A Slice of Life
Well, as it turned out, that engine had died a loud and painful death! Much later, I discovered some of the teeth on the phenolic timing gear had sheared off and left the valves and push rods free to fend for themselves. Boy, what a scary racket that was! Well, since the car wouldn’t run, Dwayne had to tow our dead car, with us and our camper off the Interstate, to the closest campground. What a mess! Here we were, not an hour into our great Everglades Adventure and we were stuck with a broken car.
However, not to be deterred from our original goal, we spent most of the that day setting up for our overnight stay in a nice campground there in Melbourne, after which we had to locate, purchase and install a bolt-on trailer hitch for Dwayne’s car. We arranged with the campground owner to leave my car until I could come get it, and transferred everything from our car to theirs. Now we had 4 adults, 4 children and a baby in Dwayne’s car with two canoes strapped to the top, and also pulling our tent camper. What a site that was when we pulled out of the campground and headed south again the next morning.
Since I-95 ended north of Miami back then, we had to use county roads for the last 45-50 miles before we made it to the entrance of the Everglades National Park. Then it was another several miles to the Flamingo camping area. With no A/C in the car, it ended up being a grueling 5-hour trip (counting lunch & several potty stops). Then we had to get checked in at the Everglades campground, and find our campsites in the sprawling camping area.
The grassy campsites had paved slots, which made camper and tent setups very easy. We had a picnic table for each campsite, which we put together for our meals. After we had eaten, we went exploring to find the closest restrooms. We found them, and also discovered that for a shower we were going to have to drive 3 or 4 miles to the closest bathhouse, and then pay 25 cents for water. We would have to think about that. We were used to swimming in the fresh water springs and didn’t usually need showers.
—–To Be Continued—–