Tag Archives: Camping in Florida

Camping Can Be Fun Part 1

9 Jun

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

My wife, DiVoran, and I were born and raised in the desert southwest and were used to clear and dry type weather.  When we first moved to Florida in 1965 for me to work on America’s Manned Lunar Landing Mission, we would never have imagined ever going camping anywhere in the jungle that surrounded us.  It was hot and humid all the time and we were inundated with frogs, lizards, spiders and mosquitos day and night.  It was all I could manage was to go from my air-conditioned house to my air-conditioned car and drive to my air-conditioned office.  Did I mention that my air-conditioned office in the Vertical Assembly Building (VAB) was located in the middle of a National Wildlife Refuge, which was full of all manner of slithering things, such as alligators and snakes?  

Photo credit https://fas.org/irp/imint/10061385.htm

I had camped with my family as a teenager in New Mexico on deer hunting trips, and DiVoran had camped with her dad on fishing trips in Colorado when she was younger.  But the climate and weather experiences of those camping trips, during our youths, were so much different.  When some friends from church and work suggested a weekend family camping trip to one of the Central Florida freshwater springs, we were skeptical, but our friends assured us that it would be a lot of fun.  They painted a ‘Florida Paradise’ picture for us.  

Photo: https://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/things-to-do/arts-history/native-american-heritage-alexander-springs.html

Our friends furnished the small two-man pup-tents (open on the bottom and no way to secure the front opening) and mosquito netting that we thought would protect us from the insects.  Well, as it turned out, the blankets we were sleeping on (no air mattresses) did not keep us from being poked by rocks and sticks.  But worst of all, we had no way to support the mosquito netting above us, so as it lay on top of us the  mosquitos jabbed us right thru the mesh.  The fact that this trip was happening in the middle of the summer was aggravated by the Florida heat and humidity.  All in all, it was a couple of miserable nights.

Photo: https://www.pinterest.de/pin/97249673187141267/

I must admit the swimming and tubing was great.  The water was clear and cool, and in spite of the problems, we were hooked on spending time at the Florida freshwater springs.  We discovered that there were other freshwater springs down the middle of the state, and we set our sights on visiting as many of them as we could.  But the first thing we needed to do was get some decent camping equipment.  I called my mother, at home, in Albuquerque, NM and asked her if she still had the family camping equipment.  She said she did, and she was not using any of it.  She packed up the four-man tent, army cots, propane stove and lantern and shipped them by Greyhound bus to us.  I was amazed that everything was in perfect condition after all those years in that dry desert climate.

Photo: https://wildernesstoday.com/best-family-tent/

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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