Happy First Day of Spring!

Happy First Day of Spring!

Today is the day that winter gives way to spring and we get to see nature waking from her slumber!

Of course, it’s been like spring here in Florida for all but a few days for quite a while, but I’m not going to go there right now…

I hope you’re doing fabulously today as we mark this milestone. It certainly would be a fine time to get out of your cubicle or that cramped apartment and see what delights Mother Nature has in store today!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Dreams of a winter’s day in F-L-A

Dreams of a winter’s day in F-L-A

Sometimes when I come back from an outing, it takes me a while to adjust to my thoroughly-mundane existence again. Just living somewhere. Somewhere with a few walls, indoor plumbing and a roof.

It takes me a while before I can stifle the feeling that I was better off in a 102 sq ft tent with my trusty two burner camp stove, sleeping bag and car load of grits, gear and tools.

And a camera. Got to have a camera.

And when I review some of the photos, I’m sure I was better off nestled among the pines, oaks and saw palmetto, cradled in the arms of Mother Nature.

The banner photo for this post is one from a recent outing. One that takes me out of my boring and all-too-familiar domicile and transports me right where I’d like to be. Out in the real Florida.

The photo just below is one that reminds me of the view from my camp site looking towards one of the main trails. I like it. I’m heading back when I can get my work schedule dialed back just a bit.

Toso-camp-Feb27-2018 (4)

I didn’t mean to get myself into the frame, but there I am! It’s kind of funny. My shadow just loves to photo bomb me now and then; I just have to put up with it!

It’s the weekend, for heaven’s sake! Get outdoors! Just get off the couch, power down the PC and the tablet and go do something!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

Irma and Rush Limpbag: The Two BIG Blowhards Plaguing Florida Right Now!

Just when you thought Ben was going to write up another cool camping trip or beach outing…

Sorry folks! Those cool, upbeat postings about trips to our amazing state parks in the Sunshine State are gonna have to wait! Right now as I’m sitting at my desk awaiting the extreme winds and rain we’re about to get from Hurricane Irma, this came to my attention through a friend’s Facebook posting.

The granddaddy of all right-wing nut-jobs,  #RushLimpbag, has said some really outrageous stuff lately. Blogger Joe Kloc distilled a boatload of it into a piece for Harper’s Magazine recently and it’s just breath-taking. And yes, it includes the well-circulated drivel about how Hurricanes aren’t as bad as forecasters and government officials say, blah, blah, blah…

No doubt you’ve heard how that part of the story ends; yeah, Rush evacuated his Palm Beach home yesterday. Guess he didn’t want to get washed into the sea by one of those fake waves!

But there’s so much more than just stuff about hoaxes and hurricanes! Wanna see just how big a nut-job Mr Limpbag truly is? Pass your eyes over this garbage!

To those of you who are also hunkered down in Florida: I hope you and yours ride out this nasty storm in fine fashion. Mother Nature is pissed. And I can’t say as I blame her. We’re just going to have to endure her wrath for the next few days and hope that we’ll see her smile on us again before too long.

Whoa! That last remark was probably not the smartest way to wrap up a blog posting! What with Cat 5 Hurricane Jose waiting in the on-deck circle and all of that…

 

Growing weary of the rushing winds from Limbaugh’s pie hole, I am,

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Another Fabulous Day to Be at the Beach

Another Fabulous Day to Be at the Beach

It truly is a gorgeous day today. Spent a good chunk of it soaking up some rays and enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean.

Last night I wasn’t completely sure I was beach-bound but one of my fave Central Florida weather folk, Channel 13’s Mallory Nicholls, said the chance of rain for today would be a mere 30% and I pointed the nose of my cruiser to the east and hit the gas!

If you’re also from the Central Florida area, you know we’ve had nearly-constant rains around here for the last two months or more. I’ve whined about the dreary weather we’ve had lately here on da bulldog blog on a couple of occasions. But today has been close to ideal.

Having said that, I didn’t have the best of luck with photos. I’m not the best at shooting under different light conditions. I have an auto-everything cam, the Canon Power Shot, and I like the results under the usual kinds of conditions but I do need to progress to a camera that will stretch me a bit so I can learn the craft better. (What in the world does “usual kinds of conditions” mean in photography, anyway?)

Anyhow, the featured photo is one from a different visit to a stretch of beach quite close to where I was this morning. I like the tranquil feeling I get when I look at this one. And I really like that Mother Nature gave some of her most devoted subjects–like me, to name only one–at least one July day without a big freakin’ downpour! I was a happy camper!

Make that a happy beach-goer, now that I’ve given it a moment of thought.

 

“Beachdog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Trips to the Beach On Those Cloudy, Overcast Days

Trips to the Beach On Those Cloudy, Overcast Days

 

Trips on days like that can be nice.

I made it to the beach on one of those days about two weeks ago. I was sure that I’d get wet but my beach jones was so bad that day that I pointed my car towards the Beach Line Expressway and hit the gas in spite of the really, truly dire forecast.

