Friday, January 18, 2013

Random is as Random does…

We’ve found Waldo IN FLORIDA!!!
2013-1-6 Ocala (1) 2013-1-6 Ocala (1)
We’d tell you how to find Waldo but we were taken there by hobbits and we drove in a big circle. 
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So, we really have no idea.  What we do know is we blinked and it was gone.
It’s been three months and we are starting to see that trail maintenance is a never-ending cycle.  You cut stuff, trees and plants grow, you cut stuff again.  You rake, it gets bumpy, you rake again.  You put a sign up, hunters use it for target practice or off road vehicles run over it, you put another sign up.  You don’t get to the bumps quick enough and anti-bump people start creating a new trail over sensitive terrain.  If you don’t get to a downed tree soon enough people will destroy otherwise undisturbed terrain to create a new path around it.
2012-12-13 Ocala
Legal (albeit bumpy) trail to the right.  Newly cut trail to left.
2012-11-15 Ocala (26)
Legal (temporarily blocked) trail straight ahead.  Newly cut trail to right.
It’s no wonder that the current line of thinking in many states is to ban off-road vehicles of all kinds from the forest.  So, it is such a shame that the folks here cannot see what a treasured opportunity they have been provided.
And then there are the bears!  Sheesh.  Talk about trouble.  We raked this trail only an hour earlier and it was smooth as a baby’s bottom.  Now look at it!2013-1-10 ocala
Hey, check out this cute little lady bug walking upside down, right?2013-1-10 ocala (3)
                    Wrong.  Stinky, biting, Asian beetle.
Did you know that the Lorax has moved to The Ocala?   Yes, and he’s planted hundreds of thousands of Truffula Trees!

200px-The_Lorax 2012-12-17 Ocala (5)
OK, so they are Sand Pines but if you haven’t read this book in a while take the time.  It was well ahead of its time and makes quite a valid statement (or two).
Did ya know (internet FACT): The majority of Ocala sand pine cones are serotinous: they remain closed when mature and require heat to open.  Many acres of Ocala sand pine forest owe their existence to fire which releases the seeds.
Good thing they’ve been doing controlled burns in our area lately.
2013-1-9 Ocala (4)2013-1-9 Ocala (12)
                       Before                                                 During / After
We haul a lot of trash out of the forest while out working the trails.  The other day was a three bags hauled out day for Nicole.  She was rewarded not just with the satisfaction of doing good for the earth but with the finding of a small off road bike tool kit.  SCORE!  Now, to find an off road bike.  We’re just sayin’.
You know what else we’re sayin’…
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
nothing is going to get better. It's not.” – Dr. Seuss

On another note, we found a palm tree oasis in the forest the other day.
2013-1-14 Ocala (1)
We also saw a really big owl (14+” tall) who looked at us for a really long time.
(Insert here the photo –that we didn’t take- of the real big, most likely barred owl)

On Saturday we attended our first ever Van-event with the Florida Vanners.  Wonderful people and some really neat vans. 
(Insert here the photos –that we didn’t take- of all of the cool people and vans)
The 41st annual Van Nationals (with over 700 vans in attendance) will be held only a few hours from us this summer.  Perhaps we’ll bring our camera to that event!
And, last but not least, in case you weren’t sure that we are still in Florida…

2013-1-4 Ocala
                                 Yes.  Yes, we are!