First thing Erwin did after getting up was to call the ranger station to see if we could camp here another day or two. No vacancy! We enjoyed our stay at Highlands Hammock State Park and will want to come stay here next winter. There are some trails we have not walked on.
Edith’s friend from old school days at Florida Deaf School, Evelyn Syfrett, wanted to meet us in Lake Placid, about 16 miles south of Sebring. Edith and Evelyn had not seen each other since 2005. After texting back and forth with Evelyn’s daughter Melanie we agreed to meet at the parking lot by the Winn Dixie grocery store.
We were surprised to see that Winn Dixie was closed and were not sure if we should park here or go elsewhere. Winn Dixie has a beautiful cowboy mural on the side of the building. While we were waiting there were few cars pulling up alongside, so people can take pictures of the mural.
Lake Placid is a very small town and the population is around 1,800. There is a nickname for that town “Town of Murals”, having more than 40 murals painted on buildings. The town is also famous for growing Caladium bulbs, yields about 98% of the world’s bulbs.
After Evelyn and Melanie arrived we talked a while and decided to go to Dunkin Donuts to get drinks and to sit down and chat. We stayed there for about 2 hours.
We mentioned that we thought about dry camping by Winn Dixie store, but since it is vacant we were not too sure if it would be safe at night. Melanie suggested to check out a public boat ramp not too far, so we followed her to Lake Istokpoga. While we were turning into the parking lot there was a sign “No Overnight Parking Allowed”. Oh serious?!?! Melanie did not even know about the rule, was not sure of any other place.
|Evelyn and Edith|
After bidding Evelyn and Melanie good-bye we stayed around a bit, so we could enjoy the view of Lake Istokpoga. Lake Istokpoga is one of the biggest trophy bass fishing lakes in Florida and throughout the U.S.. It is the fifth largest lake in Florida. (source: wiki). Crappies and bluegills are very productive, as well.
While we were on the dock admiring the view there was a boat going out. We asked the guy if he knew of any campground nearby. "Yes, there is a campground across the lake from the boat ramp”, the guy said. “Tell them Hammond sent you”
|Sandhill Cranes in Flight|
We debated if we should try to stay overnight, but were afraid we might be asked to leave in the middle of the night. We decided to go check out the campground the guy told us about. The campground charges $40 a night with full hookups. Too much for our budget, so we decided to continue on to Okeechobee.