………we do things differently!

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Now, it has been said that we are a bit different…especially to some of our American friends, but even I can see how backwards our latest adventures have been!
After 11 years of living in Tampa, and as we start to see our great Florida escape plan coming together, we have decided to explore this state that we call home! Explore Florida?!? Wouldn’t you think that that would be the first thing we would do when we moved somewhere new?
In our defense, the early years were pretty busy. What with getting the Birth Center up and running, making improvements, putting in some long baby catching hours and generally making sure our huge leap of faith paid off (oh and of course, taking care of the kids!)
That all said, we did manage to go on some pretty intrepid trips to far flung places. But in reality, we could have ventured further into our own back yard during the weekends we were home and I wasn’t on call.
To be honest, I think the main reasons that put us off was one of the reasons we chose to move to Florida in the first place – the weather!
When we moved from the UK we were looking forward to being in the Sunshine State, being warm year round and not having to cope with the drab, dreary, cold and rainy winters. It all sounded bloody marvelous…until it got to July and August! Wow…that heat! That humidity! Who wants to venture out into nature when your breath is sucked out just stepping out the front door.
Hiking was out of the question and even going out on the bike was too uncomfortable in the heat. We always ride in protected gear but even without all of that on, it’s way too hot to enjoy.

So how do we find ourselves out and about now? We have taken advantage of the few cooler periods that Florida has enjoyed this “winter” and also, having taken a step back from the Birth Center (thanks Michelle!), we find ourselves with more free time to just get up and go!

Our first mini-trip, back at the beginning of December, was a bit of a flunk. Being the waterfall junkie that I am, I researched where I could find what passed for a waterfall in Florida and was super surprised that they do exist! So, we hopped on the bike and headed out for the nearest state park that promoted a waterfall as one of the attractions; Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park, just outside Gainesville and about a two hour ride away. Not wanting to sit on the interstate for two hours we took the indirect (round the houses) route which was as pleasant as Florida can be; read with sarcasm!

The first hiccup was our plans for brunch. Now, what you need to know in order to understand this dilemma is that we have decided to take our increasing girths in hand! We had started on the Keto diet after Thanksgiving and had been doing pretty well with it. So we didn’t want to screw things up by stuffing our faces with lots of carb filled (but yummy) breakfast foods.
Again with the research; I found a nice looking brunch place where we could get the well recommended omelette, feel sated and not break the Keto plan. By the time we arrived, we were both starving. The clue that things weren’t going to go well came when we pulled to the parking area to find groups of people standing outside. I tried to believe that they were just enjoying the cooler air and breathing in some freshness now the humidity had eased but no, I was told by the rather harassed hostess that the wait for a table would be 45 minutes. That was not going to work for us. Iain was ready to eat his hand off. I did a quick search and came up with another place just up the street…….same story, 40 minute wait 🙁
Ok, maybe we should just go to Panera Bread and just have one of those egg soufflé things that they do for breakfast. On the bike again, down the road, hop off again, fix the head band AGAIN (it’s a hair thing!) and wander in to Panera Bread ready to be holier than thou. Only to find out that they had stopped serving breakfast foods…arggghhhhh!
Major sense of humor failure, BUT, be proud of us…we stayed determined not to break the Keto and walked out! By now I was hangry it just wasn’t funny. Finally we went to the nearest Starbucks, enjoyed a good coffee and ate two of their tasty but miniature egg bites.
Side note; a grande latte contains almost all my daily carb allowance in one go. DIdn’t research that one until after drinking it 🙁

Anyhoo…our hunger somewhat sated, we carried on our way to the State Park. Ready to get my waterfall fix and still amazed that they could actually be found in Florida!
Note to self; if you’re going to research, do it properly…we arrived to find that the damn trail was CLOSED!! Yup, the heavy rains that came with Hurricane Irma caused too much instability in the land and the boardwalk was not safe. We wandered around a bit, took some cool autumnal pictures, quite rare in Florida, and decided to explore another park just down the road. The rather pompous sounding San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park was a short ride away. We had a nice little explore around the trail there and took some more pics before heading back home.
Read about the parks and see the pictures; Devils Millhopper and San Felasco Hammock Preserve

Over Christmas we took another little trip out to explore Rainbow Springs State Park, much more impressive with some lovely falls to see; the pictures and story are here, and related blog post is here!
As I write this, I am sitting outside our traveling home, Betsy, at the nice little Falling Waters State Park. Boasting the “tallest waterfall in Florida”, it’s a longer drive away so we are staying a few days. Pics, description and another blog post will follow shortly.

Hope you’re all finding 2018 to be good so far 🙂

San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

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