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What does OOC Mean?

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I want to tell you a little bit about O.O.C.

My Love for the outdoors and everything related to camping under the stars, began at the age of thirteen when I joined the Boy Scouts. Even as a young lad, I took comfort in the quiet of the woods. I learned to appreciate the solitude and the mystery. I continually sought the quiet that could only be found deep in the woods of central Florida. Accompanied by my fellow scouts, I learned the benefits and values of sharing these special adventures with close friends.

It was wonderful to discover, shortly after our marriage, that my spouse also loved nature and the great outdoors.  As each of our four daughters was born, our camping equipment increased, as did our joy of spending family time together. It was wonderful sharing the activity we loved and seeing the contentment that our daughters found as well…

Fast forward almost fifty years…

Our Airstream doing what it does best.

Our Airstream doing what it does best.

We are now “camping” full time.  Seems as if our love for small spaces never changes. We are currently living in our twenty-seven foot, nineteen seventy-two, Airstream “Overlander”. There is no inconvenience, there is no lack of space and there are seldom any occasions when Lucy and I rub elbows – unless we want to. The intimacy of sharing a small space is a perfect foil for the love we feel for each other. We move about like honeybees in a hive. It is a symbiotic relationship. Our decision to move into the Airstream was predicated on the fact that our youngest daughter, Aimee, wished to return to Florida and had no immediate plans for a domicile. We asked her (actually begged her) to move into our comfortable home and allow us to enjoy her family while we lived in the backyard. We call it our “Old Folks Home”. Initially, Aimee was reluctant. She felt bad to see her parents move out of their home and into the tiny enclosure, under the big shade tree. Little did she know, the pleasure of having her family here with us, far outweighed the imagined inconvenience.

Back to the question “What does O.O.C. mean?”

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“Back To Eden Garden”

It means land that is zoned for agricultural use. It means that we can raise honeybees, vegetables, fruit and nuts – exactly as we want to. There is no conflict with our neighbors, or with the regulations of the County. Every since we first arrived, we began enriching our surroundings by planting new living things. We took care to preserve the beautiful citrus trees that were already on our property. There are five different types of oranges, two types of grapefruit, two types of lemons and we have our first lime tree. It is three years old and will be bearing soon. We planted an “Eden Style” garden last year and found it perfectly suited to our needs. This year, we have been somewhat lazy about getting the seeds in the ground in a timely fashion. Perhaps, along with our increased “laziness” we were also hampered to a degree, by constant rain and frequent needs to be somewhere else. It is always more fun to go on a road trip in “Voyageur’, or one of our Land Rovers. Visiting with family always takes precedence over working in the ground.

"Bora Beans" reaching for the arbor, Butternut squas growing up.

“Bora Beans” reaching for the arbor, Butternut squash growing up.

This is not necessarily the proper way to run a farm, but it makes us happy…

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“It’s easy being green”

All the plants that live here are just as happy in their surroundings as we are. They are all lush and verdant and often remind Lucy and I of what it might have been like in the Garden of Eden. Honeybees are allowed to roam freely. Beneficial insects are not killed and only reluctantly do we ever dispatch the occasional cockroach that invades one of the structures. The benefits far outweigh the harm. I wish we had more birds at OOC. Lucy says they will return this winter

Kale Kale the Gangs all Here…

Kale is an amazing green. The nutritional benefit is of the chart

Kale is an amazing green. The nutritional benefit is of the chart

We have learned a lot about what will grow and flourish here. We can’t grow all of the varieties we would like, so we make the best possible use of the ones that joy it here. Kale has proven to be a bountiful provider. The more we study about this valuable green, the more we learn about its many beneficial properties. The last planting provided food for us for more than eight months. The fact that it tastes delicious no matter how it is prepared, makes it a big favorite with the O.O.C. Saff and visitors…

We have learned that most plants are not picky about the home they live in…

These "Maters" are happy in their cast-off buckets

These “Maters” are happy in their cast-off buckets

All they need to flourish is ample water, a generous amount of sunshine and an occasional healthy snack. Our tomato plants are doing fine in the cast-off five gallon buckets that we get from our neighbor, Dave the Painter. We do water them twice a day and watch them closely for any sign of insect infestation. We find that the old fashioned “10-10-10” fertilizer meets the nutritional requirements for almost everything that grows here at OOC

OOC is also a wonderful campground…

 

RV there yet?

