Universal Studios Photos


Even walking up to the entrance gates, the landscaping was beautiful.


Here are pictures of various things as we walked to the back of the park where Harry Potter World is.




Dr. Suess land was alot like Toon Town



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The Hogwarts Express. Later this summer, they’re opening Diagon Alley at the other theme park in Universal Studios and the Hogwarts Express will be a ride you can take between that park and this one.


Hogsmeade was really crowded.


A little performance in furtherance of magical cooperation




Hogsmeade at dusk.


We got soaked on the Jurassic Park ride. Soaked!


Hogsmeade looked beautiful this morning.


Another view of Hogwarts.



And a couple more views of Hogwarts.  It wasn’t to scale, but it was still very impressive. It’s the home of one of the rides, which was very well done. As you waited in line, it wound through classrooms, past the sorting hat, down corridors with talking portraits, and many other things. In some of the rooms were holograms of Harry, Ron and Hermione doing various things.


The sorting hat! Yes, it talked. In fact, it wouldn’t stop! Sorry I couldn’t get more pics from inside of Hogwarts, but lighting was bad. I took several videos, but they’re nearly black.


I tried to get him to buy it, but he wouldn’t. Maybe he’s secretly a Ravenclaw 🙂

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The want chooses the wizard . . . none seemed to want us. : )


This is one of the few stores in Hogsmeade that is actually a real store. Most are just dressing–you can see in the windows, but the doors aren’t real.


The dress shop wasn’t real–only window dressing.


Zonko’s! Unfortunately, not a real shop, either.


The bookstore had all of Gilderoy Lockhart’s books in the window, but it wasn’t a real store.


Bertie Botts Every Flavored Beans.


We found bottled pumpkin juice for sale.


Unless you’d rather have a butter beer? We tried it. It tasted a bit like a melted root beer float.


Chocolate Frogs!


The post office.


The owls in the post office.


The Hogs Head.  Disreputable place.


It was even dark on the inside. 🙂


Lunch in the Three Broomsticks.


Lunch at the Three Broomsticks.


Pumpkin juice!  We liked the non-fizzy kind better.


Universal Studios

More of Universal Studios today.  We got there as it opened and went the opposite direction of most of the crowd, so we were the first people on the Spider Man ride and the Jurrasic Park ride.  We planned to have lunch at the Three Broomsticks, but by the time we got there, it was only 9:20!  So, we rode the Harry Potter ride again.  It was a 75 minute wait, so we thought it would kill some time.  Then, the lady told us the single rider line was only 5 minutes, and we couldn’t pass it up.  We were in and out in 15 minutes.  It was still too early for lunch, so we did some shopping, looked around thoroughly, and took lots of pictures. You can see them here.  As I said before, its not a very big place.  Finally, around 10:00 they started serving lunch at the Three Broomsticks and we went in.

It’s wonderfully decorated on the inside, and quite believable.  We tried pumpkin juice with our lunches, Bob got regular and I got the fizzy version.  (We both liked the regular version better).  They will tell you it tastes like a slice of pumpkin pie, but I think it tastes more like what a pumpkin pie candle smells like, if you know what I mean.  It kinda grows on you.

After lunch, we backtracked to the movie theater on City Walk and saw the new Captain America.  We really enjoyed it and it was the perfect break from all the walking.

We did some more stuff in the park after that, but its not worth mentioning.  Can I just say that Disney does most things better?  Especially in the food and entertainment areas.  The shows at Universal were pretty crummy.

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

3800 miles traveled so far.

We spent several hours exploring the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  Did you know they were good friends and next door neighbors?  They often collaborated with their other friend Harvey Firestone (yes, the tires) on projects.  In fact, Edison spent so much time in Florida that he had an entire laboratory there and it was the primary location for all his efforts to develop a domestic source of rubber so the US wouldn’t be dependent on foreign imports.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.  In 1885, Edison sailed down the river and saw a plant on the banks that he thought would be the answer to his search for a long lasting light bulb filament.  He bought the property that day and had a house built there within the year. It was quite a feat since it was wilderness at the time and everything had to arrive by boat.  There wasn’t even a road.  And it wasn’t just a simple house.  It was two stories with a couple sections and servants quarters and it was surrounded by a wide covered deck.  Then, he had a mirror image of the whole house built right beside the original as a guest house.  It’s very impressive, even by today’s standards.

