Horses and Horny Alligators at Alafia River State Park

October 2, 2017

At the end of our stay at Dupuis WMA, ended up going to Alafia River State Park because our last minute finagling failed. We overstayed our reservation at Dupuis by a day so that we could try to get into Fort Desoto on Friday morning when they release some sites online. (I’ll describe this process in more detail in the next post.)  But we didn’t get one. So then we had nowhere to go. Thankfully we got into Alafia River State Park.

The Burnination

In Florida, they like to burn fields. On the way to Alafia River State Park, we saw this burnination in progress. It was probably a sugar cane field. We learned at a farm stand that local farmers had just burned a bunch of strawberries in the area because the prices weren’t where they wanted them. That kind of sucks.

burning sugarcane in florida

Alafia River State Park Campground

RV site at alafia river

Alafia River is another equestrian campground. Seriously, we had no idea, so many people camped with their horses. Horses mean horse shit. So if occasionally smelling horse shit is a problem for you, this is not your campground. The poop seemed to be in two distinct locations though, so it was easy to avoid.

horses at alafia river state park

Alafia Park is well known for its mountain bike trails. Our road bikes, once again, were not up to the task. And we were missing out on excellent trails once again. But not for long.

Horny Alligators

There’s also a nice lake in the park with a trail all the way around. And because it’s a water feature in Florida, there are alligators in it. There were of no concern until one time I went for a walk around the lake on my own.

There are several places along the lake where you can go down to the shore. I was there on the shore and heard a terrible bellow right next to me! I’m not going to lie; I ran about a quarter of the way around the lake before stopping again.

Then I took video where you can hear two alligators roaring at each other across the lake. Terrifying! I know I’m a bigger animal than they probably want to go after but it’s still scary to hear. Sound up if you’d also like to be terrified.

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In addition to being full of horny alligators, the lake is also picturesque. Thre were loads of birds, reflections, and lovely sunsets.

reflections on the lake at alafia river

lake at alfia river state park

another lake pic from alafia river

yet another lake pic at alafia river

cloudy day lake pic at alafia river

cloudy day reflection at alafia river

cloudy day lake at alafia river

sunset lake and ducks at alafia river state park

sunset lake at alafia river

Spending Money in Tampa

downtown tampa

So I said “not for long” earlier when referring to our road bikes. The day after we arrived at Alafia River, we headed to Tampa to look at bikes. We’d been shopping online for a while and had an idea of what we wanted. We wanted bikes that were tough enough for some trail use and ready to take on the street, gravel, sand, etc. We ended up having the shop order Surly Ogres for us which has turned out to be exactly the bikes we wanted.

Taco Bus

While in Tampa, of course, we had to eat all the things. This day that meant visiting Taco Bus before we went to the bike shop. Kevin has been going to Taco Bus for years while in Tampa on work trips, but this was my first experience. They serve meat, but also have vegan options including cheese. We got a quesadilla, two grande tacos, and a salad with the seitan steak. I’m not going to say it’s super special food. It’s not bad, and it’s cheap fast food. Plus, there are Taco Bus locations all over Tampa, so it’s pretty convenient.

taco bus in tampa

seitan steak salad at taco bus in tampa

grande tacos at taco bus in tampa

quesadilla at taco bus in tampa

Trang Viet Cuisine

After we ordered the bikes, we needed to celebrate. The best way to do that is with vegan Vietnamese food, right? Trang’s is another restaurant Kevin has been visiting for years without me. And I love some Vietnamese food, so I was pretty excited to try it. Again, they do serve meat, but they have an extensive vegetarian menu.

menu trang viet cuisine tampa

I forget what that appetizer is on top, but it’s like putting spring roll filling into a crescent roll dough pocket and deep frying it. What. Of course, it was delicious. I think that’s the curry stew.

soup and appetizer at trang viet cuisine

This is wonton soup.

wonton soup at trang viet cuisine

The insides of that fried thing.

appetizer insides at trang viet cuisine

I forget what they call this dish too. It’s a fried noodle pancake with veggies and sauce over the top.

fried noodle pancake at trang viet cuisine

And this is Kevin’s favorite dish here – chopped up spring rolls with shredded vegetables over noodles, and it comes with sauce.

spring roll over noodles at trang viet cuisine

Meeting Other RV Peeps

Sometime during our stay, we were contacted by April and Terry, @terravagus_travels on Instagram. They also full-time and were staying nearby. So we grabbed some sushi with them. We had a great time hanging out and enjoy keeping up with their adventures online. Hopefully one day we’ll meet in person again!

So that’s about it for Alafia River State Park. The next Friday we DID get into Fort Desoto, so look for that in the next post. Oh, and Alafia is where our black tank story featuring corn took place. That’s a story that we need to tell in person, like most black tank stories, so ask us if you see us!

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Laura Nunemaker

About the Author

Laura Nunemaker

vegan. digital nomad. cycling. scuba. intj. former vegan bakery owner.

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