The Call of the Boat

The Call of the Boat

We stopped a few more places on our way down through Florida. We stayed a night at Manatee Springs, which turned out to be one of our favorite parks on our trip, and Greg convinced me to go on a night hike looking for glowing alligator eyes. We might have stayed and taken a dip in the springs or rented kayaks to go out into the river, but we drove onward, planning to go snorkeling with the manatees at Homosassa Springs as I had done with some girlfriends back in 2009. But we were thwarted yet again. When we called to double-check the time they informed us that the Gulf’s waters had been so warm that winter, there were no manatees in the springs.

So we made way towards Indiantown. In addition to our goal of eventually getting to Key West, we had been making a beeline for a boat named Snowbird. I had found her online over a year ago when I had been looking for a Hallberg-Rassy Rasmus to buy. When Greg and I forged our Florida plan, I looked her up and found she was still for sale. She was perfect. Not only was she a center cockpit boat with two cabins and a wheel, she had been set up to go cruising. What’s more, the owners were Swedish. We felt the pull of destiny tugging at us all the way across the country.

But neither of us wanted to see her in the pouring rain. So we got as close as we could and stopped just north of the storms, on the outskirts of Orlando at Lake Louise.

It’s not a place I’d recommend but it was central and gave us a chance to formulate a plan and do laundry. We chatted with our campground neighbors, Roger and Dolores and what appeared to be their son. After listening to us describe our Great Life Transition the son said, “I smell lottery winners.”

I looked back at our trailer, its seams coming apart, at the unwashed dishes on the picnic table and thought, “If I were a lottery winner, I would have paid Mayflower to move this stuff and we would not be driving that beat up truck.”

Later, Greg said, “Hell, if we were lottery winners, we would have bought all new stuff.”

I thought to myself, “Hell, if we were lottery winners, I would not have left California.”

But it wasn’t the stuff they were talking about. Around here, you don’t just pick up and move across the country without a job waiting for you – without even a clear destination.

I suppose at that point we still thought we were moving to Key West, but only a few days later that plan would change.