The ‘loop’ was great! If there was anything ‘wrong’ with it, it was that after paddling the Silver River, all else had somewhat of a mundane feel to it.
The back roads were relaxing, plus the ride was more peaceful and efficient than I expected – worth every mile. Still finding it difficult to ‘just stop’ and snap a picture, but its coming – seems like there are a thousand in my head that I missed. But the trip remained one of a few simple objectives with no itinerary, no plans – the only one that loomed was the one of a return date prior to Thanksgiving.
From Madeira Beach I returned to the interstate and the ‘hypertension’ that radiates from the frenzy of it all – the drive to Fort Myers was swift in comparison to the ride of the last few days.
Once in Fort Myers I tried to slow it down a bit and ride a few of the small streets that at one time encapsulated my whole world. Most of the familiar places were now camouflaged under forty years of change.
I remember a few years back in riding past the home that I was pretty much raised in and noticing a couple relaxing in the driveway. I stopped and we chatted with them for a short time, in the conversation I mentioned that I had been raised in the house – and the lady began telling me how her family and children (now grown) had also been raised in the house, the only home that they knew.
It was a mixed feeling that I felt as I returned to my car and drove away, there was a little bit of a loss of that special place. The feeling of ‘home,’ at one-time my complete safe-haven from others, my families home, – now belonged to others. I suppose too I began looking at things a little differently on that date, I was forced to realize that generations of folks cover the trails of our past, as we covered those before us – its an ongoing cycle of life. The true meaning of the statement “you can never go ‘home again’ rang clear.
Saturday night at the gathering of long-time friends and classmates I put my camera down and enjoyed a full evening of reminiscing with familiar eyes. It was held in a large nursery of Palm trees and exotic plants, a very nice setting full of fun conversation surrounding past endeavors.
I spent the night among those Palm trees; the following day I visited and stayed with My friend Dewey along the Caloosahatchee River where I liked it so much I slept on his porch 16 floors above the water – it was a good nights sleep while my feet and senses slowly returned to normal. Sure he had an extra bedroom, but heck – anyone can sleep in a bedroom… I slept with the sounds of the river surrounding me.
Next objective was to visit my Dad in Orlando, so I tried to run all the old back roads and see the changes, two-hundred miles later I walked in to find Dad napping in his easy chair, at 83 he can rest anytime he likes and he usually does.
Dad showed signs of forgetfulness, he needed assistance standing and a ‘scooter’ to get around. This was new to me, and it was very unlike the vibrant/active father that I always expected to see. Dad was in and out on conversation, and slipping (three months later he would pass-on; WT Haynie 1926-2010).
A couple of hours later I was back on the road and running through the bacroads of Georgia in the night – it wasn’t as fun as the trip down, and had me wondering why I was ‘back in the frenzy,’ especially at night – I think what I came up with was that I just love traveling, the ride, the character of the land, getting from here to there. I love it more than sitting in one place ‘talking.’
Six hundred miles later I made it to the lakehouse (4am) and fell solidly asleep in 20 minutes.
So I guess the ‘loop’ was practice, a first adjustment to traveling in a more relaxed manner – now I just need to work on the ending a little more.