Snowbird Run 2015

Checked out Circle B Bar Reserve yesterday

Friends have told me about this remarkable nature reserve in Polk County near Lakeland and Winter Haven.  Yesterday I rode the motorcycle out there to check it out.

This is a fantastic piece of nature in the heart of Florida that is home to all kinds of wildlife. It is well maintained, has clean facilities, picnic area and a nature discover center where you can learn about the reserve and its wildlife.

Since I didn’t get there until late morning, I did not have the best light for photography.  I think the critters had also settled in by then.  I will to try to get back there close to sun up and see what kind of photographs I can capture.

Here are a few from yesterday’s exploration.

Group photo Black and White Knee Deep Contemplating Lunch Hunting Lurking

If you ever are in the area, Circle B Bar Reserve is a “Must”.  And if you live in the area and are not taking advantage of this remarkable place, you are truly missing something.

Snowbird Run 2015

Departing Fort White

I’ve been here a week now. Each day I hope for good sunlight (or at least sky clear enough to see the clouds) so I can shoot the springs at Ichetucknee. Unfortunately it has been gray and foggy or terribly overcast. I looked at this morning’s forecast and it is pretty much the same so we’ll be pressing south in a couple hours.
Regardless of weather or photography I have had time with one of my dearest friends. We have known each other since high school (maybe even junior high) and did a lot of crazy things together as kids (adults also). It has been great fun reliving our glory days.
So, I’m giving our next destination (Tampa Bay) warning. Lock up your whiskey and hide your daughters. I’m coming to town and I feel like a teenager again.

Snowbird Run 2015

Devil’s Millhopper

We went on a short excursion yesterday to the Devil’s Millhopper. Just north of Gainesville in the midst of north Florida’s sandy terrain and pine forests, a bowl-shaped cavity 120 feet deep leads down to a miniature rain forest.



It has has been years since I visited Devil’s Millhopper. I don’t recall this much water at the bottom then. It must have been a dry year.


And we’re off

We slipped out of the mountains at 05:43 yesterday morning. It was New Year’s Eve. Atlanta posed no threat and we breezed through listening to a medley of Aerosmith tunes.
Shortly after noon (12:23 to be exact) we mixed in with a crowd of tourists and snuck across the border into Florida. By 15:00 we were in Ocala where we enjoyed dinner with friends and then enjoyed the new year celebrations.
I had planned to do some mechanical maintenance here in Ocala. I am driveway camping at a friend’s place. A friend who has several huge toolboxes full of fancy tools by the way. Using his tools, I changed the spark plugs and plug wires on the T.O.A.D. I’m not sure what VW’s engineers were thinking but it is pretty clear they thought one would never need to change the plugs.
Mission accomplished. While here, I can admire his 79 Corvette (with matching serial numbers) and the 27 Model T in his garage.

HeyLeigh The Wonder Dog and me rolling down the road in the T.O.A.D. yesterday.


Snowbird 2015 Run is about to start.

It won’t be long now. Dog and I are getting ready to begin our Snowbird 2015 run.
Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted on where, who and perhaps why. As usual, pictures will be posted and may even be worth a word to two.
Paul and HeyLeigh the Wonder Dog.


We did a little test run today.

I wasn’t certain the T.O.A.D. would haul the Harley easily. So, today I loaded it up and went for a spin. I guess that 140 horsepower is adequate because we had no problem climbing some of the hills close by.
This means that I can bring the bike along when we do the Snowbird T.O.A.D. trip in a few weeks.



Let there be light.

I’m a sailor. Having spent a lot of time anchored in out of the way places I am familiar with rationing water and electricity. If you use your 12volt cabin lights a lot, you have to recharge the batteries. On the boat, that meant running the engine long enough to charge the batteries. This was ok because it also chilled the zero degree holding plated in the freezer. In cooler weather I burned oil lamps in the cabin for light to save battery (and make heat).
I figure that traveling in the T.O.A.D. isn’t much different. Oh sure, we do have a generator if we choose to run it. And the refrigerator will operate using 12v, 110v or propane so it doesn’t need to deplete the house batteries. But lighting in the coach still has the same issues. High battery draw and heat. Those automotive type bulbs can really put out some BTUs.
Here is my solution: 12v LED bulbs. Yesterday I swapped out several of the old incandescent bulbs with LEDs. They draw only a 10th of the power and are oh so bright and white. I mean white as in a cooler white similar to the old fluorescent tubes. Not warm like the original bulbs. Bright. Very bright. I put one in the lamp over the easy chair where I expect reading a book in the evening will be easy on the eyes.
Have a merry Christmas, Y’all.



To be honest, I have never done any video imagery. It just hasn’t appealed to me. So, I am way behind the curve (again).
I think I want a way to easily record some video along my travels. After looking at this video stuff, I realized that I could film the trip and then I could film the subjects that I am shooting . And of course I can capture selfies of me and the dog doing our Art On The Run thing. And with the proper camera, I can even do so in the rain or under water.
The Cadillac of these so called action cameras is the GoPro line. Way too rich for my novice blood. After all, I may not care for this video stuff and toss it into the corner where it’ll sit until I stumble across it years later and sell it at a huge loss on eBay.
Which brings me to this. I picked up an SJ4000 camera with wi-fi for about a third the price of a GoPro. It comes with waterproof housing, all sorts of attachment gadgets and very little documentation. I figure I can experiment with it and learn if it is something I want to add to my bag of tricks.

This is this first video I recorded. The Sj4000 was suction cupped to my dash board of the Honda Fit while I drove up to the parking lot at Brasstown Bald.
I discovered afterwards that I missed one of those pesky clear vinyl protectors they stick to every screen, etc.. This one was covering the lens window in the waterproof housing which I happened to be using (though it wasn’t necessary). Imagine how much better the video might have been if I’d removed it.
Well, it is food for thought, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure I won’t become a threat to the accomplished videographers of the world!