The Florida Keys, the distal point of our travels, was certainly expected to be a major highlight. We had snagged a 2 week reservation at Long Key State Park on our 5th attempt at precisely 10 seconds before 8am on my birthday, January 24, 2016. Yup, turns out the key to getting a hot ticket reservation is to click “Book Now” 10 seconds before the proper time. Good to know. You’re welcome.
After our week long boondock at Miccosuki Casino visiting Miami and Shark Valley, our next stop was Long Pine Key Campground off the main road in Everglades National Park. This first come first served (FCFS) campground has no services at the sites, but with a dump station and newly installed shower houses, it was perfect for us. We were advised to arrive in the morning to be sure to get a spot so we moved south from Miccosukee to nearby Homestead FL the night before.
After a one night stop at Shawn and Victoria’s place in Jupiter (thanks again for the recharge with showers and laundry!) we continued south toward Miami. Neither of us had been there before, though we knew from TV shows like CSI Miami that it had towering condo buildings along the ocean. We knew better than to try to take our rig anywhere near the city itself. Fortunately the Miccosukee Casino located just west of Miami allows RVs free overnight parking. Done! We parked but remained hitched, lowering the jack post on blocks at the tongue of the trailer to level Nellie up. Late afternoon that first day, we piled on to the motorcycle with Sadie to explore Miami for the evening.
Our travels took us to Hickory Hammock Water Management District, northwest of Lake Okeechobee. This equestrian campground has horse trails and a barn where campers can stable their horses. One of the best parts is it’s free to camp here! However, the sites have no services and you have to register ahead of time. The location is very secluded – you have to drive down a 3.5 mile gravel road to get to the campground. Since it was so remote, the night sky was exceptionally clear and the stars bright! The moon was waxing so by the end of our stay, the moon was casting moon shadows and there was no need for a flashlight at night! We also got cell signal there so we could watch Netflix to our hearts’ content (this is where we got hooked on “The OA”).