I’m glad I did. I did get rained on but it was less severe than I expected and the rain held off until I’d grilled my awesome Johnsonville Cheddar Smoked Sausages, cleaned up and explored the beach for about 20 minutes with my Canon. Canon Power Shot, to be more precise. (Just for the record, the fine folks at Johnsonville have not offered me anything to mention one of their great products. Nor the folks at Canon, for that matter!)

It was a very worthwhile trip. And I’m grateful to Mother Nature; her timing was damn near perfect.

Here’s my fave shot from this brief outing. I love shots that re-create that feeling of exhilaration I get every time I get to the bottom of one of those ramps and the planks give way to sand. Only sand. It’s like being launched into Neptune’s domain.

As I put together this post today, I’m having trouble pushing away those familiar and persistent beach cravings. I’m overdue. Because today’s my Friday, my chances of being able to scratch that beach itch soon are very good.

I’ll be sure to take some pictures.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Visited Downey Park in the Union Park Neighborhood Today

Visited Downey Park in the Union Park Neighborhood Today

One of the nicest spots on Orlando’s east side is Downey Park. It’s off Dean Road and can be seen from East Colonial Drive, a major artery in the O’do metro area. You get a great view of the park if you’re headed east bound on Colonial.

Today I took it upon myself to familiarize myself a little better with it; I’ve gone by a jillion times but I don’t think I’ve ever gone all the way through it in the more than half a century I’ve been in Orlando.

Very glad I did. Lovely place. It’s not one of our four parks in Orange Co. that feature camping, but it’s a very nice all purpose park and I know I’ll be visiting again.

Got several photos. Only fond of one of them right now, truth be told. So it’s the featured foto with this post. This was with my LG cell phone, will get more before long with the good cam. I will be back there in the near future.

Hope this posting finds you well. And I hope you’re taking some time to visit your Mother these days…

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Latest Adventure: Manatee Hammock in Titusville. Nice Park, Horrible Weather!

This was my first foray into a very popular park and campground in Brevard County. That would be Manatee Hammock  Park in Titusville. T’ville is a little north of Cocoa on US 1, for those of you who aren’t too familiar with East Central Florida.

Very nice park. Old school. Allows folks to stay up to six months out of the year. That’s very unusual here in Florida, at least for a county park. Not talking about private RV Parks, that’s a whole ‘nother thang, as the saying goes…

Just to mention a couple of features real quick: lots are small-ish. There is laundry, that’s always a plus. No grill or fire rings on site. That surprised me. Many folks bring a grill, I will next time out. Not the end of the world for me, I’m mostly a propane guy.

I sincerely wish I could have tried this well-known spot for the first time under better conditions. The weather was awful. Just awful. Only a little rain, but the wind was savage. I’ve been in Florida for well over half a century, so strong winds are nothing new for me. But the last two days have been ridiculous. And, as many of you know, I’m a real  camper — meaning a tent camper — not an RV’er, so strong winds are NOT my friend!

I hasten to add that miserable conditions have nothing to do with the park or its management. This place is as popular as any camping spot in the Sunshine State, but we just got off on the wrong foot. I will try her again. I promise.

Are you inclined to ask, “Ben, how windy was it?” Well, I’ll tell you how windy it was: I didn’t fire up a grill or any of my propane stoves for the whole two days. I’ve never done that before. Or NOT done that before, I suppose I should say. Never fired up my Tiki Torch brand skeeter keeper-away device, either. I love that thing and it works. Way better than citronella and all that other stuff. But I was afraid it would get blown over…

The soil — if I can call it that — on my site was so rocky it was next-to-impossible to drive a stake into it. I bent three stakes before I gave up and used gear and gallon water jugs as improvised stakes. Sorta like snow stakes in the winter or using sand anchors for a beach shelter. Kind of ironic that the worst winds I’ve ever had camping came when I was at a site where your tent stakes were unusable. Mother Nature does like to f*ck with you now and then! But I do love my Mother, nevertheless!

Breaking camp and putting away my tent this morning was quite an ordeal. Not even gonna go into that! But I promise to go to Manatee Hammock again before long and get passed this not-so-great first impression.

By the way, this park’s claim to fame is that it’s the one that gives park goers and even some members of the public (for a fee) an amazing view of space launches! Yeah, it’s THAT park! It was very hard (impossible) to book in the Shuttle Era, but now with private launches not quite so hard.

One other thing that was a bit of a surprise to me: they do not have an alcohol prohibition. Read the rules three times. First State or County park I’ve seen without such a rule. Not that I’m complaining, mind you! Just surprised me. In a good way.

Try Manatee Hammock Park if you’re anywhere in or near Florida’s Spacecoast. And tell me what you think. I will be booking again in the near future. There’s nowhere to go but up!

Sequestered safely inside now, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile