In the Everglades the day before, we had decided that we were thoroughly bored of boring samey interstates and wanted to find some more interesting roads to drive on. After looking at the map of the Everglades we discovered that the Tamiami trail (route 41) ran along the edge of the Everglades and through an Indian reservation and would thus be a bit more interesting to drive, even if it took us longer. It was going to be a long day of driving, so we were up and out of the campsite by just after 8am. Our first stop came just 15 minutes up the road where we stopped at the “Robert was here” fruit stand, to sample the key lime milkshakes that were so good that they were recommended in our 99 best trips book. The fruit looked and smelt great, but it was quite overpriced and there were SO many flies that we decided not to buy any. I did buy a turtle with a straw hat and glasses made out of shells though, he’s called George. The key lime milkshakes were everything the book had promised, as well as being huge and so thick that they were served with a spoon as well as a straw. After getting over the brain freeze and full of milkshake we hit the road again. Although we were impressed with ourselves for not using the SatNav, we had to turn it on when we reached the edge of our Everglades map. After a long battle with “her” (the lady in the SatNav who likes to repeat herself a lot) Lizzie managed to force her to take us the way we wanted to go, rather than the interstate. Although it was the same road most of the way, it took us through small towns along the gulf coast, rather than just being boring interstate all the way. Our first switch over point was after 2 ½ hours and we stopped at a supermarket to buy something for lunch, planning to stop at a beach along the coast. After Lizzie’s 2 ½ hour drive, I took the sat nav and randomly selected a bit of coast near Venice and hoped for the best. I had managed to choose a rather lovely beach.

Our lunch stop, on the Gulf of Mexico

Although it was pretty busy, being a gorgeous Sunday afternoon it was still lovely, picture turquoise seas, sunshine and blue skies, either that or look at the photo. We sat down with our lunch and then the seagulls started to approach. I was reminded of a moment on a Florida holiday past on a beach on the Gulf coast when Jim dropped a crisp and a huge flock of seagulls descended on him. Naturally, he ran, and they all chased him, with Mum, Granny and I all yelling at him to drop the crisps. After a few comical/terrifying moments he dropped the bag of crisps and made his escape as the birds feasted. It was like a scene from The Birds, seriously. The seagulls, although interested in our lunch, thankfully kept their distance as we ate crusty bread and hummus. However, we decided that crisps were pushing it and returned them to the car. Rubbish disposed of, we went back down on the beach to take photos and paddle in the sea. While trying to take a panoramic picture of the beach, my camera refused to focus on anything other than the rather large behind of a lady bending over to get things out of her beach bag, which was amusing, but not really what I wanted for my photo so I had to move. The water was lovely and we got some really beautiful photos before we hit the road once again. The rest of the drive to Tampa was uneventful and we checked in to our disappointing and slightly dirty motel on the outskirts of Tampa. The evening was spent taking advantage of the internet to upload photos to the internet and updating my blog. We had decided that it was easier to have a whole evening of internet each so I spent most of the evening doing this and eventually got to bed just after 1am.

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