Monday, March 30, 2015

3/30 Edison & Ford Estates, Ft Myers, FL - Part 2

This second part shows the Ford estate that is right next door to the Edison home.  It is smaller because it was used much less and was purchased later, but it has some of the same features, except no wide porches on all sides.

Also, after Edison died, the Ford family sold this property to someone else, while Edison's wife continued to live in her property.  She gave the property to the City of Fort Myers with the understanding that it be kept as a museum.  The Ford property was not added to the museum until the 1990s when it was purchased by the museum. 

Actually this four-car garage did not exist while Ford owned this property.

3/30 Edison & Ford Estates, Ft Myers, FL - Part 1

I am back at Ortona Locks for a few days, so I decided to drive to the Edison & Ford Estates museum today.  Wish they had a sign on the main road about where to park RVs because I ended up winding my way through all of their parking lots before the signs directed me to the exit and another lot across the street!  It was a gorgeous day today.  The weather has been hot and muggy for my northern body for the past month, but  cold front went through a couple of days ago, so today it was a very pleasant 75 degrees!  Nice.

So I titled this Part 1 because I had taken so many photos that I decided to post the ones of the Edison home first.  Edison bought the property quite a few years before Ford did and also spent the full winters here, so his estate is larger and has more buildings than does the Ford home.  The first couple of photos show the road and some of the palms planted by Edison and the many exotic plants on his property.  He was constantly experimenting with plants, so there are a lot of unusual species, even for Florida.

This is the road in front of the property.  An interesting thing is that this was originally a cattle drive road.  There were no regular roads in the area when the estate was first developed, and Edison had to bring all the building materials and his family in by boat.

This has to be the world's biggest bougainvillea!  Check out the size of the lady on the right compared to this "shrub." 

This is the caretaker's home.

This is a huge stag horn fern!  It is an air plant that grows on other structures and trees.

I found the base of this plant interesting.  Apparently, it has two kinds of leaves: the regular ones that looks like stag horns, and the other kind (basal fronds) that attach to the tree and act as a base.  Here is a close-up of one of those leaves.

And the family pool.

And pool house.

More photos of the grounds and the Calasahootchee River.

Edison's house is really two houses joined by a walkway.  Each house is really fairly small, but they both have huge wraparound porches.  Obviously, they spent a lot of time outdoors.

They have plastic panels that allow you to look inside but not enter.  Here are some photos of the two buildings.  Edison wisely put the kitchen and dining room in the guest house so it wouldn't intrude in the main house.  Another important thing is that nearly all rooms had windows on at least three sides for ventilation.

This is the walkway between the two houses.

The kitchen.  Note the icebox in the far end.

Check out the fire suppression system!

This is a separate small building that contains Edison's office.

And across the street is the laboratory and shop.

And finally, this is the camping truck that Edison and his friends used.  No room to sleep inside it, but it has lots of storage for all the equipment.   

Saturday, March 21, 2015

3/21 Vultures & Dredging Ship in Lock

These vultures have been hanging out in a clump of trees next to the campground every evening.  At least they don't seem to bother anyone.

I walked down to the lock this afternoon with my cousin, and we saw this dredging ship waiting to get into the lock.  So far, I had seen only privately owned pleasure boats go through the lock, but this one looked interesting.

There seems to be only a couple of feet on either side.  It did not scrape the sides, however.

I suspect this ship has seen better days.  It was pretty rusty looking and the crew looked like they could have used a washing machine and dryer.  Dredging is no doubt a dirty job.

There is a 14' different in level on the east side of the canal.  At this point, the lock is about half full.

Doors are opening on the west end of the lock.  The ship is no doubt heading to Lake Okeechobee.   

According to this view, the ship was originally from Boston.  Frankly, it did not look particularly sea-worthy for an ocean voyage from Boston. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3/18 St. Lucie Lock and Dam Campground

This is the third Corps of Engineering campground I have stayed at here in Florida.  This one is the smallest, with only 9 RV campsites.  They are VERY hard to reserve because they are popular and seniors get a 50% discount.  As with all COE campgrounds, they are paved, have water and electric hookups, and are also exceptionally well taken care of.   

Love the waterfront sites. What was funny when I pulled in is that I recognized the couple in the RV behind me.  They had also been in the site behind me at W.P. Franklin a couple of weeks ago. 

If I wanted to and I had a license, I could fish from my campsite.

There are also several boat hookup sites and some tent sites.

I like this lock because you can walk across it and the dam to the other side of the river.

Water here is leaving Lake Okeechobee and headed east to Port St. Lucie.  There is a 14' difference of level at this dam.