Everglades National Park | 57/59

We left our fantastic Super 8 motel early, even before we had the chance to partake of the lovely complimentary breakfast. We wanted to get to the park before sunrise and before the mosquitoes woke up with the urge to attack.

Actually, the sunrise over the everglades was quite beautiful. Everything was completely still and very peaceful.

As the sun emerged, it rose like a ball of fire, and the stinging rays of heat immediately started melting us in our winter clothes. At this moment the sun was not my friend. The sun will literally kill you out here.

As soon as the pretty sunrise was over, it wasn’t fun and games anymore. We retreated back to the AC in the RV as soon as possible.

Everyone warned us that the mosquitoes in Everglades would be even more hellacious than in Biscayne NP for some reason. The rangers said that by the time you get out of your car, at least 20 of the pesky beasts will have swarmed into your vehicle to await your return and by the time you walk from your car to the indoors you’ll have at least 10 bites.

Needless to say, we were super scared and ultra prepared for battle. We got dressed in boots with socks pulled up over our long pants, Cees in a sweatshirt and I in a rain jacket!!! RAIN JACKET ahhh. On top of that we COMPLETELY doused ourselves in heavy deet bug spray from head to toe. It was so awful. I can’t even express how awful it was. Then imagine all that and then walking around in 95 degree heat and 95% humidity. We wanted to die. But at least we wouldn’t die a mosquito-related death.

If the mosquitoes don’t scare you, the vultures should do the trick. As soon as we rolled up, they immediately swarmed the RV and we were super scared to get out of the car haha. The gang was closing in on us. The signs warned that they would literally tear up your car if you don’t take protective measures haha. So we threw a tarp over the RV and hoped we would come back to find our home intact.

Mosquitoes, vultures, crazy locusts, alligators… what next Florida?!

We had the boardwalks all to ourselves and the alligator hunt was on.

Look closely and you’ll see… a turtle. Haha

We were worried we wouldn’t see any gators, but we shouldn’t have been worried. After a few boardwalks all of a sudden we came up on … AHHHHH. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t TERRIFIED of this prehistoric beast and all his friends.

So many gators!

We didn’t realized there were a bunch of gators snoozing underneath us and as we crossed the boardwalk. Our footsteps spooked them and they all dove into the water thumping the boardwalk under our feet as they left. It was so scary! We panicked a little haha. Feelings their heavy tails hit us from underneath was so creepy!

Here’s a little one swimming away. They’re surprisingly so fast on land and in water.

We just love the national parks and the amazing access they give us to enjoy all the cool things they have to offer. The boardwalk system was awesome and such a great way to see the alligators safety… I think? Haha.

The Everglades look like grasslands but it is really the largest tropical wilderness in the U.S. — a massive expanse of wetlands and forests fed by a river. This park is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America and contains the largest mangrove ecosystem in the western hemisphere. It is home to 36 protected species – including the American crocodile, the West Indian manatee and illusive Florida panther. We only saw alligators, but we are grateful that this fragile ecosystem is protected and preserved by the NPS.

If you look closely, you can see the vultures trying to take those pesky solar panels off our hands haha. Cees had to chase them away.

We drove all the way down to Flamingo even though the visitor center was closed for the season, just because we felt like we had to in order to see a little more of the park. Mostly we just saw a lot of ocean. Everything was deserted. We had the park and all the mosquitoes to ourselves this time of year I guess!

After all that Everglading (yes I made it a verb), we were pretty starving. It was too hot to even think about cooking anything in the RV so we did the only logical thing. We headed straight to the best local Mexican food as soon as possible – Taqueria Morelia. Actually, I don’t know if it’s the best, but we thought it was super yummy! We knew it was good because it shared a wall with a gas station store.

Then we did something that would change our lives forever. Robert Is Here. That is the name of the place where you can find THE BEST fruit shakes ever. EVER. We saw a sign that read, “Robert says try something new – try the Key Lime shake!” So we did. And. It. Was. Incredible. Actually, we wanted to cry from joy a little.

This is Cees’ face before actually trying the shake.

Ooooh what?! This is Cees’ face after finding out what heaven actually tastes like.

We had a little too much fun with the fruit, I think we were just giddy knowing that we only had TWO MORE NATIONAL PARKS LEFT!

Cees said I look like a “cute little kid” in my Cubs shirt haha. I don’t know about that…? But, I do know that the Everglades were rad and now we are BEYOND excited to get to the Virgin Islands and hopefully cool down a little.

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