January 4, 2017 – January 11, 2017
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”).
We enjoyed some lazy days at Hickory Hammock:
We had our choice of campsites since there were only 2 other campers! We chose our site based on where we could maximize our solar while still benefitting from a little shade.
One of the campers was Steampunk Steve, a full timer living in his “Old Thyme Skoolie” with his cat.
It turns out we also had a hidden neighbour who was a bit chatty, but we didn’t mind listening to Mr. Barred Owl in the forest beside us.
Turn up the volume as the sound is quite low. We recorded this with our cellphone inside the trailer. The pneumonic is, “Who cooks for you?” PS. Don’t forget to turn your volume down after!
In fact, we both had face-to-face meetings with him while walking Sadie on our first day. I caught him staring at me, and I stared back at his big eyes for about 5 seconds before he flew off. Wow, what a cool experience! Sadly, I wasn’t able to get a photo of him.
There was a group that camped here for the weekend that brought their ponies and buggies!
Unfortunately during this time, Margot was nursing a cold so we didn’t do anything too strenuous. We met another camper, John from Pennsylvania. Margot’s rear bicycle tire got a flat from a hitchhiker (like a burr, but with very hard and sharp barbs) and John was kind enough to patch the tire for us. Thank you John!
This place was one of my favourites due to the peace and quiet, the fresh air, and slow pace (although this was more due to Margot being sick).
On days when we have lots of sunshine, Margot takes advantage of the excess solar energy to do some baking using our toaster oven. One day, during the height of the day, Margot roasted some raw Georgia pecans we had previously purchased. Unfortunately, the toaster oven was left in the on position, though we turned off the inverter cutting all AC power. Later at dinner, when we turned the inverter back on, the forgotten toaster oven quickly drained our batteries as the sun went down. Oops! Time to pull out our generator to charge the battery. However, the 30 amp fuse for the smart charger kept blowing! After reading the unhelpful manuals, disassembling our bed (the electrical system is underneath) and a few more popped fuses, we were stumped.
The next morning, we went into town to buy a bigger fuse: it was after all a 30 amp fuse on a 55 amp charger – this seemed wrong. We picked up a 40 amp blade fuse and sure enough this solved the problem. A couple days later, we were able to talk to Go Power!, the company that manufactures our smart charger. James was right: the 30 amp fuse was too small. Margot was especially furious with the installer, Hughes RV in Orangeville Ontario, for the botched installation, particularly because they took and charged 3 hours labour for what turned out to be a very simple job, and they got it wrong. :o(
Life on the road in part involves dealing with the various inevitable breakdowns: it seems we are still partly in set-up mode even as we thought we had everything figured out. Oh well, somehow we have been able to deal with each challenge as it comes. I wonder what lies ahead…
Recorded at Hickory Hammock, just beside our campsite.