NOTES FROM THE ROAD



Planning the Next Roadtrip …


Maps and route-planning…


9 January 2021: Getting ready for the next big roadtrip means its “map time.” Working on routing and researching key locations for the upcoming months. Excited to be able to really focus deeply on some favorite locations during this journey …



Happy New Year …


Welcoming in 2021…


31 December 2020: Welcomed in the New Year with champagne and a nice warm fire in the backyard fire pit. The temperatures dropped as it got closer to midnight, but the warmth from the blaze made it comfortable, and it felt good to have “escaped” 2020 healthy and ready to take on what we hope will be a gentler year in 2021 …



Last Leg to Home …


The final stretch back to Long Island…


30 December 2020: Made the last stretch of highway driving where all roads seemed to converge on New York City in a web of bridges and tunnels and heavy traffic. Felt good to be in familiar territory again, and very glad to arrive home a bit early and in daylight …



The Road Back North …


A Beautiful Full Moon…


29 December 2020: Driving northbound on the I-95 most of the day, trying to make as many miles towards home as possible to make it back in time to celebrate the New Year there. Had to take a break and get off the highway to stop for a photo when I saw this incredible moon so low in the sky just after dusk, while there was still enough ambient light to get a decent photo without using the tripod. Made it through South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington DC before stopping in Maryland just north of Baltimore for the night …



FL: Leaving Ocala …


Ocala National Forest to I-95 heading north…


28 December 2020: Took some time breaking down camp this morning and drying out all the tarps and the bottom of the tent before packing everything away. It was slower than usual because the sun was warm and the prairie was quiet and it just felt good to linger a bit after having toughed it out during the storm and freezing temperatures. Florida was feeling “back to normal” and it was hard to leave. Drove a few more forest roads on the way out to pavement, then began the serious business of marathoning towards home. Got through Florida and Georgia before stopping for the night in South Carolina …



FL: Ocala NF Jeep Badge of Honor, pt 2 …


The northern section of the Badge of Honor Trail…


27 December 2020: Covered the northern segment of the Badge of Honor route, and took some time to visit a favorite hiking trail, too. The weather has finally warmed back up to “normal” Florida temperatures, and the sunset was perfect. Enjoyed a final bonfire at camp late into the evening …



FL: Ocala NF Jeep Badge of Honor, pt 1 …


The southern section of the Badge of Honor Trail…


26 December 2020: Took some time to practice navigation, plotting the 81-mile “Tread Lightly Four Wheel Drive Way,” one of seven trails that was added to the Jeep Badge of Honor program in 2020. It is the only “Badge of Honor” trail in the Ocala National Forest, and is really a route rather than a single “trail.” Spent today on the “southern” section of the route, below Florida State Road 40 …


PREVIOUS NOTES FROM THE ROAD >

THIS MONTH:


Planning for the next extended overland adventure in the southwest, tentatively on the calendar for some time late winter 2021. There are already several tentative events on the agenda in Arizona and southern California, and we will share more details as things get confirmed…


COMING UP SOON:


Advanced sand dune training with Barlow Adventures at the Imperial Sand Dunes in southern California. This three day driving and navigation program focuses on moving safely and effectively through large dunefields. Skills-building exercises are intended to improve pace, line choice and vehicle control, as well as developing precision map and compass navigation technique…



Joining in on a Ladies Offroad Network camping adventure in Arizona: Five days of fun learning out on the trail and in camp with Charlene Bower and a small group of adventure-minded ladies. The event consists of three core days of trail runs and training, and two days with additional optional activities designed around the event theme…



Looking ahead to a return to Paris as soon as possible to reconnect with friends and some favorite places in the city of light. Timing is still uncertain due to the pandemic, but we hope the trip is back on the calendar for early 2021…


JEEP BADGE OF HONOR


The Jeep Badge of Honor program offers users the chance to earn “badges” by completing specific trails around the country. There are currently 56 trails that have Badges of Honor. Jeep added seven new ones to the list in 2020, including one in the Ocala National Forest — the only one in Florida. The 81-mile route is called “Tread Lightly! Four Wheel Drive Way” and it combines a series of Forest Roads that weave through different landscapes providing an opportunity to relax and enjoy the diverse wildlife of the park. There’s nothing very technical, but deep sand, dense overgrowth and tight turns make things a bit interesting…


