Just As Beautiful As Ever

Just As Beautiful As Ever

I did, indeed, make it back to Trimble Park near Mt Dora, Florida this week.

I had a reservation for this last Monday and Tuesday. I arrived just at the 2 PM check-in time and had camp set up within an hour or so.

I took a long stroll around the park. It’s huge. And I was struck again with just how very beautiful Trimble Park truly is.

It’s the crown jewel in the Orange County Park System in my estimation. It must be seen to be appreciated fully.

I was a bit apprehensive about this outing as our weather here in Central Florida has been awful. Lots of heat and lots and lots of rain.

That’s not unusual by any means, but it can make certainly put a damper on outdoor activities, camping especially.

When I began to set up, I realized that I do tote around quite a bit of gear. You can see a lot of it in this photo. The funny thing is that this was only roughly 2/3 of what I actually carry. But unpacking the whole car to take that photo would simply have taken too much time.

The whole site got very, very wet on the first night as we had a very intense thunderstorm come through. Nothing unusual there.

Because the rain fly works well on my Coleman Picton 2 tent, the water inside the tent was bearable. Especially since I sleep on a recliner and not on the ground.

But it was still a serious snafu as it took me until noon on Tuesday to get the tent completely dry.

The weather folk predicted that Tuesday night would be as wet or wetter than Monday, so I thought it through and made the decision to cut short this outing.

My main camera was malfunctioning as well, making the decision to abort the second half of my stay seem even more inevitable.

But I did get some good pix with the cell camera. Such a good thing that we carry a decent camera around with us wherever we go! Mine has come through for me on a number of occasions.

Something I always enjoy is making camp coffee each morning. You know, the kind of coffee you can only get by perking it the old-fashioned way!

The coffee Tuesday morning was glorious and almost made me forget all about the wet gear which would soon require nearly all my attention for about three hours.

And my usual first-morning breakfast of fried eggs and grits was tasty. Alas, there was not to be any second-morning breakfast.

I broke camp around 1 PM, shortly after getting everything bone-dry and ready to stow.

The other thing that went well on this abbreviated outing was that I brought enough wood to keep my campfire burning for over three hours. That part of the trip was awesome. I had no rain on the site after about midnight so I didn’t turn in until almost 4 AM!

But I’ll gladly lose sleep to have the pleasure of tending a fire for a few hours. Didn’t cook anything in it on this trip, but it still scratched that itch for me, as it does each time.

It’s true that this outing was not all it could have been. But this saying is still true for me as I wrap up this post:

The worst day in the woods is better than the best day spent indoors!

Old Camper’s Saying

I hope your next outing is perfect. I know for certain that it will be worthwhile!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Guess where I’m going right now

Guess where I’m going right now

Yeah, going to Disney World! Going to my Happy Place!

The banner photo is one of mine that I like especially. Many of you will recognize that it’s of the Haunted Mansion.

I mostly used it just because I like the way it turned out.

But I’m actually headed to Disney Hollywood Studios! Don’t have time to park hop today!

Hope you’ve got something cool lined up for today! Something that brings you joy! I’m tickled pink that I do and I promise I’ll come back with some good photos!

 

Headed out with camera and Mickey hat, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Heading back to Tosohatchee!

Heading back to Tosohatchee!

Haven’t been camping in about three months or so and I’m going through withdrawals! No, that’s not a joke!

So I’ll get my next “nature hit” in about a week’s time and I’m all jacked up over it!

I like the Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area for camping. This will be my fifth trip out to this choice nature spot and my second camping outing there.

You may remember from a previous post that you need a hunting permit to hunt Florida’s WMA’s  but not to camp. You just can’t camp in any hunting season.

It’s quite primitive. No hook-ups of any kind. Porta Johns and no showers. So it’s real camping. I’m one of those campers who carries a boat load of propane and every kind of battery powered device know to man, so I do just fine in these spots.

It’s also a time to take a jillion photos, so that’s a big part of the allure of camping for this puppy. I’ll have plenty pix to share on the other side of this very welcome outing!

If you love Nature like I do, make sure you get out there in the middle of it soon! Your Mother’s calling…

And you best answer!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Lone Cabbage Fish Camp

Lone Cabbage Fish Camp

If you live in Orlando and go to Cocoa or Cocoa Beach very often, you’ve passed Lone Cabbage Fish Camp, no doubt.

