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Afternoon Adventure By:Freddy Taul

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that an adventure has to be an epic trip to a remote place when, in reality, it can be twenty minutes from your house at a local park.

Less than nine miles from my house sits Chickasabogue Park, “an 1100 acre outdoor recreation area and wildlife refuge.” My family and I have come to love this park for its proximity to our house and kid-friendly atmosphere. The seventeen miles of trails traverse mostly gentle terrain providing an excellent training ground for my little explorers. It’s also a quick escape to the outdoors when I need it.

Flowing through the middle of the park is Chickasaw Creek. This winding water way is an excellent venue for kayakers and canoeists alike. Growing up I attended a summer camp where kayaking and canoeing were regular activities, which served to stir up an affection for these waterborne adventures. This past May my gracious wife bought me a kayak after years of wanting to own one. I was now able to take to the water and explore the vast water ways around us here on the Gulf Coast.

Earlier this week I took my kayak down to Chickasaw Creek to do some exploring. It’s something I’ve wanted to do all summer, but it just hadn’t happened yet. Upon launching into the creek I paddled east. None of my previous times on the creek had taken me very far due to naturally impatient little ones aboard. It wasn’t long before I was in uncharted waters (to me at least). To my surprise there were several people out enjoying the water and the slightly less miserable weather we’ve had this week. It’s an occasion to celebrate when the humidity drops below ninety percent around here.

As I paddled along I came across one of the oxbow lakes adjacent to the creek, so I decided to scout around. The lake takes you north from the creek before curving back west. At its widest point, it is no more than fifty meters across, and a couple hundred meters in length. When you reach the end of the oxbox you’re confronted by a narrow, tree-covered channel that appears to lead to another world. I lingered a moment deciding if I wanted to set out into the unknown. Lured in by the prime prospect of adventure, I paddled forward. A pair of Golden Orb spiders stood at the entrance of the channel as if to guard it from the outside world. They didn’t seem too concerned with my curiosity.

The murky waters and heavy foliage created the ideal setting for my exploration. Having no idea what I might encounter in the channel, including the possibility of alligators, sparked a true sense of adventure. Where there’s little risk, there’s little adventure.As I journeyed further down the channel the trees closed in upon me. At times it was easier to grab hold of their branches and pull myself forward. I began to wonder just how far they would grant me passage. Navigating these tight quarters had me wishing for a slightly smaller vessel as a 14.5′ kayak isn’t the ideal length for such a place. Thankfully, there were only a few tight turns to maneuver. At one point a dead thorn bush made an effort to thwart my journey, but a swift whack of my paddle sent the branches into the water and out of my way. That still didn’t stop a few thorns from catching the back of my neck or burying into my fingers, which I would have to dig out later.

Shortly after my thorny encounter, I reached my turn around point. That is not to say I could not have gone further, but it would have required me to dismount the kayak and drag it over some low branches. I assessed the risk at hand and decided it would be best to return with a friend before making the attempt. The afternoon was pressing on so avoiding a tricky situation in the channel alone was the wise thing to do. I backed up past the thorn bush, turned the boat around, and made my way back to the oxbow lake, then to the boat launch.

A good adventure is good for the soul. They leave us feeling satisfied and fulfilled. I began by saying adventures don’t have to be far off journeys. A short journey to a local park can satisfy us all the same. It might seem crazy to some, but I know this resonates with others. We all need adventure in our lives, so get out there and find some. It’s closer than you think.

Click HERE for more information about Chickasabogue Park.

Click HERE for information about Native Kayaks.

Click here for original source

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Mikey’s Minions Mountain Ride, hosted by Peach State Overland

MMM

Almost all of the members of the Peach State Overland team have been impacted by ALS through friends and/or family. Our Grandmothers, Grandfathers, Cousins, and beloved co-workers of our team have all had to fight this awful disease so we are passionate in supporting the ongoing search for a cure. 100% of the proceeds from this event will be donated in honor of PSO team member Steven’s cousin Mikey Post who is currently fighting ALS.

EVENT INFO: #MMMR2016

Where?
Alabama’s Talladega National Forest 600-1 and 600-2. See the Event Schedule for more details

WE ARE RIDING TO HONOR THOSE IMPACTED BY LOU GEHRIG’S DISEASE (ALS) AND SPREAD AWARENESS OF THE URGENCY TO FIND TREATMENTS AND A CURE.

