5th Annual Florida Hang (FHV)
FL Doe Lake, Ocala National Forest
I have been looking forward to this week ever since I heard about this hang back in Sept when while at Meadowbrook Camping Area (www.meadowbrookme.com ). We had a group of Hammock people (hangers) come into the campground for the “Maine Lighthouse Tour and Lobster Hang”. Hangers are people who have tents built onto their hammocks and hangs from trees. I should note here that this is to no damage to the trees themselves. These are the most ecological friendly people around. The other thing I learned is that this group welcomes everyone, no matter whether you are in a Hammock, Tent or a motorcycle pop-up like I am. I will be traveling from Panama City Beach, Fl. (The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches), to the Ocala National Forest located in Ocala, Florida. This is about 300 miles travel. The information thread was started on www.Hammockforums.net and with 5 days to go before the hang we are up to 94 pages. The other important thing is that it looks like there will be over 200 people attending this hang. The Hang is actually from Jan 16th to the 19th and the cost is free. He whole entire hang works off of donations.
The weather is looking good according to the 7 day forecast with a cold front coming through on Thursday. Temps are going to be in the 60’s during the day and 50’s and 40’s at night. According to the schedule there will be a lot of things to do like, hiking, kayaking, and eating. They do the meals for everyone and it looks pretty good. This all runs on donations from the people who attend.
It was the morning to leave for the Hang. It was a Gloomy day and as I crossed the Hathaway Bridge it was 52 degrees on my trike’s temperature reading at 730 am. I was glad I had put on my chaps and liner under my coat. I was hoping that the sun would come out. My first stop this morning would be Wal-mart for ice and a couple last minute items. I get ice at wal-mart whenever I travel as it is the cheapest place along the way. Across the street is a Dunkin Donuts and I always fill up there. Heading East down RT 98, which is always a favorite ride of mine, it was still kind of cool going through Tyndall Air Force Base and you have to always watch your speed. Continuing east to Apalachicola and Eastpoint and then into Carrabelle Beach
which is always my first pit stop. This is a rest area that has bathrooms and they are always clean and in good shape. Another reason I like to stop here is I always read The historic marker here. This is the site that was used for training forces for the Normandy invasion on D-Day. In late 1943, Carrabelle Beach and Dog Island, while they were a part of Camp Gordon Johnston, were used by the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division to train for the Normandy Invasion on D-Day, June 6th, 1944. The Amphibious Training Center had been officially closed, but it was reopened and staffed for the purpose of training for this important mission. Although the troops had trained for over three years, the amphibious training conducted on this site was the last step before shipping out to England for the invasion. On D-Day, the first amphibian infantry assault teams to arrive on French soil were from the 4th Infantry Division at Utah Beach. “Thank-you to all military men and women for our freedom”. Carrabelle Beach is in Franklin County, Fl. The county was named after Ben Franklin.
As I continued west I always travel RT 98, even through my GPS wants me to go around another way. I have camped at a couple places along St Marks and need to go back and spend some more time in that area. On to Perry across RT 27 to RT 441 and then south to RT 40 and to Rt 314A. By this time the sun has come out and it was pleasant riding. I entered Doe Lake in Ocala National Forest, and the site of the Hang around 4 pm so I knew I would have to get a move on to set up camp quickly. This is where I met Timberrr and Gumbo (husband and wife) and the ones responsible for organization of the Hang. They were also setting up as I was a day early. I choose to come a day early as it was suppose to rain the next day.
The next morning I got up about 7:15 and could hear other people up and about so it was time to get out of the warm sleeping bag. It was cool in the 40’s. I went over to the lodge Things were getting set up and Paul from UGQ Outdoor Equipment was working on cooking breakfast in the Dutch oven. It was Mountain man breakfast and it was really good. and Gumbo was setting up the registration area. I volunteered to work the registration desk as I was sure she had many other things going on, so that is where I worked. T was a cool and damp morning and we knew the rain was coming. We got everyone who was there registered and Gumbo said if I would stay until noon Sammy’s Trike would be here to relieve me. I had talked to him on the forums but had never met him, so was looking forward to that.
Here are some of the hammock setups :
One of the reasons I came to this hang was because of the vendors. I had gotten a small stove that I use when camping and I wanted to find other things I could use when motorcycle camping. I am limited to 875 lbs of towing with my trike so I am always looking for ways to lighten my load. The first vendor I met was Paul and Missy McWalters from Jackson, Mi. Their company is UGQ Outdoor Equipment www.undergroundquilts.com . They provide high quailty lightweight quilts, Tarps and Accessories for Back Packing and camping. This is one of the things I want to replace in my camper as I carry a quilt but it is very heavy and bulky. Paul and Missy talking to Hangers about their quilts. Check out their website.
It was about 11am when Sammy’s Trike came to register. He said he would get set up and come back to help with registration. Sammy’s trike and I ran the registration for next 2 days and we talked about rides and roads we had ridden He didn’t have his trike anymore and that was sad cause I could tell how much he missed it. Registration was a lot of fun, as you get to meet a lot of people and put faces with screen names. One thing about registration is that you get to talk to the people who are checking in and I was thinking about some of the wifes that had come with their husbands and this was their first hang.
Some of them were in for a surprise because Friday night it went down to 34 degrees and I talked to some of the wifes next morning and they were up beat butttttt……………. The things we put our women through in the name of fun.
Friday was a very interesting day. Dinner was started early because we were having Turkey and smoked Pork Butts. Evey possible way a turkey could be cooked it was.
The diner was great and plentiful My thanks to all the cooks.
While the turkey cooking was going on their was something else going on. One of the guys was making a bow out of PVC pipe. I thought this was a neat twist.
That night it was a beautiful sunset
It went down to 34 degrees that night buy it was a beautiful morning. It was still cool but I started packing up as I was heading to another place, But before I left I wanted to see one of the vendors Batchstovez (www.batchstovez.com ).
He has the neatest small stoves so I went over and found Sam. Check out his website for great deals.
I also stopped by and visited Hammeck WWW.hammeck.com and looked at his racks for hammocks. They were pretty cool.
It was about 11am when I headed out. I would be leaving all my new friends called “The Hangers”