truck, and headed to the Panera Bread just north of Homestead. Panera has free wireless internet, and darn good coffee, tea, and bagels too. Once there, we plugged-in our laptops and fired off the email alerts. I just love the feeling when another story and email alert is released.
As your computers with pinged with TCM Alert #379, we headed to Everglades National Park. At the far end of the Visitor Center parking lot was a Northern Lite 10-2 truck camper. When we met the owners we were stunned to realize that we had met them in Kelowna, Canada at the Northern Lite factory in 2007. After we had a good laugh, we headed to the Anhinga trail in the Royal Palm area of Everglades National Park. More on that amazing trail in the next report.
And wouldn’t you know we bumped into another couple in a Lance 845 filling their tank with water just outside of the campground. We were two of six truck campers in Long Pine campground that night. Evidently there are more than alligators in the Everglades.