Monday, May 11, 2009
Onward to Okeechobee
Yesterday I got on the train at 3PM and twenty-four hours later, (plus another forty minutes because the train got delayed), I arrived in Okeechobee, Florida. As soon as I stepped off the train I was hit by a sudden wave of heat and humidity. But I've been planning this Okeechobee leg of the trip for months, and I couldn't help but smile that I was finally there. It doesn't seem like a regular tourist destination, as everyone seemed a little surprised to see a visitor- especially since it wasn't even spotted bass season. Everyone's been very friendly though. Captain Jason Williams, who will be taking me on his airboat tomorrow, left his bike near the train station so I could ride it around town. It's not the easiest place to get around on foot as everything's pretty spread out and there aren't a lot of sidewalks, so the bike really came in handy.
This was the first night I didn't have any accommodation planned, but I knew there were a few hotels in Okeechobee so I wasn't too worried. After hearing that the Holiday Inn had pretty good WiFi I rode the bike there and after telling the clerk about the trip, they even gave me the Un-Road Trip discount. And they had free cookies too. I ventured into the heat once more to get some sunscreen before I retreated to my air conditioned room to upload some videos.
I met up with Jason a little later at Lunker's Sports Grille, the only sports bar in town. Jason was telling me about the recent drought and the low lake levels. Then the clouds started rolling in. Pretty soon it was pouring, and though Jason and the waitress predicted it would be over in a minute or two, it continued for over half an hour with some thunder and lightening too.
After the rain calmed down a bit, I rode back to the Holiday Inn. I didn't get a ton of sleep on the train last night, so I'm looking forward to full night tonight. It should be an action-packed day on Lake Okeechobee. Here's some video from one of Jason's previous trips:
Jason said we'd see a lot of different waterfowl and probably some alligators too. I'll make sure to keep my hands out of the water.