TO ATTEND THE RIDE, WE ARE ASKING THAT ALL ATTENDEES DONATE AT LEAST $10 CASH PER VEHICLE TO JOIN THE RIDE

DONATIONS OF $20 OR MORE PER VEHICLE WILL RECEIVE 2 PEACH STATE OVERLAND STICKERS AS A THANK YOU FOR YOUR GENEROSITY

#MMMR2016 ITINERARY

(9:30am – 10:00am EST)
Meeting Point in Georgia is the Cedarcrest Point parking lot behind Anytime Fitness and Kode3 Web Solutions
GPS Coordinates: 34°02’17.1″N 84°46’32.5″W
Activities: Meeting and caravanning from here to the Alabama meeting spot

(10:00am – 12:00pm EST)
Driving to Alabama’s meeting spot

(12pm – 12:30pm EST)
Meeting Point in AL is the Cheaha State Park Visitor Center Parking Lot
GPS Coordinates: 33°28’38.4″N 85°48’33.0″W
Activities: Snacks available for purchase at the visitor center here and there are public bathroom facilities

(12:30pm – 1:30pm EST)
Driving to the trail head of 600-1 at its south-most point
Coordinates: 33.196514, -86.063385

(1:30pm – 4:30pm EST)
Ride 600-1 up to the trail head of 600-2
Trail Description:
600-1 is a fairly tight trail when it comes to trees, so some pin striping may occur. The trail is stock vehicle friendly with the possible need for a spotter in a few rutted out points. There are two beautiful overlooks on this trail that get better as we go. The first is a “power line overlook” (33.26345395996115 , -86.08452537297815) where from the trail there is some beautiful scenery and we will stop here briefly to walk up the 30ft hiking trail to get the full panoramic view of both sides of the mountain. The second overlook is a rock face that gives a full 180 degree view of the west valley (33.31159763414783 , -86.06942082017595) where the view from here is as far as the sky will allow to the horizon.

After 600-1 is completed we will split up into 2 groups:

(Group 1) — Those who want to tackle 600-2 (4:30pm – 7:30pm EST)
We recommend you only going on this trail if you have at least all-terrain tires, and ideally some armor. A lift with 32-33″ tires is preferred to make the trail more comfortable and less stressful. 600-2 has a lot of deep ruts and sections with fairly large rocks in combination with the ruts. There are also, depending on how recently it rained, two roughly 1 ft deep mud holes cannot be avoided towards the north end of the trail.
Estimated trail time: 2-3 hours

(Group 2) — Those who do not want to tackle 600-2 (4:30pm – 6:00pm EST)
This group will take the gravel roads left at 600-2’s south-most trail head and go up 310 to 637 to finish off the day
Estimated Trail time: 2.5 hours

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Overlanding Basics – Spontaneity & the Great Outdoors

November 3, 2015 | Corrie Murguia | OverlandBound.com

This is the type of text exchange I have with my husband on a regular basis:

text(That’s me in blue. I’m an outdoors pusher.)

This was my 38K foot question to the husband-unit on a flight home from a business trip. It was Friday. I landed at 10AM, home by 11AM, Michael was home at 12:30PM and we were on the road by 1PM.

IMG_4568-683x1024Michael talks ALL THE TIME about getting out of town as fast as possible. And it’s for a reason: He powers through his weekdays in the SF video game industry (Fun fact: He was one of the original team members on SimCity!), and his sense of work/life balance comes from his ability to get the F* out of dodge on a dime.

When my husband gets to the mountains, his entire demeanor changes. His face lightens. He breathes deeper. He is a new person as soon as the air turns fresh and the drone of traffic falls away. There is nothing better than seeing his face brighten up with the suggestion of a last minute overlanding excursion.

There is a strong element of planning and prepping with every new overland journey we take. But when spontaneity strikes, we use the following guidelines to seize the moment, load up and explore!

1. If You Fail to Prepare…

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At the end of each trip we take inventory of what we used, what we discovered we needed, and what we can cut from our 3 Plano cases.

Once we have everything on a list, we execute on it. We don’t wait for the next scheduled adventure. We always have the core essentials on the ready.

For example, our dry foods plano will *always* have spaghetti, sauce, and packets of parmesan. We know we have one solid meal option with our outdoor kitchen setup wherever we land.

I also keep a duffle bag fully loaded with clean outdoors clothing. When we get home, we wash our dirty gear, and it goes right back into the ‘adventure’ duffle. No running around trying to find the merino wool shirt or the green adventure pants Friday afternoon. Just grab and go! (I swear, Michael would live in those pants if I didn’t immediately pack them away.)

We aren’t perfect at this! Sometimes we grab from the pantry to restock the cases; however, we’re conscious that the more we do at the end of a trip, the faster we are able to launch into the next one.

2. Stay On Your Maintenance Game

I HATE wondering (and worrying) about anything technical or mechanical while overloading in the 1996 FZJ80. I am the one scheduling oil changes, tune ups, tire/brake checks, WHATEVER. We stay on maintenance when we’re grinding pavement so we don’t have to think or worry when we’re off-road. And the last thing I want to ask just as we’re pulling out of the driveway is, “Hey, when was the last oil change?”

3. Familiar Routes

Spontaneous trips = Familiar routes. We know the ins-and-outs of the Slick Rock Trail in Lake Alpine, CA and the off-road camping sites available along the trail.
When we take off down the spontaneous trail, we KNOW the terrain and final destination. Spontaneous trips aren’t for new trails. We allow plenty of time for planning and research before hitting a new region.

