Miami, FL

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For our stop in the Miami area we parked at the Larry & Penny Thompson Memorial Park & Campground.  This is a Miami-Dade County park that is located about 20 miles south of the city of Miami, actually closer to Homestead, FL.  This location put us in between two national parks:  Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park.

Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is the first park area to be protected not for its scenic beauty but for its biological and ecological value.  As the largest tropical wilderness in the United States this area supports 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals and 50 species of reptiles.  Although it is commonly thought of as a swamp, it is in fact the widest river in the world, however, it is shallow and slow moving, about 1/2 mile per day.  Early settlers considered this part of Florida to be useless land and over the years tried in many ways to “reclaim” it so it could be put to better use. Continue reading

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Gautier, MS

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Gautier (locally pronounced as “GO-shay”) is near Biloxi, in the small “heel” of Mississippi that reaches to the Gulf coast.  This was a 3 night stop for us.

Gulf Islands National Seashore - Davis Bayou

While here we visited a portion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.  Portions of seven barrier islands along the coasts of Mississippi and Florida, as well as mainland regions are included in this National Seashore.  The Mississippi District of the seashore features natural beaches, historic sites, wildlife sanctuaries, islands accessible only by boat, bayous, nature trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds. The Davis Bayou Area is the only portion of the National Seashore in Mississippi that is accessible by automobile.  This is the area we explored.  We’ll be able to see a portion of the Florida District of the seashore at our next stop.

Next stop:  Pensacola, FL

Lake Charles, LA

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We made this brief stop near Lake Charles on our way east from Galveston, TX.  Lake Charles is only about 30 miles east of the Texas-Louisiana border.  It has the interesting distinction of being one of the most humid cities in the contiguous United States.  It has an average humidity of 90% in the morning and 72% in the afternoon.  Lake Charles is also the largest casino market in the state of Louisiana.

Alligators

While we were here we celebrated Valerie’s birthday.  We had a nice lunch at Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp in downtown Lake Charles.  We had grilled catfish with grilled vegetables and rice along with their seafood gumbo.  Very tasty.

Next stop:  New Iberia, LA