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

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Drive Down Loop Road

For my birthday today, I decided I wanted to take a drive down Loop Road. So here are some pictures from the day...

You know you're starting to finally get away from civilation when you see this. I know it seems odd, but yeah, this huge Miccosukee casino is on the edge of the 'Glades.

We had to make a pitstop for some "emergency" food supplies...
And on the door were several invitations to different "Camps" for Christmas parties. They all said that "everyone's invited!" but somehow I imagine I'd get strange looks if I showed up at the Wind Clan's Camp with a Santa hat on shouting "Merry Christmas!" Yeah, I think they really only wanted to invite other Miccosukees...
Loop Road!
Not long after making the turn off the Trail, there are several pretty nice houses. They are all identical, yet the owners have managed to make each one a little different. I believe they are all Miccosukees, but it was hard to tell from some of the names on the mailboxes. I would LOVE living there! The view out their backdoors is wide open prairie with Cypress trees in the distance. Beautiful! Well, in front of one of those houses, we spotted this poor guy. Looks like Christmas dinner to me!
Ok, time to get serious...we're getting into gator country now. (To any tourists who may read this, here's a news flash for ya - The ENTIRE state of Florida is gator country!)
This was by far, the best find of the day. I looked in my bird book, but can't find anything that exactly matches this guy. He was awesome! I'm not kidding, we were maybe 10 feet away from him and he wasn't the slightest bit concerned. He looked at us, then bent over and continued to eat his lunch. He must be a species of some concern since he had a band on one of his legs. Note: Misti thinks it's a Short-Tailed Hawk. I think she may be right! Great!!!
Further down the road is the home of the guy who takes pictures of nekkid chicks in the swamp. I've written about him before. This time, his front gate was open, but my hub and son were disappointed not to see any flashes of flesh running around.
The Road.
Just playing around with the black and white setting on my camera.
Taking a break, throwing some rocks into the water...
And taking pictures of my son taking pictures!
I think this was at Sweetwater Strand. No gators around there today, which was strange. Woodstorks, ibis and anhingas were there, though. Couldn't manage a decent shot of any of them, though.

ON the way out, we passed a place where they store swampbuggies and airboats. Lots of vehicles in the fence, but we didn't see a single soul around. Kind of creepy.
Monroe Station. I wish they'd fix the old place up. It's getting worse and worse looking each time I see it.
Our final stop - The Pit! YUMMY!!! I was a little disturbed by the fact that they've cleaned the place up since my last visit. Fresh paint, new tables and's just not right! But the food tasted the same, so I guess by the time I get back out there, there may be a nice coat of dust and some scrapes on the paint and maybe the new tables will be a little rickety. Then it would seem normal again.

Thus ends my birthday adventure. Not too exciting, but I enjoyed every minute of it!


misti said...

Well, that corner is really the only place for a casino since most of the Tribe's lands are on wetlands. That whole area is federal reservation now.

Heheh, the general store. Yes, there are a zillion camp parties this month and the past two years we have had to deliver citrus to them. Apparently there is a story behind this about a man who would bring citrus to the Tribe when it was in its poorer days. We didn't get asked to do it this year. The Wind Clan camp is the camp right past the airboats and village on the south side of the road (there is a smaller house being built in front of a larger one).

Yes, all of the houses on Loop Road, before you enter into Big Cypress and Monroe County, are Miccosukee and on the Miccosukee Reserved Area. Most of the homes are relatively new because most of the older homes are being phased out for a better style and hurricane proof home. The MRA starts I think 50 feet south of the road and goes for 1100 feet south into ENP. So there is room for more rows of homes as the Tribe grows, but it will be awhile.

The photos on Loop Road are awesome! The black and whites are great. There were tons of gators at Sweetwater Strand when we went. Weird. Maybe they are in the swamps now.

I emailed you on the bird. We think black morph short tailed hawk.

Floridacracker said...

I lived in that area in the 80's during a stint rangering at Big Cypress.
Thanks for the memories.

Happy Birthday!

lisa's chaos said...

Dropped by to say Merry Christmas but looks like I need to say Happy Birthday first. :)

scg said...

Happy Birthday!