It turned out Edison was right and the bamboo he saw growing on the banks of the river which did prove to be the perfect filament for his light bulb.  Years later, WWI inspired Edison to find a domestic source of rubber.  If our imports were cut off in another war, the US and its industries would be seriously hampered without a reliable source of rubber.  Of course, this project was very interesting to Ford and Firestone, for obvious reasons.

Toward that end, Edison imported plants from all over the world and planted them on the grounds of his home in Florida.  Many of these still exist and they make the grounds an incredibly beautiful garden.  We really enjoyed walking around because it was so peaceful and colorful.  My favorite was the Banyon Tree that Edison planted in 1927.  It was about 4 feet tall.  Today, the tree is enormous and because of the way it grows, it covers a little more than an acre of ground.  Another favorite is the bougainvillea his wife planted in the 19teens.  It’s now about 30 feet tall.  Pictures of everything are here.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is Edison’s forward thinking.  He wanted to develop a battery operated car (way ahead of his time!) and he was concerned about humanity using up its oil resources.  He thought our future was in the power of the sun.

After lunch, we drove to Orlando.  We wanted to do something interesting for dinner, so we walked over to City Walk, which is sort of the Universal Studios equivalent of Downtown Disney.  We ended up with ice-cream instead of dinner, but what are vacations for?

We also ended up at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  What a kick!  It’s an incredible place, I just wish it was bigger and there was more to explore.  We decided to try the main ride, which is a trip through Hogwarts.  We saw classrooms, the Great Hall, Dumbledore’s Study, the Room of Requirements, the sorting hat, the house points tally machines (I forget what they’re called), the greenhouses, and even the talking paintings, including the Fat Lady.  There was even an interesting discussion between the portraits of the four founders about letting in muggle-born students.  It’s all very well done.  The ride itself was fabulous and lots of fun.  Hermione casts a spell so you can fly and then you fly everywhere.  It was very well done.  More on all this tomorow!

Edison and Ford Estates — Photos


Here’s the banyan tree that covers a little more than an acre. Its all one tree, even though it looks like many. All those “trunks” are actually roots that fall to the ground from the branches above.



The grounds are really beautiful.


Edison’s office, the one in the house. He mostly used the little one room office he built away from the house.


Edison imported plants from all over the world so the grounds are exotic and beautiful.


The dock was important because that’s how everything was delivered to the house—by boat. The road came along later.


The Edison’s bedroom.


Here’s their library. Notice how big all the rooms are. Very unusual for 1886. Also notice the chandalier. It was designed by Edison to hold his light bulbs and he called it an electroleer.


Since they lived in the wildernes when the house was built, Edison designed and built a system for fire supression.


A view of the covered walk that connected the main house with the guest house. That’s the guest house in the background.


The porches were beautiful and quite effective at keeping the house cool.


Another view of some of the porches on the houses.


I’d love to have a spot just like this to write. I’d probably finish several novels a year just to have an excuse to sit her for hours a day.


Here’s a view of the main house from the porch of the guest house.



I could have spent all day on the porch. It was a beautiful day.


The vine on this tree is vanilla. Conditins have to be perfect for it to produce vanilla beans, so this vine doesn’t produce. Real vanilla is so expensive because it is so difficult to grow.


This is Ford’s house. He bought it in about 1915 from the guy who built it. Ford had been a guest at Edison’s house for years and he jumped at the chance to buy the house next door.


The back of the properties, along the river.


Another view of the houses, this one from the banks of the river.



Some of the bamboo used for the filament on the first long lasting light bulb. It creaked in the wind and sometimes the stalks knocked together. It sounded like a groany windchime.


The pond Edison build near their pool. You can see in the background that hotels and other buildings were build just over the property line.


Here’s the giant bougainvillea. It’s old and huge.


This is Edison’s little office. They say his wife sat on the porch and they talked through the open window.


This is the garden behind the little office. It’s quite pretty.


This was their swimming pool. It’s thought to be the first private swimming pool in the state.


Another of Edison’s imports. The name of this tree has slipped my mind, but it’s what they make boomerangs out of.


Mrs. Edison loved orchids and she planted them on many of the trees on the estate. People from all over sent them to her.


More of the orchids.


This tree looked like it had prickly things stuck all over it.


Some of the orchids at the nursery. They were so varied, and so beautiful.


I loved the colors in this one.



I love Gerbera Daisies.


Everything was beautiful.  We visited on a Sunday, so it wasn’t very crowded. Peaceful and idyllic.


I got a kick out of this. Can you imagine driving through the Everglades in a Model T, with no roads . . . and in those conditions!