RV there yet?

We have always enjoyed the atmosphere that we find in an isolated campground. The proximity of happy people makes all the time we spend camping just that much better. We have always enjoyed looking out our windows to discover who is camped in the campsite next to ours. Many of the friendship’s formed have lasted for many years. Here at O.O.C. we have ample opportunities to see several different styles of recreational vehicles. The only difference is… we own them all. Lucy often remarks that when she is sitting under the majestic Banyan tree, enjoying her fresh brewed morning coffee, she feels the same sense of joy and fulfillment here at home that she does at a distant campground.

O.O.C. is also a hideaway…

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Great place to disappear for a nice rest

I am amazed at the size and vigor of the Elephant Ears, Ginger, and Galengall plants that Lucy has planted on our property. Some plants, gifts from past visitors, seem to be doing best of all. Whatever she plants – they all seem to blossom under her loving care. I can’t begin to name all the different flowers and shrubs she has planted. I also cannot begin to name all the species of wild flowers that are allowed to grow, bloom and go to seed, here at O.O.C. We love the natural look and cannot abide the manicured look of most modern homes. It is our desire to have this property remain as close to its natural state as possible, while still allowing us to move comfortably about. We don’t nip, cut, prune, or otherwise alter the inter-plantings that have occurred naturally. We try to add our fruit and nut trees in a way that compliments the already existing flora. We focus on taking maximum advantage of sun exposure and proper drainage.

 O.O.C. is a Land Rover lover’s mecca…

Aimee loves her roomy Range Rover Classic. It is a LWB "County", perfect for her high-adventure family

Aimee loves her roomy Range Rover Classic. It is a LWB “County”, perfect for her high-adventure family

Turns out… our youngest daughter loves her vintage Range Rover classic, as much as her mother and I enjoy our Land Rover Discovery’s. We are living the life that these fine vehicles were built for. They more than meet our needs, completely satisfy our comfort requirements and in all types of terrain, provide safe, efficient, transportation…

Lucy's Land Rover Discovery II, patiently waiting for another great adventure.

Lucy’s Land Rover Discovery II, patiently waiting for another great adventure.

I will certainly admit that for me, the romance attached to the world traveling Land Rover Marque, is one of the reasons I hold them dear. There are newer vehicles with much higher mileage capability. There is however no other vehicle that would provide the same degree of personal satisfaction I feel when I’m driving a Rover. I’m so happy that Aimee and her family feel the same about their roomy, luxurious, Range Rover County. Anyone with a love for these fine British automobiles, will feel right at home here at O.O.C

OOC IS HAUNTED…

Haunted by friendly ghosts. Who ya gonna call?

Haunted by friendly ghosts. Who ya gonna call?

We never had ghosts at OOC until our granddaughters, Alexis and Olivia arrived. I’m not sure if the girls attract these filmy characters, that travel by night, or if they in fact created them, just to frighten their Poppy…

One of the most wonderful advantages of having our daughter and grandchildren living here, is the ability for us to be transported again to the happy days, when every occasion resulted in some form of bright ornamentation. No matter the occasion… Aimee and her two willful workers, create magical scenes around the property. It would make us sad, to not to be able to enjoy their presence.

So much wonder, so much love, so much laughter and an abundance of happiness is present, all the day long…

I realize that it will take more than one post to answer the question, “What does O.O.C. mean?” Please enjoy this first chapter. More, much more is on the way…

Cheers and Happy Halloween to you all,

“Spokesman” David

The other woman… 1976 Fleetwood “Prowler” 19E

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Hello readers…

Lucy and I have been talking about…

…acquiring a travel trailer that would be small (light) enough to be safely towed by either of our Land Rover’s and yet still provide the type of accommodations we enjoy.

