Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Monday, January 14, 2013


  What a day we had yesterday!! We drove about 65 miles South of LaBelle Florida on Rt. 29 to Everglade City, better known as the Gateway to 10,000 islands…A longtime childhood friend of Den’s and member of the SHS Class of 1960 invited us down for a tour and boat ride out to the edge of the Gulf..Tom King and his wife, Sammye, have been spending their Winter here for over 20 years, and Tom at least 10 years before that…They have a park model right off the main road across the bridge, and within a block of the boat dock he keeps his boat.  They actually met each other here over 20 years ago, but are both from Illinois. Of course, McGyver and I were thrilled to see a part of Florida we had never seen, not to mention hooking up with old friends…

On the ride down, I was totally taken off guard by these signs along the South part of Rt. 29..



I had no idea that there were panthers here in South Florida…First, panthers…This state is much more than Disneyworld, people…much more! There is a Florida Panther Wildlife Refuge down here…They are an endangered species and are protected.  There have been many killed by cars on this highway, so they put up a huge chain link fence along the road in many spots to try to keep them off the road…I urge you to use the link I gave you and read about these beautiful animals..No, we didn’t see one on the way down..But, on our way back, there were two cars stopped along the roadside and people out hovering around what appeared to me to be a very large brown cat lying just off the road (these panthers aren’t black, they are brown)…I realized this a little late and we didn’t stop, but I have a feeling another Panther had just been hit by one of those cars…How awful..

So, after we found Tom and Sammye’s house, they took us for a truck ride to the “end of the road”…Chokoloskee. “According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), all of it land. Chokoloskee is located on Chokoloskee Island, which is opposite the mouth of the Turner River near the southeastern end of Chokoloskee Bay. Chokoloskee Bay is about ten miles (16 km) long and 2 miles (3 km) wide, and runs southeast to northwest along the mainland of Collier County. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands. Chokoloskee Island is connected to Everglades City on the mainland by a causeway. The land around Chokoloskee Bay, both on the mainland and the islands, is very low-lying. Chokoloskee Island is an exception, as it reaches a high-point of 20 feet (6 m) above sea level. This height is due to the shell mounds built on the island during more than 2,000 years of occupation by Native Americans of the Ten Thousand Islands district of the Glades culture.”

There is an old store located on the island at the end of the road called Smallwood Store, that was opened in 1906, when the island was wild and crazy…Now it is a museum, run by descendants of the original family...(You just knew I would interject some sort of history here, right?)..This area and the Everglade City itself are very old world and charming.  It reminded me very much of the Florida Keys except it is waaaay more laid back and made up of tons of fishermen and boats…Everglade City is know for it’s harvesting of Stone Crabs…Yet again another link I recommend you go to…especially if you love seafood as we do…OK OK, I know most of you don’t “link” very often…but these links I put in here are quite a good read!!

After our ride tour of the island and old Everglade City, we went back to Tom and Sammye’s to prepare for our boat tour of the inland waterways between the islands…This involved a way to get our coolers and snacks to the boat, just a block’s walk away…Here is what Tom and McGyver used…


What we have here are 2 “old farts” on “old fart” trikes…Yes, those are coolers in the baskets…Tom’s trike was electric, Den had to pedal his ass…HA! (Sammye and I walked along waaaaay behind these two.)

I am going to put a few pics in a couple different collages…I have way too many to load up one at a time…


Captain King was a wonderful tour guide.  Going out in the boat was like heaven…






We anchored just to the edge of the Gulf waters right by this sandbar full of White Pelicans…This particular sandbar is where Tom and Sammye got married 20-something years ago…They had about 30 guests, and Tom said they had to make it a fast ceremony, because when the tide comes in, this sandbar virtually disappears…

Right here Sammye broke out the beer, cheese, crackers and sausage and we had a great snack watching those Pelicans come and go…The  pic in  top right corner is a zoom…Notice they are all turned facing one way…why?..Isn’t Mother Nature something? We so enjoyed just listening to the waves lapping sleepily against the boat and the billowy white clouds whispering by above…Now THIS is Florida!!!!




Yep…we saw some Dolphins by the boat…and that middle pic shows the high rises on Marco Island in the distance….


Above collage was taken as we returned on the inland waterway to the dock…This is quite a long trip through homes, restaurants, seafood sellers.

It  is also a “no wake” zone all the way because there are Manatees in this river inlet..NO, we didn’t see one..DARN!..


You can own that house on left for a cool $1,250,000.00..Not kidding. Middle is our Captain and his first mate mugging it up in our great “ride” ..and what can I say about the right hand picture??? The “Old Farts Club” rides again..

We sure want to thank Tom and Sammye for a fabulous day..We got a truck tour of Everglades City, and a boat tour of some of the islands and right out to the Gulf of Mexico…We left for our boat ride at noon and came off the water at 3:30…sunburned and grinning from ear to ear…McGyver and I left for our park about 4:30PM…it is, after all, about an hour 15 minute drive.  In closing this blog I have to say one more thing.  If you are looking for nightlife, fancy high rise hotels and gourmet restaurants…Everglade City is NOT for you.  But if you are one who like the wilderness backwater little towns of 500 population, having great little “joints”, quaint history and buildings…and fresh seafood OR want to catch your own, the by all means get  your little booties down to Everglade City, Florida….WE WILL DEFINITELY RETURN!(maybe with our Hiker next year)…




  1. awww looks like you had a great day with great friends...we will definitely put that city on our bucket list for the end of this month.....

  2. Haven't been there yet, but looks like a place to put on our list.

  3. We can't wait for April to come so we can retire and visit with our friends the Tempesta's In Inverness, last year we had a boat ride, I forgot the name of the river but it is near Homassosa, crystal clear and like you said anything you can think of including gators live there. I was amazed at all the rafters, But paul said the gators don't bother them. Be safe out there, and have fun...

  4. Shore birds tend to face into any wind present when not feeding.

  5. Love Everglades City. Been there...paddled across Fakahatchie Bay with a headwind on our way out to camp with a loaded canoe. I'll never forget it.

  6. Oh, man that looks just perfect...

  7. Our winters are sooo different......You are on the warm Gulf waters and we are in the Arizona desert. A very cool contrast, it is. I really loved the waters until I met the mountains. You need to call me a two-timer.....the mountains win.

  8. Very cool! We were in Everglades City on Saturday, and took the National Park boat tour through the mangrove forest. It was a lot of fun, but it sounds like you guys had a great tour with your friends!

  9. what a fabulous day you had! Great job describing the sights!

  10. Thank you for letting us know about Everglades City. I read the links and especially liked the write up on Stone Crabs.

  11. You are absolutely right, Donna, that is Florida. Terrific pics of a beautiful fun day. The only thing better would have been a photo of a leaping Panther!!

  12. Thanks for linking to Florida Rambler & I am so glad you enjoyed Everglades City! I couldn't help but notice those pelicans you photographed are WHITE pelicans, not the more common brown ones you see everywhere in Florida. They are snowbirds -- thousands come from Canada. There's one group that summers in the Grand Tetons and winters in Punta Gorda! They are much bigger than brown pelicans. Here's a story I wrote about them:

    1. Thanks, Bonnie...We dropped anchor right next to that sandbar with all of those Pelicans...amazing.

  13. Boats are the best way to see all the birds, just being birds. Looks like a fun day.

  14. Here is a link that I think you will find interesting. Thanks for this wonderful post and hoping to post more of this.

    Everglades boat tour