Everglades National Park, Day 1 – Friday – February 8, 2013

Day 1 - Travel Day to Flamingo Campground
We have wanted to spend time in the Eastern Everglades, Flamingo Campground, in particular.  However, we were not up for boondocking in the Van.  Now that we have the motorhome and Flamingo has added electric sites, we made our reservation for 2 weeks.
To get there, you need to get to Homestead, FL which is south of Miami. 
From there you hang a right and travel another 50 miles to reach Flamingo Campground.00b - Map of where we are going
Most people would travel I-95 or the Florida Turnpike
from Jonathan Dickinson State Park to Miami to get to Homestead. 
We just didn’t want to deal with all the traffic,
so we headed west toward Lake Okeechobee.
It was a pleasant ride through horse country and along the Okeechobee Canal.02 - Heading toward Lake Okechobee - Horse and Cattle Country  03 - Heading toward Lake Okechobee - Canal to Atlantic
When we reached the locks at the Lake Okeechobee, 04 - Locks between Lake and Canal
we made a left on Rt 15 and headed south along the lake.05 - Drive along Lake Ockechobee
We never saw the lake but we did see workers at the top of the lake berm.
We traveled Rt 15 to Rt 27 which runs through mile after mile of sugarcane fields!!08 - through miles of sugar cane fields
We saw truck after truck hauling sugar cane to the processing plants.
07 - Following a Sugar Cane Truck  09 - mile after mile of sugar cane trucks
06 - Sugar Cane Processing Plant along Route 27
It was a nice easy ride with NO traffic!!
Along the way, we stopped at this boat launch area to take a little break.10 - rest area along a canal
If you look in the far left hand corner, you can see a Class C motorhome.
It appeared to be boon-docking there.
I love this photo of the Class C with its WINDMILL against a backdrop of the power grid!!!11 - RV with a windmill
About 100 yards from the Class C was a boat launch and fishing pier:o))12 - Boat launch to canal
He's got a pretty good set up:o))
We continued down Rt 27 until we were a short distance from Miami.
There we hung a right on Rt 997 to Homestead.13 - Approaching Right Turn to 997 toward Homestead
Where Rt. 997 crosses the Tamiami Trail, Rt 41,
there is an Indian Casino on one corner and a truck-stop on the other.14 - passing Indian Casino at 997 and Rt 41
We stopped at the truck stop for diesel and gas;o((
We would not do that next time.  It was difficult to get in and out.
We now know that there were plenty of stations closer to Homestead that
we could get in and out of much easier!!
After we crossed Rt. 41, the ride down 997 is through the agricultural belt.
Field after field of fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers.
15b - Papaya
Tomatoes                                                                       Cabbages
15a - Tomatoes  15c-Cabbage
We had been told to wait until we got through Homestead 16 - Driving through Royal Palm lined streets of Homestead
to get our produce at “Robert Is Here”  fruit stand in Florida City.
This is a local treasure with a great story!!
17a - Robert is Here Produce Stand
We got here just about lunch time
loaded up on lots of beautiful, fresh vegetables and fruits.
There was plenty of room to park a big rig:o))
18 - Lunch next to Robert's Fields
Since it was lunch time,
Nancy made us a  fresh tomato sandwich  while we enjoyed this view!!18b - lunch view at Robert's Fields
I am sure we will return to ROBERTS before we leave!!
About 10 miles further down the road,
we reached the Coe Visitor Center which is the first stop in Everglades National Park.
After looking around, we headed down the road for 38 miles19 - 38 mile drive through Everglades to Flamingo
to the Flamingo Visitor Center.
20 - Arriving at Flamingo Visitors Center
The 38 mile ride to Flamingo was very enjoyable.
We had picked up two hitch-hikers at the Coe Visitor Center.  21 - Hitch-hikers from Austria
These two young men are from Austria and had just finished exams (graduated high school).  In Austria, they have mandatory military service before they go to work or college.  They must report 2 months after graduation.  They decided to see some of the world before then.  
At the Coe Visitor Center, we saw them sitting on a bench, slicing oranges.  There were two bikes near by, so we figured they rode here from Flamingo.  When we asked, they said they had rode from MIAMI!!!  Now, that’s a 60 mile ride with the wind in your face. 
They asked if we were going to Flamingo and if so, could we give them a ride??  We said we could take them, but had no room for the bikes.  In an instance, they locked the bikes to a tree and said… ”Great, we’ll get the bikes when we get back!!”
We loaded their other gear into the Tahoe with Nancy and the boys rode with me in the Journey.  I learned that they had been to Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and most recently to Los Angeles. In LA, they rented a car and drove a 2000 mile loop to see many of our National Parks.  They hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon where the temperature was minus 5 degrees!!  From LA, they flew to Miami, rented the bikes and pedaled to where we met them.  They planned to spend a couple days experiencing the Everglades then pedaled back to Miami, fly to Newark-NJ, tour New York City, catch a train to Buffalo to see Niagara Falls and then fly back to Austria. Now that’s some two month trip!!! 
22 - Flamingo Visitor Center
We all stopped at the Flamingo Visitor Center before heading to the campground where we parted ways.  They were staying in the the walk-in tent area and we had reserved a site with electric hookups in the T-Loop.
01 - Campground Map
We found our site #19 and spent the remainder of the afternoon getting setup.23 - Site 19 T-loop
The first thing you realize is you are completely disconnected.
No cell phone, no Internet and no television!!
I think we're gonna like it here;o))


  1. Great summary of your trip. Lucky hitchhikers hit just the right folks to help them along their way. I guess you did not get milkshakes at Roberts?? Looking forward to the rest of the story since I only saw the first bit of it.

  2. I like the picture of the sugar cane field. Baby is in the rear view mirror. :-)
    Yes I think the hitch hikers were fortunate to find you.

  3. You are so nice to pick up those Austrian lads. It's nice to know I'm not the only one that covers huge distances in a short time. Maybe we're related?

    My mouth is watering for a fresh tomato. Now where to find one here in Irmo...

  4. Better sugar "cane" than sugar "beets"....bad memories :-). What a cool stories those kids have, power to them!If you head through Homosassa on your way out of Tampa, drop us a note, we're here till mid-April.

  5. I think that Lake Okochobee is a myth. We were not able to see the water there a couple of years ago, either. I want some more of the avocados from Robert is Here. What a great place.

  6. Loved the papaya from Robert is Here! Sure do wish we had some more! Great times with great friends!

  7. This looks such a great area. How nice of you to give the two boys a ride..got to give them lots of credit :)

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