Grand Funk AND The Doobies? Oh, my!

It was late August in that eventful year of 1972 when I arrived at a little-known University in Oklahoma for my Freshman college orientation.

Because of my background as a good little church boy and my pretty tightly-controlled upbringing, I hadn’t seen many rock concerts.

The Association, at the Bob Carr Auditorium in Orlando, was about as wild as it got for me.

And that’s not a knock on that fine band, not at all.

It’s just a way of saying that, although I spent a very considerable chunk of my time listening to Rock and Top 40–especially over WLOF, our legendary Channel 95–I had experienced few Rock concerts.

Especially compared to most of my boomer buds in those heady days of the ’70s, when Rock ‘n Roll was in its heyday.

So when my college bestie and I heard on the radio that Grand Funk Railroad was coming to Skelly Stadium on Tulsa’s north side, we put it on our calendar.

Grand Funk and Sugarloaf. Yeah, the “Green Eyed Lady” group.

The opening act was some other band we didn’t know so well, The Doobie Brothers.

There was not a shadow of a doubt that we’d make the show come hell or high water, but there was one little problem: we knew that Public transit would get us there–it was eight miles to the site–we had no idea how we’d get back to campus.

As you might imagine, the show was awesome! I’m still a Grand Funk fan and think that Mark, Don and Mel made up one of the very best bands from the late ’60s and ’70s.

Jerry Corbetta and Sugarloaf impressed.

And the Doobies absolutely tore my 18 year-old head off! I damn sure knew who they were after that show!

We didn’t mind the insanely-long walk back all the way to 71st Street and Lewis.

Even though Tulsa received its first snow fall for the year on that October night and we were only wearing light jackets.

We two hard-core Rock lovers trudged all the way back, knowing that that sojourn southward was but a small price to be paid to see a show like that.

The memory of that night is still fresh in my mind.

Like so many of us, I’m now a total Rock ‘n Roll wimp and am not willing to go to any more effort to hear the good stuff than to start one of the playlists on my trusty laptop.

But in the Fall of ’72, I was more-than-willing to go to great lengths to be there in the middle of it.

Hell, yeah! Those were the days!

Still a Rock child at heart, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Beauty in the ‘burbs!

Beauty in the ‘burbs!

It’s such a marvelous thing when you find amazing natural beauty in unexpected places.

About two miles from the neighborhood where I live is a web of subdivisions all tagged with the Deerfield name. There are four or five different subs all told; it’s a fairly large development.

On the southern fringe of the complex–yes, off Deerfield Drive–the developers created a large urban wetland that rivals any natural space I’ve seen in Central Florida.

It’s quite beautiful and I’ve often thought that the area would be prime for a photo shoot.

Well, one day last week, I finally got off my fanny and took about 150 shots.

I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Here’s another shot I like a lot. At this point, I was probably fewer than 40 or 50 steps into this lovely space.

It’s too much fun when you’re taking pix to play tricks with shadow and light. I love to shoot in early morning or come out to catch those last two hours of daylight in order to have the most fun possible with shadows.

I’ll get one more in before I publish this post and get on with some “other stuff” that’s calling out for my attention this afternoon. This one captures for me that feeling of blossoming serenity that filled me when I first walked up on this wonderful oasis of tranquility that sits less than a quarter mile from busy John Young Parkway in southern Orange County.

Deerfield-shoot-9-5-18-wrkd-2b (28)

 

May you be blessed with some serene scenes and moments of intense tranquility today.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits 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.

 

What’s Bulldog to do when he can’t get away for a camping trip?

What’s Bulldog to do when he can’t get away for a camping trip?

I’ll tell you what he does! He cruises over to one of his fave city parks here in Central Florida and fires up the grill.

Sometimes he does the full monte breakfast; it’s always fun to fire up that two burner camp stove.

There are a thousand reasons why I don’t get to camp or hike nearly as often as I like; could be a work schedule issue. Could be a budget thing. Very often it’s because my fave campgrounds are all booked up.

Boo-hoo-hoo!

The header photo for this post is of Downey Park on Orlando’s east side. This spot was very well-planned and put together and has way more grills than most parks. And even thought it’s usually mobbed–especially on the weekends–I usually have no trouble finding an available grill.

Lake Downey is a lovely spot on the eastern edge of the park; it’s a very nice place to take a photo or two. Or fifty or sixty. So here are a couple of photos I especially like of this corner of Downey Park.

I hope your week is off to a good start. I’m planning a beach getaway for later this week. Will let you know if I pull it off!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Fine Fotos: A Beautiful Nature Spot in the Middle of Orlando

Fine Fotos: A Beautiful Nature Spot in the Middle of Orlando

As you guys know, posting pix of some of the beautiful places I visit is one of my very favorite things to do on my blog! I’m a total outdoor nut and proud of it!

Well, I had to go to my pharmacy today and pick up scripts. I was struck at how beautiful the campus of Aspire Health Partners is on Mercy Drive in Orlando. Well, it’s not the first time I realized that, but it is the first time I whipped out a camera to record the moment.

I like the way these pix turned out. Didn’t take lots of ’em. But very happy I didn’t let the moment pass.

Always tickled when I find spots of bucolic beauty in the middle of the city. I’ll soon be back haunting some of our lovely state parks here in Florida to drink in nature’s beauty in places where we’re a bit more accustomed to seeing it!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Turkey Lake Park is a Peaceful Place

Turkey Lake Park is a Peaceful Place

I did enjoy my second outing to Turkey Lake Park. I returned from that relaxing two day visit last Tuesday.

By the way, there is no “Turkey Lake Park”, strictly speaking. The official name is Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, but since I find that a bit cumbersome, the more concise descriptor works for me!

I’m preparing a thorough write-up of my visit, but posting that will have to wait for another day. For now, I’m content just to post a pic and go on the record as saying that I truly love this tranquil setting.

This photo is taken from close to where campers must park and points in the direction of the camping area; as you can see, it’s quite a hike to the actual site where one pitches his or her tent! A very nice spot, nevertheless!

The upside of this arrangement is that it does make your camp site a bit more peaceful and natural-looking; the downside is that it’s a looooooong way to haul your gear!

Another detail that may be of interest: that gentle slope from right to left in the photo leads right to the shore of said Turkey Lake, though that’s just out of the picture.

I will be following up with a more thorough account of this recent trip with more pix before long. In the meantime, let me implore you to put aside some of that stuff on your to-do list for a while and get outdoors!

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile