We split our southern Florida trip into 2 segments; Markham Park before and after John Pennekamp Coral Reef. So, let’s touch a few topics in the before section here. I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but our windshield wipers have not really operated well since we bought the coach last year and they finally just quit working earlier this year. From what we have read, the wiper motors on our coach are known problems in the industry. I am the person who attacks problems; my husband is the person who waits……therefore, we have not had working wipers since this Spring. Every couple of days, I climb up on a ladder, clean the windshield, and apply a heavy layer of RainX over the entire surface. When it rains, I drive slower and try to peer through the rain as it slides off the windshield or pull off the road and wait it out. I love a good rain, but not while I am driving a large motor coach on an interstate.
And, since we bought the coach, it has rained. A Lot. It rained tons while we were parked in Longview Campground in Kansas City. It followed us and poured enough to cause 500-year-level flooding in Eureka, MO and we had to leave the area early to escape the water. A huge thunderstorm enveloped us as we drove across Florida and I needed to pull off and wait it out. Visibility dropped, the RainX was gone, we had to wait for a break. It was time to get those wipers repaired. There is a Newmar RV Service Center in Ft. Myers, we will head there after Ft. Lauderdale.
Markham County Park and Target Range was a nice surprise. It is a large park at the edge of the Everglades, but just off Int. 75 and on the western edge of Sunrise, FL. They have mountain bike trails, hiking trails, butterfly garden, r/c air field, r/c boat lake, disc golf, boat launch, observatory, 3 dog parks, playgrounds, target range and campground. And it is within 30-45 minutes from our grand baby, with good traffic. There is a swimming pool here, but it was never open and looks like it might not open anytime soon. On any day, someone is flying a r/c airplane, or mountain biking, or jogging/walking, or playing disc golf, or launching a small boat or personal watercraft — they can actually ride for miles out toward the Everglades. On almost every day, someone is at the target range shooting at either the Skeet / Trap fields, Pistol / Rifle range or on the Sporting Clays course scattered throughout the woods. Local police use the target range to hone their gun skills and the range is closed to the public those days. (One day I rode my bike back to look at the range and found that it was crawling with policemen. Although the gates were open, a large tactical vehicle parked near the gate sensed my presence, not weird at all, and a loud speaker began to blare, “THIS AREA IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC. LEAVE THIS AREA IMMEDIATELY.” Of course, I left! No matter who is shooting though, the campgrounds nearest the range can hear the booming guns.
There are 3 separate dog parks here: Barkham Large Dog, Barkham Small Dog, and Puppy Barkham. The Bermuda grass is trimmed very nicely, there are covered picnic tables to sit in the shade while Fido plays and a paved trail around the perimeters with lots of trees and benches and fountains for humans and dogs! One of our dogs, Zeplyn, got the dog flu in December though and we no longer let them “play” in a public dog park. (Side note: the dog flu is seriously terrible and can be life-threatening to your pet. And the symptoms are just disgusting in an RV.).
The campgrounds are large and spacious, some shaded, most not. The majority of campsites are on circle drives with about 5 – 8 parking sites each. There is also a pull-through campground for larger RVs with 7 sites but zero shade. Each site has full hookups and no trees to block the satellite TV, however we could not get the WiFi to connect at all the entire time we were parked here. Each of the campgrounds has one paved site that could be designated ADA compliant; but all the other sites are grass/sandy gravel parking. The front campgrounds have easy access to restrooms / showers that were clean, but hot and humid; they also have recycling and trash containers outside the restrooms. The back campgrounds have a bit of a walk to the restrooms. Surprisingly, they did not cut the grass around the campgrounds before Memorial Day and it had a weedy feel.