02/11/19 Palmdale-Naples, FL

DAY #114

I’m thinking I’ll sleep pretty good tonight. Awake until 4:00 am, and then a fitful sleep until 9:45 a. m. when the alarm went off. Man, I don’t know what it was, but when I got up, I felt a year older,

This trip had me filling the fresh water tank for the first time. the next stop doesn’t have any potable water (or electric), and I wanted to have some water available. After getting everything else ready to go, I filled the tank with 35 gallons. It turned out to be a pretty easy task to do. I remained a little concerned if/how the extra weight (300 lbs) would effect the ride. It turned out to be a non-issue…yes!

The drive was another short one. This time, around an hour and forty-five minutes. The agricultural nature of the area around Fisheating Creek intensified as I went south, especially around Immokalee. It was the first time I noticed migrant housing. It consisted of simple, painted (tan), block homes, and faded, shabby mobile homes, all grouped together in rows. Certainly not anywhere as bad as it was at one time, but it still looked rather bleak.

Driving further on, I entered the infamous Golden Gates Estates. From my understanding, this area, along with the land where the State Forest is was part of a large scale land scandal/scam back in the 1960s. The area was going to be the largest subdivision in the country, and had plans for 500,000 people. Streets were laid out and paved, canals were dug so people would have water access, as well as a way to drain the wetland, What (in part) brought about the the downfall of the development was, during rainy season, the land would become submerged and/or water soaked, making it inhabitable. I was surprised at the amount of new homes and new home construction as I drove down the road, This part of the estates looks like it might be the next place to be in Naples. Makes sense; You’re not that far from Naples and the Gulf, and the lots look to be 1 1/4 to 5 acres. I’m thinking building costs are cheaper out here.

I’m going to check the area out more during the stay here.

Once you cross over the freeway (I-75), also known as “Alligator Alley,” the pavement ends, and up ahead it looks like a ghost town. There looked to be roads that went nowhere. Another area I’ll want to check out.

Took a right turn and followed the road for about a mile. Off to my right, the campground came into sight. I pulled in, scoped out where to set up, and then began backing the trailer into place. As I was doing that, a women came up and introduced herself, she was the camp host and informed me that I could park the trailer over there (pointing to a spot 250′ away), or stay where I was, it was all good.

Where I could have parked.

Since I was just about backed in, I thought this is cool. Finished setting the trailer in place, and getting it ready for use, including taking my lounge chair out of the truck. I grabbed a soda and sat down in the lounge chair.

Where I was parking when the host approached me.

Looking around, I noticed that the trailers seemed like they’d been here (or somewhere) for awhile. Noticed too, that a couple other spots had people in tents, and vans, looking like they’d also been here awhile. It gave off a bit of an aura of ‘transient camp’ or ‘crash pad’. I’m not overly concerned about safety, I’m just not hip to the trailer park crowd in general (I know, judgmental). It starting to look to me that those who stay at State Forests to camp, and those staying at State Parks, are two very different breeds.

It started to rain, need to get the windows in the truck up.

Welcome to Picayune Strand State Forest.

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