2021 08/31-9/3: Larry and Penny Thompson Park – Railroad Museum, Ichels, Zoo

Larry and Penny were conservation activists who established a number of parks including this one near Miami. Our site was quiet, a little wet when it flooded but quite large.

Stu bicycled around the park including a moderate lake that offers swimming,, and water sports surrounded by trails and picnic areas.

2021 0801 The day began with a must see visit to the Miami Railroad Museum and a train ride around the grounds on a mini-passenger train powered by clean compressed air that replaced steam and coal that was starting fires on the ground. We enjoyed climbing around the restored passenger cars and imaging how the United States 1 armored pullman car was greeted as it traveled around the country with four different Presidents between Roosevelt and Reagan.

After lunch we visited the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and the Florida Light, restored and relocated from the days where the nightly light was the beacon guiding sailors into what is now the Miami Harbor. There is a lovely beach, a nice picnic area by the ocean and views of the lighthouse that raise admiration for the people who designed and built it.

Later in the day we visited David and Jan Ickel, Joan’s cousins, in their temporary home on the 8th floor overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Joan and David reminisced about their years growing up together, the vacation road trips they took, and how their parents bonded over the years as Joan’s father grew his medical practice and David’s father began to practice law a field David continued until he retired into mediation.

We were drawn to view the power of an afternoon storm as it moved in off the ocean and moved our patio dinner side to stay dinner of grilled salmon. Delicious. Fortunately, the storm cleared and the chairs dried in time for fresh fruit for desert. It was a relaxing and enjoyable evening.

2021 0802 We rose early planning to go to the Zoo, located just adjacent to the campground; we shared a fence with the zoo grounds. Unfortunately, a 11 am. checkout time changed our plans so we packed and drove Winnie to the Zoo parking area. We had planned a quick visit, taking the Zoo monorail back to the large ape area and visiting our relatives, the various apes. But, as so often has happened this year, COVID forced the closing of the monorail and effectively doubled our walk distance.

I love the Miami Zoo. There are nearly no fences so close up views of the animals doing what they like to do are common. One of our favorite views is an animal playing in their space. This is the best of the best:

The good news is that Joan experienced no discomfort in her knees. If fact, the knees have been pain free since a Gait Analysis recommended a change of shoes to better support her knees. Better than knee surgery and more effective than the various previous treatments.

What was planned as a test drive after replacing both axles, 4 hubs, and all the trailer brakes turned out to be a lovely weekend visiting with relatives, touring the Railroad Museum and visiting more distant relatives in the Zoo.