Feb 13 2010

Day 307: The End of Nowhere

by andrew

Two months or so ago I was out driving around near Denver with my 4 year old boy Zach. He was having a rare turn up in the front seat, and looking out through the windshield towards the mountains he suddenly piped up with an epiphany: “Dad!!! I know how to get to the end of nowhere!” he exclaimed rather passionately.

How else can a father reply? “Oh yeah?” I said – not at all sardonically. “How’s that?”

To which Zach confidently replied, “You just keep driving that way and don’t stop!” while pointing straight ahead out the window.

Well, today I made good on my promise to take him to the end of nowhere some time. We spent the afternoon on the furthest SE point of the United States to which one can drive – the southern end of Hwy 1 – the edge of Key West, FL. We have literally driven the entire length of Florida now, entering about a month ago on the far western tip of the panhandle and driving first east and then south along the coast, and then cutting over through alligator alley along the Everglades, and then down Hwy 1 across all the keys. WOW.

What a beautiful place. 75 degrees F today and we played in the ocean in February. Crazy. I’d love to stay longer but it is Expensive with a capital E. Here are some shots from the day (keep reading below the gallery to get caught up on the rest of everything).

Our next plan is to head up for Georgia where it’s still not all that cold, but away from the majority of migratory retirees which improves the campground rates; hunker down for maybe a month and knock out a ton of work that is looming. Which reminds me I still need to hit some of the highlights from the last month in my typical, inadequate bullet fashion. Here are the primary memories:

  • Gabe and Heather’s wonderful southern hospitality and opening their home and land and lives to us for a couple weeks
  • The kids playing endlessly together with nary an issue that needed adult mediation; from building robots out of a busted, rusted out 8-track player they found in the woods, to planning their treehouse, to whacking golf balls all over the yard, to jumping on the trampoline and playing in the dirt… it was country bliss like I grew up in
  • Early morning hunting adventures
  • Bennah’s first lesson on a real rifle
  • Tinkering in the studio, recording the band’s first recording, writing a song on Gabe’s old guitar over the course of 2 weeks in the short 2-3 minute segments of time that I was in there each night to monitor my children during their pre-bedtime potty rituals
  • Getting overloaded on baby girl cuteness in one place
  • Shifting gears in the work arena when our project with La Vie Labs and Clairte did not work out like we had planned and hoped; and focusing all my energies on a new, exciting project
  • Golfing in a cow pasture with Gabe and our two oldest boys (the “hole” was an old rusted out washing machine in the corner of the field)
  • (And for those who have not noticed my not-so subtle title change on the blog yet) FINDING OUT WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A BABY #6 probably some time in October. Blessings upon blessings (and a bit freaked out at first) but children are a gift from YHWH and He has filled our quiver to be sure.

And that was just northern FL. Then we headed south and landed in Bradenton for a couple days and were extremely well cared for by dear (new) friends – parents of friends that we had grown very close to in Colorado. In fact, if you love garlic, they grow a whole bunch up in Ohio every year and it is absolutely¬†incomparable to what you can buy in the store: Charlie’s Gourmet Garlic! You can watch the video that I edited a while back to get an idea of what Charlie and his farm are like – it’s the 2nd one down on this page: http://doctorbeautiful.com/blog/?page_id=48 So, while we were with them, they gave us and helped us pickle about 2.5 quarts of garlic! In about 3 more weeks the heat will be gone, but all the yummy healthy goodness will be intact. Thanks again Charlie!!!

They also hang out in FL for a few months in the winter so we were parked in Bradenton near their home down there. The tricky thing was that it was just a parking lot designed for RV visitors, and fine for sleeping, but with no electric, water, or sewer not well suited for working or living very long. With some critical work that came up we had to relocate. Ironically, one of the absolute nicest campgrounds in the overall area was also the cheapest (although it wasn’t all that cheap). So, we headed back up north about 30 miles and ended up managing to stretch it out for a week at the Fort De Soto Park Campground. That’s where the last five photos from the previous post were taken. 5 of those days we had a beach-front site. Fabulous. During that time:

  • I worked my tail off and got a lot accomplished on a new work project
  • The kids got sandy and wet pretty much every day
  • We had to fend off the raccoons
  • We met two other amazing families who live in that area and are close friends of close friends. They also opened their home and lives to us and we had a wonderful time getting to know them and their children, hitting the hot tub, feasting and fellowshipping together. It never felt like we had only just met.
  • We explored Fort De Soto and the beaches there; and I managed to get a few pictures in… still way under quota right now.

And I’m probably forgetting something else important, but then we headed down here on a mission to get to the End of Nowhere. And so here we are. Tomorrow we head north once again.