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County by County Riding Florida…Okeechobee Home of the Rim Ditch Ride

By Lulu

[singlepic id=1036 w=320 h=240 float=left]Everyone has their twist on bike events, but Lake Okeechobee has them all beat. You buy a passport with around 20 stops that are somewhere on the perimeter of Lake Okeechobee. You have a year to have all the stops in your passport marked and then you qualify for a drawing out for two cash prizes: $500 and $250. The cash prize is given at the Okeechobee Bike Fest held in Okeechobee each year. The festival includes a bike show with trophys, live music, drill team competitions and vendors. The event is this month on May 7th so you still have a chance to get it for the money or at least get your passport and make this a riding adventure for next year. Next year the event will be April 14th. You can check it out on their website bikefestokeechobee.com. The organizer of the event, Hugh Alger, has been riding since 1958 and would love you to ride in for their event.

Lake Okeechobee is 730 miles of lake with an average depth of 9 ft. After a terrible hurricane in 1928 that killed over 1,800 people, a 20 foot high by 100 foot wide dike was constructed around the entire lake known as Herbert Hoover Dike for the president who made the decision it was necessary. The dirt used to construct the dike created a river similar to a moat around the lake. The area is[singlepic id=1031 w=320 h=240 float=right] known for fishing and there are many fish camps with cabins and RV spots all around the lake. Although just south of Okeechobee County we stayed at J&S Fish Camp in a really cute cabin. J&S Fish Camp advertises with us and the camp has a bar too! The area is very rural known mostly for dairy, cattle and orange tree farms. We had some wonderful food and found the people to be very friendly. We were there in March and the weather was perfect!

The bars suggested by the locals and that we really enjoyed were Butch’s, Good Spirits and Iron Eagle (who also has an ad with us!) Iron Eagle is so Biker Friendly it’s lights are done with motorcycle helmets! We also loved Big Bertha’s which is at the southernmost area of the lake and has the best view of Lake Okeechobee.

The restaurants were Lightsey’s known for their seafood, The Office known for their burgers and “Broaster” Chicken and we were told by everyone we met that steak night at the Eagle’s Club on Friday nights is a must.

We took an airboat tour by Cap’t Troy and it was a great time and well worth the money! You can also take a ride on a vintage biplane out of the Okeechobee Airport if you are brave. There are beautiful roads including a tree covered road that takes you back toward I95 on SR 714 known as Martin Hwy. This is a wonderful area of our state to get away, look at alligators or fish and visit with friendly folk. There isn’t a huge nightlife around here, they kind of turn in a little earlier than most but it means you get a good night rest for your next day of exploring!

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