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slices

Three weekends and three camping trips

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Haven't done a  trip report since last  September year,  now here's one covering three consecutive weekends, ending with the Fort. 

Shortly after our last tent trip, we purchased a small popup from fellow fiend BigTom( I think my last two trip reports may have caused a few to take pity on me!).

We didn't have any trips booked for a while, so it's mostly been in the garage until this month.  I had hoped to take it for a short trip before now, but between family visiting and my wife changing jobs twice, it didn't happen.

We have had a spring break trip to the Fort booked for almost a year(thanks Jason). We booked this initially because my wife was disappointed that we couldn't make it to Flower and Garden last year, mostly because of the Orange Bird merch. 

When we booked this we thought we were taking a tent. Now having the popup we really wanted to try it somewhere a bit closer first, so started looking at the local state parks.  Probably should have done this a bit sooner, but managed to book a night at Lake Manatee State Park, March 9th, two weeks before our planned Fort trip. Just to make things interesting this was also my son's birthday, the opening weekend of his miracle league baseball, and girl scout cookie season.

Lake Manatee State Park was picked based on availability but it's also my closest state park, less than 10 miles from me and no high ways so a nice one to start the camper at.

Hadn't been here before we went for a day in January to check it out.

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Along with trying our hand at geocaching.

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And the swings.

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Lake Manatee State Park has two camping loops just behind the playground.

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More photos from the camping trip coming up but this shows the path down to the campsites.

 

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I think I'm first.  That makes me the winner.  And the rest of y'all....well, you know.  (don't even try that Second is the New First crap).  

Geocaching looks fun....I have no idea why we've never done it.  My 13 y/o would enjoy it I think.  

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Up until now, the only place I've camped in the US is the Fort, so that's what I'm comparing to. From our initial outing to Lake  Manatee the sites seemed very Fort like only no cable TV and they had fire rings.  Plus this was only a one night trip, didn't bother with the TV. Also didn't bring the EZ up for the short trip and made do with the awning.  My son asked for hot dogs, mac and cheese and a cooked breakfast.  Normally I'd bring the Coleman road trip,  but with the fire ring available I decided not to pack it. I did bring the instant pot to make Mac and Cheese though.

 

Most of my camping equipment is pre-move and I tend to use the griddle attachment on the roadtrip to cook breakfast. Given its absence this time. I treated myself to a new pan, to make cooking on the fire easier.

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This was a one night trip and we had a lot on in the morning, so had everything packed up the night before. Including the instant pot in its travel bag.

 

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Busy morning so pulled the camper out of the garage while my wife was out delivering cookies. Checkin in Lake Manatee is 3pm, and they seemed fairly strict on that, but before that, we had my son's birthday party.

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I did suggest we had it at the state park, but he wasn't keen. Would have been more for us to do and wouldn't have worked with dropping off the girl scout cookies anyway.

He picked a local trampoline place, fairly low turnout but we got to take the extra pizza home so not too bad!

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Those that like thrill rides might appreciate this.

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Quick stop home to unload the pizza and leftover cake, and hitch up the camper. Glad we did this as a trial run, had never actually done this by myself before. Then off to the state park, still very much getting the hang of backing a trailer into a site, but at least it's light and can be pushed in.

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All set up, a lot quicker than a tent. Popped back down to the ranger's station to get some wood.

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Kid's liked having the A/C

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The comfort station was behind our site.

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Then time to get the fire going for hot dogs, yes that's a bit of case of girl scout cookies used to start the fire.

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Dinner inside, I think it was the novelty.

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Then time for s'mores

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Oops, should have packed tin foil.

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Long day

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17 hours ago, h2odivers...Ray said:

I’m in!

great start. Looking forward to reading more. 

 

Is the chocolate and marshmallows on a banana?

Yes, would have been easier with foil.

14 hours ago, fladogfan aka Gretchen said:

Just add the foil to the list of things you need for next time. That banana dose look tasty.

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Yes, he liked it anyway. I actually had the foil packed, but it had been unpacked so it could be used for the candy clay portion of the birthday cake. When we got home we found the foil waiting for us on the kitchen table.

Speaking of which, up early the next morning, check out wasn't until 1pm but we had other things to do.

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Not quite as nice as the Fort but not bad at all.

 rE1AvnOSQQffDrFzXFLl62ODmzhNWlcxN5CglMqB

New pan in action.  March so lots of places I could buy Irish sausages.

One mistake I made was that usually when tent camping I have lots of boxes and crates that camping equipment is packed in that then get used for outside storage. This time I'd packed more in the camper so, didn't have a large box with a lid for storing food like I normally do.  Something had at a bag of chips overnight.

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All set to drive home.  Surprisingly I actually managed to back to camper onto the drive this time. 

 

Certainly enjoyed this even though it was just one night, can see us doing some weekend trips. My daughter and I have just been hiking in Myakka River State Park as well, so that's another possibility for the future. 

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48 minutes ago, slices said:

Yes, would have been easier with foil.

99iLGS2MrMM25VMpGma12-odb1l8dDiVbcZrvqhg

Yes, he liked it anyway. I actually had the foil packed, but it had been unpacked so it could be used for the candy clay portion of the birthday cake. When we got home we found the foil waiting for us on the kitchen table.

