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Incredibly fun & active vacation! Details & many videos from my adventures.

Monday, October 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


Hello everyone! I’m back from my vacation, and it simply could not have been any better. The weather – without exception – was stunning. Every single day that I was off I woke up to pleasantly cool mornings and crystal clear skies. I’ve almost forgotten what a cloud looks like, or what it feels like to to be hot. I’m not exaggerating: if I could have controlled the weather for my vacation I wouldn’t have changed a single thing… it was perfect!

Even though I took last week off from weight training, I’d still planned to be fairly active outdoors. Thanks to the amazing weather “fairly active” became “extremely active”. Every morning when I woke up and stepped out back into the crisp, clean air all I could think about was getting outside and doing something – anything!

I took my trusty GoPro HD HERO camera with me just about everywhere I went, so I have a tremendous amount of video documenting my vacation adventures. I’ve edited the footage down into several videos, which I’ve posted below along with descriptions of what I did on each day of my vacation.

DAY 1 – Saturday October 2: I decided to hop on my bike and do some off-road exploring. I found a huge entirely new (to me) section of trails through some woods near my house! I also ran into my friendly, but highly eccentric, neighbor doing some gardening in her housecoat and had an interesting chat with her. Video:

DAY 2 – Sunday October 3: On this day I wanted to do some more exploring, but I wanted to step it up a few notches. I decided to ride my bike over to the forest at Wekiwa State Park and explore the miles of trail there (something I’ve always wanted to do). Based on what I’d read, I knew the trails out there were a mixed bag: some of the trails were fun to ride (but not very technical), while many of the trails were just miles of sugar sand and not enjoyable for mountain bikers. I wound up riding about 18 off-road miles on this trip, and had a lot of fun. The video is heavily edited down from the many hours of raw footage in an effort to keep things interesting. I also made lots of “pop up” commentary throughout the entire video:

DAY 3 – Monday October 4: I decided to head back over to Wekiwa State Park again today, this time to explore a completely different area of the forest. I convinced Lisa to come with me this go-round. This time we transported our bikes by car to the Sand Lake trailhead and started exploring from there. Also, I started using an Android GPS tracking app called My Tracks (it’s free and awesome – highly recommended!). This trip was a mixed bag. Lisa did not have much fun at all. Here’s the map of our adventure, and here’s the video:

DAY 4 – Tuesday October 5: On Tuesday we decided to get off the bikes and do something we’ve always wanted to do – kayaking! We had so much fun on this day. The first time you drift by an alligator just a few inches from the surface of the water it’s a little unnerving, but we quickly discovered that if you leave them alone they will leave you alone. The snorkelers we saw took that philosophy to a level I’m not comfortable with, however! Anyway, here’s the map of our adventure, and here’s the video:

DAY 5 – Wednesday October 6: Something that bugged me is that with all the trails out at Wekiwa, and all the reviews I’d read talking about how some are good and some are bad, no one had taken the time to document with maps and video which trails are good and which trails suck (for biking). So on Wednesday morning I woke up and decided that my project for the day would be to create a comprehensive map and accompanying videos of the best places to ride in the Wekiwa State Park Forest. It was a big project, but a lot of fun. I hope this information helps people avoid the bad trails Lisa and I endured on Monday. Here’s the map of what I consider to be the best Wekiwa has to offer mountain bikers, and here’s are two videos that I shot showing the entire trail system (these may be boring to most):

DAY 6 – Thursday October 7: This was my favorite day, and my favorite video. Today was the day I decided to return to the place where I faceplanted and almost severed my lower lip earlier this year: Soldiers Creek. The trail has changed a lot since the last time I was there. Everything is flowing really well now, and a lot of maintenance has been done to make the trail better in many ways. Even though I have not been to Soldiers Creek in about 10 months, I have been riding off-road a lot and working on becoming a better rider. I felt like I was riding pretty well on this day, and there was no nervousness or trepidation. After a quick run around the trails to scope out the new stuff, I put the hammer down and had my best run out there ever. Here’s a video of my second run out there. I made a couple of small technical errors, but I think this was my best overall performance:

DAY 7 – Friday October 8: Movie Day! 🙂

DAY 8 – Saturday October 9: I went back out to Wekiwa, this time to document (on video) all the best trails North of Marker 11.

DAY 9 – Sunday October 10: Lisa and I went back out to Wekiwa to ride the best trails. We had a blast! We see deer all the time out there:

I’m out of time, and I have a lot of work to catch up on. More tomorrow!

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