Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 73 - Bradenton, FL to Naples, Fl

We were awakened early this morning. Some clever tenters put their Husky in a crate and then left him alone. He was howling pathetically the whole morning.

We drove to Collier Seminole State Park in Naples, FL and will be staying here for a week. It is the only site I could get that covered Thanksgiving. The campground is an open format. So while the sites are large there is no vegetation hiding you from the neighbors. But it looks like there are plenty of trails to bike on and lots to see in the area.

Dear campers in site #116: Did you know that your 3 Yorkies miss you terribly when you leave them alone in your RV for the afternoon? I know because they barked the whole time - even when Brett was trying to nap. If you do this again tomorrow he will report you to the ranger and you will be asked to leave. Signed: the camper in site #117

After the aborted nap we took a walk around. A man named Barron Collier had a lot to do with establishing this park. He owned a lot of land here and offered to pay to finish building the Tamiami Trail if he could get a county named after him. Ta Da! Naples is in Collier county.

The park has a big marble monument on the grounds honoring him. There is also the Bay City Walking Dredge machine. This thing was built early 1900's and was used in building the Tamiami Trail. First the dynamite broke the limestone into little bits. Then the dredge scooped it up and it was used for the road. It is a huge and wondrous piece of equipment.

The dredge was built in May, 1924, and was shipped to W.R. Wallace & Co., of Ft. Myers. It was later sold to Alexander, Ramsey and Kerr, a construction company controlled by real estate magnate Barron Collier. Collier spent $1 million, financed by bonds issued by local road and bridge districts, but was still 31 miles from completion. He ran three shifts, one coming from Tampa, one working on the Trail, and one returning to Tampa. As the Florida land boom was underway, Gov. John Martin was elected in 1925 on the pledge to complete the Tamiami Trail "come hell or high water."

The State of Florida took over the project in 1926 and continued to use walking dredges. A 20-foot wide canal, blasted out of solid limestone under the grass and muck of the swamp, was straddled by the dredge which scooped up crushed rock for the adjacent roadbed. More than 2.5 million sticks of dynamite were used on the Trail.

During 1927-28, the Bay City dredge was employed to construct ten miles of the Trail from Black Water River to Belle Meade Crossing (intersection of US-41 and FL-951)

On our walk we also discovered a camper in need of assistance. Brett gave him a hand setting up an Easy-Up tent that wasn't all that easy to get up. Good deed done we explored the Rec hall and discovered a little lending library. It is one of those take a book leave a book arrangements. Brett found enough to keep him busy for the week.

Just for fun this evening I spilled pasta cooking water every which where. None of it landed in the dinner but plenty of it needed to be mopped up off the floor. I am such a klutz.

The temperature has cooled to a nice 66 degrees. It is relaxing time again.

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