Way ahead of his time. He also had a battery powered boat that he charged with a generator — all at a time when electrically wired houses didn’t exist.


Way ahead of his time.  If you can’t read it, click on the image and it will get bigger.


Here’s the rubber lab near the house. He had many people working here year-round on the problem of finding a domestic source of rubber. He finally found the answer: Goldenrod. However, by then others had figured out how to make rubber synthetically.

The Everglades

3600 miles traveled.

Today we explored a little bit of the Everglades.  We drove some of it, we walked lots of it, and we took a 15 mile tram tour.  What surprised me most is the fact that the Everglades is NOT a swamp.  It’s actually a 50 mile wide, slow-moving, shallow river.  It’s so shallow that grasses grow in it and it looks like a sea of grass.  The water is slowly moving down the peninsula at the rate of ¼ mile a day.  As a result, it is all fresh water, there is nothing stale or stagnant about it.  In fact, the water is so fresh, it is used for drinking water in many Florida cities.

Like most rivers, it has cycles.  In the winter (now), it’s the dry season so much of the water is dried up and the animals congregate around watering holes.  It reminded me a lot of what happens in African savannas.  In the wet season (summer) the entire place fills with water, usually 3-4 feet deep.  In the past, much of the water has been controlled with dams, culverts, irrigation ditches, things like that.  But in 2000, Congress passed a law to reverse much of the man-made intervention.  They hope to restore 85% of the Everglades to its natural state, including the seasonal flooding.

There is an incredible abundance of life here.  There are alligators, of course, but there are also snakes, billions of birds, many mammals (including panthers), tons of fish, and even crocodiles.  One species that’s only been around since the 1990s is the Burmese python.  From a hundred pet snakes released by people who could no longer care for them (they start out tiny and cute, but they grow alarmingly fast, up to 23 feet—EEEK!) there are now about 5000 Burmese pythons in the Everglades.  As a result, the deer population in the park has dropped by 94% and the panther population has dropped 90%.  The rangers hold yearly hunts for the pythons and they capture all the ones they come across, but the snakes reproduce so quickly, it’s an uphill battle.

My favorite spot is where Exxon drilled for oil way back when (I can’t remember when, the 1930s? 40s?) Anyway, they found oil, but it was contaminated with sulphur and not usable.  So, Exxon (then Humble Oil Company) donated the land to the National Park Service. That’s how we got the Everglades National Park.  The oil rig was converted into a fire lookout and today its just an interesting tourist spot.  I have pictures of everything here.  As with the Dry Tortugas, most of the details of what we saw are in the captions of the photos.  Enjoy!

Everglades Photos


Bunches of gators! They were all just laying there. None of them moved, they just soaked up the sun. It was hard to count them since they were in such a pile.


They seem to just flop in mid-walk. It’s like they just couldn’t make it one more inch.


In this area, Bob and I counted 22 alligators, all lazing around and soaking up the sun. Don’t try to count them yourself, I couldn’t get them all in one shot.



There are two alligators in this picture. See them? They’re just swimming along.


Many of the bird species were quite large. Here, these birds are probably a foot tall, maybe a little more.




It was very pretty. This is not a natural area for the Everglades. There are no natural deep water spots. However, they were created in the past when humans dug holes to get materials to build roads with. Now, these deeper spots are natural refuges for the animals during the dry months because there’s always water here.


More huge birds.





See the alligator?


How about now?


This leatherback turtle was laying eggs and the vultures (yes, vultures, both figuratively and literally) were horrible to her. They were pecking her shell and taking bites out of her feet, which were bleeding. As soon as she was done, they devoured all the eggs. I couldn’t stay to watch, it was awful.



These birds dive for fish, etc., so they get saturated with water. It helps them sink. But, when they want to fly, they have to dry out first. This guy was just holding his wings open, waiting patiently until he was dry.



We wondered why peope choose to cover their cars with tarps. Keep the sun out? Kinda weird. Then we saw the box of tarps and it all became clear. Apparently, the vultures like plastic car parts and the weather stripping that runs around all car windows. They’ll tear your car apart, if they’re in the mood.  Luckily, they weren’t the day we visited.


This guy was at least 3 ½ feet tall.


Look! A real, live stork!


Grassland or river? Here, it’s a shallow river with grass growing in it. The trees grow on literal islands in the river that are a foot or two higher in elevation than the land around it.


Mama Gator with two babies. You can only see one hitching a ride in this picture. The baby is probably about a year old. Mamas attend to their young for 2-3 years.


