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The World's 2nd largest airboat

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FOOD! At Last!

10/14/2013 Tuesday Zip It Up , Fogie #3

This morning we rose at the crack of 7am, had a quickie breakfast and then packed up the car in preparation of our journey southward to Myakka River State Park, just west of Sarasota. First item on our agenda was to pickup Fogie #3 - Grandma who was joining us to keep the peace between me and the Navigator. Surprisingly Fogie #3 packed fairly light and in no time were heading to Jenny's and Kenny's to pick up the RV. We finally shoved off at 8:45am and merged onto I75 south for a nice leisurely trek among all the damn Yankees and their RVs speeding down the interstate to hog all of our state park campsites for the winter. I just love how they come down here and make fun of us Floridians; why don't they stay in their crumbling northern states and pay high taxes and get nothing in return? I've seen their crappy road systems up there! But I digress.

The Navigator had Fogie #3 confined to he couch in the coach and buckled up in a seat belt to keep her out of harm's way, but even at that she still attempted to "back seat drive" once or twice. I suppose on the way home I will have to institute a gag order. It was a pleasant drive lasting only 3 hours due to heavy traffic around Tampa and Brandon and the construction that seemed to last forever. We arrived at Myakka at Noon Fifteen and while the Navigator registered us at the ranger station, I un-dollied the car. Since the Navigator and Fogie #3 wanted to take the airboat tour at 1pm, they took the car immediately down to the river and bought tickets for the ride while I patiently waited in the parking lot with THE DOG. Time was of the essence so when they returned I drove to our campsite and plugged in the electric so THE DOG would have a/c while we took the hour long tour. We didn't have time for lunch so I bought us Nutty Buddies from the park store which we ate on the air boat.

The air boat was much larger than I had expected- it held probably about 30-40 lily white Yankee tourists and the propeller was powered by a Cadillac ElDorado engine. Maximum speed is about 8 mph at full throttle-weeeeeeeeee! I must say the captain/narrator was one of the best I ever encountered; he was very knowlegable and, most importantly, very funny. We saw alligators (not so special for Floridians but the Yanks were thrilled). The captain also pointed out water lilies and hyacinths and told us that they served to slow the flow of water; it seems that alligators like calm water: who knew? Great Blue Herons ( or is it herrings?), Baby Blue Herons (herrings?) Tricolor Herons (herrings?), Anhingas, Osprey, Glossy Ibis whose colors change as they fly about, Snow Egrets AND Limpkins were also observed by the air boat tourons; a touron is a moron tourist usually from up home.

I have lived in Florida all my life- well not all my life since I still have some more living to do. Let's say "Most of my life." Anyway, I have never seen a limpkin but I saw one today. The captain says they are rare and love to eat snail eggs off of leaves next to the water. They are birds, not ducks or reptiles. That, my friends, is the sum total of my knowledge of limpkins, amen; please be seated. The Navigator snapped photos and Fogie #3 was craning (no we didn't see any cranes) her neck from the middle seat to see what all the Yankees were jumping up and down to see from one side of the boat and then the other. Evidently there are no birds up home.

WE SURVIVED THE AIR BOAT CRASH! The captain, a very funny fellow indeed, said the only way to stop the air boat was to "crash" into the post on the dock! Well, he did and we survived it. Can I have another amen? This was really a very good tour and the limpkin sighting was just the icing on the cake.

As we de-air-boated the air boat, Fogie #3 hightailed it to the gift shop that happened to be built on stilts next to the river. She hit the handicap ramp at full speed and hobbled up to the gift shop with stars in her eyes and wads of paper money tightly clinched in her sweaty palms. By the way, did you know that the official state tree is the Sabal Palm? Grandma purchased a cook book and a book about the Myakka River. I purchased my usual hat pin for my collection in my nightstand drawer and the Navigator just looked at stuff.

We took Fogie #3 to her CCC cabin she rented so she could get some rest before dinner. It was a nice cabin made from palm torsos and mortared with some black goo. The cabin had a fire place, a large completely furnished kitchen, two double beds, a large dining table, couch and chair and a large bathroom. She was thrilled to have such a great cabin and for only $70 per night. We had a full hook up pull through campsite that was covered with large gravel rocks and was absolutely level. This campsite would be the "fold-out of the month" in RV Magazine!!!! It's now 4pm and time to pick up Fogie #3 for dinner.

The Navigator selected the Myakka River Oyster Bar in Venice for dinner. The restaurant was only 30 miles from our campsite and was easy to find thanks to the Navigator. The restaurant was a typical oyster bar: it had a nice run-down look to it as all good oyster bars should have and it was perched right next to the Myakka River. Since we arrived before the dinner crowd, we were seated next to the dirty window overlooking the river. Fogie #3 ordered the fried oyster dinner, the Navigator ordered the fried shrimp dinner and I ordered the cod finger dinner with fries, unsalted, not stirred ( I don't think they know what fish and chips are). The consensus at the table was that the dinners were very good but not exceptional. The beer was ice cold! As we were walking out, Fogie #3 discovered that she hadn't zipped up her pants and was walking around agape as they say. No wonder that Snowy Egret was perched on the dock railing staring into our dirty window at Fogie #3! He must have seen the cob webs and assumed there was a tasty spider nearby.

Fogie #3 demanded that I drive up Tamiami Trail north to downtown Venice since she had never seen Venice. I told her that this Venice didn't have canals and gondolas but she insisted we go anyway. Nice little burg this Venice; it looks a lot like Winter Park but not as fancy schmancy. After our brief tour, we decided to call it a night at 6pm and head to our respective bed sites. Tomorrow, we will be touring a botanical garden, lunching at a yet-to-be-decided cuban restaurant and then who knows what Fogie #3 will dream up.

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