Saturday, August 5, 2017

2017 World Rowing Championships Come to Florida

Not often does Florida host a world championship that will bring thousands athletes from 60 countries to the Sunshine State.

Starting on September 23 through October 1 the World Rowing Championship will come to the Sarasota-Bradenton to the newly developed Nathan Benderson Park.  This park was especially design to host FISA (World Rowing Federation) international rowing competitions.  The park has a 2,000 meter course that meets all FISA criteria.  In fact the Nathan Benderson Park is first FISA-Certified course in America.

FISA has 151 National Federation members, as well as National and International Olympic Committees.  In addition to rowing events, the park can be configured to host kayaking and running events.  

The week of international rowing competitions start on September 23 with the Opening Ceremony at 5:30 PM.  The opening event ends with a great fireworks show.  The Opening Ceremony is free but you will need a ticket to attend the actual competition.  Click Here to visit the 2017 World Rowing Championship web page to purchase tickets.  

Depending where you live, it may be worth while to make hotel reservations right now.  Taking into account the long driving distances from major Florida cities, it will be a very long day for some event visitors who drive from home. Knowing how driving I-75, I-4 and I-95 can be dangerous at times, staying over night at any of Florida's west coast hotels will make one's visit to the 2017  World Rowing Championship a pleasurable event.  If you are planning to stay in the Sarasota-Bradenton area for the whole week, click Here the Visit Sarasota web page and Here for information on vacationing in Bradenton and the Gulf Isles.  With 49 days to go, you do not have much time to plan to attend the 2017  World Rowing Championship.  Hope to see you there.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Monday, July 17, 2017

New Ice Mule Cooler Backpack at 2017 ICAST

As my anticipation for the start of ICAST nears each year, I try to imagine what new updates I will see.  This year Ice Mule exceeded my expectation because for the past two years, other than new colors and their Pro Cooler with straps, there were no, what I would call a big change.  At this year's ICAST Ice Mule rolled out a backpack cooler.  The new cooler design has thick insulation on all four side of the cooling chamber. The backpack closure is the same design as on all the other Ice Mule Coolers. This cooler has been tested extensively and will keep items cold for an extended period of time.

There are three pockets that have zippers that allow contents to be cooled.  The backpack has a padded waist strap with comfortable backpack straps.  When I tried on the empty backpack cooler it was comfortable to wear. I did have a problem with the waist strap.  I could not close it. I needed  about 6 more inches. That should not be a problem for average sized people. You can see below that the waist strap should fit perfectly. You see my pants belt is more than 6 inches longer than the waist strap on the backpack.

My bad, not a Ice Mule design issue.  I recommended that a waist belt extension be added as an accessory for people with large waste lines like me.  The new Ice Mule Backpack Cooler will be available next year.

I have been using my Ice Mule Cooler for over two years.  I take it everywhere. It works great when I take it into hotels.  It can easily be filled at the ice machine and it rolls up tightly and can fit into your luggage.

A great travel buddy. You can find Ice Mule Coolers on Amazon or other online outdoor recreation outfitters.  Get yours today.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Soft Science Rocks at 2017 ICAST

When I can, I like to test the outdoor recreation products I blog about.  I have been lucky enough to have tested two different styles of Soft Science outdoor recreation footwear, the Fin and the Durango.  I got my Fins a month or two after the 2016 ICAST from Soft Science.  I have been comparing them to my extended collection of standard Crocs. After testing the Fin along side my Crocs I found that the Fin traction was much better than the Crocs.  I also noticed that the  Trileon sole of the Fin did not seem to wear as fast as my Crocs.  The Fin Trileon sole maintained  its sharp edges where the Crocs started to wear round fairly fast.

While covering a kayak tournament in 2015, I slipped and fell when my Crocs lost traction as I was walking along a canal shooting kayak anglers from the bank.  Now I have not been able to test the Fin in the same environment as my Crocs but next kayak season in 2018 I plan to do that.  Just two week ago, I took a trip to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park where I wore my Fins with socks all day long.  The reason I wore socks is that I have very flat feet with not much arch.  If I plan to walk long distances I need a tighter fitting shoe.  With out socks, the Fin would have been too lose.  The reason for the looseness is that Soft Science footwear are designed to fit with room around one's foot.  Click Here to read about Soft Science.  When on their website, click the Fit Guide to read about their shoe design. It explains about the roomy lose fit.

