Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the virtual races last year, but I’m ready for a real Fun Run!
Last year before the world stopped, me and some gal pals purchased tickets to do the Muddy Princess run in West Palm Beach. One year later we finally got to get dirty.
We signup for the 11:45 run, none of us are really morning people, especially on the weekend. When we got there the parking was well set up, I’m not really sure why we had to pay $10 per car when it’s normally free to park; I guess to pay the people for keeping order and organization. Still, I think $10 is a little much. They didn’t have a DJ or any trucks, but that’s understandable in the days of COVID and it didn’t bother me. The registration and bag check process was seamless and we didn’t have to wait long.
The run itself wasn’t as muddy as we had hoped. It was more dirt trail than anything and not all the obstacles had mud, some of the ones that did, it was dried up and the water trucks had stopped coming by the time we got there. There were a few good ones holes where we could play in the dirty water but I wouldn’t say it was muddy. The amount of obstacles were decent and good for beginners, if you are a person who likes to do Spartan races I wouldn’t recommend this one. That wasn’t our case, we are all beginners and out to have fun and do something different. In the end, we met our goal and we all ended up dirty girls.
Something I really liked was that they had photographers at the best obstacles and plenty of water stations to rehydrate (very important in the FL sun). The pictures they took were awesome and very much appreciated. I had my waterproof camera with me, but the pics aren’t quite as good as what they took.
We are planning on signing up for this event again next year because we did have fun. Hopefully the covid restrictions will be gone and they can make it muddier and better. If you have a group of gal pals you want to spend some time with and get down and dirty I would recommend it, but just know it may not be all that you expected.
One week prior to the start of our vacation my husband says to me:
“There is supposed to be a cold front while we are at the beach, can we cancel it? It’s going to be freezing!”
Me: “Nope. Bring a jacket!”
After a year of canceling long weekends and vacations I didn’t care if it was going to be snowing on the beach, I wasn’t canceling again. We needed to get away from the house!
I made reservations at South Beach Inn on Cocoa Beach, we had stayed there once before and really liked it. It’s an older hotel and needs some TLC on the outside, but it’s small and away from the hustle and bustle around the pier down the road. All the rooms are very nice and clean, they have a kitchen, they allow pets, it has beach access and it’s affordable; it checks off all our boxes.
The evening before it was time to leave I started the process of packing and trying to anticipate everything. I went grocery shopping so we didn’t have to worry about it once we got there, packed up our kitchen, our bathroom, kid’s closets, beach gear, dog stuff, and I almost forgot my own bag. The morning of, my husband had scheduled to have our roof and patio pressure washed, so I finished packing the cooler, cleaning up the house, and trying to make sure I didn’t forget anything (which I did anyway). Finally around 1:00 we started our 2.5 hour drive and officially began our 5 day vacation at Cocoabeach.
When we got there the very nice man checking us in informed me that we would not have direct beach access because they just started pumping sand onto the beach so there was a lot of construction equipment. BUT, we could walk just a minute down the sidewalk and there was an access point there. This was annoying. But ok, What can I do, besides a little walking never hurt anyone. So we moved in changed and headed to the beach, well, me the kids and our puppy headed there. By this time we could already feel the cold air coming in, it was super windy and my husband just wasn’t feeling it.
The boys didn’t care, they hit the waves and Chase (our pup) loved digging and rolling in the sand. It was just us crazy’s on the beach. It was cold. It was really cold. For a moment I almost admitted my husband was right.
We were there long enough for the boys to get their fix and Chase to get used to ocean water and drink too much of it. Then we headed back, popped open a bottle of wine and some juice boxes, enjoyed the fab dinner my husband made, and got our relax on.
Saturday evening through Monday it was way to cold for me to get in the water, but I made sand castles and watched my little ones boogie board and get beat up by the waves. Monday we ventured to The Enchanted Forest Sanctuary and walked a few of their nature trails. We were hoping we would be able to grill, but it’s picnic baskets only. The trails were nice though. It’s hard for me to get excited about Florida nature trails because they all are very similar. But it was easy for the kids to do and very well signed so you can’t get lost. The trails are well kept and the length of the trails is perfect for young kids. We spent a couple morning hours there then headed back to the beach after lunch.
