Thursday, March 6, 2014

Key Largo, Montego, Baby Why Don't We Go...

South of the Border in South Carolina
I am a woman of routine. I get up, make coffee, check my social networking, shower, dress, go to work/school, read, write. When I do something out of the routine it is well-planned. I make lists. I look at maps. I research and read and plan.

Which is why when my wife called me at work on a Saturday and said, "we need to leave tonight for Miami," I had a mini-heart attack. Until that moment I had managed to spend twenty nine years of my life in New England. I have always wanted to travel further, but the opportunity (and money) never arose with the amount of planning and forethought I require.

Due to a series of unfortunate events my mother-in-law needed to travel quickly from her sailboat in Key Biscayne to Maine. Due to a series of unfortunate circumstances there was no way for her to fly the distance back. She (and her two cats) needed a ride.

So in what is either the smartest or craziest thing I've ever done I asked my (very kind and understanding) boss for two days off from work, came home and did some mad-rush packing. Found someone (a couple of people actually) to care for the animals left behind. Packed up the ones who weren't staying home. I cooked, cut and prepared every bit of perishable food in our fridge and put it into two coolers. Packed clothing for all four seasons and by seven that night we were in the car.

Sunrise in Islemorada
This little guy spent breakfast with us (I think my wife took this shot.)
Over the next fifty three hours we drove from Old Orchard Beach, ME, to Jupiter, FL. In one day I drove through NYC, Washington DC, Baltimore. By the third day I had driven in Jacksonville and Miami, FL.

View of Miami out the back of the sailboat
We spent one day at a resort on Islemorada in the Keys. We did a little kayaking, I'm not quite sure how my muscles put up with that after all that driving but it was beautiful. We swam in a lukewarm ocean, then soaked in a hot tub. We talked to people from Iowa and Canada and Georgia who were staying in the resort.

Chia is lookout.
The next day we drove up to Key Biscayne and picked up mom. We took a dive off the back of her sailboat into the bay, saw a few porpoises, collected a few shells and finally loaded up all the kitties into the car for the long drive back.

In one week we put over 3,000 miles on my fabulous Nissan Sentra. (I love my car!) So glad we had just put new tires and had an oil change and fluids checked a week before this random trip!

Along with pneumonia (grr) I came back with a dozen story ideas, but more importantly a few ideas of how to fix a few I'm already working on. And some idea of what is most important in trying to portray the feeling of Maine in my historical fiction collection versus the feeling of other places. It was a wonderful, kind of scary experience but I'm glad we did it. Hopefully next time we can actually relax in a few places along the way and perhaps hit a few museums or theaters.

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