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Living happily in one hundred seventy five square feet…

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“The more you know, the less you need.”

Lucy and I have spent a large portion of our lives living in small spaces. Perhaps one of the most bizarre was the time we both worked full-time, had four daughters in school and lived with no electricity, in a forty foot, fifth-wheel. We had purchased sixteen acres of raw land in central Georgia and planned to live in the fiver until we had dried in our new house. The land was so remote that we had no access to power-lines. As it turned out, we sold the land, bought a business and moved on. We did enjoy full-timing in the RV and the girls handled it just fine. They still speak of that brief time with fondness…

“One if by land, two if by sea”

southern cross

“Southern Cross” fifty -seven foot Chris Craft Constellation, docked Fort Myers Yacht Basin

During several other rather adventurous periods in our lives, we have lived aboard one of three different motor-yachts. In fact, for the first three years of our time in Fort Myers, we lived on our fifty-seven foot Chris Craft Constellation, “Southern Cross”. (pictured above) It was a luxurious vessel with enough space to make it feel palatial. Our youngest daughter Aimee was living with us and she really enjoyed her private cabin and head.

“We live on the water. Drop in some time.”

Aft deck

The enclosed aft-deck was a wonderful Florida room. Roomy and comfortable with a wrap-around view of the river and marina…

Aimee quickly made friends with some of the other live-aboard kids and attended a nearby high-school. Living “right down town” in the Fort Myers Yacht Basin, put her smack in the middle of all the outdoor festivals and special events. We celebrated the Millennium aboard the Cross and I will never forget the holiday spirit, crowds of very happy people and the unbelievable fireworks display that was launched right over our anchorage. It was truly amazing…

Aimee kayak

Daughter Aimee and her good friend Lizzy heading out for some time on one of the easily accessible islands. They both loved the live-aboard lifestyle…

“Mister Bluebird’s on my shoulder”

Bluebird

Our very comfortable rolling home. All of the creature comforts, with no wasted space…

When we grew tired of life in the marina, we sold the Chris Craft and bought a Bluebird, “Wanderlodge”, motor-coach. We leased a site in a very nice RV resort and enjoyed the RV life, as well as all of the resort amenities. We never felt cramped for space, or lacked any of the traditional features normally found in a conventional home. As always, we spent a lot of time enjoying the outdoors.

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”

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One of the benefits of returning to a conventional home and land, a fantastic vegetable garden and a bunch of beautiful hens…

Finding ourselves back in a “board & block” seemed strange at first, but we quickly came to enjoy the additional space and wide surrounding porches. Our interests swung back to our earlier “farm roots” and we soon had a yard full of brightly colored chickens and gardens overflowing with ripening vegetables, berries and nuts…

Our rolling "Chicken Tractor" was their temporary home befor I built their luxury coop called "Starclucks"...

Our rolling “Chicken Tractor” was their temporary home befor I built their luxury coop called “Starclucks”…

“No time like the present”

"O.O.C. Luxury RV Resort and Outdoor Center" also known as home sweet home...

“O.O.C. Luxury RV Resort and Outdoor Center” also known as home sweet home…

Lucy and I have often considered “selling-out” everything and moving into our Airstream. Now we enjoy the best of both worlds. Our daughter and her two sweet daughters decided to “come home” from Alabama. She wanted time to “sort things out” before moving on into the next chapter of her life. Perfect. we get to spend time with our awesome granddaughters and their mommy, we get to live in our comfy, cozy Silver Bullet, keep all of the benefits of a piece of land in the country and still travel freely in Voyageur. Fantastic!

Perfect layout for a adventuresome, loving couple celebrating their second honeymoon

Perfect layout for a adventuresome, loving couple celebrating their second honeymoon

We have everything we need and nothing we don’t. Easy to keep it clean and orderly and just a few steps for our granddaughters to come over and visit. We do spend lots of time together in the “Big House”, but when we want a little alone time, we just close the curtains, lock the door and veg out…

Fully equipped “Home Office”

There is nothing missing in our technology arsenal.

There is nothing missing in our technology arsenal.

Our new wall-mounted, bedroom, VIZIO, LED, “Smart TV”, is a wonderful outlet for watching thousands of online movies, or just keeping up with local news and weather. My dining room office is MAC equipped, roomy and comfortable. It is a great spot for updating http://www.fivespokewheel.com

In my next blog I will photograph and explain all the wonderful details of living comfortably and happily in only one hundred seventy-five feet. Please post and specific questions and Lucy and I will do our best to answer…

Namaste – Spokesman Dave

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up the Creek!

