Ft. Pierce

IMG_4189As we work our way down to Key West, we had a stop arranged at Ft. Pierce FL. We had planned to stay for only a few days, but Hurricane Erika had other ideas. As RV travelers say, ‘Nothing is written in stone, all our plans are written in Jello!’ We got a good dose of Jello at this stop. Everything depended on the storm. If it strengthened, we would need to retreat and possibly even back out of Florida. As you can see from the projection map, there was no other good place to go.

Since we had found a good park at Treasure Coast RV Resort, we decided to stay until Erika declared herself.

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The cancellation policy in Key West was 2 weeks prior to arrival, so we were up against the deadline. If we kept our reservation and then didn’t go, we would lose our $500 deposit. Not willing to take that chance, we cancelled in time. It took a couple of extra days, but Erika finally wimped out and we called Key West to re-reserve our spot. Having dealt with this situation before, they told me they never took us out of the computer and we were given our original spot back. But, before we go there, we had some exploring to do in the Ft. Pierce area.

There was a wonderful Farmer’s Market in downtown Ft. Pierce on the waterfront. We partook of some food, drinks and fresh veggies and it was wonderful. They had a live band and it was really enjoyable.

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As we were leaving downtown, we had to stop for some wildlife to cross the road. There are wild peacocks that live in downtown Ft. Pierce. We did not know it beforehand, so imagine our surprise when we saw them. Apparently, these are all descendants of a collection that a family had in the early 1900’s. They and their progeny have been roaming the streets ever since.

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As Erika was spinning closer to the US mainland, High surf warnings were out for the Atlantic coast. There were red flag warnings and when you went through the gate at Fort Pierce Inlet State Park, the ranger told everyone ‘no swimming.’ I guess some of the wax from their boards must have gotten into their ears because they obviously didn’t listen.

IMG_4253At one time, I counted about 70 surfers in the water!

Once Erika fizzled, we were ready to move on to Miami for a couple of nights before we went on to Key West. There really weren’t any RV parks near Miami, so we chose Miami Everglades Park.

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It is nearly in Homestead, south of Miami on Highway 1. It is on the site of an old avocado plantation and there are plenty of trees still left and producing. Since we were there during the season, they welcomed us to help ourselves to any of the avocados or mangoes hanging around.

Avocados Getting Ripe in the Tree

Avocados Getting Ripe in the Tree

One of the sights we really wanted to see in the area was the Coral Castle. It is a monument created by Ed Leedskalnin, an emigrant from Latvia, for his 16 year old fiance, who called off their wedding the day before it was to happen. Heartbroken, Ed began building this castle as a testament of his love. It is considered a marvel of construction. Ed was barely 5 feet tall and weighed about 100 pounds. How he moved and lifted blocks of coral weighing thousands of pounds remains a mystery. He did most of his work at night and was not seen working. Many of the blocks tell a story, such as the three blocks carved as beds that tell the story of Goldilocks and the three bears. Others are carvings of planets and the moon. He lived a Spartan existance within his castle and made a living off the ten cents he charges for tours during the 28 years of construction of the castle. It was raining the day we were there are these photos do not do it justice!

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The chairs in the photo below were carved with a curve along the base and they can be rocked easily by hand.

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We also made a trip to South Beach where we took a nice bike ride. It was really nice to see in person all the locations we had seen for years on TV and in movies.

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While in the Miami area, we had several good meals. One of the best was at the Gator Grill. It is just a little roadside place along the road into the Everglades.

Gator Grill

Gator Grill

Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich

Grilled Mahi Mahi Sandwich

Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

Perfectly fried Onion Rings

Perfectly fried Onion Rings

Another stop was a roadside fruit stand called ‘Robert is Here!’ While I’m calling it a fruit stand, it is also a gift shop, canning store, petting zoo and they will probably do anything else if you ask them. They are especially famous for the milk shakes with their Key Lime Milkshake being their most famous. Never being one to pass an opportunity to taste something that is the world’s best, I had to try one. It was divine. Think in terms of taking a piece of Key Lime Pie, a piece of Key Lime Cheesecake and a scoop of Key Lime ice cream, putting it into a blender and drinking it through a straw.

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Another hit for us was Shiver’s BarBQ in Homestead. We ate three meals from our to go order. Below is their Trio sandwich of pulled pork, brisket & sausage. Nice!

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Next: On to Key West!