Our Viva!

Fisherman's Cove at Lake Harris • Tavares, FL • APR 3, 2015

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This was a bonus camping trip, but it came at a price, at least for Linda. She was all set to fly to Nashville to visit our friend, Pat, when she hurt her shoulder again. She was in a lot of pain and knew she wouldn’t be good company, so she postponed her trip. I was able to talk her into camping for one night, as long as I did everything (which, in my mind at least, I always do!).

Previous camping trips had convinced us that it would be a good idea to take bicycles with us--for touring the campgrounds, going to the store for an item or two, getting to the beach quickly, etc. We didn’t have bikes at home, so we recently bought two basic, single-speed bikes built for comfort, not speed. Linda chose a Trek Low Step while Rick opted for the Electra Townie. To transport the bikes on the back of the Viva (and also on our CRV for trips to New Smyrna Beach), we decided on a Thule T2 two-bike carrier. It was a bit pricey, but well worth it. It’s sturdy, secure, and no parts touch the frames of the bikes. We picked up a handy item called the Rack Stash to reduce our garage clutter. We mounted it to the garage wall, and it’s perfect for storing our Thule T2 bike rack. Just insert rack into the Rack Stash as though you’re mounting it to the back of your car or RV. The rack folds up when not in use, so it takes very little space in the garage. Or, the Rack Stash is sturdy enough to support the bike carrier with both bikes on it, if you want to keep the bikes off the garage floor. A great product.

Because Linda wasn’t sure how her shoulder would hold up, we needed to choose a nearby destination in case we had to turn around and go home. It was also our first trip with the bikes on the bike carrier, and we wanted a short trip to make sure the carrier worked fine. We decided on Fisherman’s Cove, where we keep our boat, and all went well with the bikes and bike carrier.

We arrived at Fisherman’s Cove in the late morning and Rick quickly set up camp. Linda’s shoulder was still bothering her a lot, but she decided if it was going to hurt regardless, she might as well be on the boat. We set off in early afternoon and went up Haines Creek, through the lock, and all the way to Lake Griffin. We saw a large gator on the bank, partially hidden by vegetation. He was a big boy, maybe 8 feet long.

It was Friday, perfect boating weather, a full moon would soon be rising, and overnight there would be an eclipse of the moon. What more could we want? Well, how about the company of good friends and an after dark cruise through the Dora Canal! While we were on the boat we called our good friends Larry and Glenda and invited them to join us.

Larry and Glenda arrived in time for us to go out in the boat again and watch the sunset from Lake Harris. We then headed to the Dora Canal. We didn’t have a spotlight with us, and the running lights provided only minimal illumination. Although there was a full moon, it wasn’t directly overhead. In other words, the canal was very, very dark! Rick keeps a boating log, and our two trips through the canal were trips number 199 and 200 for this boat. Rick has had a lot of experience navigating the canal, but it was very difficult at times because of how dark it was. The grunting of bull gators only yards away in the swamp served to add a bit of edginess to the experience. Rick enjoyed it, of course, but he is probably the only one of the group who will venture through the canal again at night.

We got up before dawn on Saturday and headed out on the water again. We saw the moon in eclipse before it dipped below the horizon, then we were treated to a spectacular sunrise.

We returned to port and spent a leisurely morning. Linda wasn’t able to ride her bike this time, but Rick rode around the campground several times. The dogs got a long walk, then we broke camp and headed home. Although Linda missed out on a trip to Nashville and had a lot of pain in her shoulder, it was still another great stay at Fisherman’s Cove!

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