Broad River Tubing Lake Lure NC

The nights were cool and refreshing compared to our Florida home, but the days were still pretty dern hot. The solution was simple: Lets Tube down the Broad River.  Our search brought us to River Creek Campground.

Broad River FunThe Broad River and its tributaries feed beautiful Lake Lure with over 10 million gallons of water per day. Like many lakes created by damming one end of a river, The water needs to be released on the downstream side. The release is calculated based on the water height in the lake, Releases can be daily in the event of heavy rain or snow melt. In the event of drought, water may be released only every several days. On days when the downstream Broad River is dryer, tubing is impossible. On release days, however, the river boldly flows and water levels increase above the level of the many rocks in its bed creating small rapids and a really good time tubing. Continue reading

Pizza On the Grill: When Things Go Wrong

Making Pizza on the grill has become an obsession for Kalle and I.  Every weekend we have to try again.  Now, what you have to understand about our process is that we have decided we MUST make our own dough.  Oh, in the beginning we used the Publix dough, but it just seemed proper to develop our own dough recipe. This alone has been a hilarious undertaking.

For instance, I’ve never made bread in my life and knew nothing about properties of yeast and what it looked like when it “reacted.”  The first attempt was on a cold day and I  followed the instructions for warm water but nothing really happened.. Continue reading

What Do Sandhill Cranes Know?

cranefamily2The Sandhill Crane family in my neighborhood has delighted me for years.   They take leisurely strolls right down the street, usually Mom, Dad and the spring chick.    My next door neighbor with their wide lakefront vista and groomed yard hosts the hilarious flying lessons each summer.  It looks like  a fun lesson too , not just for for the young crane but the whole family.  all three jump into the incoming breeze off the lake with much calling and flapping of wings, encouraging  those exciting first air born moments for the chick. To witness this family ritual is an honor.

My exquisite 11 year old stepson, who frequently (and unknowingly)  teaches me some of the bests of lessons on life and love, interrupted my shower the other morning yelling something unintelligible.  I of course bend my wet head out and yell back “WHATTTT????”  and all I hear is sentence fragments that sound like “rain!!! on the patio!!!!”   How can it be raining, I mused..what the heck is he saying?  I rinse far more quickly than I had planned to muttering something like “this better be good”

The previous day his mother and I had a scare.  He’d fainted at his track meet.  We’d been separated for 3 months.   Couldn’t even speak without anger so we’d quit trying.   She’d let me know about the incident that of course you want to think was “nothing” but we couldn’t help being worried. He’d had some heart problems as an infant and the Doctor referred a cardiologist, and neurologist. Scary specialties for anyone and specially so for an 11 year old boy. It was time for a truce.  It was time to be mature.. it was time to draw together and be together.  They came to me after the Dr’s appointment.   Seeing me lit him up like a light.  I’d stopped at the store to get ingredients for chili, his favorite.   He was so thrilled to know  the little basket of flowers i bought were for him. Hugging him hard and breathing in his boyish smell, so sweet, brought such an overwhelming rush of love to me.   His mom came to us and we folded her in and it was all so right.

He and I spent the evening together, while his mom attended a birthday party.   We talked the dude stuff we always do, laughing, remembering, and loving each other.  When bedtime came, I layed awake for a long time praying. Feeling such love for both of them,  letting go of worry, trying to let go of fear, wanting guidance to the right path.

Wrapping a towel around me I head out of the bathroom to see what the heck is on the patio and why the heck its so important to interrupt my shower musings.   I see them from the sliding glass door in my bedroom.  Its the Sand Hill Crane Family and they are…visiting.  Their spring chick is almost as tall as the female.  They stand right outside the screen enclosure and look in, right at me it seemed.  I get a rush of pleasure like i always do when I see them but also because I’ve never seen them THERE before . I’m wondering why.  The number 3 hits me first.  I feel this visit  is to me, to show me something, something they know about family. I feel the awe of it.  I pull my boy close and we speak in low tones and reverently, we marvel at this little miracle of sorts, and enjoy watching them for several minutes.  They leave slowly but with lots of noise as is their habit.   I feel blessed and answered.

