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The evils of “WEED”

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I don’t know why, but during the summer Lucy and I let the weeds take over our garden spot.

I am sure it was a combination of; “dangerously high-temps, too much rain and very few vegetables will make it through the summer heat.” So, now it’s time (actually a little past time) to plant our Fall garden…

First step was to set up an oasis in the backyard.

At age 67, with several annoying health issues, I have to take it somewhat “Slow and Easy“. Having a place to get out of the sun for a breather and a drink of water, is a must. My EZ-UP shelter, folding camp table and plastic chair worked great. Of course, I have NPR playing on my radio. My even older friend “Sahadeo” from Guyana always says “Don’t fatigue head.” Even at 78 he is a very hard worker.

The grapes of wrath…

One end of our garden has two struggling grape vines. It was hard to see them because they were completely hidden by the much more aggressive weeds. I had to be very careful to prevent injuring them as I dug up the “bad plants”. Of course there really aren’t any “bad plants” just some that pop-up in the wrong location…

Our honeybees are just as excited by the pollen and nectar from a weed as they are about an ornamental…..

The next step will be to set up string lines to define the garden borders. Once borders are up, will remove all invasive species and begin to mulch and amend the dry, sandy soil. We use a ton of natural mulch in the form of chips from the utility crew shredders. Sometimes we get lucky and they will dump the entire load in our yard…..

We will do a little each morning and a little each evening. Mid-day temperatures are just too hot to work in. We will post follow up blogs as the garden comes together.

Thank you for looking, “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”

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

$12.50 a can!

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One little tip I would offer about camping anywhere – don’t shop at the concession

Even though we packed very, very, carefully we did overlook two critical items; marshmallows and MOZZIE SPRAY. “No worries” I thought “I’ll just cycle over to the little campground store and buy some.” Well… they had no marshmallows, but the did have repellent. Twelve fifty a can seemed quite pricey, but I think the park had made a deal with the mozzies. “You keep biting the campers and we will split the profit on the spray.”… I bet I won’t forget that item on future trips…

We had a great nights sleep – no mosquito bites – and we arose early, for coffee, breakfast and a bike ride to the springs. The temperature was unusually cool, but her “Majesty” still enjoyed our thrift store fan….

During our four decades of camping, we have tried many, many, different ways of producing our morning brew. We tried all of the “tips” for making simple “Cowboy Coffee” and it sucked. We went from fancy – Coleman stove top drip coffee maker to a paper cone sitting on top of our mug. Nothing we have previously tried makes better coffee or is easier to store and clean-up than our  Aerobie, “Aero Press” coffee maker. This light weight little brewer just never fails to please… I might nickname it “Lucy”.

Since I unfortunately suffer from the “Big 3”; Type II Diabetes, chronic kidney disease and ultra high Triglycerides we eat very healthy meals. I enjoy the “new vs old” combination of cooking gear. On the one hand our Primus “EtaPower” stove is the latest and best in fuel saving efficiency, but we choose to cook our vittles in our, 50 year old, “Wagner”, cast-iron skillet… Everything seems to taste better when prepared and consumed outdoors…

We enjoyed our coffee and breakfast of turkey bacon and O.O.C. eggs and then we loaded up the bikes for a leisurely ride to the cooling Wekiwa Spring. Of course, we cleaned up and organized our campsite, before we departed. The ride is basically a two mile nature trail. Tons of birds, squirrels and even a couple of browsing deer. We arrived early and had no problem scoring a ringside seat on one of the many comfortable benches, located around the perimeter of the crystal clear spring. The entire park was spotless and free of any type of litter. As many of the novel writers say.. “The water was gin clear”…

Lucy was anxious to get in the water, but she found it a little colder than she anticipated. “I can’t feel my body.” she yelled “I am numb all over.” Bad news for me. The springs is large enough to accommodate a large number of people and never felt crowded. People of all ages and many nationalities were enjoying Mother Nature’s swimming pool…

My Pentax “Optio WG2” underwater camera, had no problem capturing Lucy’s floating image. We can’t wait to return to this pristine place with our grandchildren…

The “Swimmin Hole” is huge. Definitely room for everyone. Shady parts for people like us and lots of sun exposure for the “thong clad” sun worshipers.

