Finally got the rest of our Ural mounted entourage through the gate, apparently the guard noticed something in Russian on the 2nd hack and held up the whole parade… Yup, the cold war is still going strong here in the Everglades, while the War on Drugs has been suspended due to lack of interest. Then a bigger distraction appeared, in the form of big ol’ UPS and FDX trucks at the gate. ‘Bout then our 2nd Ural’s riders noticed a lack of reflection in the spotless front bumper of the UPS Mack, and realized their tail lights were out. Once again, a Ural “undocumented feature” came through in the clinch, and while the guard was dealing with the big trucks, our 2nd Ural quietly rolled through the gate. Turns out their was a bigger drama playing out, with the Postal Service taking advantage of Miami’s 24 hour federal courts to get an order 86ing UPS and FDX from the party, arguing that the new technology (“Drones, the Next Step”) was developed by the military and thus federal intellectual property, and being a fed agency, they got first shot at it. So while the UPS and FDX drivers and guard were figuring out how to back up their doubles rigs from the gate and turn them around, the rest of our Ural contingent was ignored as they dutifully stopped at the gate, got no response, and proceeded down Everglades Boulevard to meet us.

So just what the heck was at the end of Everglades Alley? We cruised for miles on the new concrete, finally turning at the sign for the “Everglades State University Poultry Research Facility”. From a distance it looked like a typical midwest turkey barn, long and low. But the typical slope to allow drainage of you know what was missing, and as we drew closer we found the “barn” as tall as an aircraft hanger. Inside, we wished we’d skipped our late meal, so sumptious was the spread. Eventually a series of increasingly unkept profs from Everglades State took the stage and told their spiel…

The official version is that Everglades State University has long been involved in research involving adapting turkeys to the Everglades tropical climate, remote controls for the remote infrastructure of the Everglades, and brain controlled artificial limbs. Thus was hybridized the “Everglades turkey”, as the bird was given back the ability to fly so it could stay cool in the Everglades tropical climate. Might explain the strangely well behaved wild(?) turkeys I saw the other day, and the lack of deer and other typical Everglades wildlife. OK, so they got a big turkey that can fly… The next prof detailed Everglades University’s VA funded research into thought activated artificial limbs, and how the turkeys and other research animals were used to test them. While he was speaking I googled the turkey research project, and found it was, strangely, funded by DOD rather than USDA.  The next prof detailed Everglades State’s drone research, admitting that they’d hit the wall in drone development, and found themselves copying nature’s own designs because they worked better than their own. 

Then a much snazzier dressed prof took the stage, introduced himself as the president of Everglades State, and droned on… “The synthesis began at a late night grad assistant’s spring break party in Everglades City. Researchers from the poultry, artificial limb, and drone programs were BSing, and then the synergistic moment came”… “Why don’t we use the turkeys to test the artificial limb computers?” By the time the programs’ funding ran out, they had a turkey that could fly for miles and deliver all but the heaviest parcels with the precision of a cruise missile, which probably explains where it’s guidance system came from.

‘Bout then a bunch of Postal Inspectors slipped into the room… Sorry, guys and gals, but you’re not very stealth. In the midst of that distraction, we heard flapping above and the view above was full of… Turkeys. With precision they dropped a letter in each of our laps, and personally addressed at that. The turkeys withdrew, and the Postmaster General took the stage… “This is  the future of the Postal Service!”, he declared. He prattled on…”For centuries we have been saddled with overpaid and prone to retire on pension carriers, now that age is over… Behold, the Eagle Delivery Drone!”

OK, I will concede that the turkey is remotely related to the eagle. The PM prattled onward… “And unlike carriers and their vans, the Eagle Delivery Drone is paid in cheap feed and it’s emissions are totally organic. And when they can’t perform their duties anymore, the packing houses pay us to retire them. As the PM continued his endless oration, we noticed that our chairs reclined, and grab some well deserved sleep…