Loop Road and Lucky's Place
by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)
Lucky's Place on Loop Road
On Tamiami Trail (US-41) about halfway between Naples and Miami there is a place called Monroe Station.
There used to be a ramshackle old building there that dated back to the 1920s. It was used as a way station, restaurant, and boarding house for early travelers on this lonely stretch of road.
The building burned down recently and all you can see now is some charred ruins.
There is a country 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 of road 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.
HERE IS MORE INFORMATION FROM LUCKY COLE
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 in the event I have a photo shoot.
I first came to Loop Road in 1965 when my friend Ben Wolfe first moved onto his property at the end of the paved part of the road. (It was not paved at that time.) 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 love 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.com) or just Google (Lucky Cole Loop Road)
If you enter from the east end of Loop Road at the forty mile bend which is paved we are approximately 7.2 miles in and look for the red mailbox on your left. If you enter from the west end (Monroe Station area) which is a gravel road we are approximately 16 miles in and the red mailbox is on your right.
NOTE FROM FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL 2-12-12
Lucky Cole is featured in Tim Dorsey's novel Electric Barracuda. Go to https://www.florida-backroads-travel.com/tim-dorsey.html for a video of Lucky telling how it all came about.
Some comments from visitors to Lucky's
May 12, 2016
by: Joey Barber Jr
In 1981 I had the utmost pleasure of meeting Lucky and his family with my dad Joe sr at Ben Wolfes home on Loop Road hunting fishing riding buggies 3 wheelers swimming campfire's and fine glades dining a man with many families and fatherly advice to the group of us that frequented loop road from helping Ben as a little boy boy scout trips and school class campus lucky and my father were there to do what was needed my dad passed away 3 years ago and I still find myself reminiscing about my memories of the wonderful loop road best wishes lucky Cole and many blessings God bless you and your family love always joey barber jr and the barber family
Feb 23, 2014
Me and Lucky In The Ludlam Canal
by: Bill Booher
Lucky and I met on the western banks of the Ludlam Canal in the early 60s. We both had boats and had built camps on the FEC Railway lands.
His boat was faster than mine , but I lived on the canal next to Dr Thompson's house and could raid Lucky's camp anytime he was gone. He would burn my camp down. The next week I would burn his down. We have been friends ever since those days.
I am lucky to have LUCKY as my friend