There are several ways to get to the Cocoa area from O’do and I’d venture to say that SR 520 is the most common route if you’re not fond of tolls. The Beach Line Expressway has them, but SR 520 does not.

Lone Cabbage is that little outpost of civilization on your right as you’re crossing the St John’s River and entering Brevard County.

If you don’t turn in at Lone Cabbage in search of an air boat ride–yes, they certainly do those–you’re most likely on a quest for good, local seafood and a beer or two to wash it down.

I had lunch at Lone Cabbage yesterday after about a thousand trips to Cocoa Beach over that well-travel road and I’m glad I did.

I ordered the Catfish Dinner, took it just the way it comes–with hushpuppies, their seasoned fries and slaw and chased it with a Coors Light. (No beer taps in this well-worn and very authentic joint, but about 15 different bottled brands.)

The Catfish was good and the fries were above average. They had lived under a heat lamp just a few moments too long by my standard, but when you sit down in a busy eatery at straight-up noon, that’s how it usually goes.

I love a good, freshly-made cole slaw and theirs was tasty and not overly-sweet. When the sugar kicks all the other ingredients into the back seat–something that’s far from rare in many home-style restaurants–I don’t like it!

I’d like to think that an establishment with cabbage in the name joint would have amazing slaw and although that’s not the case, it’s certainly not a situation where this often under-appreciated side dish warranted “points off”!

Yikes! I’ve become a “slaw snob”!

My impressions of Lone Cabbage Fish Camp are just fine so far. To have a more complete picture, I’d like to have more than only one dish and check out the air boat rides as well. But based on poking around the site and the County Park next to it a couple of times and patronizing it once, I certainly can recommend it. It’s well-known around the East Central Florida region and has been busy the times I’ve stopped by.

The next time you’re breezing down SR 520 mid-way between Cocoa and Orlando, stop in at Lone Cabbage and take in this landmark. You’ll pass a small Brevard Co. Park, James Bourbeau Memorial, where there is a public boat ramp and public rest rooms.

LoneCabb-airboat-rides-sign

And right next door, you’ll find Lone Cabbage. The basic boat ride does not require a reservation, but the bigger packages do. The minimum wait is 30 minutes. The perfect time to grab a quick lunch!

To visit their site and see more about LCFC, including the menu, just click on this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

 

Big Storm in Orlando means one RV’er is NOT a Happy Camper!

Big Storm in Orlando means one RV’er is NOT a Happy Camper!

Just saw this feature while cruising some news sites. What a story this is!

I have camped here, twice. Very nice park. I have not camped where this gentleman was because the park has separate areas for RV’ers and tent campers like yours truly. The RV section is on the left about a quarter mile before the tent spaces; they are much closer to Turkey Lake, the showers and the cabins.

When this big storm hit us yesterday evening, I was impressed, to say the least! I was absolutely hoping that we didn’t have issues with a window or some part of the roof being wind-compromised and suddenly having to deal with water in the house. (I’m renting in a 60 year old home that’s not in the very best shape.)

Grateful that, in the end, I didn’t have a problem with this huge Florida thunderstorm, but Mr. James Williams certainly did. A very large limb from a large oak came down and not only ripped a huge gash in the RV, but blocked our unhappy camper from getting out of his now-destroyed RV!

The stalwart survivor of this camping catastrophe did dial 911. The City of Orlando Fire and Rescue crews did what they do, and the Red Cross is giving James, and some others around the Orlando Metro area, secure and dry shelter for now.

A closing thought: camping is so much damn fun, I hope Mr. Williams is able to go on enjoying this awesome American pastime moving forward in spite of Wednesday’s vicious storm.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit: Ben Lawrence Basile is the owner of this photo that shows the park on a much, much nicer day. November 27th of last year, to be precise!

After thoughts: the park’s official name is Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, but although I’m often a stickler for precision, I call it Turkey Lake Park as many locals do. This fine park and resort is the only camping spot in the city’s park system; it sits less than two miles north of Universal Studios.

I’ve posted here before about camping in this nice enclave of tranquility inside Orlando city limits. That post is right here.

 

Why I really love libraries!

Why I really love libraries!

