I was on a journey to circumnavigate the US and Nova Scotia this year, but a miracle birth happened in my family, causing me to put on the brakes—in fact to put on the parking break for a month. I drove on by a number of East Coast stops that I had planned, and blew off my meander from Shenandoah in Virginia, across the mountains to Ashville, Nashville, Graceland, Memphis, and Atlanta, in order to get to Port Orange, Florida, (Or POFA as I like to call it), as I hurried south to spend some time getting to know these babies.
I helped out with a little cooking, and a lot of holding these tiny babies. It’s important to breastfeed them sequentially when they’re this little, for Nicole to help them to get it right, eat enough at each feeding, and for them to have some calm solo time with mom. Because there are two babies, and they’re often both hungry at the same time, some support came in handy. I was able to rock and pat, sing to, and comfort whoever was waiting to eat. Nice to know I haven’t lost my touch in baby whispering.
I totally had a great month with my family. Watching the babies grow and change at such an amazing rate was mind-boggling. When I arrived, they were sweet little lumps that ate and pooped and slept. Eyes open some of the time, but maybe just beginning to track moving people or objects, as they couldn’t see that far. Random arm waving and kicking, fingers and toes in motion—(Dublin, was especially active) and random facial expressions.
In the four weeks I was there, I saw Finn become able to capture his moving fist, and get it to his mouth. Both boys were smiling and cooing, “googoo, ah-gah” type of stuff at us, as we held them and talked to them. Another ‘developmental leap” they took, was tracking moving people and objects with their eyes. Staying awake for more of each three-hour period between the serious business of eating and diaper changes. They seem to really recognize all the caregivers in the house—but of course, mom and dad could elicit the most smiles and baby talk.
While hanging out here with the family, I got a couple new tires on my rig. Had them mounted, balanced, and a wheel alignment to stop the shake that had developed after my first blowout on I-95. We drove everyone up to St Augustine in the rig and had a lovely day there. We’ve had outings to Ponce Inlet, and to a couple of lovely local places for seafood lunch. And we all went to Cape Canaveral to see the Kennedy Space Center, although the boys slept through that. So, lots of outings, and lots of great family time.
I got used to being in a house again. Didn’t miss going up and down the steps into my rig. Slept well, and LOVED having a shower right up the hall. Didn’t miss emptying the waste tanks every few days. But did I get itchy feet, you ask? Absolutely. I tried to make reservations to stay at some places down in the Keys, but had left it too long, and only the very expensive places had anything available. Plus, they looked more like a lot selling RV’s than a park, with very little breathing room between pads. I decided to hell with that. I’ve Actually been down there before, if you’ve seen Provincetown, or any other vacation spot—that strip of bars and restaurants, all kind of blur together, and hold no great fascination for me.
So, I will drive across Alligator Alley to see my pal Linda in the St. Pete area, will make my way back up the coast toward Pensacola, but then I’m hammering west, over to New Orleans, where I will stay in St Bernard State Park for six days or so, and play tourist, cabbing it into and out of into NOLA.
I really don’t like Florida. It is 30 degrees too hot for me on any given day. Yes, there is mild weather all winter, and beautiful beaches, but New Smyrna Beach, right near where my family lives, is the shark-bite capitol of the world. No lie. And then, every place where there is standing water, one has to presume it’s full of alligators. Bah! I thought I’d be swimming a lot down here, but never had my bathing suit on at all! I left Port Orange, and drove south and west to St. Petersburg for a two-day visit with Linda, my second-longest friendship.
After Leaving Linda’s driveway, I traveled up into the panhandle, to a campground called Ho-Hum, in the town of Panacea, where I had a site facing the Gulf of Mexico. Right on the water! It was a most excellent campground, but I was all-alone again, and had to become acclimated to that once more.
But, I’ve seen the Tidal Bore in The Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia, and a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, so I guess I can say, “East Coast? Check!”