Gainesville, FL

Florida. We’ve been hesitant to steer our wheels towards America’s penile projection since we first set out on our nomadic journey. It’s the kind of phallus that you have to make reservations in to exist between the months of January and April. And, well, we’re not big on making reservations any more than a week in advance of our arrival. Because then we can’t do what we want. And we do what we want.

But, we wanted to explore Florida – even though I was pretty convinced that it was just a smelly, clammy, gator ravaged cesspool. So, a few days before the new year, Jake called around until he found a campground with availability: Kate’s Fish Camp. It had availability because

  1. they claim not to accept stays longer than 2 weeks
  2. their location is only attractive if you are interested in running, biking, fishing, or patchouli laden homemade soaps
  3. it is overpriced – $35/night for electric hook-ups for our 40’er
  4. it is very… rustic

There is an alligator that lives in the swamp near the campground. There were ample trees for stringing the hammock. And also there is an outdoor shower, which was my favorite thing about the campground. And also, my favorite kind of shower so far. Kate’s worked out just fine for us.

While in Gainesville, we had our first real-life-in-the-wild alligator experience. And then we had about 50 more of those. And now I love alligators because they are awesome lizard dinosaurs and they just hang out all day. I didn’t see them killing any fuzzy animals like bunnies either.

Gainesville, even in early January, was also giving us a ‘sweaty behind the kneecaps without much movement to warrant this’ vibe. So I guess we’re in Florida now. I couldn’t do much running – do to a driving injury (wtf?) in my shoulder area that I was resting up, but I did do lots of walking. And I got sweaty. Jake was able to run. He is always sweaty. And, I had to leave my hammock by 4pm everyday or else I would have no blood left to pump oxygen and other fun nutrients through my system because the skeeters would have drank it all.

We ventured out for exploration of Gainesville related breweries, eateries, alligator spaces – and once a combination of a brewery-alligator-living-space (thanks for the tip, Eli!) a few times during our 13 days in Gainesville.

Once we had dipped our feet in Florida via Kate’s Fish Camp, Jake set about the task of reserving us campsites on short notice at a variety of Florida state and county parks. He has some pretty cool skills – and he put them to good use. Let’s just say… if Jake wants a spot at a campground, he might be able to snag a spot at the campground. By the time we left Kate’s, he had enough places reserved to stay in Florida that I felt comfortable in our ability to fill in the gaps without having a full fledged (and very clammy) “where will we sleep” meltdown.

I’m totally into ‘winging it’ – but only if I have the feeling that there are some options to ‘wing it into’. Florida is chock-full of snowbirds hunkering down at RV resorts for the winter, and weekenders and transient types (we consider ourselves transient types) who plan their Florida stay patterns a year in advance. So the options are limited for us idiots who don’t plan. But I’ve got a Jake – so bring it, Florida.