Thursday, February 24, 2011

Florida-Lake Okeechobee area

       We arrived at the Glades RV Resort in Moore Haven on Monday the 14th.  See our review of this park in an earlier blog.  We came here to meet friends Ed and Vivian from York PA.  They were in the 5th wheel aside of us in the pictures in the Glades reveiw.  Their friends Lonny and Betty were aside of them.  We became fast friends.  We had a great time talking about old times. That evening we had a great Valentines dinner followed by a great show.                                                                                         
      We did a road trip touring the City of Moore Haven.  Not to much here.  We did view the 500 year old crpress tree along the Caloosahatchee river. There is a nice river walk.  Toured the locks there on the river.  They have a nice RV Park  right by the locks.  Some sites along the river.  Under new ownership.  Its is "The Okeechobee Waterway RV Resort".  They are a Passport America park and you can find out more info at PAs website.
      The towns we are visiting are around the southern side of Lake Okeechobee Lake.   see   also      Great info at both these sites. There is a 143 mile dike-"The Herbert Hoover Dike" encircleing the lake.  There is a major rehabilitation of the "Dike" in process. It's only estimated to cost $856 million with completion date of 2030 for the entire project.   Think New Orleans had a problem. This lake is the second largest lake wholely in the US.  It covers 730 square miles. The high risk areas are to be completed by 2020.  That said it is fishermen/boaters paradise.
      The next towns we visited were South Bay  and Belle Glade. Both small towns with the "Big O" the draw.  Found one  nice RV Parks in each town.  In South Bay it was the county Park called South Bay, about 1/4 mile from the rim canal that circles the lake and is part of the Intercoastal waterway.  In  Belle Glade there is Torry Island RV Park under new ownership. It sits next to the lake.
        The big town in the area is Clewiston.  You can tell they made the big time because they have a Super Wal Mart.  In Clewiston we did the "Sugarland Tours".  Clewiston is the sweetest town in the US, or so they claim.  Thats because sugar cane is king there.   see    We got to see sugar cane fields burning along many of the roads.  On the tour we got to see how they harvest the cane, ship it to the refinery, drove through the refinery, and tasted  the raw cane.  It's different  seeing backhoes moving sugar, when we are used to seeing it moved with a teaspoon.  Just mind boggleing to see a building 700 foot long and very tall with backhoes and dump trucks, the large ones like used in open pit minning stock piling sugar that is 96 % pure.  Oh! it's further refined when sold to a buyer, it's 99.9% pure at that point.  But at 96% pure it is being handle with heavy diesel equipment.  Does your sugar have a diesel odor?   It takes 1100 train cars a day to keep the rifinery going.  see    The company operation farms 187,000 acreas. US Sugar is the largest fully intergrated cane sugar processing mill and refinery in the world.
           Next on the tour was a drive through the Southern Gardens Citrus Processing plant and some orchards.  The company farmes 32,000 acres.  Every part on the orange is used. Fl produces most of the OJ we drink while CA supplies most the fruit we eat.  Didn't know that.  see
      After these two tours we had a buffet lunch at the Historic Clewiston Inn.  A great lunch then back on the bus.  We toured some of the historic areas of the town.   Next we drove to the top of the Dike.  We got a lot of info on the lake and learned about the commerical fishing that still goes on in the lake . Catfish is the main fish harvested.  We learned about the history of the lake and the building of the dike.  If in the area we recomend the tour.  The cost is $40. per person. Included is a tour of the small museum.
       The next day we did another small road trip and had lunch at Roland Martins Tiki Bar. You fisher folks will recognize the name.  He is on the National Bass Masters Tour.  Its a in/outdoors type bar and grill. They advertise the best hambergers in town. So we tried one. Its about a half pounder, good but not great. It was fun just to say we ate there.
       The next day I got to go fishing on the big "O". Lonney has a bass boat, and took me out fishing.  We launched the boat in the rim canal.  We travel at full trottle for about a half hour to get to the main lake.  The lake is a shallow lake. We fished in mostly 2 to 4 foot of water.  Fishing was a little slow.  Lonney caught 5 bass and I got 2.  The biggest was about 3 pounds caught by Lonney.   We did have a great time on beautiful day of about 80 degrees under full sun.  On the way out and back through the canal we saw a least 50+ alligators,traveling at top speed of the boat.  Probably if we were just putting along we would have seen twice as many.
Sugar cane burning.
Loading cut "cane" on rail cars.
Cutting "cane", Bob tasting raw sugar.
Rows of sugar cane.
Unloading oranges.
The Historic Clewiston Inn.
On top of the Dike, the commerical fishing boats.
Bob sitting on the outside of the Tiki Bar.
lookin in the Tiki Bar

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Glades RV Resort-Moore Haven FL 2/14-2/21/11

