Loop Road and Lucky's Place

by Mike Miller
(Naples, Florida)

Lucky's Place on the Loop Road

Lucky's Place on the Loop Road

On Tamiami Trail (US-41) About halfway between Naples and Miami there is a ramshackle old building at a place called Monroe Station. It was built in the 1920's as a waystation, restaurant and boarding house for early travelers on the lonely stretch to Miami. The building has been abandoned for years.

There is an gravel road leading south from Monroe Station called the Loop Road. It's official designation is CR-94. It heads south for several miles, and then bends east where it hooks up with Tamiami Trail again.

It is probably the loneliest 25 mile stretch of road in Florida.

A few hardy pioneers used to live along this road. Most of them are gone, their homesteads purchased by the federal government when the Big Cypress was assembled as a national preserve.

A visitor recently (August 2013) drove this gravel stretch and says it isn't bad for a regular passenger car.

You may see alligators, bears, panthers and a human now and then. The humans are generally fishing in the numerous shallow streams and swampy areas. You won't see many signs of civilization, but will get a good feeling for how primitive life must have been in this wilderness for the early pioneers.

I like to play the country favorite Orange Blossom Special as I go through this lonely country. This is in honor of the late Ervin Rouse, who lived on the Loop Road some years ago.

He is famous for writing the "Orange Blossom Special", a country fiddle classic.

After about 15 miles of this gravel road, you will finally come to the paved section that you will enjoy for the final 8 miles.

The paved section begins at a Big Cypress ranger station and a trail head that will give you a great walking experience through the Big Cypress Swamp.

Early on this final 8 mile paved stretch you will come to a ramshackle collection of old motorcycles, trailers, a fence, firewood for sale, and a Lucky Strike sign.

This is the home of Lucky Cole, Everglades Photographer. Maybe they call him Lucky because he has figured out a way to get beautiful women to photograph them in the nude and pay him for it.

Search for him on the internet and you will get a glimpse of his work.

Lucky doesn't sell anything to tourists, but will give you a beer and sit and gab for a while. He does accept donations to his retirement fund.

The only other residents of this lonely road seem to be some Miccosukee Indians who live in neat modern concrete block houses toward the eastern end of the 8 mile paved stretch.

A more civilized and quicker trip for a passenger car on the Loop Road is to enter on it's eastern end and drive 8 miles to where the paved road ends. Then turn around and go back.

More pictures are available at on my Facebook photo gallery at Big Cypress Loop Road

Comments for Loop Road and Lucky's Place

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Oct 15, 2015
Loop Road
by: Steven

Definitely one of the more memorable road trips. If your extra adventurous take this during the summer months due to its myriad muddy potholes. In the winter months its graded and many less potholes to dodge.

The wildlife is everywhere along this trek. From gators,birds, racoons along the roadside, to the fish in under the multiple one lane bridges, streams an ponds.

Lucky's is at the opposite end if entering via the Historic and abandoned Monroe Station. As you travel this route and become captivated by the dwellings on this route, your mind may start hearing the tune "Dueling Banjos" in your head.

Oct 05, 2015
by: Hoot Gibson

Drove my Jeep Wrangler from my little sister's home in Naples to Monroe Station and took the Loop Rd down and over to 41, then 41 back, this was February 2008, the weather was perfect. Photographed one of the biggest gators I have ever seen{and we grew up in Venice, back in the 1950s and early 60s when it was still pretty wild in Florida. A buddy of mine and me plan or riding our dual sport Motorcycles, stop at Lucky's and head down to the Observation Tower and then Flamingo next February....can't wait!

Feb 13, 2015
What Memories
by: Steven

Sister in law and I were coming back from Flamingo at Sunrise, when I noticed on my GPS that loop road lay just ahead. I was curious about this trek ever since reading the article in the then St. Petersburg Times.

Entering thru the east end, we passed the concrete block homes, a short distance up the asphalt road I saw the street sign with Lucky's name on it. Would have loved to meet the man, however, the feelings probably wouldn't have been mutual at 7 am on a Sunday morning.

Soon the paved road surrendered to its earthen cousin, and before we knew it the journey began. We passed houses whose driveways looked like mini creeks. Suddenly my sister in law started humming the tune "Dueling Banjos." The next couple of hours we spent dodging huge rain filled potholes until we reached the other end.

Soon we were on top of many low lying concrete bridges that crossed small creeks along this lonesome desolate stretch. As I turned the car off, we came out of our air conditioned comfort and felt the humidity of that August clinging to us like a broken hearted lover weighing us down. After getting a few pictures, the mosquitoes were all over us despite the bug repellent. Quickly we got into the car and traveled deeper into the wilderness. Several stops taking more photos, and a myriad of insect bites later, we passed a sign that read "Gator Hook Trail." At which point we thought our eyes were deceiving us. Ahead coming at us was a brand new shinny BMW Roadster. Holy cow we weren't the only two insane people in the State!

Soon we found ourselves out of the car again taking more pics. This time due to the birds raccoons and gators, along with the pond lilies looking like something out of a Monet painting, and cypress trees standing in water.

