Category Archives: Camping
Friday afternoon a small group of us packed up my SUV and headed up north to Santos Campground in Ocala for some time with nature. And by small group I mean myself, Colin, Baron and Amy H. The rest of the gang were coming up on Saturday.
I have to admit, this was the first camping trip that I didn’t go with a purpose.
Whether it has been camping and mountain biking, camping and kayaking, camping and SUP’ing, or camping with the motorcycles, there has always been a purpose. The original plan was to go mountain biking. However due to people bailing (12 people went to 7) and then Colin getting sick, we decided to ditch the bikes and do some old fashion camping. Amy H was the lone ranger who brought her mountain bike.
With that being said, I have discovered I am not person who likes to camp without a purpose. I like to be doing something. Now don’t get me wrong, it was truly relaxing but not really my thing.
We did escape for a hike but I’ll get to that in a bit
Friday we arrived just before sunset, so it was a mad dash to get the tent set up before the sun fully set. Once that was done it was time to enjoy a Strawberry Peach Mimosa by the campfire.
Side note: Strawberry Peach Mimosa, my new obsession!
Even Baron hopped in a chair to relax by the fire:
Saturday morning was freezing!! We made sure to stay nice and bundled.
We also started the morning out properly with another Strawberry Peach Mimosa and some delicious breakfast of cheesy eggs and potatoes!
Baron kept guard as we cooked up a storm! Seriously, Baron is the best dog ever (yes I am slightly biased). He slept through the night except the few times he heard noises out side. He would give a growl and then curl back up and go to sleep.
After breakfast I headed to take a shower in the bath/shower building. Usually I leave these type of details out however there is a reason I am sharing this, actually 4 reasons. Reason one was right outside my shower stall:
Don’t let the picture fool you, that spider was HUGE and did I mention right outside my shower area?!?! Here are reasons 2- 4.
You can’t really tell but there are 3 spiders right above where I was showering. You haven’t really experienced a shower until you have done it with 4 spiders surrounding you!
Luckily, I survived to share the story
From here it was time to get more into nature. The rest of the group would be arriving in the afternoon so Colin, Baron and I decided to do some hiking on the Santos Trails that were right off the campsite. I packed up some water in my Camelbak for the little four-legged guy and we were off.
Since we had Baron we did about a 2 mile hike, give or take a little bit. There were a couple trails to choose from at the trail head but I went with the Landbridge trail. Why did I choose that one?! I wanted to see a bridge dammit!! Of course it was the longest trail and with Baron I knew we wouldn’t be able to do the whole thing but I was hopeful the bridge (if there even was a bridge) would be in the first couple of miles.
The walk made little B exhausted so he took a nap as soon as we got back.
The nap was short-lived though because his buddy Dumbledore showed up with his love interest Chelsea.
The next morning it was all about the food and packing up all the gear. As the poached eggs cooked over the fire in oranges, we all begin the process of taking down the tents and packing up all the cars.
We were home by one and that meant one thing…CAMPING RECOVERY!!
All in all, it was a great weekend! Nothing better than camping with friends!! Next time though, I’ll make sure to bring a mountain bike, kayak, or SUP
As 2012 draws to a close, I start to reflect on the year that has been. All the crazy stories and adventures that have come out of it. Motorcycle trips, mountain biking, mountain hiking, wake boarding, 5k’s, sailing, kayaking, white water kayaking, canoeing, camping, indoor rock climbing, and many more. See the 2012 review in pictures below!
Before we look at 2012, here is a flash back to 2011.
Soooo drum roll please….2012 you sexy beast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sailing, did A LOT of sailing, both racing and play sails:
Sailed on a catamaran (for the first time):
Indoor rock climbing:
Climbed over some real rocks at Rock City in Chattanooga, TN:
Motorcycle trip from FL to GA to TN to NC and back to FL:
Motorcycle camping trip to south Florida:
Ice Skating in a tent in FL:
Wrestled an alligator:
The Color Run – The Happiest 5k on the planet:
Climbed to the top of a sailboat mast:
Visited Fontana Dam, NC:
Thursday, just the sound of this word makes me all excited because I know the weekend is so close!!!!
Usually this day is rounded out with some racing on the sailboat but not this Thursday. The Fort Myers Race is today, so our boat is headed down there!! Good luck to my Time Bandit crew!!!
However, this works out perfectly because The Doc and I are headed out of town tomorrow for some camping and canoeing this weekend. Tonight will be filled with packing, prepping and preparing for the arrival of a new couch tomorrow morning (at like 7:30am,!
At first, there was a small army joining us for the trip. Over the course of initial planning and now, the actual going, everyone dropped out but The Doc and I Oh well, while I wish everyone could have made it, if there is one thing The Doc and I know how to do, it is have fun! Bring on the water!
The canoe run is rated as Moderate but I hear it is more challenging than Moderate. There are some spots where you have to get out, lift the canoe up over trees and whatnot, I’m excited for that! We will see though how it shapes up once we get there though. I am really hoping it is more on the challenging side. I need a little challenge in my life I’ll provide a full update when we get back.
