From Ortona Lock COE Campground in LaBelle, FL …Thursday, January 13, 2011
We had a cold front that moved in the past couple of days. It has only been around 60 both yesterday and today. In fact, last night it got down to freezing, so Charlie had to unhook our water hose outside. During the night we used the water from our fresh water tank inside.
When we got up this morning it was 37 degrees. The cold temperatures certainly threatened the vegetable and fruit crops in this part of the state. The news showed hundreds of people who showed up at a local farm to purchase produce that needed to be harvested yesterday before the freeze. I’m not really sure how much produce was actually lost. Tomorrow we should be back in the 70s though.
Since it was chilly and very breezy today, we decided it was a good day to go out for a drive. We left our campground around 11:00am and headed east on Route 80. I have been doing all of the driving since we arrived at Ortona since Charlie’s back has been bothering him. So this morning I started out driving.
We first drove to the small town of Moore Haven. Although it is close to Ortona, we had not been here before. They had a nice park that ran alongside the Intracoastal Waterway with covered picnic tables. We followed this road out a couple miles until it ended at a boat launch area. It was a beautiful sunny day, and we enjoyed the views of the water, the boats, and the birds we saw along the way. Charlie took over the driving so that I could take pictures from the car.
Next on our agenda was to find a place to have lunch. We then drove east on Rt. 27 to Clewiston. Clewiston is called “The Sweetest Town in America”
since the US Sugar Corporation is there and is the nation’s largest producer of raw and cane sugar. They are also one of the country’s largest orange and orange juice producers. You can take a tour of the sugar fields and processing plants which we would like to do sometime.
We found a Mexican restaurant called Sunrise. The sign said “Authentic Mexican Food,” so we decided to give it a try. The food was just ok, but we probably would not go back. I wish we had gone with our first instincts and tried the buffet at the Clewiston Inn. This inn has been in operation since the 1930s and looks very pretty on the outside. Maybe we will try that next time.
After lunch we drove out to Lake Okeechobee which is the second largest freshwater lake in the U.S. Clewiston is the gateway to Lake Okeechobee, and there are a couple different access points from town to the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. We prefer the longest route which takes you four miles through some pretty fields and along a long canal.
Once you reach the lake, you can’t actually see the lake from here but rather a huge dike called the Herbert Hoover Dike. The dike was built around the lake for flood control. In 1928 the storm surge from a hurricane killed thousands of people, and that’s when the dike was constructed. A system of channels, levees and flood control gates was put into place. The scenic trail stretches for 110 miles over five different counties. Last year we rode our bikes on the trail, but this year Charlie has not been able to get on his bike since he hurt his back. Maybe when we return next month, we will be able to do this.
We rode a few miles further east to South Bay to look at a county campground there
. The campsites were very nice and had full hookups, wifi, and cable TV. Some of the campsites back up to a nice lake that has a walking path around it. The Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail is just above the campground where you can access it for walking and biking. This park would be a good place to stay for a couple days if need to sometime.
Before heading home, we stopped at the Walmart in Clewiston and picked up groceries and other items. I picked up some new items for my card making projects and some fabric for another project I am going to tackle. I drove back home to allow Charlie to rest some.
When we got home, I took a four mile bike ride out to the main highway. On the way back I was treated to another beautiful sunset as the sky changed to several beautiful colors.
Yesterday I made Taco Soup in the crock pot, and it really turned out good. This is a favorite recipe shared by many RV’ers, so I just had to give it a try. We both really liked it. It is very much like chili beans, and you top it with Fritos and shredded cheese. So tonight we had Taco Soup again.
I don’t think our riding around in the car today helped Charlie. His back was really bothering him by the time we got back home, so he turned in early tonight.