After a few days in Key West, we began our real adventure going north. Along with our friends from South Florida Jeep Club, we parted towards Ocala, specifically a park dedicated to off road called Hard Rock Cycle Park.
We got there around 3am, and opposed to things in our countries, the gate was closed but not locked, that meant that we could go in, camp and the next day go the office to register and pay the corresponding fees, we were amazed of the owners’ confidence in the campers.
The next morning, we began experimenting the many difficulties of these roads. The park has different routes with steep descends and climbs, curves and thin roads where all the off road fans can have fun with safety. For us the experience was a little more difficult since the roads were made for Jeeps and since the Land Cruiser is wider and longer many roads presented very difficult hurdles to overcome. On one of the most steep descends we had the first incident of the expedition when we almost lost one of the video cameras. In the descend the truck went over a big rock that came out flying like a projectile towards the camera, fortunately Yoyo was very quick and to avoid the impact, put his knee in front of the camera, as you can imagine his knee required some first aid, but nothing serious. So we could continue to enjoy a few more hours of the sun and the heat normal in these parts during this time of the year.
In the afternoon, we said bye to our friends and still in the company of Wardie continue our journey to Alexander Springs, a natural spring within the Ocala National Forest. When we arrived, the ranger was very nice and let us stayed there without charge and even offered us to call all the parks she knew to let us stayed in those without any cost also.
We located the camping sites and then went to bathe in the cold and clear waters of the springs. The picnic areas are very well arranged with tables, grills, tables and chairs. The spring has sand around it and the park has build a stone steps to go down, something I always take notice and compare in the different places I visit is how each region tries get the most from their natural resources and tourism, and United States is an example to follow by many. According to the park information, this spring shoots 70 gallons of water each day at a temperature of 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22,2 °C), an invaluable source of water at an excellent temperature. That night we had a barbecue and a very nice chat with Wardie, and then to sleep.
I want to thank the help and cordiality of our friends William Materson “Bill”, his son Patrick, Steve Ward “Wardie” and Enrique Herrera “Nica Power”, whose company and experience made this part of the expedition an adventure to be repeated.
Members of Alaska OX: Sergio Pinillos, Johannes “Yoyo” Valero and Luis Vassallo.