A very sad morning today as we said goodbye to John, Bob, and Brendon. We have been hanging out with them for the past six days traveling from Orlando to Key West. They transformed from great friends to family during this time. To quote my mother, “what a nice group of guys, each one of them.” I am honored to have met and worked with each of you, and most importantly to have shared this part of my life with you.
Mom, Dad, Aaron, Shannon, and I woke up and got ready slowly. It’s getting tougher each day to get up and shower, so it was nice to take it easy. We got packed up and headed back toward Miami; initially, Dad and I were on bikes. Another incredible ride, finally complimented with the Florida weather you’d expect. On the way out, we stopped at Porky’s BBQ; a cool little hut on the water. Once again I had BBQ. It was great, but I vow that this is the last time for a while! More importantly, we followed it with some of the infamous key lime pie. We all split a plain slice and a deep fried slice. I’m a fan of the plain, fried reminds me of the state fair.
After lunch, Aaron and dad rode bikes while I took a long nap in the car. I’ve been having a hard time sleeping at night and it usually catches up with me in the car. I woke up just outside of Miami at dusk. Dad was ready for a break from the bike, so Aaron and I rode through Miami. This was the most impressive ride to date!! I-95 meanders through Miami’s neon lit high rise buildings. From the highway you get an amazing perspective of the city. Best of all was the ride down South Beach on A1A. The strip is lined with up-scale night clubs on one side and the beach on the other. On the ride down the strip, you take in the energy of the clubs through the loud music, well dressed clubers, and bright neon lights. I couldn’t resist singing Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” to Aaron on the helmet headset: “…so I continued to A1A Beachfront Ave, girls were hot wearing less than bikinis, rockman lovers driving Lamborghinis…”
From the time we left Key West, Dad kept mentioning how the one thing he wanted to do in Miami was get some authentic Cuban food. By the time we were ready to eat, we had already past the section of the city with the most Cuban restaurants. Through a Google search, Aaron was able to come up with a Salvadorian restaurant that had received some great reviews, El Tamarind; Dad accepted the alternative. Everything on the menu looked good. I decided to stretch and order something I wouldn’t normally go for; a whole red snapper. This combined with the bread & oil, calamari, and sangria made another excellent meal.
As I rode today, a couple of questions continued to plague me: (1) How much longer will I be able to walk on my right leg, and (2) what level of pain is tolerable? The most important activities in my life have always centered on movement: running, snowboarding, hiking, riding my motorcycle, and on and on. It is hard for me to imagine making a conscious decision to let these things that make me so happy go. All I can do is try to make the best of whatever is thrown my way. Today is my best day, and I am still riding in a good direction!