Sunday, September 20, 2015

Relaxation 101: Long Key State Park, Florida Keys

Finally I got to get away on a quick trip to the Florida Keys! Our 3rd annual Long Key State Park week end camping get away. The drive itself was the work out for the week end, but so worth it and Blue went for her first ride with me in 3 months.

First things first, about Long Key State Park:
Located in the middle keys at mile-marker 67.5, this island was once the site of Henry Flagler’s Long Key Fishing Camp. In the early 20th century, the fishing camp was a popular luxury destination along Flagler's railroad for the rich and famous, as well as many of the world's great salt water anglers of the time. The entire facility was destroyed during the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 and never reopened.

Fast forward to now and we have one of the busiest to reserve parks in Florida,  in average it takes about 9 months to get a reservation for a campsite, let alone 2 side by side. This trip was also a little different since I had limited movement on one of my legs due to knee reconstruction about a month earlier. Luckily this place lends itself as much for sitting back and relax with a cold beverage while bird watching, as it does for fishing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and even hiking.

Yeap, those are empanadas and tostones, because we are fancy that way, lol.

 ...and if you are being fancy, might as well have tea in your beer, and no I'm not joking these things are delicious!

Derek reorganizing the food we will be putting in the ARB fridge for the next trip

Good beer is an important part of our trips (title beer sponsor opportunity still available)
If you've ever tried taking pictures of wildlife, you could imagine how many shots it took to get these two.

One of the best things about this place is that you can take many if not most of your pictures from your lounge chair (like I did).

Tunes provided by Derek's EcoXGear, Ecostone which we've been using on every trip for sometime now, and it not only has great quality sound, but it can take a beating around the campsite.

I had some fun playing the camera settings which lead to some interesting shots.

Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but also of the campground.

Derek's amazing custom built trailer and roof top tent.

And like all adventures, vacations, and enjoyable moments in life this one too came to an end. Now get out there have an adventure, and leave no trace behind.

ARB Refrigerator review

So a few months ago thanks to Eric Valdes from ARB I acquired a 37 quarts ARB Refrigerator, which I was supposed to take on my summer trip and review. A Florida summer trip would be the perfect testing grounds for any refrigerator and although a little later than planned I still managed to test it in the Florida heat and humidity.

I won't go straight into the specs since those are available online but will post them at the bottom of this post for your convenience. The fridge has been in use in my home office since June of this year, and has done a great job as a beer fridge, and secondary fridge for when we shop for more food than we can fit in our refrigerator at home.

As shown in this picture this fridge has enough room to keep food for 2 adults for a 3-4 day trip (beer was kept in a different cooler to avoid opening the fridge excessively in approximately 105 degree weather with high humidity).

Here Derek demonstrates different ways to organize the food in the ARB Fridge (kidding aside these pictures gives you an idea of the actual size of the fridge in comparison to a 6'1" adult male)

I have to admit when I first met Eric from ARB and we began talking about this fridge I was skeptical at best, but he showed me the one he had in his Jeep that him and his crew were actually using at Jeep Beach in Daytona, and that began changing my opinion a little. These days I can't see myself not taking this fridge out for a day at the park, or any of my other trips, to say I'm impressed is an understatement. This fridge was designed to be extremely user friendly and with the outdoors in mind, from the LED light inside to the removable lid, and basket with removable partition for easy cleaning.

Long story short when it comes to keeping your food cold during your adventures (or relaxing beachside campouts), this fridge is amazing, however if you have a larger group, or longer trip look at the 50 quart or bigger sizes. They all share the same features including a battery protection system that will not allow the fridge to completely drain your vehicle's battery.

Specs for the 37 quart fridge taken from the ARB website:

37 Quart Fridge - Part No. 10800352
CAPACITY:37 Quarts (35L) (50 x 12 oz cans)
COOLING CAPACITY:+10°C to -18°C (50°F to 0°F)
WEIGHT:45.6lb  (20.7kg)
EXTERNAL DIMENSIONS:H 16.9” x W 15” x D 27.8”
(H428mm x W380mm x D705mm)
Dairy/Fruit Compartment:H 5” x W 11.2” x D 6”
(H126mm x W285mm x D151mm)
Main Compartment:H 12.6” x W 11.2” x D 13.3”
(H321mm x W285mm x D337mm)
POWER:Built-in 12/24V DC and 100-240V AC power
Integrated battery protection system