Pretty cool what you can do with an old oil rig, isn’t it? Humble Oil drilled for oil in the Everglades, found it, but determined it wasn’t usable because of the sulphur content. Today there’s talk about driling for oil in the Everglades again.



It was hot and humid, but here we are on top of the observation tower (aka, old oil rig). Did I mention that the wind was blowing pretty hard?


View from on top of the oberservation platform



This “borrow pit” (aka a place where humans dug out fill material and made a deep pond) is filled with alligators. They’re hard to see among the lily pads, but they’re there.


This guy was hot, so he opened his wings to cool down. He also opened his mouth and was panting, kind of like a dog.


A family of some kind of bird I can’t remenber the name of now. Sorry!


Really, there are black panthers in the Everglades. No, we didn’t see one.


Another stamp for my passport. 🙂


Someone has a sense of humor.


Bob in his new Dry Tortugas hat.


We found rainbows in the sprinklers.

The Dry Tortugas

3365 miles traveled.

Today was a bucket list day for me.  I’ve always wanted to see Fort Jefferson on Garden Key in the Dry Tortugas, and today was the day.  It’s really an amazing place.  To get there, we had to take a boat about 70 miles due west of Key West.  There sits Fort Jefferson. It looks like it is just rising out of the ocean. It is the largest structure built from brick anywhere in the world.  It took 16 million bricks and it was never completed.

Fort Jefferson is a five-sided, two story structure that was made to hold over 400 guns (cannon sized) and 2,000 men.  It was one of the first major undertakings of the Army Corp of Engineers and certainly the first project they built at sea. Construction began in 1846 and went on for 30 years, until the fort was abandoned in 1874.

The fort is built on a 10-acre sand bar in the middle of nowhere.  Why?  Why would they build something so enormous and labor-intensive in the middle of nowhere?  After all, everything needed to be shipped in.  All the building materials, all the food, even the drinking water, had to be shipped.  At the time, that meant wooden sailing vessels.  So, why?

It all began right after the Louisiana Purchase which doubled the size of the US in one fell swoop.  It also gave us the very valuable port of New Orleans and use of the entire Mississippi River as a means of moving goods.  That was worth protecting.  The location of the fort allowed the US to control access to the Gulf of Mexico, thus protecting our trade routes.  Also, the island is the only safe harbor for 70 miles.  It has a natural deep water channel that’s perfect for anchoring a boat and that channel is surrounded by shallower areas.  In a storm, a boat anchored in the harbor is protected from most of the pounding waves by the surrounding shallow areas.  Even today, when a hurricane approaches, the channel fills with all kinds of boats from all over the Gulf because of this protection.  In the 1800’s the fort could deny anchorage to an enemy vessel and leave it to the mercy of an approaching storm.

While the fort could, in theory, train 125 guns on any target, no matter the angle of approach, and it could fire a shot 3 miles, it never saw a battle.  The closest it came to was in 1861 when Florida seceded from the union.  One fishing boat sailed up and demanded the fort (which was a Union post) surrender.  The commander allowed the ship to sail away unharmed to spread the word that the fort was under Union control.  It was all a bluff because most of the guns hadn’t been delivered yet and the fort was nearly harmless.

The fort is most famous as the prison of Dr. Samuel Mudd, a convicted co-conspirator in Lincoln’s assassination.  He’s the guy they’re referring to whenever someone says “his name is Mudd.”  Anyway, he was imprisoned at the fort for 4 years when a yellow fever epidemic hit and killed every single member of the medical staff.  Dr. Mudd volunteered to help and he did such careful research and kept such detailed notes that later analysis helped the docs in Washington figure out better treatments, and ultimately the cause, of yellow fever.  Dr. Mudd’s services were so valuable, the soldiers at the fort petitioned President Johnson to pardon him and it was eventually granted.

Take a look at the photos here.  There’s so much to tell you about the fort, especially its construction, that I put most of the details in the captions on the photos.  It’s really a cool place.

Dry Tortugas Photos



As you approach the Fort from the sea, it looks like it floats on the ocean.


Around the back are all the docks.


The light house is about 3 miles from Fort Jefferson. That’s how far the guns at the fort could shoot with enough force to sink a ship.


The sand is white and fine, the water a beautiful blue.


Here’s the beach at the fort. The corner of the fort has bastions where guns could shoot along the walls and repel anyone trying to scale them.


Yes, it has a moat. Here’s what it looks like on the land side, later you’ll see the ocean side and how the moat walls act like sea walls.