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Another great adventure with the Brits…

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Kayak fleet loaded, Camo-Tow on the sidelines

Terry and I slid Camo-Tow off her trailer and onto “Wheel-ber”, our aluminum, all-purpose, cart. She was allowed to rest up from her busy life as a charter fishing boat to have a sit in the sun. We stacked a couple of kayaks on the Gheenoe trailer and cradled my Tarpon T160i on the Yakima “Hully Rollers”. All gear was loaded and the beer and sandwiches were on ice… Just a short drive to nearby Franklin Lock Corp of Engineers south park and the convenient boat ramp. The weather was perfect again.

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Lucy and Terry preparing to get underway

It only took a few minutes to off-load the boats and have all the gear stowed and ready. Even though in many places the creek is only three feet deep, I always insist that our paddlers wear their PFD’s. It is much deeper in some areas. Better safe than sorry. Lucy and I of course have the finest, REED ‘Chillcheater” shorty style paddling jackets. We gave our British friends the “dorky” ones. So what?” say I. They will all keep you afloat. Proper looking and stylish fashion, is only important to Lucy and me. ;O)

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Pam and Terry in the comfy and fast Wilderness Systems “NORTHSTAR” tandem

Pam and Terry were off and away while Lucy and I finished packing the expedition food and beverage supply. Of course, they made us cary everything and serve them as well. Living with Lucy, I am used to that… There was a stiff following wind that made the downriver portion a “breeze”. It is only about a half mile to the mouth of Telegraph Creek, so we made it there in jig time. We were all anxious to complete the more boring river portion and really get “up the creek. Lots of wading birds and a few power and sail powered pleasure yachts, gave us a courteous low-speed pass as they traveled up and down the picturesque Inter-coastal waterway…

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Only the beginning

Looks as if Walt Disney designed it…

None of the many visitors we have brought on this journey have ever indicated they were disappointed by the beautiful old Florida creek. There are a few houses in the first section of the trip, but we were soon alone in the wilderness. Lots of turtles splashed noisily into the water, when we passed close by. We also aw a couple of majestic Ospreys and several other more common species of wading birds. My favorite bird sighting, was the high diving Kingfisher who provided an awesome aerial display as he dove, over and over, for a tasty catch…

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As always, Lucy’s Indian heritage showed through as she effortlessly paddled her “Venus 11” through the twisting creek

“Venus if you will” (Must be sung)

Lucy left her “Easy Rider” Dolphin behind and chose instead to paddle her “Venus 11”. She handles it like an Olympic champion. It is the perfect size for the narrow creek. She also picked our new  Lendall, carbon fiber, four piece paddle as her weapon for the adventure… Lucy commented that she loved the feel and performance of the rather high-ticket power-stroker… We wanted Pam and Terry to lead the way, because they would have the greatest opportunity for wildlife sightings, if they were the first, round-the-bend

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“Oh my gosh!” The happy couple were quite pleased and surprised when they spotted; Zebra, Llamas, Camels and Big Horn Sheep on the bank

Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my (Must be sung)

First time paddling visitors are always surprised by the exotic animal spotted along the creek. A very nice couple raises exotic animals and birds and maintains a very nice animal farm right, along the creek. I often wonder why some of them don’t just wade out into the creek and just swim away. They must be well fed and nicely treated. Why would they want to leave? ;O)

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Even in its “Winter Mode” the scenery along the creek never disappoints

Lunchtime…

We made a stop at one of our favorite lunch and swimming spots. Everybody else ate lunch, I enjoyed the cool water, then I ate.  ;O) Even with the lack of rain, there was plenty of water in the creek to afford easy passage over the numerous stumps and downed trees. There were wildflowers and flowering trees all along the banks…

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It was easy-out and easy-in for the slender, physically fit couple

The majority of the shoreline is heavily wooded so when a rather clear area is discovered it quickly becomes a “favorite spot”. The water was a little cloudy due to the absence of the normal cleansing rain. It only takes a little bit of rain to flush and clean the narrow watershed. Still easy to see the bottom, just not as free of silt as usual. We had brought along delicious submarine sandwiches, homemade dill pickles, purchased from one of the vendors at the local Green Market and plenty of healthy, tasty fresh fruit. A second cooler held a plentiful supply of ice-cold Bud. We were well fed and hydrated – as usual.  ;O)

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Relaxing and stretching our sea-legs, following our yummy shore lunch

The paddle back to the launch was uneventful. Only problem was the wind. Behind us on the way downriver and in our face on the way back. No matter. we all made it back just fine and agreed the trip provided just the right amount of exercise…

