I'm not the kind of guy who vacations halfheartedly. I'm in the Florida Keys – Islamorada to be exact – and I'm totally focused on doing nothing. Despite using valuable tanning and beer-drinking time to knock out this half-assed blog post, my mind simply is not in creativity mode.
This is my third year to spend a week – give or take a couple of days – with friends who rent a condo for a month on the beach in Islamorada. My liver doesn't look forward to this annual getaway with the same enthusiasm I do, but sacrifices must be made. Right? Right!
The trip was off to a rocky start when I arrived in Delray Beach at the front end of this trip and discovered I had left the lens to my Sony camera on the side table in my kitchen in Greenville. I have all manner of still-camera and video camera gear in neoprene pouches of various sizes. I didn't double check the pouch I tossed into my backpack, believing it contained the lens, but instead, held a small mic and flash that I rarely use.
|Sunset at Lorelei on our second evening.|
Last year my still camera stopped working on the first day of the Keys portion of the trip and I had to buy a replacement. I was never happier to have Amazon Prime. But, I was again faced with going into a multi-day Keys stay with only my cell-phone camera. Not acceptable.
After quickly investigating and rejecting the idea of renting a lens, I also looked at used ones on eBay. Nope. I just spent more than $500 on a long zoom, that I intentionally left at home, for this camera on eBay, and I'm not interested in spending a pile of cash on a lens I already have.
Although I'm not keen on involving other people in rescuing me when I goof up, my back was to the wall. I picked up my cell and called my pal Natalie. Her family lives five minutes from me and I knew it wouldn't be too big a deal to go to my house and retrieve it, but then I would have to ask her to overnight it to me. In short, you can thank her for the sunset photos I've been posting on Facebook.
|Captain Tim grilling burgers for lunch on his boat.|
Unlike previous years, we don't have a boat on this trip – at least not so far. The trailer hitch on my friends' Hummer was destroyed in a freak rear-end accident last week and won't be fixed until sometime this week. No hitch, no Hummer, no Hummer, no boat.
We have other friends who rent a place nearby for the same month. They, happily, do have their boat with them. We've been hitching rides on their boat. This year they also brought a float that's positively huge. It even has a soaker pool. Nice.
|The Cadillac of floats.|
Motivated by Facebook posts containing references or photos of Corona and Miller Lite beer cans, my craft-beer friends have been unloading on me as if the photos caught me clubbing a baby seal. To them I say, Get a Grip. I'm a when-in-Rome sort of guy. I'm not belly up to a bar somewhere sipping on two or three craft beers, I'm hanging on a boat or poolside slamming back a dozen beers. I can quaff a dozen Coronas over eight hours, but no way can I do that with a peanut-butter stout.
|In M.E.A.T. with pals having one of the rare craft beers on this trip.|
What was to be 10 uninterrupted days of intense Keys training now contains a 2-day jaunt to Napa for a Honda Accord Hybrid event. I wouldn't have made this detour on my own, but Autotrader asked me to cover it for them. As a freelancer, I never turn down an assignment if I can accommodate it in any way. So, on Tuesday evening I'll drive up to Ft. Lauderdale, spend the night in one of the airport hotels, fly to San Francisco on Wednesday morning, drive the Accord on Thursday, red-eye back to Ft Lauderdale Thursday night, and be back in Islamorada for lunch on Friday.
To be honest, my liver will be doing the happy dance over this beer intermission. So will my wallet.