Posts Tagged With: kayaking

Sisters Road Trip – Last Stop Kayaking on the Rainbow River, Florida


We decided to take the road less traveled on our way back to Florida from Memphis.  We wanted no interstates, only state and county roads meandering our way down to the west coast of Florida and south to the Rainbow Springs State Park in Dunnellon.  The first night we ended up in Ozark, Alabama which quickly cured us of any romantic notions of fun-filled adventures on the byways of America.  I apologize in advance to anyone from Ozark but we did not have a good experience.  So what  … we were on our way to beautiful Rainbow Springs.

rainbow3  We arrived in Dunnellon in the early afternoon  and checked into a quaint little motel at the confluence of the Rainbow and Withlacoochee Rivers.  We met a friend for dinner at Swampy’s, a restaurant with outdoor seating right on the Springs. Great food but bring your own mosquito spray if you want to sit outside.  We did.

Swampy's Bar & Grill

Swampy’s Bar & Grill

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky & the temperature was in the mid-70’s.

This trip down the Rainbow River was a present of beauty to my sister.  I’d been down the River several times and had tried to describe the almost spiritual feeling of serenity and peace, but I needed to show her. She never kayaked and is not especially athletic or graceful (runs in the family), I was a little trepiditious taking her on a 2-3 hour paddle with no turning back.  But she insisted she could do it and do it she did! Her reaction was everything I wished for … an audible gasp when the shuttle dropped us off at the launch site into the River.

My sister's first time in a kayak

My sister’s first time in a kayak

Rainbow River Canoe & Kayak

Rainbow River Canoe & Kayak

We rented a tandem kayak from Rainbow River Canoe & Kayak, parked our car and were shuttled upriver five miles where the owner helped us into the kayak and headed us in the right direction – downriver.  The thing about the Rainbow River is that it is a constant 71 degrees year round and flows at the rate of one mile an hour.  So if we did nothing but flounder, we would eventually float back to our car.  Up to 500 million gallons of pure water flow from more than 100 spring vents ever day replenishing the river with crystal clear water.  I assured my sister that there were no alligators or snakes in the river due to the cold temperature and she believed me.

Beware Alligators!

Beware Alligators!

Paddling a kayak for 3 hours is thirsty work so after we returned our kayak we headed back to Swampy’s looking and smelling like swamp rats.

memphis15And that was the finale to our Sisters Road Trip 2014 … central Florida to Atlanta, to Nashville, to Memphis, to Dunnellon.  Not only was it a chance for my sister and me to re-connect and visit some of our family, but it was an opportunity to share with her my philosophy of going, doing and exploring when the spirit moves you. We’re retired, our children are grown and there are no constraints, no boundaries, no schedules.  It’s our turn to have fun and we did.



Categories: Family, Kayaking, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eating, Drinking, Kayaking on Long Key

My first full day on Long Key began with a glorious sunrise right outside my window.

I took my book, coffee, banana & hard-boiled egg outside to plan my day. Sometimes I get so excited I feel like a squirrel in the middle of the road – I don’t know which way to run or what to do first.  There were a lot of kayaks at campsites when I took a walk along the shore last night.  I get a vicarious thrill seeing how experienced campers set up their sites and all the nifty gadgets they use. Kurt told me that staring at other campsites is not good camping etiquette but I can’t resist.  They don’t seem to mind when I stop to ask them what they’re doing or the purpose of something interesting looking.  One guy explained the mechanics of his pooper-scooper – I thought it was a metal detector.   I stopped to talk to one elderly gent who was trying to open a coconut with a screwdriver and asked when he’d be serving pina coladas.  He invited me back for a drink in 2-3 days when he got the coconut open!


I always think that people who own (vs renting) kayaks know what they’re doing – although we own a kayak proving that theory wrong. When I noticed  loads of kayakers out on the water, I figured I better get out there too because they most likely understand low and high tides and other boating stuff that is probably important.  So I drove up to the ranger station & rented a cute little kayak & paddled & paddled & paddled following the other kayakers until I noticed that I was about 500 yards … a football field… away from shore.  I started to panic (remembering the great white shark that recently took a bite out of a kayak with two girls in it) until I saw a guy step out of his kayak into knee deep water.  I figured a great white would have to be crawling on its hands & knees to get to my kayak so I relaxed and enjoyed.  I paddled to the end of the park and then back to my campsite where I stopped for a salad with cold chicken and a Blue Moon beer with orange slice, then jumped back in the kayak and returned it with five minutes to spare.  What fun!  I challenge anyone to feel stressed and upset after paddling for two hours in the ocean.  Unless they meet the great white.

kayak long key

tree in water

Categories: Kayaking | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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