On the last day of the 2017 ICAST I met Tubby Madden.  He sent me the Fins I got last year.  This year we talked about the Fin he gave me last year and their social media sites.  He gave me a pair of Durangos to test out.  I have been wearing them all weekend.

They fit just like my pair of Fins.  Before I got these, I have been wearing a pair of Vans Slip-On shoes I got for a gift last year almost every day.  Looks like with my Durangos I will be able split the load between these slip-on shoes.

In addition to Fin 2.0 and the Durango, Soft Science came out with the Cruise Canvas pictured above.  Love this style.  If I were to get another pair of Soft Science shoes, it would be a toss up between the Fin 2.0 and the Cruise Canvas.  So the next time you are out shopping and you see Soft Science on display check them out.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have gave a great day in the great outdoors.

Platypus Fishing Lines at 2017 ICAST

At the 2017 ICAST I got to meet my old friend Jason Schall and his new bride Jennifer.  Jason is the USA Distributor for Platypus Fishing Lines.  For those who do not know Jason, he is a world renowned angler who has caught over 600 different species of fish.  He was the IGFA awardee in 2014 of the Chester H. Wolf Outstanding Sportsmanship Award.  As of  2015, Jason reached 50 IGFA records with a goal of reaching 100 IGFA world records in his lifetime.

That being said, the reason you might want to know a little history about Jason's record quests is that he only uses a line that can stand up to the IGFA testing. If you submit a catch to IGFA for line class record consideration, you have to send in samples of the line you caught the fish on.  IGFA will test the line first to see if it qualified before your catch is even considered as a record.  That is why Jason uses Platypus Pre-Test Braid and Monofilament fishing lines. It increases his chance at another IGFA Line Class Record. The braid is tested throughout the manufacturing process and each spool of monofilament line is tested three time. Click HERE to read more about the Platypus Pre-Test fishing lines and HERE to watch a video of Jason talking about Platypus Fishing Lines at ICAST.  Platypus fishing lines have been used to set over 600 IGFA and ANSA records.   Even if you are not going after IGFA world records, the entire line up of Platypus fishing lines will give you the performance you need to catch big fish.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.

Platypus Fishing Lines at 2017 ICAST

Florida Cracker Trading Post Great Watering Hole

 When visiting Florida one will notice that a majority of the population lives withing 10 - 20 miles from the coast line.  Being the sunshine state, Florida is all about its beaches.  But to get from one side of the state to the other you have to drive through the central part of the state.  Along the many state highways, when you venture off Interstates 4 , 10, 75 and 95, you will find many interesting eating place, road houses and juke joints and an assortment of mom and pop establishments offering great food and drink.  During a return trip last month from Springhill on the west coast of Florida to back home in Melbourne, Kathi and I happened upon one of these interesting watering holes called the Florida Cracker Trading Post.  The Florida Cracker is located at 966 E. Jefferson Street, Brooksville, Florida 34601. Click HERE for their website.

The Florida Cracker Trading Post is made up of the Florida Cracker Kitchen, Tap Room and Store.

The Florida Cracker Kitchen was jamb packed when we arrived so we ate at the counter.  The breakfast menu had a big selection of scrambles, omelettes, pancakes and waffles.  I had the Cowboy Burrito with slow cooked brisket, eggs, onions, bell peppers, with jack and cheddar cheese.  Garnished with tomatoes and green onions.  Kathi ordered a meat-less omelette which had mushrooms, peppers and onions.  All the other breakfast dishes look amazing as we watched the food coming out of the kitchen being served to other guests.

After we ate, we toured the tap room next door.  It was way too early for a beer.  The Tap Room is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 4:00 - 11:00 PM.  The doors were open this Sunday so we took the opportunity to look it over and grab a few photos.

Beside the Tap Room is the Florida Cracker Store.  I was surprised, after entering the store, to see three of the mainstay brands I see each year at Surf Expo.  Yeti Coolers, Freaker beverage insulators and Howler Brothers.

The Florida Cracker had their Florida Cowboy Boot logo printed on Freaker beverage insulators. You could buy pint beer glasses glasses and other items with the Florida Cracker logo imprinted on them.  Because I am a big Howler Brother fan and follower, I purchased a new baseball cap with their Howler Monkey logo on the front of the cap.  All and all  this was a great way to spend a Sunday morning breakfast stop.   So if you are planning a Florida east to west or west to east coast trip and want to slow it down a bit,  do what bikers do and take the back roads and stay off the Interstates 4 , 10, 75 and 95 highways.  There you will find more places like the Florida  Cracker Trading Post.  Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great out doors.