We had to get up “early” to make sure we had enough time to pack in all the things we wanted to do in the Everglades. We stopped at Robert is Here for smoothies. I chose strawberry key lime—not delicious. So I went back for a banana chocolate coconut milkshake. Definitely more delicious. Rusty’s mango, pineapple, papaya smoothie was the clear winner. Followed by Josh’s strawberry Oreo milkshake. Robert also talked us into trying some Guanabanas which he said is the best tasting fruit in the world. Robert, you are wrong my friend. Very wrong.

On our drive to the Everglades Rusty commented how well the kids had done in the small car, sharing bed, etc. And they was the end of that! Josh and Blake bickered more in the car in this stretch than the whole rest of the trip combined!

Now off to see some Gators along the Anhinga trail. We saw our first alligator right away out in the water. And we saw 7 more along the trail. It was such a hot day that none were out of the water, so we had to spot them in the Lilly pads and rock and tree roots. One of our favorite things we saw was a little bird struggling with a big fish. There was no way that fish was going to fit down his throat but he wasn’t about to give up. We watched him for a good 5 min and when we came back a little while later he was still there, still trying to eat that fish. We saw turtles and lots of Anhinga. They are so pretty and often sit with the wings full spread. Halle learned this was because the don’t have oil on their wings like many birds so the have to flap a lot to keep their joints lubricated. 

Airboat ride was next. I thought this was going to be cooler than it was. It was interesting to get to be out in all the saw grass, and drifting around corners was pretty fun. But I was ready to be done after only a few min. 

Our final stop in the Everglades was at Shark Valley. Halle and Blake opted for the tram and Rusty, Josh and I chose bikes to complete the 15 mile trail. Halle and Blake learned a lot more than we did, but we saw a ton more gators because it was much easier for us to stop and look in the water. All in all we saw 41 alligators! And a million turtles, heron, and other birds. 

It rained for a few minutes which made the 90 degree heat somewhat bearable. We all said we’d love to come back to Florida. In the winter. No more summer trips for us. 

We made it to the observation tower! 

And then Josh wanted to see how fast we could bike the 7 1/2 miles back. We did it in about 40 min. Not too shabby on rickety old cruiser bikes! 

With that, our trip was done. Off to the airport we went. 

Everyone is eager to get home to Dash. Poor guy did not have a good time while we were away. On Friday when we dropped him off at the Stowell’s, he had been having some diarrhea. By the evening it was bloody. They took him to the Pet Urgent care where after examining him they admitted him to the animal hospital for fluids and other treatment. He stayed till Sunday morning when everyone though he was starting to improve. But no so much. The Stowell’s had to get up with him multiple times in the night to take him to the bathroom and by Wed he was throwing up a ton. We got him in to see his Vet who suggested an ultrasound after he was having bad belly pain to the touch. They wanted to rule out Pancreatitis. Back to the animal hospital he went. Krista was an absolute saint through all of this and took such good care of Dash. I couldn’t have asked for better. But I knew it was taking its toll—a sick pet is a lot of work! So I called Kari and asked if Dash could come there after his ultrasound. She immediately said yes and went to pick up Dash from the hospital. He made some good improvements after that and by Friday seemed to be getting back to his normal self. He was showered in love by Lolo and I’m sure this helped him recover. But the poor thing is going to be so traumatized. I felt awful that he had to go through all of that without us there. We are eager to get home and love on that pup!  

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