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In the past, whenever we camped with the Florida Land Rover Club , our only option was a tent. There is nothing wrong with a tent and we still enjoy sleeping under canvas (or rip-stop nylon) very much. We have camped for so many years, we have learned what we need to be very comfortable “sleeping on the ground”. The primary reasons we wanted a towable RV were: Ease of set up and break down. No worries about enduring rainy weather and putting away wet muddy gear when we break camp. Much better control over internal temperatures. Staying warm has not been a problem in the winter, but staying cool during the balmy summer nights is…

A single phone call and our desires were met…

My good friend Belinda Smith called me and said she and her husband Bryan had purchased a new camper. She said she had to get rid of the old one “NOW”. Apparently, her shiny new one was on the way. Lucy and I didn’t know a thing about her “old camper”. We didn’t know; brand, size, condition, age, color, sleeping accommodations, or even if she was sound enough to tow back to O.O.C. So what? I just said “Heck yes we want it. I will come and get it right now.” We loaded up my 12 volt air-compressor, a can of WD40, two different sizes of hitch balls and headed for Cape Coral. Turns out… little “Missy”, as Lucy named her, is exactly what we would have ordered if we had bought her brand new. We had successfully organized our first ever “menage a trois”

Our trip home came off without a hitch…

No. Wait a minute. We did use a hitch…

disco and missy

It only took us a little while to air up her rotting tires and hit the road for home. I drove very slowly and definitely felt the absence of proper trailer towing mirrors. Wider mirrors would have allowed me to keep track of following traffic. Oh yes… we also had no lights. No running lights and NO brake lights, or turn signals. Traffic was light and we just stayed in the right lane and took our ime. It was only twenty-four miles back to home base and we made it just fine. “Missy” seemed to really blossom under all of the new love and attention… We still had no idea what worked and what didn’t. We still had no idea if the roof leaked or the air-conditioner ran at all.

What sexy lady doesn’t love a nice bubble bath…

clean missy

Soon as we got her home, Lucy insisted on washing her from stem to stern… She seemed to purr under Lucy’s rubbing. (I know I do) Soon as Lucy had her outsides looking as good as possible, she grabbed our shop-vac, bucket of soapy water and headed inside. Good news – the window air-conditioner – worked just fine. Lucy spent most of the day looking into every cupboard and drawer and did a real “Snow White” clean up. Once she was satisfied with her work, she allowed me back inside. The two of us sat with a blank pad of paper and started making a “To Do” list. Of course, we prioritized every item based on: Safety – weather tightness – convenience – appearance – comfort. The list is long, but it will be a labor of love…

roomy interior

Missy’s interior is open and airy. The rather vintage colors of the “Seventies”, take me back to my younger years. The rear bath is quite spacious with a separate stall shower. There is lots of storage room in the galley, and a stainless-steel, double sink, that is large enough to actually hold a dish. A four-burner, gas, range with oven will handle the cooking chores. Those of you that know Lucy and me, know we love to cook… The dinette seats four, on very comfy benches that actually fold down to create a three-quarter width bed.

Missy’s re-tirement…

First on the safety list was a new set of tires. It was off to Pat’s Tire and Auto Service where we purchased a full set of Powerking, Towmaster, STR, E-rated, 10 ply tires. Pat’s crew mounted them just right with brand new high-pressure valve stems and then ran them up on the computer balancer until they were spot on. The trip home was marvelous. She seemed to have much less rolling resistance and definitely less sway. i will be re-packing the wheel bearings and checking the brakes…

Pats tire

Over the coming months we will attack the tasks on our “To-Do” list, in the order we believe will be the most efficent. I know there will be surprises, unavoidable delays and unexpected challenges. That won’t bother us a bit. we always have “Voyageur” to hit the road in, if the wanderlust becomes to overpowering… Look for a new installment soon.

