It was just fog droplets that were collecting on the windshield as we pulled out of Collier Seminole that morning – right?? It was just an overload of humidity coming in off of the Gulf of Mexico that was barely a half-mile away in that creek by the boat launch - right?? Things were going to dry out and we were going to camp at Midway, the National Park campground half way across the Tamiami Trail and we were finally going to get to ride our bikes the whole 15 mile length of the road in Shark Valley - right? Wrong! As soon as we rounded the curve and passed Everglade City – the low hanging clouds let loose and released their pent up moisture. All the blasted way across the glades it rained. As we passed the casino on the eastern edge of the glades (where we have parked for the night in years past) and turned from Rt 41 to go north on Rt 997 it rained! It did let up as we passed by the spread out sugar cane fields in various stages of growth or burnt out blackness. It waited long enough for us to park the big blue truck and attached “condo” on the still damp concrete parking pad in the Palm Beach County Campground in South Bay. Then it let loose again! The grassy areas were saturated and the lovely big pond in the center of the park was full! The screened in laundry/shower room building was just across a small turn around area next to us so we took advantage of the time and got our laundry done, dancing around puddles and splashing thru soggy grass to get to and from the protection of our out stretched awning. The next day was either overcast and gray or raining again. We made the best of the situation by heading out and exploring some of H’s old haunts and hangouts from his past when he spent time during his “single days” of long ago! Drove thru “little Haiti” in Belle Glade and revisited the campground to see if it was worth moving to instead of signing up for more days at South Bay. NO – it wasn’t! Farther up the eastern side of Lake Okeechobee in Pahokee was another campground, right on the banks of the lake itself. Way too steep of a price and way too steep of a climb to get over the levee pulling the trailer.
Let me explain about Lake Okeechobee, the nations 2nd largest natural lake. Water from farther north in Florida flows to the south and ends up filtering thru the everglades before reaching the ocean. Years ago men in authority thought it would be best to hold up the flow when it reached Lake Okeechobee. So they built a tall levee around the entire lake. On the outside of the levee they dug canals. To gain access to the lake they built large locks for boat to pass thru but still hold water in the lake. To make a shortcut for other vessels – they dug an even larger canal/river from Port Lucie on the Atlantic side and exiting to the west and out to Ft Myers and the Gulf of Mexico via the Caloosahatchee River. The lake is famous for its fishing. It stands to reason then that it would be surrounded by marinas and fishing camps that pass themselves off as “RV Resorts”.
|lock into the lake|
Zachary Taylor RV Resort is a Passport America resort at the north end of the lake and is planted on the banks of a canal that just so happens to lead to one of the many locks whose long wooden protecting arms stretch out into the lake. Near downtown Okeechobee city is a new fishing pier that has replaced one destroyed by a hurricane. After a lovely fish dinner at one of the local restaurants, the pier was a nice way to walk off supper and enjoy the last view of the sun as it disappeared behind the next batch of storm clouds that was rolling in.