Camping at Lake Mills Park in Beautiful Chuluota This Week

Camping at Lake Mills Park in Beautiful Chuluota This Week

I am here in Chuluota, a small town in Seminole County. That’s on the eastern side of the Orlando metro area. Lake Mills Park is way more than only the camping area, which has 13 spaces and is smaller than most. I haven’t roamed around much yet, hope to do more of that today and get some good pix.

This camping adventure is really unusual in one particular way: Ol’ Bulldog here is the ONLY camper! Yes, you read that right. I’m the only one! Last night it was just lil ol’ me and the critters! Who mostly were keeping a low profile.

One cool thing about being the only one: they let me pick my space. The one I chose from a map at booking was next to a bridge on one of the trails that are popular with folks who come to the park. There is a sign telling people not to drive vehicles into the camping area, but they can walk through all they like. It’s kind of weird. And space no. 10 was right there in one of the best-loved and most visited parks of the whole park. But folks “just passin’ through” seems to happen all over the camping area. So I did choose another space, moved all the way up to no. 1! (This was a great lesson in the limits of maps!)

I’m not complaining, just noting that that’s very different. (Am I complaining? Let me get back to you on that!) Bottom line, I’ve never seen that before. In most of the parks I’ve camped in, the campers are in a much more remote part of the park and seeing folks not booked for camping walking into the camp sites — or even through — the camp sites would be pretty strange. I know I’m more into maintaining one’s “personal space” than most folks; perhaps this would be no big deal to some. It felt a bit strange to me.

Having said that, let me emphasize again, Lake Mills Park is beautiful. Truly. I can’t promise a bunch of pix, as I’ve let my camera battery run down and power and water are not a part of the deal in Seminole Co. Parks. If you lean towards the primitive flavor of camping adventures, try Lake Mills Park!

A more complete report coming after day two.

Hey, I wonder if I’ll spend night two all alone as well. We’re about to find out!

Have a marvelous Monday. I’ll be checking in again before too long.

 

Bulldog Ben in Chuluota, Florida

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

They’re Back in Black!

They’re Back in Black!

If you read Bulldog’s rant about the white unis worn by the Knights on opening day, you might be thinking to yourself: “what’s wrong with a White Knight?”

He just didn’t like the blinding whiteness of it all and the fact that it made the numbers on the players’ backs almost impossible to read. Yes, he went too far. Ranted too long.

But today, all is right in the world again. The Knights are Back in Black! Yay!

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Full Foto Disclosure: This amazing photograph Ben took of the Knights in their awesome black-on-black togs is from the 2016 season. But that’s what they wore Saturday night in the rematch with FAMU which they won 1-0. Ben can get on with his life again!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

The photo at the bottom is an official UCF photo. It shows UCF Ace Hurler Shelby Turnier wearing the best Knights’ uni ever in a game with the Gators from last year’s season. As you may know, Shelby is now pitching in the NPF with the Chicago Bandits. The Pros kick off their season in early June shortly after the College Softball World Series wraps up.

2016 UCFSB vs. UF
2016 UCFSB vs. UF

Photo of Shelby Turnier UCF Athletics used with permission

 

 

Loved the First Day of the 2017 Softball Season, But Those New…

Loved the First Day of the 2017 Softball Season, But Those New…

In my previous post I talked about how today was the opening day for collegiate softball all over the nation and how the tournament sponsored by our hometown UCF Knights got it started here in the Central Florida area. I loved at least a thousand things about the start of this year’s season and about our team and the top-shelf tournament they’re hosting.

This ardent UCF fan’s one complaint about opening day was the new uni’s. The “white on white wear” that debuted today was awful. Just awful. The very plain jerseys just look like tee shirts and make one think of a sand lot game where players are actually wearing — their tee shirts. And the blinding whiteness of all white makes it almost impossible to see the players’ numbers. Not good. All sports, pro and collegiate have been sold a bill of goods — literally — and change their look and their unis every season now. Designers and uniform makers’ sales reps love it. Fans not so much.

Now I know that all teams have several sets of unis and I’ll probably see those awesome black on black togs for which the Knights have been well-known for years again this year. But the white on white is awful. My two bits of advice would be scrap those new, boring outfits as fast as you can and next year give the contract to some other sportswear maker.

A team’s look is not a trivial matter. Uniforms, specifically, are a big deal to fans. It’s one of those things in the sports world where a little tradition goes a long way. Folks, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

 

Strong supporter of UCF Athletics, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

P.S.: Let the record show that I love the white pants with the muted-gold jerseys the knights wear a lot. Good design. Not too plain, not too flashy. Just right.

P.S. to the P.S.: I’m looking back over the hundreds of photos I took last season to make sure that these accursed white on white on white togs haven’t been a thing before now. If they’re not new, I’ll delete this post and take out a full page ad in the UCF newspaper to give my heart-felt apology the widest possible audience.