We are also bringing the mountain bikes with us. There are some trails about 5 miles away from the campsite so we are planning on hitting them up this weekend as well. So much to cram into 3 days, just the way I like it!
Also, heard a rumor there is a high bear alert. GRRRRRR!!!!!! Good thing I have been running lately!
Speaking of running, its a new month and that means a new workout bet between The Doc and I. For the month of April our bet was who could track the most miles during the month. I lost, by a whopping 10 miles. Together though, we tracked 254.73 miles over the month! Go team go!!!
For the month of May, the wager is who can have the most improved/best 5k time. This morning I put my first 5k on the board. Drum roll please….38:36. Its not the best time but I haven’t been training for the 5k for too long so I am happy with that number, for now.
Colin (aka The Doc) put a time of 39:35. So we are pretty much on the same level with our times. It will be an interesting month to see who can put down the best 5k time!!
For now though, hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Cinco de Mayo weekend!!!!!
Life is getting busier over here!
Yesterday I made our reservations for some camping and canoeing for next weekend!!! Woot, woot out on the river! So excited! The river and springs we are going to are suppose to be some of the best scenery in Florida, as well as very challenging paddling. I say, BRING IT ON!!!!
Pretty soon it will get to be a little too hot to camp here. Florida heat, no ac, borders on a very unpleasant camping experience so we need to enjoy it while we can. I have camped as late as Memorial Day weekend (which we are tentative planning a camping trip for this Memorial Day weekend!!) and as early the end of July. The July trip was pushing it a bit but after a couple of beverages was able to fall asleep sans heat Not to mention it was about 2 hours north of Tampa at the springs so the cold water helped A LOT!!!
Before we hit the river navigating our canoes around vicious Florida alligators, we first must go to the museum. The Salvador Dali Museum that is. This weekend The Dali is hosting the Ducati 1199 Panigale Superbike Unveil Party. It is an invite only event and of course, The Doc and I will be attending!
There is special “Ducati Parking” at the museum for all Duc riders. With that said, there is a group of Duc owners all getting together to ride over to the event. I don’t know how many are in the group but what I do know is I cannot wait to hear the sweet, sweet sound of all those Ducati’s together.
I keep making the joke I can ride along on my FJR. I get evil stares from The Doc. Looks along the lines of “How dare you silly woman suggest something so absurd”. It makes me laugh.
It is going to be a two wheel kind of weekend. We got the Ducati deal Saturday and then we are going to be hitting the trails again for some mountain biking! Seriously, the weekend can not come fast enough!!
Not sure if holliganismness is a real word but if it wasn’t before, it definitely is now!!!
This weekend’s expectation for fun and adventure was high and it did not disappoint!
The Doc and I were the first of our group to arrive. We found a prime location right next to the river. What made this spot so fantastic, aside from being right next to the river, it is was up about 20 feet from the river so we got a great view looking down.
Not to mention, the site had a rope swing. Granted the water wasn’t deep enough for us to actually swing off of it into the water but we did get to swing back and forth.
The Doc and I got our tent set up then went and kayaked the river for a couple of hours while we waited for the arrival of everybody else. This was a fun, twisty little river. Down a ways from our site we came across a couple of bridges, very pretty, and a small 4 foot alligator!
We headed back when the others started to arrive. Once they were here and the tents were set up, Colin (The Doc) and I decided to have some fun with “Tiny Dancer” kayak. The name on the kayak was Dancer so we just HAD to add tiny in front of it
Since the campsite was up on an embankment, we thought it would be genius to pull the kayak up as high as we could, have someone climb in it, then push it down the embankment into the river. Every great story always starts with, “Hey guys, watch this!”
After our kayak water express ride, we grilled up some dinner and kicked back and had some laughs. Then brilliance hit! Let’s go get some golf carts and ride around the campgrounds!
I know what you are thinking, what fun can golf carts possibly be?! They are slow and boring! Not so much my friends, not so much. The campgrounds where we were has lots of off road trails for ATV’s and motorcycles so we decided to take the golf carts and play off road. Surprisingly, they did awesome! It was night time by this point so it made it even more intense since it wasn’t exactly easy to see where we were going.
There was some straight up holliganismness on the trails last night! Quiet hours in the campgrounds starts at 10pm, so we abided by the rules and returned the campsite for a camp fire. The night was crystal clear. The moon was bright and the stars were shining!
Before we called it a night, we packed up everything we didn’t want to get wet. The forecast called for rain and cold. It didn’t really get too cold but the rain did come and it was fierce. The wind blew hard all through the night and the lighting gave us a light show in the tent!
Morning came to soon though. It was very chilly so after we cooked some hotdogs on the open fire, we head back to Tampa. Such a great trip with wonderful friends. Now just 5 more days of work before The Doc and I take off on the motorcycles for Spring Break 2012!!!
Oh and I do love a good surprise but then again, who doesn’t?!
With our spring break 2012 trip less than 10 days away, we are in planning mode. Well kind of in planning mode. Ok, ok, total lack of planning mode. The only set place we have is to be in Macon, GA the first night of the trip to stay with some friends of ours. Other than that, we have no set plans. We have an idea of where we want to go, East Tennessee/ West North Carolina region.
