2/13/18 – Catching up on my journal after a week of little time and little or no wifi to do so. Having to skip using the hotspot til my billing cycle starts over, but did get more data added. Right now we are parked in friends driveway in Tampa, along with Doreen in her camper. Taking an “administrative day”, as one friend called it. Doing laundry, cleaning camper, fridge, probably taking everything out of cargo area of vehicle and reorganizing. Chores. And catching up with email, journal and other computer stuff.
Last post was at Highlands Hammock. The next I went to the CCC museum there which was really interesting. There was an old man giving a tour, very knowledgeable and looked old enough to have been part of the CCC, not really but he did say there were a few still alive, in their 90s. After tour I went around some more, reading and listening to the exhibits and watching a great video which had been on American Adventures (I think) on PBS. Very informative, lots of great footage. Blacks were included in the CCC, but segregated completely. According to this info, treated equally, but we know separate and equal was always separate and never equal. The men got some education (most had little, some none) and training in various job skills, including gourmet cooking and formal wait service serving the corps, in addition to planting and stonework, so they could get jobs later. It was run mostly by the army, with army discipline, so when WWII started, the CCC participants were well trained and among the first to go. And that was the end of CCC, not because they’d met all the goals or it was intended to, but because the money and men went to war.
The AC was very cold so I wanted to go walk some of the trails and warm up and come back for more. Did the trails, wonderful walks but sorry the Swamp boardwalk trail was closed. By the time I got through it was too late for museum.
Dupuis Equestrian Campground
While I was on line doing my trip planning, I discovered Dupuis Campground, a free campground near Lake Okeechobee. Since I want to explore areas of FL I’ve never been to, this fit the bill. It’s run by the South FL Water Management District, so sort of like BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land where gov. owns land allows free camping without hookups. They’ve bought up old sugar cane farm land since sugarcane ruins the land, so they have thousands of acres, lots open to the public. I want to learn more about what they do. The Great FL Birding Trial is there, The Everglades Trail, and others. This campsite is actually an Equestrian Campground but open to all campers. It was perfect for me – dispersed campsites (not well defined, lined up), basically camp anywhere. There are some sites with picnic tables and campfire rings. No hookups (elec & water) but water wells and faucets nearby and a very nice bathhouse. Since my camper (and most) can run the fridge with propane as well as elec, the stovetop is propane, and the battery will run lights and a few other things, no problem. My stovetop also hooks up outside so I did that for the first time. If I have elec. I use it instead, also from outside outlets. Campers (the rigs) included everything from a couple of folks just in their cars, regular vans rigged up with beds, etc. and conversion vans, up to big RVs, tho not the biggest and not many, and everything in between. I found the campers (the people) the most interesting I’ve met while camping all these years. Very friendly. I think especially when folks are in big rigs with AC and TV, that’s where they stay. Little campers have both, mine has AC, not TV, but can’t use AC without elec. hookups. These folks are a bit more alternative, adventurous, and more outside the camper life. Lots of great dogs for Xena to meet too, plus horses!! Big fenced in horse riding area where we could watch the horses and let the dogs run free when there were no horses there. Since it’s only a 4′ fence, which Xena regularly jumps at the farm, I couldn’t let her do it. I hate that she can’t run free, so does she.
While there we drove and walked some around Lake Okeechobee, on the levee and on the lake side of it, where there were picnic tables and walking trails. Also did some of the trails within the water management area, trailheads accessed by driving also. All this and it was free!! Campsite rentals really add up so gotta find the free ones. 🙂 And I’m so glad I have a vehicle separate from the camper now. Stayed a few days, could have stayed longer, many more trails, but Doreen had exciting plans in Tampa for us so left on Sunday. I’ll post Tampa later, after I finish some chores.