Here’s the short list of why I really love libraries! Libraries are a place to borrow books on almost every conceivable subject and digital media of any kind–including, but not limited to–CD’s, DVD’s and instructional media on a wide variety of subjects and areas of learning without paying rental fees. I’ve taken advantage of their language instructions DVD at no cost whatsoever.

I can do most of those things via the ‘net, but there are almost always costs and fees involved. Not at your local library.

If you have a library card and create an ID and log-on, you can do on-line language learning and other stuff on-line through the library’s master user account and, again, pay no fees at all for educational and self improvement courses that others do on-line without paying the usual subscription fees. I’ve done a couple of those.

Libraries provide free, high speed internet access and PC services for folks who use the internet but cannot afford a computer. They do computer classes on subjects ranging from beginning PC and word processing use, to Power Point and Microsoft Word.

They do seminars for classroom learning on many subjects and endeavors using outside experts or, in some cases, library staff who are trained and certified in different areas.

Libraries have low cost access to copying and printing for people who have computer access but don’t have a copier or printer. Like me. I go to my local branch about once a month just to print that rare doc where a hard copy, paper format is necessary. The last time was to print a hard-copy resume.

Libraries host many community activities at low or no cost. The ones I’ve seen at the SW branch, close to where I was living in 2014 to 2016, are the Orlando Chess Club, and the Vista Toastmasters Club. That one has meaning for me as I served as the President of that awesome club many years ago when it was still associated with Disney.

At the branch closest to where I live now, I’ve seen meetings for clubs associated with the Puerto Rican community and an awesome seminar on the accordion. That was terribly entertaining and it was well-attended. I know that was the first exposure to the accordion by many attendees, many of whom were kids. Thank you, Corky Wisneiwski and the Orlando Accordion Club.

Libraries are a safe, appropriate place for kids to go after school so they’re doing something positive and constructive until their parents can come and pick them up. Basically, an informal and no-cost after school program. I’ve seen many kids take advantage of this at the Chickasaw branch, which is right across the street from a thriving charter school. They can do homework and use the free internet services.

The main branch of the Orlando Public Library has regular music performances by local artists. I’ve seen friends I’ve played with perform there. There’s a permanent stage there on the first floor in the dept where the CD’s and DVD’s are available for check out.

I’ve seen performances on that stage from Improv groups whose venue is right around the corner. But doing a show at the library gave them exposure to a new audience.

Libraries serve as polling places in Orange County for early voting. I have voted in three elections at the Southwest branch.

Libraries put on regular sales where the materials that are passing out of their inventories are offered to the public. I’ve bought vinyl albums, CD’s and many books this way. They have those awesome library stamps and stickers on them, but I think that’s okay. These sales are put on by friends of the library. Those folks are volunteers. I enjoyed my time as a FOTL years ago and think I’ll soon get involved with them again, too.

I loved being a volunteer docent for the main branch way back in the 80’s when the library built those 3rd and 4th floors and wanted the Central Florida community to see what their new facilities had to offer.

This post only covers library services and activities that I personally have used or gotten involved in; no doubt there are many others. I love libraries and promote them every chance I get.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Bulldog’s Christmas Wish Is a Return to Trimble Park

Bulldog’s Christmas Wish Is a Return to Trimble Park

Visiting parks and natural sites, with or without camping, is one way Americans like to spend the holidays. I throw my lot with my fellows who’re into such things.

I’m very much hoping to spend at least a part of the week between Christmas and New Years Day camping in Trimble Park, a fave spot of mine. It’s here in Orange County, but about a half hour away from me.

There are two complicating factors for me at this moment: the first is that I haven’t booked yet and the demand for camping spots around the holidays in very strong. Very, very strong, in fact.

The second potential issue is that I had a minor accident in my PT Cruiser on Monday evening and am not too sure at this point just how long it’ll take me to get my wheels back.

I’m going to do my dead-level best to solve these problems and get back to Trimble Park before the year’s end. For right now, I’ll be content to post a pic I especially like from a previous visit. It features some waterfowl specimen I find fascinating, though I can’t say for sure what it is!

If you can identify my fine feathered friend, a comment with a tip would be most welcome!

I hope the next few days go well for you as we get closer to Christmastime. And remember to get outdoors!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile