17 in 17

16 in 16:Trips with daughters and sons-in-law

For the fifth year, John and I spent New Year’s Day developing a list of things we want to do this year. In 2013 we felt the need to make a list of fun things to do during the year because we were spending so much time working we lacked the much talked about “work life balance”.

16 in 16: Sunrise/Sunset – Miami and Key West

The list we created was meant to add some fun into the year by trying new restaurants, taking short trips and making use of our limited free time. Little did we know that this would become a well loved tradition.

16 in 16: Biking

Just as we’ve done the past four years, we sat down with the lists we’d developed to negotiate what 17 items would make the list in 2017. Since there’s no longer a work schedule to plan around, our list includes many more extended vacations, but it also includes several things that have become much loved annual events such as family weekend, our annual sunrise/sunset trip when we catch the sunrise over the Atlantic and the sunset over the Gulf on the same day and our version of a triathlon in which we take part in a biking, hiking and water activity over the course of a day or two.

16 in 16: Camping – Iceland and the Florida Keys

Camping, trips to National Parks, museums, a play, baseball and biking all made the list this year. Of course, we’ll be squeezing this year’s adventures between visits with grandchildren so it’s going to be quite a year.

A Triathlon on Miami Time

The first time I attended church in Miami the service started about ten minutes late. The pastor walked around the sanctuary letting those of us who were visitors know that things would be started soon, but they operated on Miami time.

image

Well, last week we completed our own version of a triathlon, and we were certainly competing on Miami time. First, this was not a competition. No registration fee or course to follow. We simply chose a water event, biking event and an event on foot in which to participate making it a nearly perfect day.

image

The very hot morning started on Biscayne Bay where we rented a Hobie Getaway and sailed for two hours in the waters where John first introduced me to sailing. We raced from the causeway past Vizcaya entertained by the brightly colored parachute pulling parasailing tourists across the bay and the fire department helicopter practicing rescues in the waters near the Seaquarium.

We left the water ready for the bike leg, but instead of jumping in the saddle in dripping wet bathing suits, we changed clothes and drove down Rickenbacker Causeway to Key Biscayne and mounted the bikes at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.

image

We rode through the park along the bay toward the Cape Florida lighthouse photographing iguanas scurrying across the trail or posing on the rocks.

image

Instead of eating a meal designed for athletes, we stuffed ourselves with barbecue sandwiches, fries, slaw and tea…the diet of the laid back triathlete.

image

The third leg of the day took place in Coconut Grove after sunset. A relaxing stroll from our hotel to Cocowalk and vicinity eyeing lights, fountains, painted peacocks and walls entangled in banyan roots. Even though the pace was leisurely, we did cover a little more than two miles making it a worthwhile final triathlon leg.

I’m sure those who train for these events would be appalled, but looking for opportunities to spend time on the water, bike, and by foot to enjoy the outdoors is always a treat and challenge.

 

2 Down; 13 To Go

Nobody would ever all me a triathlete. I don’t run. I don’t swim. And I ride a bike so slowly it takes excellent balance to stay upright.

However, after completing the Tamiami Triathlon last year (a real event sponsored by the National Park Service), we decided to make a triathlon an annual event. The three events in the Everglades, completed over the course of two days, included a hike through the swamp, a paddle across the bay, and a bike ride on a paved trail in Shark Valley so we decided to create our own set of similar events at one of Florida’s state parks.

After looking at several options, we decided to make this a one day event right in our backyard at Silver Springs State Park. We started with a bike ride on the Ross Trail through the Silver River portion of the park. Upon our return, I noticed the sign that indicated the trail was for advanced riders and since I returned alive, I guess I can now consider myself an advanced mountain biker.

Before embarking on phase two, we ate lunch on the picnic tables in the grassy area by the museum, and then rode our bikes on the path along CR35 to the entrance of Silver Springs on SR40.

We rented a two person kayak from the rental concession and paddled to the Silver River and then up to the springs. The path took us by several of the attractions from the old park..an Indian village, a fort, and the jungle cruise, and of course, there were plenty of turtles, gators, and birds along our leisurely path.

Finally, for the hike, we biked back to the Silver River entrance and hiked along the Sinkhole Trail…not the best marked trail, but a nice walk and a good way to end the day.

We began at 11:30 Sunday morning and completed the Silver River Triathlon by 4:30 that afternoon. Another Triathlon in the books and looking forward to next year’s event.

Triathlon Time

Our definition of a triathlon just requires three activities: one on the bike, one on the water, and one on foot. It does not require training, competition, or a registration fee.

It February, we completed the Tamiami Triathlon in the Everglades. This month we completed what we call the OleMilltucknee.

For the first leg we biked from Ft. White to O’Leno State Park, a round trip distance of about 14 miles.

Next, we plunged into the cool waters of Ichetucknee Springs and snorkeled in the crystal clear water.

Finally, we hiked the 220 steps to the bottom of the sink at Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park.

The park ranger in the Everglades presented us with a bumper sticker for the completion of the Tamiami Triathlon, but since the OleMilltucknee isn’t sanctioned by the park service, I guess we’ll need to design our own award.