7 days on my FJR and The Doc on his Duc touring the mountains, rivers and everything else we can find. I’m so excited for this trip. Mainly, it is a week off from work and it will be my first REAL trip of distance on the FJR.
Not my first long distance trip though on a bike. Back in 2010, we did an 8 day Enduro motorcycle tour on/off-road in Costa Rica. Most epic trip of all time. That trip was done 6 months after I started riding motorcycles and got my license. Nothing like throwing a rookie in a bull pin. Best way to learn, and let me tell you, I learned a lot. By the end of the tour, I thought our guide was Yoda
So back to our upcoming non-Costa Rica trip. In our non-existence of planning, The Doc has spent the last couple days teasing me with having a surprise for me while on the trip. Oh, the anticipation!!!
The Doc is like me though, good surprises are hard to keep. And tonight while we were out to dinner he spilled the beans! So for our trip, he said that I had two choices. I can decide now or think about it.
Choice One was to go on a sail plane. There is an airport about an hour from our house that has where you can go up in a sail plane. We have been talking about it for the last two months and it is on our “To Do” list, just haven’t done it yet. He will be doing this one on the trip.
Choice Two I could choose to do instead of the sail plane……HANG GLIDING!!!!!!!!!!
Easy answer, I am going with the hang gliding. I would love to do and will do the sail plane but hanging gliding has been on my bucket list for years now so its about time to cross it off the list. Perfect time to do it as well since we will be up in the mountains.
The only thing that may hinder our plans is the weather. Forecast was showing partly cloudy skies but now it is forecasting rain. If the rain is heavy/stormy, we may have to revise our route. Think sunny thoughts, think sunny thoughts. Nice thing is, we have no hotels booked so we don’t “have” to be anything by any time.
Sometimes I love having an idea of where we will be staying, but most of the time, I like figuring it out as we go along. Not having to be anywhere specific at a certain time goes well with my inner gypsy soul. If living out of a suitcase while traveling the world is a job that was offered to me, I would tell The Doc to pack up our suitcases because we have places to see and things to jump off of!
Now just to survive Friday then a weekend of camping by the river and playing on the kayaks with friends!!! This weekend is suppose to be a high of 82 (perfect for playing in the water) and a low of 67 (perfect for a camp fire). There is a 20% chance of rain but it is Florida, there is always a chance of rain here!
It is Thursday and I still haven’t blogged about this past weekends Motorcycle Camping trip! I’m slacking!!!
It was an amazing trip!!! The Ducati fit the tent and the air mattress perfectly!!! This means we were able to fit the clothes we needed and other gear in the FJR bags! Sport tourers are beautiful things!
We woke up Saturday and took our sweet time making breakfast, gathering the gear and packing up the bikes. We finally got on the road little after 11.
Our camping location was the KOA Campgrounds in Okeechobee, FL. From Tampa to the campgrounds is about 3 hours straight shot. However, we aren’t interested in straight shots. We like to take the longest, most scenic routes as possible.
We cruised along until we got hungry and found the closest town we could to find a cute local place to have lunch at. We came across this gem in Arcadia, Oak Street Deli. The service here was beyond expectation. The owner came by several times making sure our cups were full and our lunch was delicious. I highly recommend this place if you are ever in the area!
After lunch we slowly made our way down to the KOA. This particular KOA is the largest KOA in the US. With this fact in mind, it was shocking when we found out that we were the only tent campers in the entire place!!!
There was a golf course, small putt putt course, two pools, a rec center, restaurant, bar and I am sure more things that we didn’t see.
We set up camp and decided to hop on the Duc and explore lake Okeechobee and grab some dinner. There was a nice scenic road that led to the lake. Perfect time for a couple of photo ops!
After dinner we walked around the campgrounds checking things out. It was really nice, if we didn’t have our tent it wouldn’t have felt like a campground at all. More like a fancy RV park. The perk of this is that if felt like our own private bathrooms! The lady set us up close to them.
We woke up early and packed up. We had some gators to go see! About an hour and a half north of us was Gatorland. Leaving early in the morning (8ish) was perfect. There was hardly any traffic. From the KOA to Gatorland was a straight shot. No twisty roads but there was plenty of Florida scenery to look at.
Florida scenery involving marsh looking areas, palm trees and cows. Have to love Florida!
We got to Gatorland about two hours after we left. There was a quick and delicious breakfast stop at Ihop.
We did the package deal where you could actually sit on a gator and ride the train. It was a fun place full of lots and lots of alligators. If you are ever in Florida and want to mix it up from Disney World, go to Gatorland.
This weekend I’ll post review the Sena Comm system!
2011 was quite a year. There were so many fun, adventurous moments. Moments filled with laughter, moments filled with tears. Overall I look back on 2011 with wonderful memories and a sense that I lived it to the fullest.
Looking ahead to 2012, I see the best year ever. So many things that will be taking place, I’ll share those as they come along, can’t give too many spoilers away Here’s to you 2012 and all the amazing times that lie ahead!
2011 in review. There were some first time experiences:
And of course, continuing all the things I already love:
Peace out 2011!