IMG_5200-e1431810226379-1024x7681-1024x7684. It’s the Spice of Life

When asking each other what we’re going to do on a Friday night, we always have the option of shaking up our
scenery and driving away from the crowds! Having the ability to pick up and go reminds me to seize my time and make the most out of life. And it’s always fun to watch my husband reconnect with his deepest passion: the outdoors.

Make the time between your spontaneous ‘YES’ and getting outdoors as short as possible! It doesn’t matter what you do to be on the ready for adventure. Have a pre-packed bag, have a case, have several cases, have everything, have nothing, do your thing, but always remember that adventure is only one ‘YES’ away. Only always.

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Expedition Alabama by: Freddy Taul

November 4, 2015 | Freddy Taul | OverlandingUSA.com

At approximately 4pm on Friday October 23 the Overlanding USA team embarked on Expedition Alabama (XAL).

It was the first of what will be multiple trips in an effort to create a back roads route around the state of Alabama. The idea for XAL began months ago after I first learned of the Trans America Trail. I quickly found some roads close to the house but never made much progress after that. As Ruston and I were trying to plan a trip in October I pitched the idea of working on this project. We both agreed this was what we needed to do, which meant I had a lot of work to do!

58034e_e29077592d54417781d8af27d527644aHours upon hours went into searching for roads to piece together a route as far north as I could take it. After all was said and done I had mapped from my house in Saraland up to a small town called Eldridge, AL. There was no way to know how long it would take us to drive that distance and we had to hope there weren’t many obstacles along the way. I recruited my friend Austin to navigate for us knowing he would enjoy the trip and be a huge asset to the team.

Friday came and it was time to hit the trail. We all met at my house to do final vehicle prep and loading. An awning needed to be installed on my vehicle and Austin had to set up his computer and other equipment to navigate. We were ready to roll by 4pm and soon we were on the VERY dusty trail as there had been little rain in October.

We pushed through to Silas, AL where we made camp at Service Campground, a well- maintained camp ground built by the Army Corps of Engineers ($16/night fee).58034e_344db654905749f6b922780d69ff0ed8

 Saturday was going to be a big push to cover as much ground as possible. We crossed the Tombigbee River into Coffeeville and headed towards the Scotch Wildlife Management Area.

From there we rolled on towards Demopolis arriving in time for lunch. After fueling up and eating it was time to get moving again. Just east of Demopolis we encountered the worst stretch of road during the trip, and it was paved! I later told Austin to remove that section from the route. It was really that bad.

The next major section we were looking forward to was the Oakmulgee district of the Talladega National Forest.

Here we found some nice trails winding through beautiful fall colored trees. You could spend a weekend exploring the roads through that place but we had to stay on mission.  Tuscaloosa was next, and thankfully we passed through just after kickoff of the Tennessee/Alabama game. By now we realized that reaching Eldridge was not just a possibility but a reality.

The roads from Tuscaloosa to Eldridge were definitely the most scenic roads we drove all weekend. One section took us past several fields with old barns sitting below some large hills. Wildlife was in abundance too as we saw several turkeys. We encountered our only obstacle all weekend when we came upon a “Road Closed” sign. Curiosity demanded we check it out and the road was gated off. Austin found us another way and the journey continued.

Next stop: Eldridge.

 We were losing daylight by the time we reached Eldridge but thankfully there was enough left to take some pictures in a neat tunnel running under some train tracks just south of town. This was a big milestone for the team. My only regret was not mapping out more, but like I said, there was no way to know how long it would take to reach Eldridge. After so many hours of planning I was thrilled we made it that far by Saturday evening with barely any issues.

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The Bankhead National Forest was just up the road so that’s where we made camp Saturday night. We all enjoyed a relaxing night after a long, successful day of driving. Sunday morning was slow going.

We took time to view the sights around the lake and make plans for the day. Ruston took the lead out that morning as Austin was navigating on the fly. We drove until lunch time and found some nice roads but I will be going back to the maps to find a better route from Eldridge. The Bankhead took us farther east than we would like. We parted ways in Muscle Shoal58034e_4b47e1ebf90a4b5682b8eee0339cd900s. Ruston was off to Tuscaloosa while Austin and I drove on to Florence for lunch and to visit the Alabama Outdoors store there. We then headed south to Saraland.

XAL is off to a great start and we look forward to the next trip. In the mean time I have a lot of work to do. Route planning is very tedious but very rewarding in the end. As we cover more ground we will update the route on our website so you can check it out for yourself.

In all that we do with Overlanding USA we hope to inspire others to get out and explore the world around them starting right outside your back door. That’s how this all began. So, load up your car, hit the trail, and find places you never knew were there!

Semper Explorandum,

Freddy

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