Monday, December 16, 2019

Still Here

I suppose it wasn’t very nice of me to mention a big storm was coming and then to go silent for a day.

Yes, the storm did hit. There was lightning, heavy rain and high winds. The inside of the tent stayed dry so I thought we were doing fairly well. When I tried to exit the tent the vestibule had been knocked over. Both pegs that hold it open had been pulled out. All in all, not really much of a problem.

So why no blog last night? It was pretty simple, really. We had a really nice campfire going and it was a good night for watching meteors.

My lovely wife and I had big plans for the day. Instead we met some interesting people and had some fascinating conversations. One of our fellow campers will be staying at our next campground too, so that’s something to look forward to.

While I haven’t launched the boat yet, I’ve done some work on it. Everything is in disarray after bouncing down the road for all those miles. The inflatable kayak is inflated and ready so go, so we’ll at least get something on the water later today.

One of the odd things, for us northerners, about Florida is that it feels like summer to us, but still gets dark early because it’s winter.

I’m feeling better the longer I’m here. It’s all good.



  1. Depending on where you are in Florida, sugar sand (that fine, white, almost powdery sand) is a real curse for camping. Normal little tent stakes, either those stupid metal things that look like they're made from clothes hanger wire, or the plastic tent pegs that everyone sells, just don't hold.

    I went to a good hardware store and got some 12" long nails and fender washers that fit. Those are great for the actual tent portion, and short guy ropes. Chunks of 3/8 or 1/2 inch plywood with holes drilled in them, instead of fender washers, work well, too.

    For longer guy ropes or ones that are going to be under a lot of tension, buy some of those screw-type dog-stakes and some decent clip hooks. Put the clip hook on the tightening loop of the guy rope. Screw the dog-stake thingy in, clip the hook to the stake at the base of the handle portion (else you will bend the snot out of the handle portion.)

    The nice thing about putting some sort of clip hook on your guy ropes is it means you can easily guy to, using additional rope, other objects like logs, trees, your car, cement blocks (not cinder blocks, unless the cavities are filled with concrete, else you will make a tent-cinderblock flail and no-one wants a tent-cinderblock flail) or whatever is heavy and generally immovable by the forces of nature.

    Though some monitoring will be required if you do guy to an immovable object. Because, then whatever the guy rope is hooked to on the tent can become the movable portion, and that way leads to tears, screaming and a new tent.

    As to cell service in the Ocala National Forest? It's been sucky since day 1 of cell service, and really hasn't got much better. Verizon seems to be the best for coverage, which means you'll only lose coverage right about the time you need it in order to avoid the Navy Bombing Range in the middle of it, or you want to contact the few restaurants in the forest, or when you need to call 911. Been there (well, a friend is the one who wandered into the bombing range...) and done that.

    I've had good experience for longer than 3 day camping of getting one of those pole pavilions (like the ones made from tubular poles coveniently the diameter of chain-link fence posts) and setting it up, with good guy ropes to the main pieces, and setting the tent under the pavilion. Heck, with your boat, you could run it under there and have a dry camp inside the boat under the pavilion. A section of chain looped around the ridge pole and hanging down leaves a great place to hang a lantern, too.

    Those pavilions store relatively easily, and new tarps can be bought from hardware stores. I've always liked covering them, when camping in the woods, with a camo tarp just to not be so darned intrusive on the world.

    And if you need the pavilion to be a little taller, well, chain-link fence rails, just buy them and cut the part off you want with a pipe cutter.

    1. Hey Beans!

      Good to hear from you! Thanks for your suggestions. I've an assortment of pegs with me. The sand is bad enough,but the hard packed limestone can be like trying to drive a peg into concrete.

      At least we are camped on grass right now. The plastic pegs get some grip in the roots.

      The primitive section of the campground is just about empty right now. We did make some friends here and will meet up down the road at some point. We are sharing information on where to camp and what's offered in different places.

      Nothing like bombing practice to remind me that I'm not far from a military zone. :) I remember getting buzzed by Warthogs last time we were in the Forest.

  2. Those heavy 12" nails work real well in smushed limerock, and they're pretty much available everywhere if you have to cut your losses and leave them there (just make sure to pound them in farther.)

    Sometimes it's nice to have a mostly empty camp around you, as long as the rest of the campers are good people.

    1. So far most of our neighbors have been pretty mellow. The loud site full of young kids was at the far side of the campground, so it wasn't so bad.