OCALA NATIONAL FOREST


The Ocala National Forest is the southernmost forest in the continental United States and protects the world’s largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest. Located three miles east of Ocala and 16 miles southeast of Gainesville, it covers 607 square miles of Central Florida. The Ocala National Forest was established in 1908 and is the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi River. The word Ocala is thought to be a derivative of a Timucuan term meaning “fair land” or “big hammock”. Dry, sandy areas support Florida longleaf pine sandhills and Florida peninsula inland scrub. Inland scrub consists of sand pines growing amid shrublands of evergreen oaks. The forest contains the largest concentration of sand pine in the world as well as some of the best remaining stands of longleaf pine in central Florida. Where fire is absent, southern coastal plain oak domes and hammocks can grow. These are small stands of thick evergreen oaks. The forest contains several slow-moving rivers and numerous wet “prairies”. The forest’s spring-fed rivers support southern coastal plain hammocks of evergreen and hardwood trees. The prairies are Floridian highlands freshwater marshes. The Ocala Forest is also known for having over 600 natural lakes and ponds. Between the river boundaries of this Forest lie central highlands, coastal lowlands, swamps, springs and hundreds of lakes and ponds. Ocala has a wide variety of wildlife including black bears, alligators, white-tailed deer, wild boar, and numerous small animals, such as squirrels, bats, coyote, gray fox, red fox, opossum, raccoon, river otter, bobcat, skunk, southeastern pocket gopher, and nine-banded armadillo. The United States Navy’s Pinecastle Bombing Range in the Ocala National Forest is the only place on the East Coast where the Navy can do live impact training. The Navy drops nearly 20,000 bombs a year at the site, a few hundred of which are live. F/A-18 Hornet jet fighters and other aircraft take off from Naval Air Station Jacksonville or from aircraft carriers off the Florida coast, fly low over the forest, and drop their bombs in the middle 450 acres of the range. The Navy has used the area for target practice for 50 years under a special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service…


ANASTASIA ISLAND


Anastasia Island is a barrier island located off the northeast Atlantic coast of Florida. It sits east of St. Augustine, running north–south in a slightly southeastern direction to Matanzas Inlet. The island is about 14 miles long and an average of 1 mile in width. It is separated from the mainland by the Matanzas River, part of the Intracoastal waterway. Juan Ponce de León may have landed on the barrier island in 1513. Spanish Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, founder of St. Augustine, moved his initial settlement to Anastasia Island after a revolt by the Timucuan Indians in 1566. This settlement was short-lived, and the colonists moved back to the mainland at the site of present-day downtown St. Augustine. The Spanish built a wooden watch-tower on the northern end of Anastasia Island to warn the town of approaching vessels by raising signal flags. The Spanish eventually replaced the tower with a coquina structure that was converted into a lighthouse soon after Florida came into the possession of the United States in 1821. Beneath the sandy soil of most of the island lie layers of coquina, a shelly rock in various stages of consolidation. This rock is composed primarily of whole and fragmented shells of the donax, or coquina, clam admixed occasionally with scattered fossils of various marine vertebrates, including sharks’ and rays’ teeth. This deposition is known as the Anastasia Formation, and was formed during the Late Pleistocene epoch, in the period of successive glacial ages from about 110,000 years to 11,700 years ago. It is the only local natural source of stone, and was quarried by the Spanish and later the British to construct many of the buildings in St. Augustine including the Castillo de San Marcos …



New York
30°
scattered clouds
humidity: 43%
wind: 5mph N
H 31 • L 23
30°
Tue
33°
Wed
35°
Thu
Weather from OpenWeatherMap

Nesconset | Paris | Belgrade | Akron | St. Louis | Clinton | Grants | Yuma | Borrego Springs | Laughlin | Baker | Barstow | Ridgecrest | Lone Pine | Death Valley | Beatty | Sedona | Phoenix



MORE NOTES FROM THE ROAD:
15-21 December – Holiday Roadtrip
7-14 December – Holiday Roadtrip
1-6 December – Long Island
15-30 November – Long Island
1-14 November – Long Island
28-31 October – Roadtrip East
22-27 October – Moab
15-21 October – Moab
8-14 October – Moab
1-7 October – Roadtrip West
16-30 September – Roadtrip West
1-15 September – Long Island
16-31 August – Long Island
1-15 August – Summer Roadtrip
22-31 July – Summer Roadtrip
14-21 July – Summer Roadtrip
1-13 July – Long Island
16-30 June – Long Island
1-15 June – Bald Eagle
16-31 May – Central PA
1-15 May – Re-opening Trails
April – Lockdown NY
16-31 March – Lockdown NY
9-15 March – Roadtrip Home
1-8 March – Moab
23-29 February – Vegas to Anza Borrego
15-22 February – Southwest Roadtrip
8-14 February – Southwest Roadtrip
1-7 February – Glamis to Vegas
27-31 January – Yuma to Glamis
15-26 January – Nevada to Arizona
1-14 January – Starting the New Year
Archive


EVENTS

LADIES OFFROAD NETWORK NONCON 2020

Recap from the Ladies Offroad Network camping and wheeling event, dubbed the “NonCon” as in “not the convention,” that came together after the official convention was cancelled due to the pandemic… [read]


RE-OPENING

RE-OPENING OUR OUTDOORS

Report from the first trail run with the Off Road Consulting group at Rausch Creek Off Road Park as the post-pandemic phased re-openings begin in Pennsylvania and some of our favorite local trails re-open to the public after the two-month shutdown… [read]


REFLECTIONS

EGYPT: CAIRO REFLECTIONS
A quick overview of impressions from a stop in Cairo during our recent scouting mission in Egypt and Sudan … [read]


SPECIAL REPORT

ALGERIA SCOUTING

A look into south-eastern Algeria on the border with Libya and Niger: overlanding with the Tuareg in one of the most remote corners of the Sahara … [read]


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