Ginnie Springs: Don’t Go Without Earplugs

Kalle and I wanted to reinforce the efforts of whoever had the courage to drive over there and tell them to turn it down and we both screamed something refined, in unison like ” YES ASSSHOLLLLLES  ITS TOOO LOUD!!!”

Arriving at the privately owned  campground  at Ginnie Springs is a bit overwhelming. Ginnie Springs Outdoors LLC operates this privately owned nature park, with over 200 acres of pure woodsy Florida located on the Santa Fe River.  It is a very popular north Florida destination for campers, divers, tubers, and folks with all night partying on their mind.  Checking in on a weekend involves lines to the check in area inside a well appointed dive shop, filling out forms and signing away your right to sue the owners for any possible mishap.

Security is high.  Sneaking into Ginnie Springs will probably not be an option unless you are in someone’s trunk.  You can’t even leave Ginnie Springs park without driving past a guard.

The 7 dramatic crystal clear springs located on the property, make the park popular with scuba divers, snorklers and cave divers. All springs feed the Santa Fe River and tubing down the river from one end of the park to the other is popular pastime. Certified Cave divers can explore over 30,000 feet of passageways in the Devil’s Eye and Devil’s Ear cave system.

Fees are a bit steep.  Campers pay a per day per person charge and must also pay a per day per person charge for use of the park.  Our party, 2 adults and one child were charged over 150.00 for a 3 night stay.  In return, you are turned loose in the campground to choose from a huge plethora of campsites, plenty located directly on the river.  It probably doesn’t matter what time you arrive.. there will still be an acceptable campsite at Ginnie  Springs.  While there are a lot of sites on the river there are still more in the woods surrounding.  You will find a suitable site just about on any weekend  There is much property, all wooded all with primitive campsites set up. Continue reading

The Island of Cayo Costa, Unspoiled Florida Beauty

The Florida State Park of Cayo Costa is located right across Boca Grande Pass to the South and is accessible only by boat or ferry. It had been almost 15 years since I’d visited and I suggested it for a 3 night family getaway right before Thanksgiving.   Cayo Costa has both camping cabins and a tent area, but even in cabins, it is rustic, primitive camping experience.  There is no electricity on Cayo Costa. No water at your cabin or campsite.  There are bathrooms and water is available there.

We decided we’d take the parents 17 foot Scout to the island, traveling from their home in  Englewood.   Loading the truck was a chore with a huge cooler, giant tent, a load of firewood, fishing stuff, clothes for three, cooking gear and “W” the nickname we applied to wine.  This was one vacation where everything was lugged.  We lugged the stuff outa the truck to the dock at Jim and Faye’s, staging it for loading the boat in the morning.  In the morning, we lugged everything to the boat and loaded it carefully so that it wouldn’t sink. Finally, we were set to run to CayoCosta, about an hour away by boat.. Continue reading

Kiteboarding Ft Desoto Park, Pinellas County Florida

ftdesotokiteboardingIt was so hot out and the AC was on the blink so we headed out to Ft Desoto on the southern tip of Pinellas County to catch a breeze. LOTS of kites were  in the air.  We could see them the moment we crested the bridge leading into Ft Desoto Park.  We hung a left at the flagpole heading for the East Beach

Watching the kites boarders is always fun and  any breezy day one will find a few out there, but never had we seen the number present on Sunday. It looked like it might have been a contest.  We parked right on the water, facing the Skyway Bridge,  to watch the action. 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