The staff was very friendly.  The price works out to $32.70 a night, weekly rate plus tax.  They offer no discounts of any kind, other then a weekly and monthly rate.  That said this is a very nice Resort.   Its is maybe 50% full.
SITE: our site is a back in about 70-80 foot long, very wide.  We are in a site that is along the perimeter of the park.  No one behind us, just a small pond, and future sites, see the hookups in place, in the photo's.   In front of us across the wide park road is a 9 hole golf coarse, part of the RV Resort complex, along with a marina on the Caloosahatchee River, part of the intercostal waterway.   The site is grass. There is a cement patio about 8x16. We had full hook up with 50 amp electric.  There are very few trees and no privacy between sites.  All roads in the park are paved and wide and great for maneuvering a large RV.  Plenty of parking at our site for the car and truck.
Laundry: There are two laundries in the park, each with four washers and dryers. Very clean in a open screened in room.
Amenities: As mentioned a Marine, 9 hole golf coarse, heated pool, club house with scheduled activities, fishing, exercise room and wide open space. They are on about 500 acres. There are  about 250 sites.  The sites along the perimeter are a better choice in our opinion.
TV-Phone: Our Verizon cell service was good, between 3-4 bars. There is no cable TV. Over the air TV, got all major networks and about 40 other channels. There is wifi in the park for a fee. We didn't use it as we use our Droid X to connect to the Internet.
Dog Friendly: Very dog friendly. Lots and lots of room to walk your pet.  There is a large area in front of park away from RVs to let them run off leash. It is not fenced.
Comments:There is no road noise.  Night lighting is very good, very well lite, a bit to lite for night sky viewing.  No picnic table, but go to office to request one. There is a small book exchange in the clubhouse. Bike riding is good in the park, as well as long walks. Boat lunch and kayaking on the river. About 40 miles from the heart of Ft. Myers. Nearest grocery store about 15 miles, Winn Dixie, in La Belle.  Lake Okeechobee about 10 miles to the nearest boat launch.  Closest restaurant about 15 miles in La Belle.  This is sugar cane harvesting season and there is some very  minor smoke and fly ash in the air at times.  We would return to this park in the future but hope for a discount.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Florida- Friends- Edison & Ford Winter Homes- Fort Myers

       Friends-Friends-Friends- We got together with a number of friends while at Toby's RV Resort in Arcadia. First we went to see Linda's cousin Carl and wife Dot. They live in Arcadia for about 10 years.  Very nice to reconnect with them.  Next friends Dave and Liz who have a home in Largo took a ride down to visit us for the day. They are friends from PA.  We retoured Lake Placid with them.  We had a great visit.  Then full time RV friends Penne and Dave who were in Moore Haven gave us a call.  We met them in Lake Placid for lunch which was midway between us.  Great to see them as we haven't seen them since the Rose Parade in CA 1/1/10.  In the passed we had met them in OH, TX, and several times in Alaska. Then in OR. and CA. What a great life we have being able to connect with friends.  Then we met friends Dianne and Marvin who now live in Cape Coral.  Linda and Dianne have been friends since elementry school.  Our kids went to the same  schools together.  They said bring Blazer, that way you can spend more time.  We did and they brought him some toys and sat on the floor playing with him.  They really enjoyed Blazer.  Then we went to Sanibal and Captiva Islands and took Blazer with us.  They have a mini van and Blazer made himself at home in the back seat.  We walked the beaches and Dianne and Linda picked up shells and Blazer picked up each one they threw down and set it at their feet to make sure they didn't want it.  While writing this update we are now with friends Ed and Vivian, at the Glades RV Resort in Moore Haven FL..  We had met them in Flagstaff AZ in 2003 and have been friends since. They are from York PA., and new friends Lonnie and Betty.  More on were we are  now in our next update.  We are back tracking as we are behind on our blog.  We have been very very busy and will back up a week or two to update our blog.
           We went to Fort Myers to tour the Edison and Ford Winter Estates and Gardens. What a super tour.  See at   We spent about 6 hours touring the house,  gardens and museum.  The Banyan and Mysore Fig trees were really neat.  If in the area we would consider doing the tour again.  We did the audio tour.  This is great as we could take as long as we wanted. You get a audio recorder and follow a map to number post and click on that number and listen to the recorded discrpition of what you are viewing.
           After the six hours we needed a break and had lunch. After lunch we headed for the Shell Factory/Museum/store.  This is combination of a small shell museun, store, great mounted animal display(like at Cabella's display), etc, etc. Very touristy, but fun.
First 3 photo's are of the Edison house.

The next 3 are of the Ford house.
A red powerpuff flower,a Mysore fig tree, gardens in bloom and a Banan Tree.
The  Shell Factory/Museum with 100's of shells on display from around the world and the animal displays.
      We will be here till Monday the 21st. We are going to La Belle about 18 miles from this park. We are going there because of a great special we have for six days. Keep the emails and comments coming, we love hearing from you all. Some one asked about the placemarks on our map.  The blue is 2009, red 2010 and green 2011. Thanks for traveling along with us.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Toby's RV Resort Arcadia FL 1/17-2/14/11

Very friendly staff.  We stayed here with a Thousand Trails special. Price was $16.93 a night.  We had a pull thru site on grass.  We had FHU 50 amp electric.  Site had a small 8X10 cement patio.  No privacy between sites.  All roads are paved but a bit to narrow for big rigs.  Our site was in the back row, so behind us was a huge field with cattle roaming around. The park is surround with fields on 3 sides.  There is a very clean laundry.  Very active park for 55+ community.  There is a heated pool.  There is a small 3-4 acae lake in back of park for fishing. Our Verizon phone worked well. Over the air TV got about 30 channels. Wifi through  Tango- spotty.  Dog friendly.  Big grass field in front of park, not fenced.  Night lighting is good. There is some road noise.  There is a small book exchange.  There is only one dumpster in the park and it was a very long walk from our site, about a half mile. Biking is good through out park.  You can ride into town on a paved road for walking/biking off the main road and very  safe.  Goes into town for several miles.  Super Walmart less then a mile.  Two other major grocery stores in 2-3 miles. The park is about half permanent park models and seasonal sites.  The front has 30 sites for transients. Very very well kept park. we would stay here again.