Speaking of which, up early the next morning, check out wasn't until 1pm but we had other things to do.

TDwxf-ACGjUszogmlR-XmgfYcJZJVkgaIT-Tdfqn

Not quite as nice as the Fort but not bad at all.

 rE1AvnOSQQffDrFzXFLl62ODmzhNWlcxN5CglMqB

New pan in action.  March so lots of places I could buy Irish sausages.

One mistake I made was that usually when tent camping I have lots of boxes and crates that camping equipment is packed in that then get used for outside storage. This time I'd packed more in the camper so, didn't have a large box with a lid for storing food like I normally do.  Something had at a bag of chips overnight.

p4crmZL-TJrGH7lcZYsZoT3yfcdclM8KNViW1NW9

 

All set to drive home.  Surprisingly I actually managed to back to camper onto the drive this time. 

 

Certainly enjoyed this even though it was just one night, can see us doing some weekend trips. My daughter and I have just been hiking in Myakka River State Park as well, so that's another possibility for the future. 

Btw. Love Irish sausage.  

 

Im going to have to try s’mores with bananas next time. But you have to explain what the foil is for???

 

when we make s’mores we just take two graham crackers and two squares of chocolate and a roasted marshmallow between them. 

All we need is a stick to roast the marshmallows. 

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Late to the party but in! Looks like you had a good time. When i was younger we used to camp there a lot, glad to see the parks still doing good. Congrats on the upgrade.

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2 hours ago, h2odivers...Ray said:

Btw. Love Irish sausage.  

 

Im going to have to try s’mores with bananas next time. But you have to explain what the foil is for???

 

when we make s’mores we just take two graham crackers and two squares of chocolate and a roasted marshmallow between them. 

All we need is a stick to roast the marshmallows. 

1

 

I think the idea was to, split the banna insert the chocolate and marshmallows, the wrap it up in foil and bake. 

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I'm in .... We camped at Lake Manatee a few times in the early 2000's .... nice little campground as long as its not race season.  You could hear the races from across the highway during the season.   

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A short update since the following weekend I stayed home. However, my daughter was the one camping for the second weekend in a row and deserves a mention. Last minute girl scout camping trip, at Camp Honi Hanta.  

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After she packed like this, we discussed buying her a good size backpack for her birthday.

My wife normally goes on these as a leader, but she was working on the Friday (kid's off school though), plus she had two cookie booths to run over the weekend.   Last weekend of cookie season, so some of the girls left camp for a couple of hours to sell cookies at our local Publix.  Most of the money from the cookie sales goes to the girl scout council which funds the camp, so it's not like there were going to say no. 

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The girls are talking about using their earnings from the sales to go to Disney!

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Looks like she had a fun weekend, and she still wanted to go to Fort Wilderness the week after this.

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Moving along, to getting ready for the last weekend of the three, the Fort.

 

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I'd taken the cushions out to clean after Lake Manatee and had stacked everything to go in the car up there. Including the child apparently. 

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He had baseball again that morning, and was an 11:45 game so later start than I would have liked. I had the camper pulled out and hitched up ready to go as soon as he got back.  Would have been quicker going straight from his game but he didn't want to deal with the camper and that parking lot.

Can't really see it here but my bike is in the car, takes a bit of maneuvering getting it in. I really need to get a bike rack now we have more options. Guessing a roof rack on the camper is probably the easiest way to go. 

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9 hours ago, slices said:

 Guessing a roof rack on the camper is probably the easiest way to go. 

Probably...I used to hoist bikes up to the top of a full size 1 ton van.  The closer to the ground you can mount them the better you'll be.   LOL 

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STROMBER CC275 Bike Rack - Trailer Tongue Mount Adapter

 

You have room for this set up?

STROMBER CC275 Bike Rack - Trailer Tongue Mount Adapter

by STROMBER  On Amazon of course

 

Also I've seen some bike racks mounted on the front bumper of the TV, guess it depends on how many and how big the bikes are if they would obstruct your vision or radiator air flow.

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6 hours ago, Travisma said:

STROMBER CC275 Bike Rack - Trailer Tongue Mount Adapter

 

You have room for this set up?

STROMBER CC275 Bike Rack - Trailer Tongue Mount Adapter

by STROMBER  On Amazon of course

 

Also I've seen some bike racks mounted on the front bumper of the TV, guess it depends on how many and how big the bikes are if they would obstruct your vision or radiator air flow.

This might work thanks, no trips planned until October at the moment so I've got some time. Only the one bike for now, although will probably get my wife one once she finds one she likes.

 

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52 minutes ago, slices said:

This might work thanks, no trips planned until October at the moment so I've got some time. Only the one bike for now, although will probably get my wife one once she finds one she likes.

 

I've seen others that somehow attach to your hitch and then the trailer attaches to the rack.  Kind of like an extension.  Not sure if it affects your towing capacity.

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I've seen those, my only concern is I'm not sure if this would make backing in the camper more difficult. I'm not very good at it anyway and wasn't sure if having the bike rack on the hitch would reduce clearance.

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