The Ultimate Road Trip: THE SILVER SNAIL : A solo woman's full-time RV adventure
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Sebring, Florida

Driving through the rural Florida interior, I saw a large turtle crossing the hot pavement ahead of me – a suicide mission for sure. I pulled over on the grassy roadside so I could help him get off the road and to the water on the other side. As I was about to get out of my truck, a pickup was coming up behind me. Please PLEASE don't run over the turtle. I hoped my presence on the side of the road would alert the driver to the large turtle IN the road. They did indeed slow down to get around my rig, but seemed completely oblivious to the BIG turtle in the road. For a moment I thought I would witness an innocent turtle slaughter. But that turtle could move. Lke lightning, it ran to avoid the truck tires that passed just inches from it and I thanked the universe for sparing me a gruesome scene. The turtle was hefty, maybe 22" long. I carefully picked him up and put him near the water. I don't know what kind of turtle it was, but I bet he was on his way to spend quality time with his turtle family, after a long day of doing turtle stuff.

Highlands Hammock State Park
This park, one of Florida's first state parks, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1931 with the hopes of becoming a national park. It never reached that status but it's still a nice place to stop. The Cypress Swamp Trail is the most interesting and beautiful - and also the most popular.

Highlands Hammock State park

It's a jungle out there! I took Harley on these jungle trails and kept him very close. Poisonous snakes and alligators really like it here. Then after seeing a woman in tears rushing with her little white dog in her arms out of one trail, I figured Harley didn't really need the jungle experience anymore. So I biked with him on the perimeter trail through the open flatlands, where Harley got a chance to personally go nose to feet with a couple of turtles. They retreated into their shell at first, then apparently considered Harley a low threat and continued on their merry way. Harley danced around and tried to say hello face to face, but the head end made him nervous, as it darted in the shell. So, like a proper dog, he focused on the back end, licking the little turtle toes as it waddled away. Harley: Dances with Turtles. To mark this historic event, I've mixed up deliciously green cocktail: Sweet Turtle Toes.

Highlands Hammock state park


How to be Courteous to your Friendly Camping Neighbor
I feel compelled to take a moment to provide some friendly camping advice and reminders to my fellow campers:

1) DON'T bang loudly on your new neighbor's door at 7:00 in the morning (when the blinds are still drawn and she is sleeping soundly) to ask if you should get her tram tickets.

2) If you DID happen to err and break rule #1, kindly express your apologies in the afternoon when you see that your new Friendly Camping Neighbor is awake and has had at least two cups of coffee.

3) Please, please, please, respect someone's campsite and do not walk through it at any time of day. And especially, please teach this to your children.

Thank you for your attention and interest in making everybody's experience an enjoyable one.


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All images and words © Sharon Pieniak
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