Thursday, February 6, 2020

On the Way To Florida January 2020

Sunday, January 25

We get out of Minneapolis almost by our goal of 8:30 am. It takes us the predicted 7.5 hours, plus 1.5 hours for stops. It’s cold but not terrible, mid to upper 20’s most of the way. The temperature climbs into the 30’s as we approach Columbia.

Iowa is very white and desolate. The ground is white and so is the sky. In many places there is barely a horizon. In the middle of Iowa there is an area that got a lot of snow, I mean a LOT. For about 50 miles the snow on the side of the road seemed to approach 2 feet. Then it tapered off again.

We got to Columbia about 5:30. Mark and Mary were already at Joanne’s. Mary made chicken and dumplings for dinner, so good!

Simone the cat hides under the bed in our bedroom before we can shoo her into Joanne’s bedroom. She does NOT like Westies! The dogs would love to chase her, but she wasn’t coming out. It took a clever person blocking off the hallway and poking her with a broom until she finally exited the guest bedroom and dashed into Joanne’s, where she made herself scarce in the back of the closet. Poor Simone! 

Monday, January 26.

I’ve got 8 miles on my schedule. The temperature is in the high 20’s. I stick my spikes in the pocket of my running jacket but I don’t need them. It’s really nice to be able to just run without spikes or worrying about ice and snow. I’m a lot faster than I’ve been lately for that very reason.

After the run Mark comes over and we go to lunch at Murray’s. I get the special, a pork chop with gravy and mashed potatoes and eat the whole thing. It’s so delicious I could have licked my plate too. I toy with the idea of dessert but finally decide to pass. There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Tuesday January 27th

Again we’re out the door by 8:45 AM. Another long day but it’s slightly warmer and the snow on the ground gradually disappears. When we stop to let the dogs go potty they are so excited to see ground and grass! Snifsnifsnifsnif.

We get to Nashville around 4:30. The campground is ok, nothing great but we don’t care. It’s a quiet place to sleep. We meet Gail and Michael at the Indian place we ate at years ago. It’s still great. It doesn’t take us long, as usual, to feel like we have just seen each other yesterday, although it’s been years. One of the great things about our new route to Florida will be stopping in Nashville and seeing our old friends.

The next day they suggested that we come over to their house and that I run from there. I’m glad to take them up on this suggestion. By 10 I’m out the door and headed over to the nearby high school track where I can easily do my speed workout. It goes really well. I make my paces and feel excellent.

We spend the rest of the day just hanging out together. I eat a peanut butter and honey sandwich and an apple, take a shower. Then Michael kindly takes me over to the nearby convenience clinic where I can get my eye looked at. I’ve got a sty that’s getting infected and I know from experience that it’s better not to let it go. I come out with some antibiotic eye drops and I’m hungry again so when we get back I eat all the leftover Indian food.

We’ve got the big collapsible crate set up and consign the dogs to it for the day. The girls are resigned but Cosmo is a pain and whines and cries. They have a fenced in back yard so we let them out to play but Cosmo finds an open gate in the back. Oops! He doesn’t actually want to escape and comes right back when we call.

Lee and Gail cook up a great meal for dinner, jewel rice and instant pot chicken and veggies. Their son Matt, his wife Val and their little girl Ever come over for dinner. We haven’t seen Matt in years, and have never met Val or Ever. It’s lots of fun. Ever is 3 and a charming little girl. And as most little kids are, she is totally enamored with Lee.

Ever is a little afraid of the dogs, but likes that they are in the crate. Eventually she warms up to them a little and toward the end of the evening I let Heather out so Ever can pet her, which she timidly does. Very different from Leo, who has spent his entire life around Mika!

It’s fun to watch how Ever plays. She is very into school (which makes sense since her dad is an educator). She likes to boss the adults in her life around, and they happily comply, for the most part. But she was mean to Gail and wouldn’t give her a turn with the coloring book, because “she didn’t listen”. Poor Gail! It’s amazing how much further along she is than Leo in the understandability department. Leo probably talks just as much as Ever, but it’s not nearly as coherent. I’m looking forward to being able to understand more of what he is saying!

Thursday January 30th. 

Just a long long day of driving, made longer by construction around Chattanooga, and several accidents near Atlanta. We also entered Eastern Standard Time and lost an hour. But tomorrow is a much shorter day. Only about three hours over the southern Georgia border and on into Florida. We’ll stop at the Villages and visit with Mimi and Sel. And then on Saturday we’ll finally head to Safety Harbor.

There is one amazing thing that happened today however. Nicole had her baby! August Lingle, another little boy. He shares his birthday with Andrew, and it’s one day before Erik’s birthday too.

You know I just realized that my dad’s yahrzeit was on the 28th and I didn’t light a candle for him. I think I’ll just wait and do it once we get to Safety Harbor, because the candle lasts for over 24 hours and you’re not supposed to blow it out. 

January 31st, Friday.

There is a peaceful neighborhood next to the RV park so I decide to run there. I figure out a 1 mile loop and off I go. I’m supposed to do an 8 mile progression run (a run where you gradually get a little bit faster over the course of the run) but I don’t have time for that so I do an abbreviated version. I warm up for one mile, then do a progression run for 3.5 miles, and then cool down for a half mile. It goes well and I finish just before it starts to rain.

I do meet a couple of loose dogs on my run, however. The first one is trailing a rope and holding a ball cap in his mouth. He seems quite pleased with himself. The second one is trickier. He barks and growls at me, so I slow to a walk and talk to him in a friendly tone. He still barks again but then leaves me alone. I know runners sometimes get bitten and even attacked by dogs but so far I’ve been ok.

Lee has to get the RV ready and he is not nearly as lucky with the weather. It just pours while he raises the jacks, turns off the water, and unplugs the electricity and sewer. Poor Lee, I feel badly but I can’t do it so it’s up to him. The dogs got a short walk when we first got up but they’ll have to wait awhile.

Off we go in the pouring rain. It’s a much, much shorter day and we are at our camp site at Grand Oaks by 3:30 pm. I take the dogs on a long walk while Lee sets up camp. Grand Oaks is also an equestrian center and there are a lot of horses and horse people around. The dogs are so happy to be walking where there is lots of grass and all sorts of interesting smells. They behave very well around the horses. I’m proud of them! And we get back to the RV just as it starts to rain again.

We meet my Aunt Mimi and Uncle Sel at a nearby Bob Evans for dinner. We haven’t seen them since the last time we drove through. They are in great shape and still doing very well. They are very involved with their synagogue and enjoy their Florida life.

Saturday, February 1st.

I run 5 easy miles around the Equistrian center in the morning. That place is huge, I can go in a big circle without having to backtrack at all. We take our time getting ready. We can’t show up in Safety Harbor until after 1 and it’s only a 2 hour drive. This year we are storing the RV in Clearwater so we can stop at the house first and unload. SO much easier that way! It’s still a lot of work unloading and unpacking but we get it done. We’re pretty tired though. We do our traditional first night at Whistle Stop with a lemon drop for me, a beer for Lee, and grouper bowls for both of us.

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