<Here the author titters, giggles and guffaws, knowing full-well that none of the 13 souls who have ever read his blog know that the campus paper, The Central Florida Future, folded in 2016 after a 48 year run>

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Opening Day of the 2017 NCAA Softball Season

Opening Day of the 2017 NCAA Softball Season

The 2017 Softball Season kicked off today all over the country and our home town UCF Knights helped to get this year’s campaign started in fine fashion.

The 2017 UCF Knights Invitational featured four well-respected teams from Florida and beyond. Florida A&M is the other squad from the Sunshine State. The University of Kentucky Wildcats and the Pitt Panthers are the other teams in this four-way tilt.

In today’s action, our Knights bested the FAMU Rattlers in their first contest 10-2 but then fell to Pitt in the 6 PM game by a score of 6-0.

There are four games on tap tomorrow — meaning Saturday — and two more to close out the tournament on Sunday. The Knights will face Kentucky tomorrow at 3:30 and then mix it up with A&M one more time at 6:00. They’ll close out the whole shebang in a rematch with Pitt at 11:30 Sunday morning.

Here’s the site for tourney results and to see the exact times for games. UCF’s excellent softball field is on the back side of Bright House Stadium. The Knights’ facility was pretty darn good before this season but the addition of chairs with backs over the old bleachers has kicked it up a notch or three. Loved the changes. The $1 hot dogs for opening day were a big hit, too. Judging from the number of fans I saw juggling hot dogs as they headed back to their new-and-improved seats, it wasn’t just me taking advantage of this awesome “dollar dog” promotion!

I had one complaint about opening day but I’m saving that rant for the next post! I love softball and love the Knights so I’ll let this bright, happy post about opening day live on the internet completely unspoiled by the irritation-filled screed coming next!

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Friction Farm Touring Florida and Playing at Long Point Park

Friction Farm Touring Florida and Playing at Long Point Park

In my last posting, I gave a quick run-down of last week’s very cool visit to a fave camping spot, Long Point Park in Melbourne Beach. And I mentioned that the trip gave me a long-overdue chance to catch up with an acoustic duo who’ve been at the top of my list for a long time. That would be Friction Farm, consisting of Aiden Quinn and Christine Stay.

Aiden and Christine are as good an acoustic duo as I’ve ever seen; their vocal harmonies are heartfelt, vibrant and warm. Their skill on their instruments is admirable — Aiden on guitar and Christine on acoustic bass and harmonica — and their stage presence is warm, even intimate at times without seeming contrived or schmaltzy.

What I like best about these two is that they skillfully create and showcase all original music in a way that is fresh but familiar. Their lyrics speak to me song after song, whether the tone is light and humorous or more purposeful and activist; and their well of melodic material is deep. I believe they’ve cut three new CD’s since I heard them last. Yes, it has been a while. But I’ve loved them every time I’ve been fortunate enough to catch one of their performances over the many years. (You’ve got to hear Red Fish, Blue Fish; especially if, like me, you’re a boomer and loved Dr. Seuss!)

If you hear of Friction Farm playing in your town, make sure you see them. And tell Aiden and Christine that Bulldog Ben sent you!

To view their site to hear cuts from their latest CD, I Read Your Book, see the complete discography or get on their email list, follow this link.

 

Photo used with permission

 

My Second Visit to Long Point Camp and Friction Farm!

My Second Visit to Long Point Camp and Friction Farm!

I got back into town six days ago after my return to Long Point Camp in Melbourne Beach. Had a very nice time but didn’t blog about it until now as I’m right in the middle of a move.

Moving is just about my least favorite thing in the whole world. It ranks just below having a root canal but a tad bit higher than throwing up on a crowded bus. And — as you all know well — moving is not just taxing physically and emotionally, it’s always really, really time-consuming. Yuck.

Be that as it may, my return to Long Point was a fine stretch of camping by any standard. The weather was absolutely perfect and I got a chance to see a couple of friends from the world of acoustic music that I don’t get to see very often. That would be Aidan Quinn and Christine Stay, known together in the world of acoustic music as Friction Farm. These two have been delighting lovers of acoustic music for over ten years now and they’re faves of mine.

Staying at one of the coolest campgrounds in the Sunshine State and getting to see Aidan and Christine again — two mighty fine days and a wonderful way to kick off the month of February!

Friction Farm is so darn good that I’m going to devote the next post to their show at Long Point Camp. I booked Long Point for this particular camping excursion specifically to have a chance to hear them and catch up on their musical adventures. Not that one needs a special reason to make a trip to Long Point, but I did want to see Friction Farm again. I’m glad I did.

So, more about the musical part of this excursion in a minute. I’ll wrap this up by saying that I hope you guys are having a splendid month of February and that at least some of you are getting to scratch that outdoor itch!

Back in the apartment and missing Mother Nature, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile