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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

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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

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”

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“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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

“Ten years younger”

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beach sunrise

My favorite part of most blogs are the photos. They always add color, interest and aesthetic value to each post I read. Under normal circumstances, I add lots of them to my “Five Spoke Wheel” blog. You know “A picture is worth a thousand words” and all that. In this case… there will only be one. I hope you enjoy it. I took it on our recent trip to Naples Beach…

I am writing this entry on my Toshiba laptop, seated in our Roadtrek, parked in our daughter Alicia’s front yard. We have come for a brief visit and to pick up Amanda, one of our other daughters. Amanda will ride back to O.O.C. with us for the week long visit. Her man Dave will be in Wisconsin, attending another professional school… We are loking forward to spoiling her.

Not just a “Happy Marriage” a “Synergistic Marriage”…

I am writing this to explain a thought that occured to me, while I sat in my new Cardiologist’s office waiting to find out if my heart is a healthy one. According to doctor Richardson – it is. The doctor said “Your physioligical age is ten years younger than your chronological age.

I was thinking about how many times I have said to friends and accquaintenaces that Lucy and I are very “compatible“. Turns out, that is a gross understatement…

com·pat·i·ble

/kəmˈpætəbəl/ Show Spelled [kuhm-pat-uh-buhl] Show IPA  adjective

1.capable of existing or living together in harmony: the most compatible married couple I know.
2.able to exist together with something else: Prejudice is not compatible with true religion.
3.consistent; congruous (often followed by with ): His claims are not compatible with the facts.
I can totally agree with the first line and accept it is true of our relationship. Trouble is, that does not begin to describe the fullness of our union. In every case and in every situation, we each make each other better than we would be alone.

We enjoy a Synergistic marriage…

syn·er·gy
 n. pl. syn·er·gies

1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

I am going to eventually change the tag line of my BLOG. I want the world to know that in some cases – ours as case in point – it is possible to live a totally purpose filled marriage, which results in the level of joy felt by each individual member of the union, being exponentialy greater than the sum of its parts

Please, if you are fortunate enough to be happily married, strive to move to even higher level and achieve “Simultaneous Synergism”…

Love to you all,

“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

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