“You know? ” he says musingly,  I look to him waiting for something poignant,  “I’m Starving! ” He says.  We  laugh and off we  run to  make  some Saturday morning soul food: pancakes!

Have an interesting day!


Pinellas County Park Ft Desoto Has Something For Everyone

Planning a vacation in Florida this year? Don’t leave without a visit to Ft Desoto Park at the southern most tip of Pinellas County. Ft Desoto is the flagship of Pinellas County Parks. Its huge, and encompasses many “bests” for outdoor recreation in Florida. The boat ramp, with massive capacity, A campground with a waterfront camping experience that is very hard to leave, one of the best dog beaches in the country, a fishing paradise, with or without a boat, kayak and canoeing that cant be beat, beaches that go for miles, 2 fishing piers, facilities galore for shady picnicking, parties and more, a paved, walking, biking, rollerblading walkway around the entire park, plus a real fort! Pinellas County also works very hard to make every bit of the park accessible for all to enjoy. WOW!
Campsite View Ft Desoto The Campground at Ft Desoto is a camping experience that many long for. The waterfront sites are always in demand and for good reason. If you brought your water toys, kayaks, etc, you can pull them up on shore right at your site, jump on anytime and go out and catch trout for dinner. *best spot for trout? paddle out to the floating bouys to the left of the island, anchor on the edge and cast in to the channel, its a cant miss spot! Sunsets are beautiful and there will be tears on the day you leave! Well built, clean restrooms, showers, laundry are located conveniently near each site. Reservations can be made online 7 months out and there are pictures of EACH site! Visit The official site here

The Beaches at Ft Desoto have once again in 2009 been voted NUMBER ONE in the country!

Ft Desoto Beach As Far as You Can see

Ft Desoto Beach As Far as You Can see

There are massive paved parking areas and you are also allowed to pull off the road at many points for a more private beach experience. Pavilions abound for parties or reunions. Many beach weddings are performed as well, with the facilities to back them up.

The park wide paved trail, is enjoyed by many biking, walking, roller blade users.

Paved Trail at Ft Desoto Park enjoyed by walkers, bikers, and roller blade lovers(photo by Jake LeClaire)

Paved Trail at Ft Desoto Park enjoyed by walkers, bikers, and roller blade lovers(photo by Jake LeClaire)

The trail provides a great way to observe the many water birds that live and feed in the area. Winters are a wonderful birding opportunity because so many species call Ft Desoto their Winter home!

Birdiing at Ft Desoto Park

Birdiing at Ft Desoto Park

Kids find many interests at Ft Desoto

Kids find many interests at Ft Desoto

Can’t wait to hear about your trip to Ft Desoto Park in Pinellas County Florida! How many fish did you catch? What kind of birds did you see? What kinds of people did you meet? Please post your comments!

As always, have an interesting day!


Yay! Jake is HOME!

I tell you what.. Jake LeClaire had the best vacation ever.  After Ron Jon’s Club Caribe Resort for a week with Kalle and me, he was off to Hickory North Carolina with mom,  Grandma and Grandpa for a week of family reunion with his uncles and aunts and cousins. Kalle came back to tampa and Grandma and grandpa  took him with them to visit his aunt Lynn  in Conneticut.  They did so many fun things!

He got to to see where his cousin Ethan worked at  Hopeville Pond State Park and  Waterski  for the first time behind Ethans Boat.  He also got dragged around on a tube too!

Boston was in the mix too with a visit to Ethans Twin sister, Danielle at Tufts University.

Tufts Mascott

Tuft's Mascott

The ride in was on the ” T.”

Jake also got to visit Uconn, Ethans College (home of the family’s favorite sports teams!



Lots of side trips to the beach in Rhode Island, Charleston and East Beach.  He says he dug the DEEPEST HOLE EVER at Charleston beach. Pictures to come!

The long drive home with stops at uncle Jimmy’s  finally ended with Jake being home!  We missed you so much but are happy you had such a good time .. and he grew an inch and is eating like a horse!