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Tamiami Trail US41

sunny 25 °C

I was reading a blog entry on one of the blogs I follow, "Key West Diary", and the latest post is about crossing the state on US41 - https://conchscooter.blogspot.com/2021/01/alligator-alley.html

It brought a couple of memories of when I did it in 1991 and when Claire and I did it a few years back on route from Punta Gorda to Weston.

In December 1991 I was staying with a work colleague and friend, Carole Belcher, in the south of Miami in Cutler I had the loan of a Kawasaki Z750 twin from her neighbour I only knew as Sgt Steve. He was in the air force based at Homestead.

I had already done a trip to Key West and decided a longer trip to Sarasota to see where my Cavalcade had come from was the next trip. Remember in 1991 there was no internet.

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I set off along US41 stopping at various places to check out the Everglades. One stop was because I saw a large alligator on the opposite side of the water filled ditch. He or she was seemingly asleep just 20 feet from the traffic lane. I parked up the road and crouched down and went as quietly as I could armed with my camera... I got quite close, just the 8 feet of water away and it opened it eyes and dived (dove?) into the water. I ran as fast as I could back to the bike.... Someone had told me that on the flat a gator could manage about 30mph in a straight line...

Later on I stopped at a Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center where there were loads of them in the ditch and a crowd of people hanging over the fence to look at them.

On the way back after an overnight stay on Sanibel Island I stopped at the Miccosukee Indian reservation on US41 and had the airboat ride and watched the guys wrestling the gators...

Sadly none of the photos from this part of the trip have survived.

My next visit was in May 2014. Claire and had spent a week in Punta Gorda and done the usual tourist things like the Edison Ford complex in Fort Myers and the Muscle Car collection in Punta Gorda.

Our second week was to be in Weston. We used I75 to get to Naples and then took US41 across the state. Partly because we didn't have a Sun Pass in the rental Mustang and partly as I wanted to check out the "old road" and the Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center.

We weren't disappointed with the drive across, stopping at a few turnouts to walk the boardwalks. we saw plenty of birds but no gators or even turtles.

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The parking at Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center was pretty packed with cars and RV's. It is difficult to remember back 23 years to my previous visit so I have no great recollection of how it had changed!

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From there it was off to Weston and our apartment.

Posted by InvictaMoto 12:06 Archived in USA Tagged florida alligators tamiami_trail us41

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