Thursday, May 2, 2013

Reached the Atlantic

I haven’t taken many pictures lately. The scenery has been pretty much the same since we hit southern Florida. There are lots of trees, undergrowth, water and towns along the way. All very pretty, mind you, but all pretty much the same. I’ll try to find some worth posting.

Driving along FL Hwy 997 towards Homestead.

Our truck has 145,000 miles on it. It has been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. It is 10 years old now. The only part I have had to replace was the alternator. This trip I knew that things would start failing so I wasn’t surprised when it happened. The turn indicator blinker thingy went out!

I stopped in an auto part store to pick up the part ($15) and put on my best stupid look (very easy for me) and asked the clerk if he knew where the turn indicator blinker thing is on a 2003 F-250 was. He said he didn’t know exactly but he would come out and put this in for me. Well, he couldn’t locate the thing either.

We came into the Oscar Scherer State Park that night. We parked next to the campground host. He helped me back in the rig and I asked him if there was a Ford dealer around. He was a mechanic and was sure he could put the turn indicator blinker thingy in. After tearing the dash apart he gave up.

We were experiencing a vibration from the rear so I took the truck in to a Ford dealer to get the tires looked and to have the turn indicator blinker thingy installed. The service manager said he was afraid the problem wasn’t that simple, that it might be in the little arm you use to activate the blinker, wipers, washer, and hair dyer (I made that last up) because the flashers worked but the blinkers didn’t. Three hours later I had newly balanced tires and the turn indicator blinker thingy installed (that was all the problem was). It only cost $50 to install the blinker thingy and $100 to dynamically balance, under load, all the tires as well as putting air into the under inflated set of four. I was happy to pay it and had a nice chat with the service manager.

I can’t wait until something really serious fails on this vehicle.

The next morning I got a call from the service manager asking if I would be needing my driver’s license and the credit cards a left on the counter.  You see that I am really fine-tuning my stupid act.

The Everglades. 

Here are some observations I have made so far on this trip.

As you drive across this country by automobile you can’t help notice road kill.  We have witnessed a variety of road kill on our trip. The predominant road kill varies by geographical location. I suppose a road kill expert could tell you where you are by asking you what road kill you saw in the last 100 miles.

Here is where we ate last night. Good food. Looks like the
Caribbean doesn't it? Grassy Key, Florida.

I remember the predominate road kill in Texarkana, Texas, was armadillo.  I was expecting that this would hold true through Southern Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi – not so. In Louisiana it was alligator. The South Texas road kill was diverse but I think the predominant one was opossum with deer being a close runner-up. Mississippi was also opossum. Here in Florida I haven’t noticed a clearly predominant road kill – dead tires seem to be most of what we see.

Ninety percent of the roads we have driven have been in great condition. We have mostly stayed off of interstate but even the little black roads on the map have been in wonderful shape. Maybe the southern states don’t have the fiscal problems that California does. I have to research that a bit. We hit the worst roads we’ve encountered yesterday coming through the everglades. A lot of that was due to repair crews placing horrendous speed bumps up to keep traffic speed down.

As you drive along these by-ways you see many homes. We have seen lots of very nice homes here in the south. They often sit way back off the road. They have large shade trees and lots of grass. Like, half an acre in the front yard. They are largely well kept.

Of course we have also seen a lot of very run down and trashy places. These are sometimes interspersed with the very nice places. And there are some many houses that it looks like people just abandoned.

It is really green since we left Texas. Plants grow so well here it looks like you don’t dare leave something sitting for long because it will be overgrown in no time. We have seen whole houses swallowed up.

An interesting side to this is that the countryside looks, at a glance, like no one litters here. However that is far from true. They litter but the vegetation covers it in no time. We have seen unattended vehicles grown over by vines and such. You have to keep moving here are the veggies will get you.
Fuzzy picture of an iguana here at our RV Park.

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