I finally get to publish this video the way I originally intended, as a long documentary of our fabulous trip around the “Four Corners”, the area where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico intersect, also epitomized by Hollywood as the “Wild West”
The Everglades National Park is really our backyard here in Miami. Florida, yet we hardly ever visit this internationally known destination. I have decided to explore it a little bit and spend a night at the Long Pine Key Campground. It is a beautiful setting in the middle of a cyprus forest. We attempt to visit the Nike Missile Site, which is a cold war era relic, but apparently the tour got canceled without notice. We also explore the Anhinga Trail, which gives us a glimpse at the flora and fauna of this unique ecosystem.
For the past few days we have been at the Horseshoe Cove Carefree Resort in Bradenton, Florida with another 89 RVers, attending the first Living The RV Dream Gathering. The hosts of this event are John and Kathy Huggins, and they have a very popular RVing podcast and website. Here’s a video of the podcast episode that was recorded on Thursday night in front of a live audience.
It was four years ago, almost exactly to the date, that my musician and travel blogger personas collided in one spot. I had just rented a Class C motor home to embark in one of our great adventures, and I decided to pass by Habana Mia, one of the places where I was performing at the time. One of my signature songs was a tune called “La Guagua” (the bus). My showing up at the night club with a “guagua” (bus) was unintentionally a great publicity stunt. The owner took several pictures and posted them on Facebook and my friend Arlene photoshopped a fictitious web address on the picture. From that day on, for a while I became associated with that song “La Guagua” and it is still one of my most requested songs. laguaguaderobert.com now redirects back here, to my travel blog.
The day after this photo was taken we departed towards Sandusky, Ohio aboard that rental motor home, and after that got the RVing bug and the rest is history. Happy Throw Back Thursday and see you on the road!
Watch the video of our Road Trip by RV next.
The following is a video of me singing “La Guagua”
OK, this one almost didn’t happen. We were going to take off for the weekend, no cameras, just to rest and relax; recuperate from our recent trip to Europe. But I just couldn’t help myself and took the GoPro, and the drone, and our new inflatable boat. Enjoy!
In today’s video we visit the Bok Tower Gardens, an idyllic garden and a tower with a carillon envisioned by Dutch immigrant Edward W. Bok. They have a visitor’s center with a museum. There is a recreation of Bok’s desk, a model of the tower which houses one of the largest archives of carillon music in the world, old pictures of the construction, and the original carillon keyboard, which is kind of like an organ keyboard but designed to be played with your closed fists.
When Bok arrived here in 1921 this was nothing but an arid sandhill, so he hired landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead to turn it “into a spot of beauty second to none in the country”. The tower was built at the highest elevation in the estate, and it is called the singing tower because of its 60-bell carillon. The whole thing was finished just a year before Bok’s death in 1930. Edward Bok was buried right here at the bottom of the tower, right in front of the ornate brass door.
This is one of the highest points in the whole Florida peninsula, which is not a whole lot, just under 300 feet above sea level. It is a very beautiful, idyllic place, great for having a picnic.
We are on the road once again. In the featured video, we drive up to Orlando through US-27, Okeechobee Road in these parts, as we exit Miami through the City of Hialeah. Most people take the Florida’s Turnpike going north, but if you have seen my previous posts and videos you probably know that I absolutely loathe that road, and since we are not in a hurry, we take this somewhat more scenic route.
We change it around a little bit, and take a detour right before the town of South Bay towards Belle Glade, which is really nothing to write home about. The plan is to go around lake Okeechobee on the eastern side and hopefully see the lake. The surroundings are a vast agricultural area, mostly sugar cane I believe.
As we continue going around the lake, there’s this tall levee to our left, so you can’t really see the water. The best place to see the lake and access the scenic trail that goes around it the lake is at the Port Mayaca Locks, on the eastern shore of the lake, which is so vast that you can’t even see the other side. I finally get to see this lake, after so many years living in South Florida. This is a place where we should have stayed for a while and relax, walk on the trail, but we must continue north if we want to make it to Orlando while there is still daylight. The next major town is Okeechobee, as we continue turning around to the north west as the plan is to merge with I-27 again and continue towards Orlando. This is another area which merits further exploring. There’s some artillery, a tank, and a helicopter, on display at Flagler Square in downtown Okeechobee, and the country side northwest of here is truly gorgeous, especially for flat Florida.
We cross the Kissimmee River, and US-27, and make a quick detour here to visit Henscratch Farms Winery, to buy some local wine and raw honey. The place is full of chickens roaming around.
Eventually we make it to our campground, the Orlando Thousand Trails. I have previously mentioned that we got a free membership to Thousand Trails with the purchase of Minitini, so this is very convenient. Our stay is free.
The Florida Keys is an island chain which begins in the southeastern coast of the Florida peninsula and curves to the southwest, ending just 90 miles north of Cuba. The Overseas Highway, a segment of US-1, goes through the Florida Keys from the southern tip of Florida until the last inhabited, and most populous island: Key West, the “Conch Republic”. This unique road was originally the Overseas Railroad, constructed by Henry Flagler in the 1910’s. After it was destroyed by the Labor Day hurricane of 1935, it was repurposed as a highway for motor vehicles.
It would be nearly impossible to summarize the whole keys experience in one blog post, let alone one video, so I’m just going to show you a few of the many things you could do on one long weekend as we drive the 127 miles from Florida City to Key West. Along the way there are numerous restaurants and bars, many of them offering excellent seafood and key lime pie. There are also many places, some of them kind of hidden, where you can go kayaking or snorkeling. You can even swim with manatees.
In this video we just focus on our first RV experience at the keys. We camp at the Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA campground, 20 miles away from Key West. At the campground we do some kayaking and relax at the heated pool. We also drive down to Key West for the sunset celebration at Mallory Square and some mojitos at the Meson de Pepe. And, no, this time we didn’t go to the “southernmost point in the continental USA”. It is just a lame piece of concrete, and fake anyways. The naval air station is further south, but if you still want to see it here’s a picture of it from some years back.
There is so much to see in the keys that every time I go I discover something new. Check out the video I made of our most recent long weekend at this idyllic place.
Related video: John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park is another great place to spend a day at the keys. There is a glass bottom boat tour that goes out to Biscayne National Park and over the coral reef. You can also go kayaking and there are many other activities. Here’s one of my older videos of that experience below.
After a long hiatus I have decided to start blogging again and bring you more videos of my travels, and when I don’t travel ,I’ll show you around Miami. Today’s video is about the Florida RV Supershow which happened in January 2015. We saw many different RVs and got to meet one of our favorite full time RVing couple. John and Kathy Huggins of LivingTheRVDream.com
Since this video was recorded Kathy has undergone a rather risky surgical procedure but she’s doing a lot better and we wish her a rapid recovery.
Thanks in advance for your comments and see you on the road.