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“Yummy to my tummy” Lucy’s delicious homemade spaghetti

Once back at O.O.C. with kayaks back in storage mode, gear washed and put away, Lucy treated us all to a delicious dinner. She prepared her famous homemade spaghetti with meat sauce, spicy cole-slaw and hot, buttery, garlic bread. We bought Terry and Pam a “Calamondin Tea Cake” on our earlier visit to the Alliance for The Arts, “Green Market”. She shared a small piece with each of us and it made the perfect dessert. We topped off the evening with a spirited game of “Chicken Foot” and then all adjourned to our sleeping spaces and enjoyed happy dreams of our next day together…

Cheers to you all, “Spokesman Dave”

Very first fish!

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Pam said “Terry has never caught a fish on his own rod.”

When I heard this, my mission was ON. Terry would catch his first fish, on his own rod, while fishing out of “Camo-Tow”. In case some of you are first time visitors to “Five Spoke Wheel” I must explain that Pam and Terry are new friends, who have completed two years of overland travel, in a custom built Land Rover Defender camper. They are a delightful couple from Wales, whom we met on a recent Land Rover camping trip to Holder Mine. They have been staying with us for a few days, here at O.O.C.

Sanibel Causeway Island Park

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“Freddy” on the left and “Voyageur” catching some rays…

We are very fortunate to have a wonderful place to set-up a beachhead, right on the Gulf of Mexico. “Sanibel Island Causeway Park” is one of the last places where you can park right next to the water. There is ample parking, some shaded by gorgeous Southern Pines and the rest fully open to satisfy the desires of sun-worshippers. Lucy and I , always concerned about preventing skin cancer, chose the shade… Just after we finished setting up Pam told us she “Really wanted to sit in the sun.” She reminded us that the weather in Wales is frequently; cloudy, rainy and cold… We offered to relocate, but she said she was fine…

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l to r: Pam, Terry and my Lucy.

The beach was well attended, but there was still plenty of room for all. Terry’s Land Rover Defender “Freddy” attracts attention wherever he parks it. Our beachfront location was no exception. Terry answered questions for the many curious people who strolled by and posed for several photographs. The custom vehicle, equipped with right hand drive, is not only a fine rolling-home, it is a great conversation piece… “Voyageur”, our trusty Roadtrek, was quite hurt, as she got nowhere near as much attention. There was however, one jovial beach goer, who offered to swap his Honda Element for our well equipped camper – “straight up”. We declined his offer… We sat in the shade, enjoyed a few ice-cold adult beverages and planned our fishing strategy.

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Our salty little yacht “Camo-Tow” was in full “Fishing” mode

We were all ready for some hardcore fishing. A quick stop at a local bait shop and my bait bucket was brimming with two dozen, very lively shrimp. The shrimp were dying to get on the end of one of our hooks and give it all for the cause. The weather was ideal for the little Gheenoe. Comfy swivel seats, convenient rod-holders and a wide beam, combine to provide an ideal fishing-platform. There is no boat ramp at the park. No problem for our little craft. I unhitched the trailer from Voyageur and Terry and I simply rolled it into the surf for the launch. I wish we would have taken some photographs. Pulling it back out of the water required a bit more effort, but it was actually no problem for we two incredibly strong, senior citizens, Camo-Tow is equipped with a 6.6 horsepower outboard that provides a proper cruising speed while only sipping a tiny bit of petrol…

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“Then you twist it around six times and run it back through the double loop” I explained…

Terry confessed he just did not have much experience with a rod in his hand. First lesson was to demonstrate one of the proper monofilament line fishing knots – guaranteed not to pull loose. On the third try, I finally got it right. I heard a few chuckles (with a British accent) over my multiple attempts. Terry opined “It was a good idea showing me how not to tie it first.” Ha Ha Ha… We set up our fishing rigs on the beach, so we would be ready to drop our hooks immediately…

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“Terry, be sure you put plenty of sun-screen on your head!” Cautions Pam

Camo-Tow, our 15′ 4″ Gheenoe, while small in size, is huge in fishing comfort, stability and good looks.  ;O) We carried everything we needed with a “no-frills attitude”…

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A hearty “Bon Voyage” and we were off on our three hour tour

FISH ON!

