Loop Road and Lucky's Place
by Mike Miller
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