Do not leave your bikes at home. Two-wheel travel is the best way to get around on the smooth pavement of the park roads. Traffic is light and motorists were careful. There are nine miles of off-road trails for those wishing to explore the natural world – off the beaten path…

To be continued on day three.

All the best from,

Spokesman Dave

Yellow Jacket attack…

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This morning we woke to a wonderful, drizzling rain. Just right for our thirsty lawn and landscaping. Our honeybees, however, do not like working in the rain. Guess you just can’t please everyone…

Lucy and I normally take a nice “exercise” bike ride in the morning and we didn’t want the wet weather conditions to stop us. She rode her hybrid “Giant ATX 870” “Grocery Getter” and I rode my full-suspension “Jamis Dakar”, .  I wanted the benefit of the disc brakes in the inclement conditions… We had originally planned to visit nearby Franklin Lock – one of the five on the Caloosahatchee River portion of the  ICW – and enjoy a healthy snack, while we watched some of the pleasure craft lock-through… It was even more enjoyable in the cooling rain.

Lucy’s Indian pose – “Chief Rain in Face Yellow Hood”

We made a brief stop for snacks at our famous “Olga Mall”. Cheese crackers and a couple containers of fruit juice to wash it down. Turned out there were several vessels lined up to transit the lock. It fascinates me to see all the different boats that people choose as their “Floating Homes”. The Shag Bark Sycamore trees were gorgeous. There were even some huge blooms on the Magnolia trees that were so perfect they looked like porcelain china…

We left our observation post at the park and set out to do some grocery shopping. Had a bit of a problem stuffing all of our purchases into our small trunk bags. In the end, “Bob’s your Uncle”…

On our return trip we stopped at Sherry’s “Full Belly Deli” and bought a couple of her delicious, freshly made, “Veggie Delight” sandwiches. Avacado, cucumber, Alfalfa sprouts, tomatoes, lettuce and mozzarella cheese. She puts on a little Italian dressing to make the perfect combo. Deeelicious! We got back to O.O.C. just a few minutes ahead of Charlie, from Hawke Enterprises, LLC. He had come by to pull the generator out of our new (pre-owned) Roadtrek.

NEW Generation…

Charlie is an exceptional Generator service Technician and a licensed electrician. They do a lot of upscale, standby power stations, as well as all types of commercial, high-voltage, design, installation and repair. I have found that the work they do is always first rate, at a fair price. I truly believe they treat all customers, large and small, with the same polite, caring, attitude.

It only took Charlie a few minutes to have all the fittings unhooked, fuel line capped and the little 2.8kW, Onan “Microlite”generator removed.

We teamed up on getting it to his tailgate for the short ride to his machine shop. The little genny will receive a complete overhaul and a facelift. The generator case – like many of the components under the RV – has been negatively impacted by a severe case of “rust-itis”. She will be reinstalled looking like new running like a Rolex. We will think of Hawke Enterprises, every time we are “boondocking” and enjoying  the cool air conditioning. The little Microlite will provide all the AC power we need…

When Charlie left I joined Lucy in our spa. A wonderful climax to another fine day at O.O.C.

Some of our readers enjoy the occasional “Rainy Day” and other say, “Crap” bring back the sun. What’s your preference?

Warm wishes, Spokesman Dave

Happy Birthday Aimee – bike / walk.

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Since we don’t want to bruise our tender butts, we decided to do first half on the bikes and second half Nordic walking. Nice way to commemorate Aimee’s birthday. We spent the hour talking about some of our happiest memories from the past. One particular memory seemed to stand out. Back in the late 90’s we lived in the middle of a 600 acre peach orchard in south Georgia. We did all of our rides on the hard-packed dirt roads that criss-crossed the orchard. The fragrance of the millions of Peach blossoms were intoxicating. The special bonus of unlimited fresh peaches made rides even more perfect. Lots of sticky handlebars…

Happy Birthday Aimee and Happy almost Mother’s Day to Lucy and my four daughters. Charlotte, Alicia, Amanda and Aimee will all be celebrating their special day. Love to you all…

Spokesman Dave

Untitled by dacro at Garmin Connect – Details.

Half way there…

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It was a great ride, but only half what Jaymie ordered. We are going to have to switch back to Nordic Walking to give our “soft parts” time to toughen up a bit.  ;o(

Half way there… by dacro at Garmin Connect – Details.

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