Heading North from Key Largo – Our North American RV Tour

The canal at Key Largo Kampgroud
The canal at Key Largo Kampgroud

Thursday, November 30 2017 Day 93

Our stay at Key Largo is done, we leave with mixed feelings. The weather during our stay was good and if wasn’t for the bugs, the hurricane damage and the rundown area our experience would have been much better although it was still memorable.

From Key Largo we head north back to Clewiston and Crooked Hook RV Park. Lynda and I will spend about 6 weeks here including Christmas and New Years while the rest of the group travel home for the holidays.

The 3-hour drive back was uneventful, good highway and light traffic. We arrived early afternoon to our same camping sites we had left 2 weeks before. Our sites are decent about twenty feet wide with a paving stone patio surrounded by grass and plenty of room behind our rigs to park our trucks.

Beyond our parking area is a half empty storage area with a few RVs, cargo trailers and vehicle left by other campers for the summer.

While setting up our trailer I noticed the underside was sagging an area behind the wheels. Once parked I crawled under to have a closer look. The sag felt hard indicating it was not just the covering had come loose but something was pressing on it.

I grabbed my impact drill and removed the screws holding the underside covering. Behind the heavy plastic membran was rotting strand board supporting the freshwater holding tank.

Lucky I spotted the problem otherwise our fresh water tank would have dropped out onto the ground or worse onto the highway while traveling. The rot was caused by a leak around the water tank fill tube. When the tank was full water leaked from the top of the tank onto the plywood strand board supporting the tank.

Friday, Dec. 1 Day 94

The next morning, I approached a neighbor whom I had chatted with before our trip to Key Largo. He was building a deck on his semi-permanent site. I explained my predicament and asked if there was a Home Depot or similar store where I may purchase some tools and lumber to fix my water tank support.

The man’s name was Mike, a friendly seventies something man with a Santa Clause beard and a north pole belly.

Mike was as generous as Santa, loaning me all the tools I needed to do my job as well as scrap lumber left over from his project. I spent the next couple of days replacing the fresh water tank supports with treated decking and reinstalling the underside membrane.

It wasn’t a difficult job but crawling in and out from under the trailer was a pain in the back.

December at Crooked Hook RV Park

Ralph, Lois, Lynda, and I spent the next week enjoying the amenities of Crooked Hook and exploring the adjacent areas. Mornings were spent chatting over coffee, working out in the park gym, and biking or walking. Our afternoons were spent around the pool swimming and soaking up the warm Florida sun quite a contrast to the freezing tempertures back home in BC.

Many creatures catch your eye, Clewiston, Florida

Central Florida is teaming with wildlife, tropical birds, turtles, frogs, iguanas, alligators, snakes, and many other animals congregating in or near the drainage ditches and canals. Alligator encounters are frequent but rarely result in injury to humans. Although the news reported a fisherman went missing on Lake Okeechobee……..the residents of the park commented the Alligators will be happy.


This medium sized predator was in the drainage ditch behind the RV park.

The alligators we saw were frozen statues lying in wait for an easy meal, apparently, any body of water in Florida no matter the size could be home to these scary looking creatures.

After a week of relaxation and enjoying the amenities of Crooked Hook, it was time for Ralph and Lois to fly home for the Christmas season. They were looking forward to time with their grandsons.

Lynda and I dropped them at the Fort Lauderdale Airport and spent the rest of the day at a nearby beach. A perfect warm day on the white sand of the Atlantic and a tasty seafood lunch at an outdoor seaside restaurant with our dog buddy under the table.

Buddy waiting for a morsel to drop – the best clean up crew ever.
Fort Lauderdale beach in December 

Lynda and I opted to spend the holidays season in Florida and for the first time ever not share Christmas with our family. A decision we regretted more and more as the Christmas approached.

Although we made many new friends at Crooked Hook, we greatly missed our family and friends and believe it or not the snow. In hindsight, we should have done as Henry, Allison, Ralph, and Lois did and flew home for Christmas.

During our 6 week stay at Crooked Hook RV Park, we enjoyed many activities including a golf cart Santa Clause parade through the park,  Christmas dinner supplied by the RV park and a plot luck New Years dinner and dance.

Nothing like a Santa Clause parade at Christmas time in Florida

There were many other functions as well, weekly group golf tournaments, hot dogs and beer at the tiki bar on Fridays followed by a campfire. $2 lunchtime burgers Saturdays and a couple of dances to live bands at the sugar shack hall.

Other treats at Crooked Hook included $1 beer every afternoon at the tiki bar, craft room projects, card games, and puzzles in the card room-library. The winter residents of Crooked Hook obviously enjoyed the festivities. Some were fortunate to have family arrive to share the holiday season. If it wasn’t for Lynda and my severe case of home sickness our time would have been more enjoyable.

The winter weather in Florida was usually pleasant, warm with plenty of sunshine except the occasional thunderstorm, rainy day and rare near-freezing mornings. There was also an unusual phenomenon that happens during the winter months, referred to as black snow.

Making Black Snow, the sugar cane fields, Clewiston, Florida
Making Black Snow, the sugar cane fields, Clewiston, Florida

Black snow is caused by burning off the sugar cane fields before harvesting. The burning apparently eliminates most of the leaves from the sugar cane stalks leaving less debris to dispose of.

The ash or black snow drifts for miles landing on everything in its path leaving a black coating on anything left outside or uncovered. Crooked Hook RV Park is in the middle of half-a-million acres of sugar cane so black snow falls as often as the white stuff of the north.

The tiki bar, Crooked Hook RV Park, Clewiston, Florida
The tiki bar, Crooked Hook RV Park, Clewiston, Florida

Washing outside furniture, vehicles was a regular occurrence at Crooked Hook……..but I guess its better than shoveling the white stuff.

Crooked Hook RV Park is a very reasonable place to spend the winter. The price of camping for a month is $700 for an RV and if you purchase a park model, (a 400 square foot semi-permanent trailer) you will pay between $200 to $300 per month, although the monthly rent is paid for a full year.

Crooked Hook RV Resort and others in the area are much cheaper than the lavish beach resorts on the Atlantic or Gulf Coasts which run about three times the price.

Local TV reception is good but like most other RV parks the internet was unreliable. Early morning, mid-day or late night I found the best time to get on.

The downside of the area besides, the regular flurries of black snow would be the bugs. During the day they are nowhere to be found but after the sun drops below the horizon the nits attack in swarms. The only escape is inside your RV or a bug tent $130. delivered to our campsite by Amazon.

Our campsite at Crooked Hook RV Park Clewiston, Florida

If you would like to read about our tour from the beginning click this link.
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Thanks for visiting.

Gord B.

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