Inside the entrance to the fort.


A look down the inside of one of the walls.


Here’s the lighthouse that still works to mark the safe harbor for any boat that needs it.


A view across the inside of the fort from ground level. It’s pretty big!



Another look across the parade ground.


The round structure was the magazine, but it was never used. The long ruin that runs in front of the magazine was the soldiers’ barracks. It was a 3 story structure and miserably hot. The men bunked in the second floor rooms in the walls where it was much cooler.


Another view down the inside of the fort’s walls. This was taken on the second floor.




Another view, this one taken from the second story of the fort. Here you can see the ruins of the soldiers’ barracks. It was a huge, long structrue.



More views of the magazine.


Here’s the moat on the ocean side. The wall acts as a sea wall to protect the fort from large waves, etc.


This was taken when we were on top of the walls. The tops were purposely covered with dirt and grass to absorb the shock of cannon fire. It is also part of the system designed to recover and store fresh water for the island.


Another view from the top of the wall. You can see just how long the soldiers’ barracks were.


In our litigious society, the fort really amazed me. There are no guard rails anywhere. You can walk right to the edge of any of those big windows in the wall and fall right off. In fact, you can walk along the top of the wall which is very uneven, and easily slip. Our tour guide said in the 10 years he’s been working at the Park, only 2 people have fallen off the wall and both landed unharmed in the moat.


See what I mean about uneven footing on top of the walls?



The green spot at the end of that narrow strip of sand is Long Key and the spot of green further out is Bird Key. Normally, they are separate islands. In the last 10 years, the sand bars that currently connect them have washed away and built back up twice.


Here’s Bob!


Here’s the story of how the fort was built.


Here’s some info on how they intended to collect and store fresh water. The water was supposed to filter through the dirt on top of the walls and funnel down through pipes inside the walls to underground storage tanks. However, the dirt they used on top of the wall was dredged from the channel, so when the water filtered through, it leached out all the salt in the soil and the water was undrinkable. Also, with settling, 106 of the 109 storage tanks sprung leaks and the water in them rose and fell with the tides. It was an engineering failure, but it was a nice try!


More passport stamps. 🙂


Here’s Bob in a gun port. Can you see the arc on the floor? That was a rail where the cannon’s back wheels sat. It allowed the men to swivel the cannon to aim it properly. You can see by the arcs that gun after gun after gun sat along these walls. There were supposed to be over 400 when the fort was finished—which it never was. It was abandoned in 1874.


Remember the dredged fill on the roof? The salt has leached down is forming stalagmites and stalactites on the roof and floor of the second story. It is very hard, as hard as the cement.



Another view from the top of the wall. Here you can see the two different colors of the brick used to build the fort. At first, the brick came from a brickyard in Pensacola. But when the South seceded from the Union, the brick had to come from Maine. Can you imagine shipping it that far?


Here’s one of the six guns that’s been restored at the fort. It sits on top of the wall.


This is the boat we arrived on.


Another view from the top of the wall. That entrance was the only way in or out of the fort. Originally, it had a drawbridge over the moat.


Here’s what the stairways look like.


The intrepid tourists! Risking life and limb to get some good photos for this blog!  (Not really, we would have climbed all over this place just for the fun if it.)


Bob on the sea wall.


The Moat is only a few feet deep. There was a joke among the prisoners that the moat had sharks in it, but it didn’t. However, as a joke, one of the soldiers did put a shark in the moat and it lived there about two weeks.


Those little windows on the bottom were where the guns were. Here, they are covered by black shutters. Those are heavy iron and they are weighted to hang perfectly. When a cannon was fired, the air pressure in front of the cannonball pushed the shutters open and allowed the cannonball to pass. Then, they immediately swung closed. That meant the men inside were only exposed to enemy fire for the brief second it took for the cannonball to pass through. Very clever design. Oh, the indents above the big windows were made to look like gun ports, but they were decoys. To a ship at sea, it would look like there were three layers of cannon, but there were really only two.

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Time has taken a toll on the fort. Here the restoration is still in progress.


Another view of the moat and the beach. The fort was supposed to be 3 stories tall, but because it was so heavy and it was settling so badly, the Army Corp of Engineers decided to stop at two.


Did I mention there were pelicans everywhere? They were fun to watch. They looked like a cat pouncing playfully on a mouse. They’d just suddenly hop and dive at a fish in the water. It looked kamikaze.


