Don’t Talk to Strangers (and other advice we ignore)

We love Florida. Its February and we spend our days outdoors in sandals and light sweaters, instead of covering every exposed inch of skin in layers… oh and no shoveling, unless you count digging in the garden… which I can do now… in FEBRUARY. Other things you can do in Florida in February: Camp.

So… you all know about how Mom and Dad told us not to talk to strangers, and look both ways before crossing the street, and no swimming for an hour after you eat…. you can ignore all these… ok maybe not the second one, but the other two, definitely.

CUE self-proclaimed Insta-Stalker Gio:

Gio and his Jeep Follow him on Instagram @flguardgio. Picture courtesy of the beautiful and talented  Amanda Burns
Gio and his Jeep Follow him on Instagram @flguardgio. Picture courtesy of the beautiful and talented Amanda Burns

We “met” Gio on Instagram (he also has a blog) . Sounds a little creepy right?… well it’s totally not. If you didn’t know we “met” Richard and Ashely, Sam and Erica, Off Belay Americas, and others on Instagram and other social media before ever actually meeting in person. What we learned: Social media is an awesome tool that helps bring people together from all over the world, while all over the world. So, why not use it in your own backyard? Gio, being the magnanimous guy that he is, invited us camping.

So, lets see…. stranger we met on Instagram invites 2 perfect strangers to go camping in the middle of nowhere, with no cell reception, along with 3 other people we’ve never met… in the middle of nowhere… if this isn’t the makings of a B-rated horror flick, I don’t know what is. But of course we went anyway, ’cause we’re crazy like that.

Where we went:

Alexander Spring, Ocala National Forest, Altoona, FL. 

What we did:

Well, it was cold, so we didn’t go swimming, but there were others who didn’t mind the cold….

Alexander Spring
Alexander Spring

Or, apparently, the Gators….

Through 21415 1942

Instead, we went exploring….

Through 21415 1960

Through 21415 1964

Mike, doing his Yeti walk.
Mike, doing his Yeti walk.

Later, we went off-roading at night, which was a bit more exciting and fun, ’cause, it was dark, and also, my seat belt didn’t work… There also might have been some bad spanish over a CB radio, some rednecks in pickup trucks, a real trailer park bonfire, annnnddd somewhere in there someone had a handgun and offered me lessons… and somehow i managed to remember at least ONE of the things Mom and Dad told me… never play with guns… while drinking….in the dark…. unless you want to be on the next episode of Tosh.0.

Jeeps at Night... a little headlight comparison.
Jeeps at Night… a little headlight comparison. I think Gio’s won (on the left) for brightness.

After/during those shenanigans we shared stories,a few beers, some good food, and laughs. We also made some new friends who we will probably be camping with again in the future.

CampFire Ludy_Gio

The gang’s all here: Gio, Derek, Amanda and Ludy (also the back of my head, and some bacon)

So, moral of the story: Talk to strangers, go into the woods with them at night, and don’t wear your seatbelt. If you do all these things, you might have a fun weekend, orrrr you could end up as the basis for the next B-rated horror flick. But, my money is on the first one.

Me, Mike and our baby Gopher Tortoise... she's growing up so fast!
Me, Mike and our baby Gopher Tortoise… she’s growing up so fast!

Through 21415 1969

**Note: Some photo’s robbed from Facebook. Thanks Amanda, Ludy and Derek for providing them!

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