You can take the GRITS out of Florida, but you can't take Florida out of the GRITS!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Loop Road

I just read on my friend Misti's blog ( http://www.oceanicwilderness.com/ ) that it looks like they may be paving and widening Loop Road. The thought of that sickens me. For those of you who have never been down Loop Road, it is a one lane, rock road that loops through the pineland and swamps of Big Cypress, beginning and ending on Tamiami Trail. If you've ever passed Monroe Station, that is one of the two entrances/exits for the road.

I have been in love with Loop Road for years. The first time I went down it was with my husband before we were married. I remember it having HUGE potholes and it took forever to drive the entire route, but it was so much fun! The area is teeming with wildlife and you never know what you may see. We went down it a few months ago and the potholes are pretty much gone, but it is still a single lane rock road that most of the time is deserted. But on the weekends, the tourists do seem to find it, which is ok because they are obviously not the kind of tourists who only want Mickey Mouse and South Beach! If you want to see the "real" Florida, this is the place to be! Alligators everywhere, cottonmouths, hawks, deer, rabbits...most likely bear, too, although I've never seen one out there.

Waaaaay back in the old days, Al Capone built a place on Loop Road in an area known as Pinecrest. It was convenient for him since the area is actually in Monroe County, not Dade or Collier. Back then, all of the Monroe County law enforcement was located in the Keys (it probably still is today. I have NEVER seen a Monroe Co. Sheriff out there), so when the proverbial shit hit the fan, he would have plenty of time to know if they were heading his way. The remains of his house are still out there, although ihave never seen them. I have seen pictures, though, and it looks like only a small set of steps remain. Regardless, I'd still like to see them one day.

For being as isolated as it is, Loop Road has character. There is a man who lives out there who make a living taking pictures of naked women in the swamp. Really! There is a big wooden fence around his property that has paintings on it, as well as pots and pans on top of the posts. I don't know why those are there, but they are...and across the street from this compound is a rock covered grave, complete with a tombstone. No one or nothing is buried there, though. The guy just did it for kicks, like a conversation piece or something. What a whacko! There are the remains of an old gas station out there, too. They have those really old gas pumps and some old rusted out cars...creepy, like I don't want to actually stop there...but neat to see.

On the east end of the Loop, there are some Miccosukee homes. They are all identical. Not bad homes at all, decent homes. There is one that is home to an obvious Dolphin fanatic...you'd just have to see it... makes me laugh.

There are alot more stories about the history of Loop Road...google "Loop Road" and see what you can find. Monroe Station, the bar that used to be out there, the people...it's a rich area in more ways than one.

It really makes me sad to think they may pave that road and make it wider. Like Misti pointed outm the speed limit would obviously get raised, thus raising the roadkill rate. And for what? What would the point be? isn't there far more important things to use our tax dollars on? LEAVE THE ROAD ALONE, PEOPLE! JUST LEAVE IT ALONE. It has done fine for years and will continue to be fine if it's just left alone.... idiots.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My father used to drive the Tamiami Trail when we visited his brother in Ft Myers back in the 60's. I remember the little areas and homes back then. It was so scary at night.I just Googled Loop Rd. Thanks for the memories!

PAtti

C.L. Jahn said...

I usually take Tamiami Trail to visit my dad in Fort Myers; if not both ways, at least one way.

Mmm. Maybe it's time for a Loop Road trip before it's completely f^u^u^.. fouled up.

Floridacracker said...

I fell in love with Loop Road in 1981 when I was a seasonal ranger in Big Cypress. The ranger housing was a bunch of doublewides not too far from Loop and I drove it whenever I could.
I absolutely loved it.
Great otter place.

Anonymous said...

My fiance and I go out to loop road and go camping and we love it too. You are very right it would not be the same if it were paved. I love to take pictures of the plants and wildlife. We have met several people who live there and they are great. I would hate to see it change. thank you for bringing this to my attention.