The Other Keys


Here’s the little key deer. That palm was only about 3 feet tall, so the deer is tiny. When full grown, they only weigh between 50 and 70 pounds and are about 2 feet tall at the shoulder.



A close up of the picture below.


Another view of that missing span in the abandoned bridge. You can see the road in use on the right.


Bahia State Park was really pretty.



There’s the Overseas Highway (i.e. U.S. 1) in the background.



Here’s an example of a missing span on the abandoned bridge. You can see the pedestrians on the part that hooks to the island.





The beach was beautiful, but TONS of seaweed. You can kind of see the green water here.



Here’s me in my sun sleeves walking in the shallow water. It got to just over my knee before I got to the sand bar. You can see the sandbar behind me.


Bob zoomed in. I’m standing on the sand bar.


Me on the sand bar waaaaay out there. You can see the guy closer in is in water to his waist.


The water was a pretty green color. I wish my camera caught it better.


I took this from the pedestrian bridge. You can see the roadway on the far left, where it hits the island in the distance, and how it veers right over the next bridge and on to the next island.


Another view of the Overseas Highway. I took this from the pedestrian bridge.


This is the end of the pedestrian bridge. In the distance you can see the hump in the bridge which is where we were when I took the earlier picture. This is also where the powerlines cross the road and the poles move from the gulf side to the ocean side of the road.


Can a contrail cast a shadow? We weren’t sure what we were seeing. Any ideas?



Here’s Bob with part of the Overseas Highway behind him.


This guy was huge—easily 3 feet long.


See what I mean about shallow water? I took this from the pedestrian bridge. We could easily see the plants waiving with the current.


Here I’m standing on the pedestrian bridge. This is a picture of the actual roadway. I think that pipe is the source of fresh water for Key West. It takes 6 days for the water to make it from the mainland to Key West.



I snapped this pic as we drove by. Its an example of how the abandoned bridge that runs parallel to the Overseas Highway is falling apart. Here, a tree is actually growing out of the concrete.


Another exampel of the abandoned bridge. Here, birds have made themselves at home. This section of the bridge is inaccessible because sections on either side are missing.


See? The power lines are really annoying. Also, the water is a bright green color. Here it looks more blue, but it is not even remotely blue. Its pure green.


The water between the Keys is pretty shallow. Where we walked the bridges we could almost always see the bottom. The brown spots in the distance are even more shallow spots. Dang power lines!


I took this from the crest of the hill on the Seven Mile Bridge. You can see the abandoned bridge on the right.

The Other Keys

3225 miles traveled.

Today we explored the other keys.  We started by driving to mile marker 78 (78 miles from Key West) to Robbie’s Marina where we hoped to get a tour of Indian Key.  No such luck, the winds were too strong and the tours were canceled (It was mid 70s but with sustained 20 mph winds).  I wanted to see Indian Key because it has the ruins of a 19th century town.  It was a thriving place in 1840 when Seminole Indians attacked and killed everyone who didn’t flee.  It’s been deserted ever since.

Instead, we drove to the Seven Mile Bridge and walked along the pedestrian bridge as far as we could go.  I have to say, almost the entire length of the Overseas Highway that is over water, there are abandoned bridges running along right next to it.  Some of the abandoned bridges look fine, in other places they look like they are about to collapse.  I have lots of pictures of this here.
In many places the abandoned bridges are open to foot traffic and people stroll along them or fish.  However, they aren’t open all the way.  Before too long, there will be barricades and the next section of the bridge will be missing.  It’s kind of creepy to see a huge bridge with a section missing right out of the middle.  I have pictures of that, too.

The Oversea Highway also has power lines running along it. I have to say, the power lines are annoying because they get in the way of pictures.  I don’t know how they filmed the movie True Lies without interference from the power lines.
After the bridge, we spent some time on the beach at Bahia State Park.  The beach was long, white, and soft, but it was also full of dried seaweed.  The water was warm and it was shallow (knee deep or less) for 20 or 30 yards from the shore.  It was wonderful for walking and playing.  I really loved it.

Finally, we stopped on Big Pine Key to find the Key Deer that live there.  They are very small—about the size of a 50 pound dog—and they are a subspecies of white tail deer.  We saw two of them and they were little.  The first ran across the road in front of us and its shoulders weren’t even as high as the front of the car.  The second one was maybe 1½ feet at the shoulder.  It was standing under a palm that was only 2 feet high.  I have picture here.

I’m excited about tomorrow.  We’re going to the most inaccessible national park in the United States:  The Dry Tortugas.  Stay tuned!