There was very little breeze, calm waters and the tide was perfect for catching… I wish I had taken some actual fishing photos, but we were too busy pulling them in… We set up to drift through the deepwater channel, normally a very productive method. In this case, 30 minutes of hardcore beer drinking and drowning shrimp, resulted in no fish. I cranked up the outboard and motored a half mile to a new location. Thirty seconds after Terry’s bait hit the water WHAM! “FISH ON!” He hooked and landed his first fish. Catching it on his brand new, open face spinning rig, made it even more special. It was a nice 1.5 pound Speckled Sea Trout. Perfect size for the skillet and one notch down on his four-fish bag limit

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Speckled Sea Trout

The scrappy little Speckled Sea Trout hit hard and fight bravely. All to no avail. Our British Buddy landed all but one. The fish is one of our favorite for a crispy Southern fish fry. In only a few minutes we had caught our “limit’ and the two dozen shrimp I had bought were gone. There was a lot of excited hollering and yelling, some in a stately Wales accent, and a good bit of Florida Crack caterwalling. It was a wonderful fishing trip with enough fish in the box, for a fantastic seafood dinner. I cleaned them on the side of the boat and left the entrails for the crabs. Terry had a wall-to-wall grin that lasted for the rest of the day. We couldn’t wait to return to the waiting women and show off our catch. They both admitted equal amounts of surprise and appreciation. “I can’t believe you caught all those fish.” Pam commented…

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Terry’s happy smile, lit up the entire beach

Good friends, Good fishing and Good fun!

These are not big fish. Each was carefully measured with my trusty fish-ruler, to make sure they were “legal” Terry did catch the two largest trout, but we didn’t get a proper photo. These little beauties produce a tender, sweet meat, with very few bones. I made a batch of “hush puppies”, a first time treat for our friends from the United Kingdom. There was nothing left on the platters when we left the table… All in all a perfect day at the beach. We hung around for most of the afternoon and then retrieved Camo-Tow and headed for O.O.C.

My mouth was already watering…

As I thought of the delicious dinner to come…

Peace and love, “Spokesman” Dave

Eterna® Full Size (11X45): Brunton – Binoculars

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I just want to do a shout out for some excellent customer service. I enjoyed my original BRUNTON “Eterna” binoculars for many years. I contacted them about repairing an issue that developed in the fine BRUNTON optics…

They sell their products with a “Lifetime Guarantee”. When they finished their inspection they informed me my original binocs were not repairable. They went a step further and told me they were mailing me a BRAND NEW pair at no cost.

Fantastic! I love it when a gear provider makes good and I want to recommend BRUNTON highly.

Brunton 11x45 Eterna Full Size Binoculars - Black Binoculars

Eterna® Full Size (11X45): Brunton – Lanterns, Solar Power, Headlamps, Binoculars, Scopes, Compasses.

Spokesman Dave

How to benefit from inflation…

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Not everyone is negatively affected by “Inflation…

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Marianne assembles the paddles – last items out of the van – and heads to the put-in

Marianne and Randy “Boondockerswelcome.com” asked if there were any paddling destinations near O.O.C. We told them “Yes indeed, Telegraph Creek is a wonderful place to visit by kayak.” Seeing no kayak on top of, or behind their Roadtrek, we offered them the use of two of ours. We also offered to transport the kayaks to the launch. “No worries” replied Marianne “We have our own.” “HUH? Where is it?” Marianne explained that after a good bit of research they had purchased a 380X Sea Eagle inflatable kayak. “Well I’ll be darned.” I responded…

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Lucy on her Salsa MUKLUK, heading to the launch

Lucy and I were very intrigued by the ability of carrying a kayak inside our little RV. We just had to see this Sea Eagle in action. We jumped on our trusty pedal powered steeds and headed to nearby Franklin Lock to watch them assemble, inflate and launch the inflatable boat. (I was somewhat skeptical)…

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Three small bags contain the entire Sea Eagle 380X

… In only a few minutes the busy couple had carried the various parts to the waters edge. Randy made short work of inflating the 12’6″ kayak. The seats were installed after the hulls were fully inflated. They explained that the cushy inflatable seats – complete with backrests – could be removed from the boat and used as camp or beach chairs. Marianne also explained that she often reverses her seat – while on the water – when they stop and enjoy their floating picnic linch. Very cool…

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“You need to Pump-it-up.” Instructs Lucy

“Looky Lucy” sat on one of the wooden benches and made sure they did it right…

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With a 650 pound carrying capacity, we barely made her settle on her lines.

