Posted by: mckenzie68 | June 28, 2010

Never smile at a crocodile…June 23 or Day 66

Well, we got up early again, because today was Alligator/Crocodile day.  We packed up our bikes, headed to Subway for breakfast (long story) then rode the short 2.6 miles to the Alligator Farm. Within minutes we had got our tickets (at an AMA reduced price – yay!) and headed inside to see the gators.

We were not disappointed!  Holy crap some of them were huge!  We wandered around and saw Maximo (a fifteen footer) and his stuffed predecessor, Gomek, who was 18 feet, weighed approximately 2000 lbs and had died of a heart attack.  Huge creatures which would definitely eat you if presented with the chance.

We watched a general information presentation by park staff and then a feeding, which was amazing.  The staff member, a cute little blond (go figure) was right down in the pit with the gators.  Although she seemed at ease, it was clear during the feeding that she was always aware of where each gator was (there was about 15-18 gators in the enclosure).  One came up to the little bridge she was on and started chewing on the rope handle…as much as a gator chews, which really is just biting).  This other one she got to chase here and I was surprised at how fast that thing moved out of the water.  And, there was one that was in the water that when the gal tossed the rat (they feed these guys thawed rats that they purchase frozen from a rat farm…yeah…rat farm) to it, grabbed it and went into a ‘death roll’…that was really cool to see!  There were a large number of crocodiles, alligators, birds, monkeys and tortoises there.  Lots to see and learn, for kids and adults alike.

After the gator feeding, we jumped on the bikes headed off to Jacksonville.  But not before we met this really nice group of people in the parking lot.  We chatted for a bit, learned about their bikes then we were off.  It continues to amaze Rae and me how many good people we meet on this journey.

The drive was relatively short, about 90 minutes, and we were at Jacksonville.  We booked in at the Holiday Inn Express where the front desk clerk, (a really awesome guy) suggested that I take Rae for supper at the Clark Fish Camp Restaurant.  We unpacked and had a quick dip in the pool…which Rae and I have grown to LOVE!!!  It is one of those special times during a day, where I know it is pretty much just her and I, with the pool to ourselves, just chillin…I absolutely love that time.

We headed back to our room, showered and then jumped on the bikes, fueled, and drove to the Clark Fish Camp…to say that place was cool is an understatement!  Tons of character, lots of sea related items, and once inside, there was literally every corner of this quite large facility filled with taxidermy wild game.  Lions, tigers, bears, badgers, raccoons, rhinos, wild buffalo, cheetah, you get the picture.  We were seated and our server, a nice Russian type fellow, took our orders.  It was an interesting meal.  We had gator tail for an appetizer (which Rae liked much more than me), then I had a 3 lb prime rib.  I kid you not!  We took a picture, but the picture didn’t do it justice.  Let me say that there were a number of people in the restaurant that were watching to see if I’d actually finish the thing…and I didn’t disappoint!  The meal and the atmosphere was just what I wanted.  And the location of the restaurant didn’t disappoint either, as it overlooks this marsh type area where wild gators and turtles hang out.  It was just AWESOME!

Ray

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