|Spending a week in the Fort Myers Beach area, we spent several days on the beach, weather most days in the 70's. Had one day of horrible rain with over 2 1/2 inches of the stuff in about 6 hours...wow what a mess! Of course it was the day we planned to drive through "Alligator Alley" about 100 miles SE of Ft. Myers. Needless to say we didn't go because alligators are "fair weather" friends and would have been in hiding anyway. Ahhhhhhhh! Just means another trip to Florida someday. Sanibel Island is listed as the 4th most beautiful beach in the world and it's easy to see why. Miles and miles of white sandy beaches and lots of shells. In some places on the beach, the shells were at least 6 inches deep. The white sand on the gulf is made up of quartz crystals produced by the weathering of continental land masses like the Appalachian mountains. The quartz is washed down America's great rivers into the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico where it is carried onto the beaches by water currents and waves. It is so white, fine, soft and fluffy, so different than the sand on the Pacific coast. What fun I had wandering through the warm water looking for shells. Being land locked most of my life and being a Pieces, the beach and collecting shells are one of my favorite things to do. One morning Mike humored me and we drove out to the beach at 5:30 a.m. to be there at low tide at 6...wasn't even light yet but the minute it was we were down on the beach. There are over 400 different shells on the shores of the gulf coast. I didn't find near that many but was happy with my "finds" and even found several different kinds of sponges. Amazing that with all the stuff we don't have room for living in the motor home, I can always find a spot for my shells! The Fort Myers area had been hit with freezing weather before we arrived and it certainly showed on the beautiful trees, shrubs and palms. One of the things that really hit us in the area was the numbers of empty business buildings. It was obvious that when Florida was really hopping just a few years ago, they were clearing and building like crazy but the economy has really affected the area. One of the days we were there we went to a huge flea market (the biggest we have been to except the one in Mesa, AZ last winter). It's fun to just walk around, see what all the vendors are selling and to people watch.