PostedSep-04-2006 12:01 PM
Altitude5,406.81 ft.
HeadlineWinter Park
Entry After stopping at a camera store to trouble shoot a recurring problem we'd been facing - the camera leaving small blured water spots on the photos - we learn its only dust (rather than the feared lens scratch) and head out.

Making our way towards Winter Park we're blown away by the amount of weekend warriors making their way back from a holiday weekend in the mountains. Almost every car or truck is geared out with mountain bikes atop, towing motorbikes, 4-wheelers, mobile homes, or off-roading vehicles. The amount of rubber necking provides continual entertainment throughout.

Along the way we touch base with Austin Kent of the Yotatech Tour who is creating Yotatech's first documentary DVD. With Austin still a few hours out we make our way towards Winter Park as a mutual meeting spot winding down 40 when we see a few cars pulled to the side of one of the massive switch backs.

Trying to figure out what exactly is going on, we look up to see something massive and brown move within the trees when two moose, a mother and child, make their way down to the roadside for some choice wildflowers. Knowing HE must be around, sure enough, a few seconds later a insanely huge moose (this must be Dad) comes down from the hillside having a massive spanning rack of what had to be over 3 feet of span. Grabbing for the camera we snap off as many shots as we can get in while big dad throws his rack back and forth mashing down the brush in a statement we took for everyone to stay in line.

Some brave and stupid souls stepped from their cars to get a closer look and natually ending the spectacle short, to our dissapointment. Though we're far from being finished this surely must have been the wildlife highlight of the trip. No idea how we were lucky enough to be rounding that corner just as they stepped out...

In town we pass an old FJ not only in great shape but painted yellow so we're forced to stop for a photo shoot even though the owner is nowhere to be found. Speaking with a few locals we're directed to Hernando's Pizza and Pasta Pub and met with a overtly cheery waitress whose so rediculously bubbly we're unable to avoid being upsold.

With the laptop out in classic form we get word that Austin is coming down 40 and we drive up the street to make sure we catch him on the way through. Parked for five seconds on the strip and we meet a adventuring couple who own a business which trains and sells personal protection dogs. Only on this type of trip would you run into this level of randomness. They're a great bunch however and we go on exploring the town when Austin arrives in a modified Ford Excursion who is also sponsored by Outback Off-Road Gear and we're anxious to check out his setup.

With a full single sized mattress in the back with custom built AC outlets, and pull out stove this is the nomad's dream come true. Above and beyond this the A pillar is lined with boost guages and we're told he's able to take a VW GTI in a quarter mile. Austin is a super tall soft spoken guy who we clicked with right away. Aside from the off-roading and film intrest Austin is a completely laid back, go with the flow type guy.

We step into a local pub and make an attempt at curbing the gear head talk which ensues late into the night before we decide to drive around the corner and find a spot to camp. Driving up one of the local trails we find a spot to pull off and set camp for the night not knowing if we're cool to camp here or not but we're not bothered.