Bike, hike and Row to Explore St. Johns Basin

Written by Mark DeCotis FLORIDA TODAY
Some guys just weren’t meant to sit on the couch.

Melbourne’s Rod Lee is one of them.

Following a gig as a landscaper and after the death of his father, Gordon, in January, the 63-year-old Lee — an outdoorsman, hiker, cyclist, sub four-hour marathon runner and multiple patent-holding kayak entrepreneur — decided to do something he always wanted. He launched a business called Eckotreks by Rod.

He’ll take no more than six people at a time to paddle an eight-person, 26-foot canoe, row a personal inflatable kayak, ride a mountain bike and hike into the wilds on state land in the upper basin of the St. Johns River. They’ll depart from and return to Camp Holly on U.S. 192 west of Melbourne.

At least that’s the plan but things could be delayed somewhat since much of the land Lee has traversed for nearly a half century is under water due to heavy recent rains.

But he is progressing with this plan to introduce his venture to the masses, display his equipment and debut his website at a launch party from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Front Street Civic Center in downtown Melbourne.

After all, he is anxious to share the wonders of what lies beyond the St. Johns with as many people as possible. Just speaking about it injects a pronounced enthusiasm into his soft-spoken manner.

“I get so tired of people, I’ve been out there for 45 years, I just got so tired of hearing comments that that land out there is wasteland, that there’s nothing out there,” he said.

“I know better because there’s hidden things out there that just will leave you in awe. I’ve taken thousands of pictures over the years.”

Among what Lee calls the wonders are three hidden forests… Click to read the rest of the article!


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