June 2008


I have arrived in Panictown. We’re about 9 weeks out and I’m feeling really overwhelmed. There so much to do still and so many things in progress. I just need to keep moving forward and when its time to go, it’ll be time to to go. It reminds me of planning for my wedding for some reason. Months of going over every detail you can think of, then, when the day arrives, its like catching a wave. Things are set in motion. You release control and ride the crest of all your efforts. It takes on its own life at that point and theres no telling where it will go.

Things I’m doing:

In the last week I’ve had the appraiser come out to the Charleston house, but I haven’t heard back yet. I contacted Max and Carmen, who would both like to buy it, and they know it will soon be on offer. I’ve really gone back and forth on what the right thing to do here is and I decided that letting go will allow me the most freedom. If I try and keep the house there will always be the financial stress of keeping up with loan payments and the problems of remote home ownership to deal with. Lets just be done with it and move on. I’ll tell you about how stupid this decision was when I go to retire at age 93 and find out I can’t afford to.

I’m in a last ditch effort with my mouldering tax problem, trying to shave as much off the bill as possible. I’m still calling old brokers trying to piece together the last few missing bits so everything is acceptable to the IRS. Its tragic how much it cost me to go broke. It will be what it it will be, and in a few months I can close the door on it and start sleeping better. Oddly, after loosing it, it was really liberating to not have that money to manage and a safety net propping me up.  My only regret is that I wish I had spent it all on women and beer instead of letting it slip away into the ether of the stock market.

Another big project thats been gnawing at me has been the patio. I bought tons – literally tons, of brick from craigs list to build a patio in the back yard. I’ve designed and redesigned it on paper and in my head, and now I just want it done. At Joni’s suggestion, I sent an email out to some friends about having a work party and I got a really good response – I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. I HATE asking for anything, but I really need help with getting this done in time, and they came through. Amazing!

In order to get the most done on Saturday, I asked Bobcat Mark to come by to break up and level out the area. I had been doing it with a shovel, but in a half hour he did what would have taken me a week. I really didn’t want him coming by last night but it was the only time he could do it. Last night was a farewell dinner for Mike and Joni. The Hillys are heading back to new Hampshire and I’ll miss them. So in the middle of getting dinner together I was out back directing earthmoving.

Tonight I’ll get everything for the patio laid out with string, and I’m taking Friday off to get some sand and put the railroad ties in place. Hopefully Saturday I can have two crews laying bricks, one in the corner for the big circle patio and one working on the walkway. I need to get a wet saw from somewhere and borrow Brads truck to pick up the sand. Then try and pre-plan and cook as much before hand as I can. I want to feed the crew some REALLY GOOD food so they know how much I appreciate thier effort. I’m gonna try and make Gabes rib recipe. These folks deserve the absolute best I can offer.

Tomorrow is Spanish class and afterwards, a trip planning meeting with Shannon. He’s now got a lot more time to travel than he did at first – he quit his job!!! I can’t believe it! Way to stick it to the man Shannon! Show him the cost of freedom! We’ll be traveling – I’m guessing – as far as Buenos Aires together. I really have mixed emotions about that right now. It will be really great to have his company, support and friendship for both practical and emotional reasons. In my head this trip is a test I need to take alone butI’ll still have a whole lot of time riding by myself - so its not a big deal, just an adjustment in my thinking. I also know that traveling together longer really will be a great roller coaster ride. I don’t think I really know yet how lucky I am to have him as a  travel partner.

There’s also a few last bike mods to make. I ordered the Moab suspension system from Cogent Dynamics. Once that arrives I’ll have to install it. I still need to change out the doohickey and mount some off road pegs. Once thats done, I want to get a tank bag and I think the bike will be about ready. There’s a Horizons Unlimited rally in July where I can ask a lot of questions and get some good advice on whats left to consider -so we’ll see…

So thats about it – for now. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. And each day one more step towards the starting gate…

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This picture says it all. Joe, Bill and I went fishing on Sapphire lake this past Saturday. I don’t know why, but I thought the whole trip was really funny. It started out by taking golf carts from the house over to the lake, where, tied to the dock was a giant pink flamingo paddle boat.

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I had to get in it and dork around. I would of loved it if we could have fished from this thing – but alas, it was chained up. I checked!

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Here, in preparation for the expedition, the men are unloading supplies from the golf carts into the boat.

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Unfortunately Bill had a hard time getting into the boat, so I set him up on the dock. The kid working at the boat house gave me an umbrella that I tied to a folding chair and I got him a glass of water. (thats him in the background) I told him to ring the big farm bell if he needed anything. The lakes not that big. I could have gotten there in time if need be. I’m not a terrible person – right?

So off Joe and I went for some hard-core fishing:

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Yeah, thats as big as they got. But it really was fun. Joe has lived next door to my family since before I can remember. In Lighthouse Point he and Jerry were always our neighbors and now they live right next door to my Mom in NC. Its really good to know that she has such old friends so close by – and it was nice to go out with Joe who remembers going fishing in the Everglades with me, my dad and grandfather in the 1970′s. Theres no substitute for history.

When I go visit Mom I ask her to make me a punch list of things that need doing around the house. On this trip one of the things she asked was that I fix up the gas grill. It needed a little work after having blown over in a windstorm and then just some general spring cleaning. After getting it all cleaned and back in shape Bill and I enjoyed a few cocktails and a nice grilled dinner on the deck. The next morning when I went outside I saw a perfect little paw print made from pollen that had been stuck to a racoon’s foot. I could just see perfectly how he planted it on the front of the grill, stood on his hind legs and reached up with his nose to smell what we had cooked for dinner.

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