Despite our best efforts to get an early start, we didn’t leave Tampa until around 10 am on Tuesday. We decided to fill the propane tank. Our gauge read 3/8 full, but we weren’t sure it was correct. The tank took 19 gallons and we have a 38 gallon tank, so I guess the gauge was pretty close.
Since we had been sitting still since early November, it’s always nice when the slides and levelers retract, the engine starts, and the truck driveshaft disengages. We got on Interstate 75 and happily headed south.
The day before we left was a busy one. The guy finally came back and put the framing around the new refrigerator. It turned out well and I’ll post some pictures later.
The non-working water pump turned out to be the defective relay switch like Al suspected. As it turned out, we had a spare relay on hand so we just changed them out. It’s a simple plug in and is the same relay used on several other things on the coach. outs. We will be ordering a few extra relays, just in case. They are pretty cheap insurance, and we’re glad we had one of them for the water pump.
We left Tampa just ahead of a strong cold front which was bringing rain, wind, and very very cold weather. Fortunately, we stayed ahead of the rain, but we did have some pretty strong winds.
We arrived at Midway Campground on the Big Cypress Preserve/Everglades. It was 80 degrees when we arrived. The cold front was predicted to bring temperatures down to 38 degrees last night, but the lowest it got was about 47.
Yesterday was rainy, so we decided to take a drive to the Miccosukee Indian Casino, about 40 miles east of the campground.
We did a little sightseeing on highway 997/Krome Ave. We considered taking that route south instead of the turnpike like we normally do, but we discovered the traffic was pretty slow due to all the agricultural interests. They grow a lot of crops and ornamental plants in the area. The fields were green and healthy looking, and the area was bustling. I”m sure this is where the wonderful produce we get at the flea market in the Keys comes from.
It was kind of interesting seeing all the different things they were growing. We saw groves of what we think were avocado trees. I didn’t know they grew so many of them in this area.
After a little sightseeing, we headed to the Casino. They have a large parking lot and we understand you can park Rv’s there for free. There were several Rv’s there and a few of them seemed to be staying more than one day. I guess they probably spent some money in the casino, so the camping was not really “free.”
We went inside the Casino and were instantly reminded that smoking is allowed in casinos. Yuck. They had a pretty good air filtration system and you couldn’t see any clouds of smoke, but it stunk and soon we started coughing a little.
We were told they give first time visitors free gambling coupons, so we decided to tough it out for a little while. How long could it take to lose all our money anyway? We were each given a coupon for $30 for gambling, plus a half price coupon for the lunch buffet.
We found a non smoking section of the casino, which was a little better. We went over to a slot machine and couldn’t figure the darn thing out. It’s not just a matter of inserting your coupon in and pulling a lever. We quickly lost a few of our own dollars without even figuring out was happening. No, we aren’t gamblers, and this wasn’t fun for us at all. I wondered how anyone could get addicted to these things. All you do is put money in and it’s gone. You could do the same thing flushing it down the toilet but at least you could watch it swirl. :) Later we finally found a machine that was a little simpler to use. We used my coupon first and we won a few dollars, but quickly used up my $30 coupon. Then we started on Al’s coupon. All of a sudden the machine started buzzing and things were happening. ding, ding, ding, buzz, buzz, buzz. Before we knew it, we had won $45.60! Woo Hoo! Ok…NOW I see why people like these machines. This IS fun!!!!! We took $10 of our winnings and played a little longer, but before long that was gone too. We ended up cashing out about $35 ahead. Not bad for playing with the casinos money. You could sure lose a lot of money in that place, not to mention a lung.
We headed back to the campground after stopping at little Indian Village tourist trap. They had alligator wresting shows, and airboat rides among other things. We looked around the gift shop a few minutes and went on home.
I thought this picture inside the store was nice, showing all the colorful clothing of the native Americans.
We will be leaving soon for Cudjoe Key. The winds are a little high in the Keys, and that isn’t a fun thing having considering how many bridges we will have to cross today. Al is more concerned with the very high bridge right before Key Largo, and I’m more concerned crossing the very long 7 Mile Bridge in Marathon.
We’re hoping the winds calm down before we get there. If don’t hear from us again, call the Coast Guard. :)
Cudjoe Key, here we come.
(We arrived safely in the Keys yesterday, but oh what a ride. I’ll post more about it later)