Day 39, November 18, 1997: Chiefland to Naples, FL

No question about it. Today was the worst day of the trip. In comparison, being stuck in the Yukon was a treat and the San Diego Freeway a delight.

I spent the entire day driving almost the whole length of Florida's Gulf Coast, trying to stay off of the freeways and close to the edge and the people. This section of coast, is by some coincidence, a horrendous mass of overdevelopment, overcrowding, and traffic. I found myself asking myself "How can rational people live like this?" and realized that I had answered at least part of my question. A goodly percentage of the drivers today seem to be suffering from Alzheimer's or are overmedicated. I got to suspecting that many of the cars being driven unsteadily down the highways were piloted by elderly tourists who had driven down here and then forgotten why and who have been wandering year after year trying to recall the reason.

First thing this morning I did try going back to the spring to see if I could get a better photograph of a manatee. I had no luck there since the only one I cold locate was sleeping on the bottom of the spring outflow and in an unphotographable location. I did manage to do a quick census of the buzzards in the trees and counted 120 of them before losing track. The head buzzard was in the highest perch on the highest tree doing a great "American Eagle pose" with outstretched wings and head in profile. I suspect that he was only trying to gather some solar heat in the chilly morning rather than pose for a picture.

In my misery today, I took no pictures. Instead I offer another collection of signs that, for one reason or another, caught my attention over the past couple of weeks. (Lehua, double entendre is appropriate during interpretation of signs)

Tomorrow I will probably get to Key West which will complete the second edge as the 13,000 mile solo journey around the edges of the USA continues.


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