January 22, 2013

Day 112 - January 21, 2013: The Caloosahatchee River and Fort Myers

We liked Sanibel so much, we took another bike ride through the homes along the west shore before departing up the Caloosahatchee River for Fort Myers. This is the route loopers take as a shortcut across Florida through the Okeechobee Waterway. We chose this side trip, going only as far as Fort Myers, primarily to see the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

The river is wide with many small islands and many slow, no wake, manatee zones. In between, the go-fast boats came tight alongside, seemingly ignoring us, and threw large enough wakes to spill things off counters and cause us to have to grab handrails to keep from loosing our balance. This is just the opposite of the behavior we experienced in the Midwest rivers. There were some very large estates interspersed with the other homes. How would you feel living in the white home next door to this one?

Caloosahatchee River estate
As we passed Coral Gables, the Fort Myers skyline began to rise over the river. This is one of the largest cities in the area, with a population over 62,000, and a combined population in the surrounding areas of over 600,000. The city was hit by Hurricane Charlie in 2004, and much of the harbor downtown areas appear newly rebuilt.

Fort Myers skyline
We took a mooring ball for the night, rode the dinghy to land, and walked the harborside downtown. The streets and sidewalks are nicely bricked in with palm trees, many shops, and outside dining. Some of the businesses are playing off the Edison/Ford theme including banks, restaurants and bars.

Downtown Fort Myers

The Ford's Garage Restaurant and Bar (the car is a nice touch)
Back on Great Laker, we relaxed, dined and enjoyed a southern Florida sunset.

Sunset over the causeway bridge

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