Hastening our way back into our refuge, hours later we came out the Monroe Station side to read a sign that read, "Last Chance To Turn Around." We looked at other and busted out laughing until we cried. Had this sign been on the East side we may have missed out on a excellent adventure!

Dec 08, 2011
My Friend Lucky
by: Charlie {Eddie} Arnold

Many years ago,in the 1950s and 60s I would go to the Loop on the weekends with my family to fish and camp; this was a great experience as a pre-teenager.

I remember Monroe Station. Back then it was alive with Hunters,Fishermen,Swamp Buggy Rides and you could even get married there.When I got married in the mid 60s I would often go to Loop Road to fish for Bass and large War mouth Brim,using a Cane Pole and a Black worm.

I would stand on an old bridge and jiggle my hook until I caugnt something,sometimes just a Gar Fish.I went to Miami Springs Jr High and lived in Miami Springs,made very few friends. One of those friends was Lucky Cole.

I left Miami in the late 1960s and went north to Lakeland,many years past,and I decided to find some old friends,so I started on Facebook. I found many familiar names and tried to contact them. ONLY one responded: LUCKY COLE.

In School I Always admired Lucky,he was kind and friendly to all,he was the Koolest kid in School,and with a name like Lucky,well that was even Kool.

When Lucky returned my call I was not at home,my wife answered and she told me he called. We made plans to visit him on the Loop; I was suprised to learn he has lived there for many years with his lovely wife Maureen.

We arrived at this place with a fence with a motorcycle sticking out through it and with the gates closed. I knew we were at the right place {the mail box was a dead giveaway}.

We visited with Lucky for several hours ,caught up on a lot of old times{Lucky remembered some things that I didnt}. Well, it had been 46 years since we had seen each other,and this was one of the Biggest higtlights of my life.

Lucky was a Kool guy when I first met him in School,and he is still the Koolest guy I know. Lucky will always be a true friend.

Lucky will always be a friend to Loop Road and The Everglades.

Dec 07, 2011
Lucky Cole loop Road
by: Lucky Cole

Mike thanks for the great write up.

Just wanted to let everyone know we open to visitors most Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

I tell friends that are coming out just to see us to please call first (239-695-2550) or check my Facebook page (Lucky Cole)to make sure we are open.

I first came onto Loop Road in 1965 when my friend Ben Wolfe first moved on to his property at the end of the paved part of the road. (It was not paved at that time.)

Ben was friends with the Volkers and knew them well.

We had a weekend place there until 1990 when we had a chance to buy just one mile east of Ben's place. My wife Maureen and I moved there full time in 1994 from Miami and have loved it. It's a great way to live and we are only one hour from Miami and just over one hour from Naples.

If any of your readers want to check us out before coming by have them check out one of our websites (www.naturesexoticbeauty) or just Google (Lucky Cole Loop Road).

Thanks again Mike and we hope you make it back for another visit soon.

Lucky Cole

Aug 14, 2011
by: Anonymous

My uncle and aunt used to live on Loop Road - George and Irene Volker.

I used to visit them back in the 1960's. They were among the settlers bought out by the U.S. government. They lived in a trailer and had airboats.

Uncle George used to poach gators in the days before you could hunt them.

I loved those times. E-mail: RobertNewbold4191@yahoo.com

Apr 26, 2011
Stuck on Loop Road as a kid with my family
by: Dan Pennington

The road hasn't changed much in 50 years. I remember being stuck for a short time there - a chevy station wagon going across one of those areas where the water was over the road. Not sure I loved it at the moment but made one of those enduring Florida moments in my mind as a kid.

Apr 24, 2011
Have Fun At Lucky's
by: Mike Miller

Hi Conchscooter:

I thought you pretty much stayed in the Keys. I hope you get to visit laid back Lucky's. It's definitely on the back roads.

Regards, Mike

Apr 24, 2011
Loop Road
by: Conchscooter

I enjoy riding the Loop Road on my motorcycle and stopping to take pictures. It really is true wilderness with a chance to see alligators and less fearome creatures in their habitat unhindered by human contact (one hopes).
I liked the stucff about Lucky as I had never stopped by there. The gates have always been closed but oif they are open I will use your story to see if I could get a chat.
Thanks for the info.

Apr 14, 2011
Luckys Place
by: Charlie Arnold

I went to school with Lucky,found him on Facebook after 45 years,I went to see him and his wonderful wife Maureen in March,had a wonderful time,ate some Deer Chili,and caught uo on old times in Miami Springs where we went to School together. Lucky was a KOOOOOL guy in School and is still the same today.I fished on Loop Rd as a young man, many great memories there.

May 23, 2010
Lucky's Place
by: Mike Miller

Steve: thanks for your observations and advice.

May 23, 2010
by: Steve LaBree

We spent some time with Lucky and Maureen today at their "beach." What a great afternoon with two great people. If you go, take them a six pack or a bottle of wine. Lucky loves a good cigar, by the way. You can buy something to drink, or enjoy Lucky's venison stew. But the main thing is enjoy yourself...two very cool souls to hang with.

Apr 28, 2010
A good bit of history
by: Cindy

that is some true history,another good read, i didn't know about this unique spot,, thanks for the oldie but goodie information. There is so much right in our own backyards that we miss seeing and enjoying, happy traveling Mike :)

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