Gators and Glades

It’s that time of year when we attend the APPL park trade show–this year in Dallas.  We’ve now motored across from last year’s venue–San Diego and are headed to Key West Florida.  Instead of paying the labor unions hundreds of dollars to roll my Bambi Airstream into the convention center, Brian makes me a miniature…..check this out–complete in every detail including all the stickers/posters.   For two days we field questions about our unique WPA silkscreened historic and contemporary posters.  We’ve now about six others copying our style, and quite frankly the more they publish, the better we look.   Check out my genuine Route 66 necktie….and it comes with a ‘tacky’ trailer tie-tack!

We then drive east into the Bible Belt and are not surprised by the intensity of religiosity (expletive deleted); the radios were even worse….  so we keep driving to Pensacola where we meet with Martina’s brother who is perhaps the best barbeque expert I’ve ever known:

Check out his setup.  Three professional smokers and he cuts up hickory and tosses in a chip or two for flavor.  His steaks are three inches thick….

This is a heart stopper!  After this meal and a 17 lb./24 hour smoked beef brisket the following night, I take on a southern accent and have a great desire to collect guns and knives!

After three days in Pensacola, we turn eastward again but first visit Fort Pickens which was built with slave labor prior to the civil war and guards the harbor entrance here.  There are millions of bricks here–this is a massive fortress and others are even bigger.  The gun you see here was the largest guns of the war–and never fired–kind of like our cold war.  The designer was one of Napolean’s architects who directed construction of many of these around the southern ramparts of our country.

This is what the southerners mean by “walking the dog.”

So we drive all the way out to the end of the road–Key West, Florida.  This place is so tacky!….strewn with single-shot  bars and the typical tourist traps–the perfect cruise ship destination.    Both into Key West and back again, we stop for a night at Key Largo and visit many of the artisan shops in between–the essence of the Keys–quite nice actually.

Driving north, here is our campsite at Everglades National Park–our goal on this trip.

Opps!  wrong upload….here is the actual site–a very spacious campground, and this late in the season was nearly empty due to the increase of summer bugs and….rattlesnakes.   Note the Caribbean Pines that tower above our campsite.  Most of the Everglades and the gulf coast swamplands were populated with this species and have since been drained to raise paper-pulp species of pines (pinus radiata) as you will also find in most of New Zealand.   Lately there has been a big movement to reflood the Everglades back to the “River of Grass” restoring the natural ecosystem including the alligators pictured above.  Hope it works.  Meanwhile….

….we meet with the archivist and settle on a design for another poster in our series–this probably our 40th image.  We’re well on the way to completing our goal of publishing a poster of each park before the 2016 NPS Centennial.  This poster will feature many endemic birds and the alligators.   Are you ready?

This is our last night at Lake Gitch-e-goomie (or some such name) KOA–one of the nicest we found, but guess what……it’s a Christian owned and operated campground.  It took me two days of badgering them before they would let us heathens store our trailer there….   Maybe I didn’t give them the secret sign or perhaps it was our “Rubber Tomahawks” bumper stickers–don’t get me started….

Well, we two Alaskans finally made it to the opposite end of our country; as far from Kupreanof as you can get without getting our feet wet–and how opposite we found it.  We will continue this trip in the fall working up the Appalachian mountains through more parks.  Stay tuned.

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One Response to “Gators and Glades”

  1. roger Says:

    I notice that all of the church signs point to the right…figures. It has been lots of fun keeping up with your pilgrimage across the US.

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