Kayaking in Florida - A COLD
Winter Break 2010
So we take the COLDEST
winter in memory to plan our first ever winter vacation
in Florida. Camping. On a beach. Yes.
all started even before leaving home. We packed
the truck a day early because a blizzard was coming the
night before we planned to leave. Notice the snow
blower parked and ready right in front of the garage
Pepper is trying to get himself packed into the truck,
too, stow-away style. He didn't want to be left
Sure enough, the snow
came as forecast. It's coming down hard the
morning we are leaving, but fortunately, it stops in
time for us to snowblow out the driveway for Pepper's
babysitter. And we hit the road. Bound, we
think, for warmer climes.
No such luck.
We drive west through
Pennsylvania farmlands and Ahmish country. It's
incredibly beautiful. Eventually we get to
Tennessee, where Bruce visits the home of his HAM radio,
TenTec. He's very proud of his radio, made in the
USA while most come from Japan.
Our plan is to drive
through the Smokey Mountains. We did hike along
some of the paths at the base of the National Park, but
the road through the mountains is closed due to snow.
head back down the valley, through the amazingly
embarrassing spectacle of Pigeon Forge. OMG. I
have never seen so much tacky garbage in my life.
Heaven help this country if this is our future.
One short example is this upside down building.
And this wasn't even the worst of it.
The rest of the drive is
After driving down
through Tennessee and Georgia through blizzards and
5-foot snowfalls, we spend our first night in Florida at
a hotel in Ocala. When we woke up in the morning -
Valentine's Day, by the way - it was 28 degrees.
The chocolates that Mom had given us for Valentine's day
were frozen solid in the truck. And that day was
our first at the campground. Something was wrong
with the plan...
It was beautiful, though.
Our campsite was in a perfect spot tucked into the
palms. Very private, with the entire expanse of
beach right in front of us. Spectacular for
sunsets. Really nice. Our set up is one
sleeping tent (on the right, below) and one shelter tent
to get out of wind and rain. We have a firepan for
campfires, and also for dutch oven cooking. The
campground provides everyone with a BBQ. And we
have a little coleman kitchen set-up, with a coleman
white fuel stove (made in America!). The heads and
showers were just a few hundred yards away.
Dorsal tries to stay warm while enjoying morning
coffee... The fire is not yet lit in the firepan.
did get in one (!) day of kayaking. Bruce was sick
so he didn't enjoy it much, and did it mostly as a good
sport to keep me happy. I do love it. He's
slightly less of a fan, especially when he has the flu.
think this was our last night at the campground, before
giving in to the freezing cold, breaking camp, loading
the truck and heading for the keys. The only
reason Bruce is in shorts is that he's had the better
part of a bottle of red wine and is feeling no pain.
I believe it was on this night that he dropped is iPhone
in the water bucket that is just on his left. It
never worked quite properly after that.