s/v Esmeralde

Jamestown, Rhode Island





Esmeralde's Advenutures (and other stuff too!)
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.

It 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 doors.  And Pepper is trying to get himself packed into the truck, too, stow-away style.  He didn't want to be left home.


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.  Very sad.  We 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 uneventful, but...

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.

Here, Dorsal tries to stay warm while enjoying morning coffee...  The fire is not yet lit in the firepan.



We 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.



I 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. 




Bruce and Dorsey Beard