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

No comments:

Post a Comment