Tuesday the sun and the warmth started coming back but I wanted to do something different, we tried the Brevard Zoo. I love zoos, always have. This one is small, but it’s very well laid out and had animal exhibits that I haven’t seen before. It wasn’t crowded and all of us really enjoyed it! Great day out and recommended!
They had a small pool for smaller kids, a petting zoo, bird and giraffe feedings, kayak rentals, zip lines, and a train that went around a section of the zoo. Plenty of stuff to spend a full day out and at reasonable price for a family.
Wednesday was a perfect day for the beach. At this point however we had to walk about 5 minutes to get to the beach in a different direction because they had closed several beach access points and there was trucks driving back and forth every 5 minutes on the beach. There was also constant beeping and banging from the construction trucks and vehicles all night long. This was very disappointing.
We found a good spot with no beach traffic and even though the water was cold, I was able to handle it and play in the waves with the boys. We spent almost 8 hours on the beach and it was great! I will warn though, the waves are ROUGH! This is a place surfers like to go, so I had to take them just past the “crash” zone and before the drop off where the current really sucks you in and we were able to jump and bob in the waves.
Thursday we headed back home. Overall it was a really great trip and much needed time away. The beach construction was very annoying and disappointing but we made the best of it anyway. The important thing is we all had fun and time together.
So I’m going to rant, and I’m sorry if it offends some dog owners. But I’m tired of dodging other peoples dogs. I have had dogs my whole life. Mostly German shepherd pure breeds and mix and Gordon Setters, but I have also owned a cocker spaniel, and now I own a border collie/Aussie mix so I’ve had a range in dog sizes.
I believe that no matter the breed, size, or age of the dog, a dog parent should always be considerate of others in publicplaces and have control of their pet. I have always made sure to have control of my dogs when at the park or in public places. I don’t believe in retractable leashes and if we are at a picnic table that is around others I keep my dog on a leash, a real leash, even though he listens very well, I don’t take the chance that he is going to go after another dog, kid, person on a bike, etc. I’m very conscious and aware because I don’t want anyone to be bothered my dog. Even though all my dogs have been very well behaved and mostly docile, you just never know. I expect the same consideration by other dog owners that are not part of our group. For them to control their dog(s). So the last few times at the park, we go for short bike rides and I have Chase run along side of me, on a leash. He is outstanding! He listens to my commands, he doesn’t try to go after anyone or any other dog, we just do our thing and no one is bothered or startled by us. If they are, I correct the action immediately and apologize.
The last time at the park, a couple with (4) Boston terriers on retractable leashes didn’t lock the leash and soon as Chase and I (my boys on bikes right behind me) approached one of the terriers ran at Chase, who I had guided to be on the left side of my bike, (opposite side of the dogs to avoid problems) and I had to slam on my breaks to avoid running over the dog. My kids nearly crashing into me and Chase. The guy says “sorry”. I grumble under my breath and say to my crew “let’s go”
Then again today, twice within a 30 second window I dealt with uncontrolled dogs again. All 4 of us riding bikes with Chase running beside me. We were all having fun not bothering anyone. I had Chase go on opposite side of people before passing anyone, just to be considerate. Up ahead I saw a guy on roller blades with two dogs pull off to the side out of the way giving them water. Great, he’s doing the right thing so far. Again, had Chase go opposite side an we stayed on the far side of the path. As soon as we approached, his Pitt bull on a retractable leash got away from him and went after Chase, causing me to slam on my breaks and nearly crash.
Guy: “oh, wow. So sorry”
This time I went off, “it’s not ok, you need to control your dog”, and a few other words and then got on my way. One of my kids stopped for some reason and was taking his sweet time getting going again, so I stopped to wait for him. Group of people at a picnic table near the high traffic pathway had a little dog off leash. Who of course decided to charge after Chase. The lady just stood there and watched, didn’t move a muscle to control her dog. Until I acted like I was going to kick it and started yelling and cussing them to control their dog. Literally 30 seconds after the last incident so I’m mad as hell.
Anyway. Bottom line. Please please please control your pets if you take them to a public place and be considerate of others. I am tired of dodging other peoples dogs. And for heaven’s sake, use a real leash and not a retractable one.