Safe travels,

“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

The British are coming, and we are glad…

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You meet the most interesting people in a Land Rover

Lucy and I had a marvelous time, tent-camping, with a group of Land Rover owners, at “Holder Mine Campground” in Citrus County, Florida. One of the high points of all of our off-road adventures, is the people we meet. In this case, an amazing couple, Pam and Terry who left their home in Wales, in their fully self-contained Land Rover Defender 130, for a two year tour of the Americas. We absolutely fell in love with this couple…

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The Brown’s travel in style. Their Defender is a fully self-contained camper

The first hint of their eminent arrival was the distant clatter of a big diesel V8. (It was actually a 2.5 Turbo-diesel but it sure sounded like a BIG V8. Thanks Theo) We all loved the sound and waited anxiously for them to pull into view. For me it was love at first sight. Of all the vehicles I have; seen, driven, owned or imagined “Freddy” is by far the one I covet most. It is an absolutely amazing vehicle…

Pam and Terry both arrived with huge smiles.

Pam and Terry both arrived with huge smiles.

We all wanted to have a giant gab fest but the first order of the day was to make camp. We would have plenty of time to visit later…

"Drive in, turn off ignition, pop the top and open a beer." That is how Terry described setting "Freddy" up for camping.

“Drive in, turn off ignition, pop the top and open a beer.” That is how Terry described setting “Freddy” up for camping.

This well-traveled couple had their cozy home on wheels ready for living within minutes. They have already driven from the southern tip of South America to the Northern tip of Alaska. They are definitely a well-oiled camping machine. After two years on the road they really have their preparations perfected. It was fun sitting in my folding chair watching them work. They have everything they need and nothing they don’t…

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“Freddy” making friends with the Disco Queen…

Their custom “Camper” is well equipped. Full galley, five batteries, solar panels to keep them all at full charge and a convenient casette-toilet when a bush just won’t do. The living quarters are well insulated as is the cab. A Webasto diesel-fired furnace provides adequate for any weather. The somewhat utilitarian stock Land Rover seats have been replaced with premium Recaro style seating to insure comfort regardless of trail conditions…

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Pam in the blue T-shirt

We had an absolutely wonderful time with Terry and Pam. They were the ideal campmates. Sitting around our campfire, hearing about their amazing trip, was a very pleasant way to spend an evening. We are very happy to announce they will be here with us at O.O.C. for a couple of days, as they wind down to the end of their journey. I will have a nice post on their visit. You can check out their BLOG by clicking here.

Keep on trucking,

Spokesman Dave

Land Rover “Lovers”

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1960 Land Rover Series and 1976 Boler travel trailer

1960 Land Rover Series and 1976 Boler travel trailer

Meeting “Tinkerbell”…

When I was a young boy, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell were two of my heroes. (I had a crush on Tink) Of course, at the time, I believed they were quite real. Having met Danielle and Drew my belief was confirmed. They are in fact – very real

Last weekend…

Lucy and I were planning a ten day, tent based trip. We decided to leave “Voyageur” our Roadtrek at O.O.C. and do the trip in one of our Land Rover Discoveries. First thing we did was to call our good friend, Aldous Cosmo Gitles and ask him to join us. Fact of the matter is, we asked him to pick the location for our rendezvous. “Cosmo”, as his friends call him, was ready willing and able to meet us for another four wheeling off-road adventure. He offered a couple of alternative locations in central Florida and we chose “Holder Mine Campground” in the Withlacoochee Forest…

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We began planing, organizing and loading our gear for an exciting adventure with some great old friends. From there, it just got better and better. Cosmo called us back a couple of times and said the group was getting larger. In fact he said we would love the new people that were meeting us and that a couple other members of the Florida Land Rover Club would also be joining us for some trail riding. Fantastic! The more the merrier. For this BLOG I am going to speak about one couple, Drew and Danielle. Lucy and I chose to call this couple “Tinkerbell and Peter Pan”. Their fun BLOG is “The Wild Rovers”

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Their kind, loving, spirit was evident from the first moment we met them…

