It finally came, the very first stop on the RV living journey. The culminating period where all the knowledge from articles read, forums skimmed, and picked brains would be put to the test in real-life scenarios. It was decided that this first-time practical RV experience would take place on Torry Island Campground. A location just a couple hours drive from our home base of Boca Raton, Florida.
Torry Island is a campground and marina dwelling on the southern shores of Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach County near Belle Glade, Florida. A popular fishing, camping, and bird watching destination offering many nature trails through the Everglades, and even an 18-hole golf course. Surprisingly, for being located directly in the middle of a swamp, the island does offer a wide assortment of amenities such as wireless internet, showers, boat launch ramps, premium campsites, laundry and much more. Oh, and if you didn’t catch it, the campground is an island, so you WILL drive over a one-lane rickety bridge to get to it.
Already on an adrenaline high from the initial journey departure, arriving to Torry Island was quite exciting. Unbeknownst, it was the start of the sugarcane harvesting season and there was a festival open to the public going on right outside the campground gates where there was live music, free food, and more. It was a nice touch to get some free cheeseburgers and hot-dogs after a stressful morning.
From a newbie RVer’s perspective, Torry Island campground was a great choice for the start of the journey. The 50-amp full hookup site we were given (#81) was spacious allowing us to unload equipment, repack, and play with water/sewer hoses while overlooking the lovely lake that was just behind the campsite. Since this was the start of a full-time RV Living journey, we didn’t possess all the essential items needed. Luckily, 30-miles away in Clewiston, Florida is a Walmart Super-center with a small but completely helpful selection of RV supplies such as water hoses, leveling blocks, surge protectors, and more. For the items we could not find, they were ordered via Amazon, and delivered to the campground check-in office where they happily accept packages on behalf of campers.
There are several businesses nearby worth noting. Already mentioning the nearest Walmart in the next town over, another big help was from Robbie Tire Co in Belle Glade, Florida. Having always known tires are completely essential to a motor vehicles overall well-being, this tiny but pertinent detail managed to escape my checklist, and in the midst of the departure, I forgot to re-fill tires with air. After having arrived to the campground, parked, slides out, hoses attached and days later, it was realized one of the tires had been deflating slowly but surely and inside the rig was becoming more and more bouncy. Not wanting to drive the motor home on such low air pressure, we found a local mobile tire business to come out to the campground and assist with the tire. After jacking up the motor home and removing the tire, turns out it had a loose valve stem that was slowly leaking air. After tightening this stem, checking the rest of the tires, he was on his way and our problem was solved.
While the nearby town just outside the campground has the usual restaurants and convenience stores, when visiting a new location, I am always partial to trying new things, and going to new places. If you are ever in the area and looking for food that you can’t really find in the city, I would recommend Jimmy’s Catfish in small town of Pahokee, 9-miles away. It was a simple restaurant serving exotic foods such as frog legs, gator tail, catfish and more! The food was excellent and the staff was friendly.
Another cool experience offered within Torry Island Campground is the fishing! Onsite is a small bait/tackle convenience store where you can get worms, shiners, Gatorade, and a large Dill pickle. Everything needed for a successful fishing trip off the nearby piers, or if you have a boat, then through one of the many boat launch ramps. During the month-long stay, coincidentally, several friends ended up camping in the same campground. Talk about synchronicity! Anyways, they had brought their boat, and invited us on a fishing expedition through the waters of Okeechobee. From alligators, birds, to manatees, there is lots of wildlife and nature to be found.
In this life we are always learning, and that’s what this first stop on the RV living journey was about. A month-long crash course and adjustment on the ins and outs of full time RV living. From learning the lingo, to the hoses, and enjoying the tranquility of what the Florida “country” has to offer. It would be foolhardy to state only the pros, and neglect to state the cons, but there wasn’t too much to complain about other than the hordes of mosquitoes which were impervious to my futile attempts at repelling them. Seeing as how this campground is located in the middle of a swamp, I sense this gripe will fall on deaf ears. Torry Island Campground was a great place to visit. Just bring your bug spray.
Thanks for reading this article and stay tuned for more posts about each RV living journey experience. We are just getting started!