I let my dogs run free off a leash when we are at the park and away from people. I am also always aware of where they are and if other people are coming close to our space. Because I like to let him run free and play with the boys we choose spots away people. If we have no choice and have to be close to others, the 6’ non retractable leash stays on and we make the best of it.
Things happen. I get it. I am a dog person. I love dogs. And the truth is if we were walking or jogging, I probably wouldn’t be so pissed off about these incidents. I would continue being super annoyed but more passive aggressive about it. But we are cruising on bikes and I do my absolute best to make sure nothing happens plus I have my kids with me. If my kids crash because your dog is on a retractable leash or not a leash at all, someone might go to jail because I’m going to loose it.
Everyone is entitled to enjoy their adventures and time outside the way they want to, but at the same time be respectful and aware of others around you.
“Can we go camping? Please Mommy!” “We haven’t been on any big adventures in a long time!”
“I wish my love, but it’s really hard to travel and finding good camping spots here is really really hard because of alligators and horrendous amount of mosquitoes. “
“ well. Can we camp out in the yard mommy?!”
It’s about 10:00 pm on a Saturday night when we are having this conversation. I will admit, I’ve had several glasses of wine at this point and even though I’ve pitched and broken down tents hundreds of times, at this particular moment it felt like something that might wake all the neighbors. I sit there deciding what my answer will be as I play the scene in my mind.
Seeing my hesitation and basically reading my mind, my sweet big hearted manipulative boy continues his pitch.
“We don’t need tents Mommy, we can just get our sleeping bags and sleep on the patio. We have a privacy fence now. It’s something different mommy. Its a different kind of adventure. come on Mommy, let’s do something different” cue the big bright smile and sparkling blue eyes.
“You’re right, why not. Let’s do it!”
We went and got our sleeping bags, asked my other kiddo if he wants to join us. Of course he did. The boys, myself, and our dog all got “comfortable” on the hard concrete patio under the blooming mango tree.
We talked for a little while, I told them stories of my hiking days in Georgia and the time I went backpacking on the Appalachian trail for a few days. They talked about Minecraft and all of the details of it. They tell great stories to fall asleep to.
Being asleep didn’t last long for me. The different sounds in the neighbors yards and the temperature chasing to “it might rain” woke me up. I dozed thru the night, but mostly just took in the moment. I stared at my kids hoping this was one of the memories they hang on to. I watched them with bewilderment as they slept so peaceful on the ground. Mostly I just soaked in the love and happiness of being “us”.
As the sun started coming up I realized I have never bothered to be outside at this time, I am always to busy getting the boys up and ready for school or sleeping on the weekends.
Except when our neighbors had a rooster. The stupid bird from hell woke me up every single Saturday and Sunday at 5:00am. I live in South Florida. We have small yards and close neighbors. I consider it very disrespectful to have a flipping rooster cock-a-doodle-doing on the weekend next to my window. Literally because it somehow kept finding its way into our yard. I never allowed this evil bird to get me out of bed, unless Chase heard it and started whining to go out. In those moments, I couldn’t tell you if the sun was rising or not, all I knew was “cock-a-doodle-fuck-a-doo, hurry up Chase and go poo!” Then buried myself back under the blankets for a few hours.
My boy had a good idea as this was a nice change in routine and I got to see how our back yard wakes up on my terms and not some annoying farm animals.
Thankfully by this night the Rooster was gone. I don’t know what happened to it, but I am glad that something did.
I laid there, my spine in some pain and sending tingling sensations to my fingers. Our sleeping bags covered in leaves and flowers that fallen from the mango tree. I watched as the yard came alive.
Woodpeckers started knocking on the electrical pole, mocking birds singing, green parrots flying by on their way to find breakfast, blue Jays chasing away the singing mockingbirds, various insects emerging, silk worms glistening in the morning rays of light, lizards coming out to warm in the sunlight; yes it was a nice change in pace.
I gained some new perspective and reinforced my appreciation for the small things in life (as well as my bed).