It was a pleasant surprise when Randy turned to us and said “Why don’t you guys take it for a ride and see how you like it. It handled much better than I expected. Lucy fell in love with the cushy seats and decided we need to add one of the Sea Eagles to our O.O.C. Navy fleet…

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Always wear your PFD. Off they went…

In a matter of minutes the happy couple had paddled out of sight on their way to Telegraph Creek. When they returned ot O.O.C. that evening they both agreed it was one of the nicest water-based trips they had ever done…

You will find a link to purchase your own Sea Eagle on Marianne’s award winning website: http://www.frugal-rv-travel.com/Inflatable-boat.html

We thoroughly enjoyed having Randy and Marianne as our guests and our test ride in the Sea Eagle…

Paddle strong, Spokesman Dave

This little motorhome is “Bad Ass”.

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I know, I know… I shouldn’t talk about a donkey here on WordPress. Somehow it just fits.

I have been a bad Blogger. Seems having fun, while traveling around may have muddled my brain. We have been camping in Voyageur since Friday. Started off at Silver Lake Recreation area and then moved here to Chassahowitzka River Campground.  The weather has been perfect. Plenty of sunny days and nice late evening rain. The only bad thing was… I lost my new camera. Still have not ordered another one. I would love suggestions for a waterproof, lightweight, digital camera…

I am going to post this one photo from my phone and then launch Camo-Tow for some fishing. Soon as Lucy and I are back at Site 17, I will post a proper “BLOG”. I don’t want her too get angry. She is Readsy to hit the river NOW.

The Chassahowitzka River is crystal clear. Lots of fish and other aquatic life. I bought a long handled crab net at the campground store and we hope to boil up some tasty Blue Crabs this evening… Liz and Doreen are doing a marvelous job of running the campground and making us feel right at home. The facilities are pristine and the traffic low. As long as you don’t mind DEET spray on your exposed body-parts, sitting out by the fire in the lush tropical rainforest surroundings is stellar… “GONE FISHIN”…

Spokesman Dave

Kayak Delivery and tenting at Wekiwa Springs

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When we recently sold “Stillwater” our twenty foot long, three cockpit kayak the owner said “Will you deliver it to my grandfather’s house, if I pay for your gas?”… Thought for a minute and replied “Heck yes.” I just figured Lucy and I would make it a fun road-trip with a couple of stops along the way…

Packing complete the night before… we were up with the morning sun…

Set the Garmin GPS on “Back Roads” and with full cups of coffee we were on our way.

Road conditions were perfect and traffic was nonexistent. We drove for a while on the “Florida Cracker Trail”. The recent rains had everything looking like the “Emerald City”. We love the low and slow byways that take us through quaint towns and offer constantly changing points of interest. I find the Interstate Highway a path of last resort. Lower speeds equate to less fuel consumed and less stress on our brains…

I thought Sierra – our cute little American Eskimo Dog – was growling in the backseat. I listened carefully and heard it again several times and then realized it was not Sierra. Turned out it was Lucy’s stomach. “Are you hungry?” I inquired… Receiving a positive response we started looking for an appropriate lunch spot. Just over the next hill the perfect spot appeared. A shady parking spot for the Land Rover and a cool, shady, outside deck that was dog friendly…

Food was delicious and our waitress made me feel right at home…

The Butcher Shop – right across the street made us think about our daughter Aimee. She and her Fiance’ have opened “Heaps Meat Processing” in Hartsell, Alabama. They are already very busy providing meat cutting services to the local populace…

Bellies full we resumed our trip to drop off the boat as Sierra snored in her crate. The scenery just kept getting better and better. We both love central Florida…

In only a little longer we safely delivered our cargo. The Land Rover seemed happy to be free of the one hundred pound load on it’s roof rack. I know the new Owners will have many wonderful waterborne adventures in their new craft… Mission One accomplished we resumed our travels toward our reserved campsite at Wekiwa Springs State Park. We were really looking forward to setting up our brand new tent and heading for a swim in the seventy two degree, crystal clear spring…

Oops. One more stop on the way…

Lucy was hungry AGAIN sooooooo… another pit stop. This time for a large, chocolate malt milkshake. She made me get one too…

Finally…

New Kelty Green River Four all set up and gear stowed. Time for a bike ride to the spring. I was very happy to be finished driving. Seven hours behind the windshield…

“Mee Mee” Lucy spotted the wheelchair assist, for getting into the cool water and immediately thought of our incredible granddaughter, Alexis Jade Spencer. Alexis is wheelchair mobile due to cerebral palsy. She loves to swim and this convenient lift will be fun for her to try… Once in the water she swims like a Mermaid…

Even though the waters of the spring were beckoning, we were both so tired we decided to return to camp to prepare a healthy supper and enjoy our polar plunge first thing in the morning… We were lulled to sleep by a gentle rain falling on the roof of our tent and enjoyed the best nights sleep we had had in months… To be continued.

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