Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Shark Valley Ride in Everglades National Park

Saturday April 21, 2018

The Village Walk Bike Club had an cycling event to Shark Valley which is part of Everglades National Park.  Since national parks are always on my radar I decided to join in on the fun.  Dave C who is visiting for the winter joined me as well as my new friend Jim N.

Here is a link to the Everglades National Park website.


It is a massive park with lots of camping ( if you like camping with alligators and snakes!) and hiking trails.  It extends from Dade County near Miami all the way to Everglades City which is Collier County.  Mixed in all of that is Big Cypress National Preserve

Here is a link to Big Cypress National Preserve.


There were 14 in total who carpooled from Village Walk and it took us about 90 minutes to arrive at the park entrance.   If you blink you will miss the  entrance to the park.  It's a very small sign and one tends to look at the Miccosukee tourist attractions just before the entrance to Shark River.

Here is a link to the learn about the Miccosukee Indians and their village.


Shark Valley has a visitor center where tram rides and bike rentals are available.  It's also the start of the 15 mile paved trail ( it's a loop trail) to view alligators and other wildlife.  You can often find alligators sunning themselves on the paved trail but this day they decided that the water and the banks of the canal along the path were much better for sunning and lazing through their day.
 At the visitor center in front of the bike trail guide

There are sites along the trail to the left of the canal but it's hard not to focus on all the huge alligators sunning themselves on the banks....some of those banks right near your pedaling feet.

Look closely at this photo.  There are 4 baby alligators on the bank (photos courtesy of Dave C)

On the left side of the trail I saw a bobcat walkway that was under construction.  Maybe on the next visit I will be able to explore this trail.

The first stop and one of the only stops on the trail at mile 7.5 is the lookout tower.   There are plenty of bike racks to hold your bike while you walk up to the top.

Jim in front of the lookout tower

Here is a view from the top

If you look closely you will see birds nesting in the trees.  The towe is great for bird watching!

The trail zig zags around the other side of the park for rest of the 7.5 miles.  The trail goes through fields and I found it to be nothing special.   When we arrived back at the visitors center Jim and I went back on the first part of the trail to find the baby alligators.  Unfortunately.....no luck.

It was a long way back home.  The rest of the group stopped at the Miccoukee Restaurant for lunch.  Since we packed a cooler we had plenty to eat and drink on the way back to Village Walk.

It was on my bucket list to see Shark Valley and is now checked off.   It will be another 10 years before I go back but it was definitely fun to do once!

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Annual Village Walk Parade

Saturday February 17, 2018

Every year the community I live in, Village Walk, has a parade.  It's the resident's that participate and some additions from the community.

This year the theme was The Doo Dah Parade.  Doo Dah means ....Anything Goes!

Below are photos from the event.

What would a parade be without a fire truck.  This is the new fire truck from the station recently opened outside the community

 The is the CERT group that keeps our community safe during hurricanes and other threatening events

 The Bonita Springs JR ROTC.  This was their time marching in a parade!

 The first group of residents ( without a float) who called themselves the Dilly Dilly's

The following photos are classic cars owned by residents in the community

Next is Ms. Village Walk

Next up was the golf cart portion of the parade

The only float in the parade was from the residents of Islet Trail.  The theme was The Wizard of Oz

 The Yellow Brick Road

The Wicked Witch of the West and the Good Witch

 Dorothy and Toto on the Float

The Tin Man

The Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion were also on the float

Below are some of the other characters in the Wizard of Oz who I do not remember

And finally....the Segways

The end of the parade

It was a great parade.  Thanks to all for putting a smile on my face!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Antique Cars in North Naples

Monday February 5, 2018

Last Thursday at the normal meeting spot of Naples Cyclery, we saw a whole bunch of antique cars.   It was not a show but could have been.  The group driving these cars were on a road trip....not sure where to....but I hope they arrived safely. 

Can you identify any of these? Year and model?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Snow in Florida??

Monday November 21, 2017

So who says there is no snow in Florida??  It may be fake snow but it is considered snow just the same.

Third Ave South in Naples has a tree lighting every year on the Monday before Thanksgiving.  I have missed this event several years now and made it a point to go this year.

Boy was I surprised at what a big deal this event is for Naples.  I was told by the barista at Bad Ass Coffee to get there early because parking is at a premium.  My PFW FL riding buddy, Deb, went with me to enjoy the festivities.  We arrived at 4 PM and found a good parking spot right near 3rd St and Broad.  There were street vendors selling cookies and other types of food along 3rd St even at this early hour.  The streets were pretty quiet and so were the happy hour places recommended to me also by the barista, Jen, at Bad Ass Coffee.  We checked out the Ridgeway first, though, where the tree was being lit so that we knew exactly where we had to be at 6:20 PM for the tree lighting and snowfall.  How about that....predictable snow fall!

My friend Deb posing by the first Christmas tree.  This is not the one that was lit later in the evening.

A Christmas tree made from Bromelades ( remember those plants from the botanical gardens? )

Little girl handing out treats along the parade route

Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus on the firetruck in the parade

 Street musician

A view of 3rd Ave South during the festivities
We looked at The Bevy for happy hour, which was too sterile for the both of us, and the people didn't look friendly at all.  We went back to The Sea Salt ( we had checked this place out when we went to find the tree) which was very lively by that time we came back at 4:30 PM.  We were not able to get a seat for a while but it was worth the wait.  The bar bites menu was all seafood and a great selection of choices.

We finished our drinks and food and quickly headed to the tree lighting area in front of the The Ridgeway to get as close up as possible.

So here comes the snow.

There were snow making machines on the tops of lamp posts.  The
snow didn't feel wet so I am not sure what they used to make the snow

As we continued to make our way back to the car we spotted some young musicians playing the harp.  They were fantastic and so young!

 Old Naples Building

We made one last stop at the live nativity that was at the beginning of the street.

We had a great time and were very happy that we made the effort to go to this awesome event.  Naples was truly alive on Third Ave South!