Don't miss the recap of days 74-76 below this post. I added a bunch of great pictures and a video of the end of the Gulf and start of the Atlantic Coast sections of this trip.
When I last visited four years ago my friends Neil and Heather (with whom I’m staying) had one ten month old baby. In the four years since they’ve added two more filling the house with a four month old (Zach), a two year old (Seth), and the four year old (Adam). It suffices to say that the energy level and intensity surrounding Neil and Heather’s home has changed. Yesterday, with a weekend of kids birthday parties already planned, Neil and I tried to coordinate a paddle together from Virginia Key (where I arrived Friday) up to Oleta park in Miami. The normal “three kids” morning chaos ensued and before we knew it we found ourselves racing the clock to try to pull the outing off. Finally we wised up and decided to give kayaking (and my body) a rest and concentrate on a well planned BBQ instead.
By the time I made it back to the house (never send a hungry man to the grocery store) the brats and burgers were on the grill and the house was filled with the sights, smells, and sounds of old times with the addition of the kids adding to the excitement. I had set my tent up in the back yard to air out which, of course, quickly became a focal point for the kids. Neil was a bit nervous to have the boys playing in the tent but I assured him that after seeing the strong winds and rough handling the tent had been through that there was nothing they could do that would hurt it. As I watched them play for a while, however, I finally decided that perhaps it was time to put the tent away. If only we could bottle all that energy.
Tonight we’re planning on firing up the grill again, this time to burn some chicken in celebration of a visit from Susan (another old friend from South Florida) who is in town from Charleston on a trip for work. As well as Lisa and Bill who live not too far away.
It really is like old times.