Sunday, January 19, 2014

Lamont, FL

After two days of very little sleep, we couldn't wait to get to Lamont, set up camp, and relax. It was a longer drive then we expected. We stayed at the Ecofina River Resort. It's almost in the middle of no where. Driving in, we passed nothing but swamps and the occasional gas station about every ten miles. Most of the roads had weight limits - something we've never had to worry about before. We go really excited when we turned off the the state highway onto the he final stretch of road that would lead us to our final destination. Too bad it was an extra five miles down the road at thirty-five MPH. 

A sign at the office.

We arrived just before the office closed. Even though we were planning on staying a full week, we had to pay daily because the park was having trouble with their power. The owner kindly directed us to a site where there hadn't been power troubles, and we didn't have any problems at all with the electricity the entire week we stayed there. Ecofina River Resort was a gated park with one side for permanent residents and another side for monthly, weekly, and daily residents. Nearly all the spots were filled on the side we were staying. We soon learned though that most of the campers were empty. People pay monthly fees for their RV to just sit there. For once ever campsite had a fire pit. We were finally getting the chance to enjoy roasting hot dogs over an open flame near our RV. There were also two lakes in the park. I was cute to watch the turtles sunbathe on the draining grate. From where our RV was parked, we were about twenty feet away from the lake and forty feet away from a swamp where alligators, bears, and wild pigs dwell. We felt relieved to have our shotgun.

The view from our campsite. The building is the office and clubhouse. There are those turtles I told you about!

There were only two other people staying at the park at the time. So many empty RV's made the place seem like ghost town. The next day, the park owner had electricians come out to fix the sites that weren't getting any power. After they left, music started playing from an empty RV parked across from us. At first it didn't bother us, because it filled the eerie silence. Pretty soon we realized it was one CD being played over and over again from speakers on the outside of the RV. It was a classic rock CD. The tracks made it seem like it was bought at a gas station. Eventually we complained about it to the park owner. They said that the owner of the RV hadn't been there in about three months and had no idea why the music was playing. The park got permission from them to go inside their RV and turn it off. The silence returned, but this time it was embraced.

The lake is so close! It starts where the tall reeds are.
We took the motorcycle out to get more groceries. The closest gas station (or any open business for that matter) was a quick eight mile ride down the road. We truly felt isolated because we didn't pass any buildings the whole way there. Not even a house. We had left behind civilization at least thirty miles back.

Roasting hot dogs. Yum!

One night while we were watching Netflix (the park had AMAZING WiFi), Josh asked me to mute the TV. We could faintly hear an animal sniffing around the back windows of our RV. Any animal that can reach that high had to be a bear. We waited about thirty minutes and went outside to let our dogs out. We could hear a loud banging on the exit gate over and over. The bear was trying to get out of the park! We rushed the girls inside and stayed there for the rest of the night. Sure enough the next day we found bear tracks around our RV and near the exit gate. 

The clearest track we could see.
During the one week we stayed there, a really bad storm came through. The sky had to have dumped about five inches of rain in one night. The Weather Channel had given our area a flood advisory. In the middle of the swamp was a huge river (the Ecofina River), and its levels were going to rise about five feet, putting surrounding areas in danger. We were shocked to come outside and see at least one inch deep rushing water. The lake kept coming in and soon it was twelve feet away. The rushing water beneath our RV had come up over our tires and was touching the rim. Before it got that bad, Josh went outside to film a video of the weather and check on the status of the flooding lake. He heard a hiss ten feet beside him and shined his flashlight over to where the sound came from. He saw three alligators slip into the lake; they were scared off by the light. After that I was ready to stay inside for the rest of the night. By the next day, everything was a huge puddle, but the water level had gone down to a tolerable level. 

We learned a lot in Lamont about being around wildlife and in a terrible storm. We even tried to go fishing in the lake, but we didn't have much luck with our artificial bait. And after Josh saw alligators in both of the lakes, I was too scared to spend a lengthy amount of time near them. A father and son arrived near the end of the week in a pop-up camper. It's a family tradition for them to come out to his secluded camp and go hunting. If you're not a hunter or a fisherman, you'll struggle to find things to do at Ecofina River Resort. We still had a great time, but I don't think this place is on our list for great parks. It was time to continue our journey to The Voice auditions in Nashville, TN.

Some pictures of driving in and around Lamont

This is pretty much all you see for miles

Crazy right?!

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