Drew and Danielle were set-up on their campsite when Lucy and I arrived. Everything looked as “neat as a pin”. We were looking forward to meeting them, because we had viewed their blog and immediately felt a kinship with this amazing young couple. So many memories flooded my mind. I immediately thought of my Lucy as a young spouse, complete with honey-sweet voice and gently strumming guitar. Even their smiles radiated the same joyful, unassuming innocence. We as couples were alike in so many ways. I am not going to do a lot of “Splaining” (Ricky Ricardo’s voice) because they have all the details on their blog. What I want to talk about is how impressed I was by their attitude about life. Best part was, it didn’t come from books, seminars, or self-help tapes. They just “Get it”. Having graduated from college with degrees in Journalism (Danielle) and Mechanical Engineering (Drew) they were tired of the day to day constraints of excessive order, disciplined study and schedule driven academic lives. They are not running away from something they are moving closer to something. They both love and miss their homes and family in Nova Scotia. Each of them spoke of the wonderful people, scenery and energy that they left behind in their homeland. Both Drew and Danielle maintain close contact with family and friends while they are on the road. I believe they just want to make sure that what they think – Nova Scotia is the best place to live – is accurate. For the entire time we were sharing the woods with this marvelous couple, I never heard a “discouraging word”. even as they spoke of little setbacks and challenges they had encountered, they were grinning from ear-to-ear as they explained their inventive and sometimes comical solutions. The only sad part for me was the realization that none of our – now all grown up daughters – ever got to enjoy such a freeing adventure…

Saturday, January 12th. Happy Birthday Danielle

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As luck would have it, we got to celebrate Danielle’s 23rd birthday with her. She and Drew participated in our first off-road trail ride in their very own “Ole Yeller”. The venerable old Land Rover was shod with standard tread street tires, but managed to handle every obstacle in it’s path with a pronounced British “Stiff upper lip”. Many of the other trucks had oversize, heavily lugged, trail tires and extensive modifications. They put nothing over on the rugged, leaf sprung, Rover. Drew proved he had “Bad Ass” driving skills and Danielle maintained her stately place in the procession, regardless of the severity of the trail. If the happy occupants would have been enjoying ice-cold “GnT’s”, they wouldn’t have sloshed a drop… In celebration her special day, “Kaz”, a member of the Florida Land Rover Club, offered her the pilot-seat in his extreme, off-road monster, a huge Discovery powered by a beefed up V8,  rolling on huge, nobby tires. Never you mind it was her first time running an off-road trail truck. Seeing the tiny blonde lass piloting the massive rig was a joy to behold. They say you “Never forget your first time.” How bout that Danielle?

We thoroughly enjoyed our time with these traveling troubadours…

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Danielle and Drew share a love for music. They are a wonderfully talented duet carrying a full arsenal of stringed instruments with them, writing new songs en-route. We were gifted a copy of their first album “Honey Hill” by The Harts. D n D co-wrote the excellent songs commemorating their travels and often perform at various open-mikes and other venues along the way. Drew serenaded Daniele with a fine rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” on his newly acquired fiddle.  They voices – like their lives – are in perfect harmony…

“We’ve got all we need for where we’re going.”

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The young couple do a wonderful job of living a GIANT life in a diminutive space. Their tiny rolling home, includes everything they need for housekeeping and living comfortably, with nothing added to compromise their enjoyment of whatever space they are in. The skill they exhibit in keeping it all together extends way beyond their time in years. We could all learn a lesson about the joys of living simply. “All we need is love” the Beatles…

Well and truly missed…

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You can teach old dogs new tricks. The time Lucy and I spent with Drew and Danielle renewed our faith in the younger generation. They taught us a lot about; humility, love, contentment and the joy of appreciating every moment of life. We will never forget them. So often in the past we have been fortunate to spend time with really incredible people. These two folks will certainly occupy a niche very near the top of the list. If I got to live my life over again, I would hope I to be a lot more like Drew… Happy trails to “The Harts”.

Love to you all,

Spokesman Dave

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