About 7:00, I peeled myself off the ground and cleaned up my blanket. Stretched and popped and took a deep breath of morning air. Then I made myself some coffee and decided to open a book I haven’t read since I was a teenager, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” while the boys continued sleeping on the hard ground.
Wishing y’all a very Happy, Healthy, Smart, Strong, & Successful Day!
This post is a little bit overdue. Life has been so crazy since the kids have been doing virtual school, I feel overdue on several things. Back in September we finally took a little break from life and had a wonderful long weekend on Cocoa Beach. We didn’t do any of the “touristy” things as we are still keeping our distance but we still had fun.
We arrived on Friday to our hotel, The South Beach Inn. It’s about 2-3 miles from the pier where the “hot spots” are. When we go on vacation we always look for places that have a kitchen. Even without COVID we prefer to cook our own meals, not just because it saves on money, but dining out isn’t enjoyable for us with small hyper kids. This place had a kitchen, a bedroom, sofa bed for the kids, and was right on the beach. It was extremely clean and super affordable! It had a nice yard and place for grilling and having get togethers, a deck with plenty of chairs and benches to relax that is lighted at night, a shower to wash off the salt and sand before you go back to your room, as well as beach gear (boogie boards, chairs, etc) you could borrow if needed. The staff was friendly and very helpful when needed. The hotel is an older hotel and has character to it, regardless I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for an affordable place on Cocoa Beach.
We arrived during high tide on Friday, the waves were brutal on the beach. If you are a surfer, you would have loved it! If you are a family with smaller kids, probably less love for the waves. Even for me, after being in the water for 5 minutes, I was over it! The waves were so high and smacked me so hard that it rolled me under water and dragged me thru the sand back to the shoreline several times. The boys didn’t go out as far as I did and it was actually worse for them closer to the beach. So, mostly we made sand castles on Friday. Saturday and Sunday were not to bad during low tide. We had a lot more fun with the boogie boards and playing in the ocean. High tide started coming in between 3-5:00pm, so we had pretty much the whole day to play in the water.
We drove to the pier on Saturday just to see what it was all about. Parking is $15 for the day and since this is where all the shops and restaurants are it was very crowded. We decided it wasn’t worth it, went to Publix and spent $15 on some chicken wings and wine then headed back to the hotel for lunch and walked to the beach.
Another great thing about this beach is there are a lot of sea treasures to be found!
All of us enjoyed our long weekend at Cocoa Beach and will definitely be back. Next time I hope to be able to check out the Kennedy Space Center and see one of the rocket launches.
If you are looking for some peace and quite in South Florida, this is one of the best places to go. On the south west side of the state and part of the ten thousand islands, this is an ideal location for kayaking and paddle boarding. We enjoy packing a cooler full of cold drinks, some sandwiches and launching our kayaks at Everglades National Park. Typically, my husband enjoys fishing more than I do, I am more into paddling around and soaking in the sun, salt, and serenity; snapping pictures of all the amazing creatures. But from time to time, I will toss my line in and see if I get lucky.
I have never seen any alligators or crocodiles here, that’s not to say they aren’t around, because you never know, but I have never seen them here. Me and my young boys have no problem getting in the water and splashing and playing around. I am always on the look out and we don’t venture to far from shore when swimming, because hey, it’s Florida and there are numerous cold blooded animals that can eat you. But like I said, I have never seen them here, but I have seen dolphins playing in the water near the islands while kayaking, it is always a super fun experience when dolphins are around. I have also seen several different crab species, conchs, and a variety of bird species here. The water is brackish, it opens up to the ocean about 3 miles off the main shore, past the ten thousand islands. We always has the luck of catching salt water catfish, they are a very bony fish and eating it can be a little annoying. Usually we fry it up and most of the bones with the meat and it tastes really good. If you find yourself catching them be careful because their fins are like switch blades and hurt like hell if they get you, after being stuck a few times I make my husband take the fish off the hooks when I catch one! 🙂
Everglades City also home to Big Cypress National Preserve, air boat rides, kayak rentals, sea food festivals (when covid-19 isn’t a thing) and many other fun adventures. I highly recommend checking out Everglades City and all of it’s natural treasures. I have included the link below if you would like more information about this amazing place. Just don’t forget the bug spray and sunscreen!