Battle of Lake Okeechobee, Florida

Day 569

     On December 25, 1837, as part of the United States Government’s effort to rid Florida of the Seminole Indians, 800 US troops under the leadership of Zachary Taylor, engaged 400 Seminole warriors led by Chief Billy Bolek, known as the Alligator Chief. 

     The Indians engaged the troops in an effort to allow the women and children to evacuate the area. Once that was accomplished, the Indians retreated, killing 28 Americans, and wounding 111, most of whom died of their wounds. The Indians suffered 11 dead and 14 wounded. The press seized upon the Indian retreat as a major victory for Zachary Taylor, which made him an American hero and led to him winning the Presidency of the United States. 

     Chief Bolek considered this a win for the Indians based on the number of Americans killed, and the fact they accomplished their objective. Years later he visited Washington and on being escorted through the buildings of the Capitol and viewing many statues and paintings, he suddenly halted before a portrait of Zachary Taylor, grinned and exclaimed: “Me whip!”

     The site of the battlefield is now considered hollow ground, as evidenced by this marker:

Next to the marker is this dumpster and outhouse:

     What is inside the outhouse?

     “On December 25, 1837 Colonel Zachary Taylor stood here:”

Okeechobee, Florida

Day 565

     The name Okeechobee comes from the Hitchiti words oki (water) and chubi (big). The Hitchiti language, one of the many languages spoken by the Seminole tribes, was spoken in Georgia and Florida during the Colonial Period. The Seminole Indians were originally from Florida. Today they principally live in Oklahoma with a minority in Florida.

     We are staying on the Seminole Indian Reservation. Today they had a fish fry that included alligator. Very tasty. 

     The reservation sits on Lake Okeechobee, which is the largest freshwater lake in the State of Florida.

Technical Stuff: Oakland, Fl. to Okeechobee, Fl.: 115.8 miles

3 hours 4 minutes

9.5 MPG

Diesel: $2.90

Oakland Park, Florida

Day 564

     Stopped here to see cousins. Now that we are in warm weather we will start sightseeing at our next stop, an Indian reservation, (oh, and they have a casino). 

     One of the interesting things we did was have our truck and Sphinx weighed. This is needed as there are limits for safe driving on the axles and tires of each vehicle. 

     Prior to the weighing we made sure our truck and mobile home were as heavy as it will get within the next year. When we left home we restocked our supply of firewood we carry. I filled my main gas tank and 50 gallon auxiliary tank. Filled our fresh water tank, and did not empty our waste tanks, which were all full. 

     We were weighed by an organization called RV Safety. We met them at a Gulf Resort, where they weighed us with their portable scales that are placed under each tire of our 4 axles (2 on the truck and 2 on the Sphinx). 

     They first weigh the truck hooked up to the Sphinx, and then have us disconnect, and weigh the truck again. This tells them our “pin weight”, which is the weight the Sphinx places in the bed of the truck. Each wheel is weighed separately.

     The manufacturer lists the weight restrictions of each axle. In fact, if you look at the door jam of your car, you will see these weight restrictions. 

     All this data is placed in their computer, which calculates wether or not we are within the manufacturer’s specs. For example, the axles on the Sphinx are rated at 7,000 lbs. That is 3500 lbs. on each tire. We have 2 axles, 4 tires, so we can carry 14,000 lbs. Another 2,000 lbs. are exerted on the pin, where the Sphinx is hitched to the truck, for a total weight capacity of 16,000 lbs. The reason each wheel is weighed, rather than each axle as at truck weighing stations, is that the weight is not distributed evenly over the axle. The side of our mobile home that has the refrigerator, stove and entertainment center was 1,200 lbs. more than the side that has the dining room table and lazy-boys. 

     Fully loaded, like we were, we were within all the manufactures’ specifications.  However, if Barbara decides to buy trinkets and stuff, then she has to poop that much less. 

Technical Stuff:

Titusville, Florida to Oakland Park, Florida 195.1 miles

4 hours 34 minutes

9.3 MPG

Diesel: $2.90

Titusville, Florida

Day 560

     Drove to Titusville, Florida, which is on the Indian River, west of Merritt Island and the Kennedy Space Center, and a short distance from Cape Canaveral, to watch a rocket launch. 


     United Launch Alliance launched it’s SBIRS GEO-4 on an Atlas V rocket, the fourth Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous satellite. The satellite’s purpose is to provide the U.S. military with early warnings of missile detection, so watch out Korea. 


Kingsland, Georgia

Day 558

     Almost made it to Florida, but we ended up in Kingsland, Georgia. We will spend only 1 night here and move on to Mims, Florida tomorrow, where we will spend 4 days, hopefully in warm weather as it suppose to be above freezing and a high of 50.

Technical Stuff: Walterboro, SC to Kingsland, GA: 165.4 miles

3 hours 40 minutes

10.0 MPG

Diesel: $2.86

We have slept in 26 States

Walterboro, South Carolina

Day 556

    This should be the last night of cold weather, as tomorrow we will be in sunny Florida. We are not doing any sightseeing, as the object is to get out of the cold weather. We are spending our days organizing the Sphinx, as we just threw everything in when we left Maryland since the temperatures were in the single digits. 

Technical Stuff:

Raleigh, NC to Walterboro, SC: 236.5 miles

4 hours 58 minutes

10.5 MPG

Diesel: $2.74

A Beeline to Florida

Day 552

     Left Maryland, going straight down the coast to Florida to find warm weather. We would have left a week ago, but the weather in Virginia, our first stop, was colder than here in Maryland.

     Another delaying factor was we had to wait for a part for the Sphinx.

     Our return to Maryland was mainly to celebrate my father’s 97th birthday. He was born the same day as Jesus Christ. While we were here, we made all of our doctor appointments: dentist, eye, family doctor for our annual physical, etc. We also took the Sphinx in for it’s annual maintenance. One of our slide skids needed replacement. Of course the maintenance shop did not have the part in stock, so they had to order it from the Cedar Creek factory in Indiana. We had to wait an extra week for the part to arrive. Can you believe some people don’t work Christmas week or New Year’s? Naturally, they sent the wrong part. It will now have to chase us around the Country.

     Remember in high school you learned that metal will expand and contract in extreme cold and heat. We had that fact brought home to us. We went out one morning to do some shopping. When we returned, our microwave and bedroom clock had been blown. It was a beautiful, but cold day. It took me just over two weeks to determine the cause. This, after talking to electricians and numerous people on RV forums to which I belong.

     Evidently, the 50 amp electrical plug that connects to the Sphinx is supposed to be twisted slightly to the right to “lock” it in. A fact not told me 2 years ago when the dealer was suppose to show me everything I need to know about my first 5th wheel. I normally just plug it in like a regular plug.

     Because it was not locked in, the cold caused the metal prongs to contract slightly causing a momentary disconnection of the ground, which cause an electrical spike which fried my appliances. We learn something new everyday.

Technical Stuff:

Fallston, Maryland to Ashland, Virginia: 191.1 miles

4 hours 16 minutes

10.6 MPG

Diesel: $2.74