Hello friends! I’m back! Did you miss me?
Husband and I DID, in fact, make it to Florida! Here’s a quick report…
Last Friday night we flew into Miami, got a hotel room and a rental car and a beer, and went to bed. Saturday morning we got up lateish and began the drive down through the Keys. It was a lovely drive, as promised, with water on both sides of the narrow highway for a few hours. We took our time on the drive down, stopping for lunch – fried conch, an outstanding Ahi burger, and some rum – and made it into Key West around 5pm. We got a room, had a few drinks, and walked around Duvall St. before turning in.
Sunday we really began our sightseeing, with my top priority: the Hemingway House. It was very special. I am still trying to wrap my head around the idea that he lived right there. I’ll give you the full Hem House report shortly. [EDIT: Here's my report.] Then we rented bikes and rode out to the area where the fishing charters depart, so we could shop for a fishing trip for Husband. Finally, we found some solid pizza by the slice and took yet another dip in the pool at our B&B.
Monday was a lazy day in and out of the pool, the bed, and various books… we rode our bikes around some more and fished off a pier on the east (Atlantic) side of the island. Then we had an early night so we could wake up early on Tuesday to go fishing!
We went out in a little boat with Captain Mike and Husband fished for baby tarpon, bonefish, permit, and maybe something else?? This is not my area but I went along for the boat ride. We saw maybe 5-7 sharks and a whole mess of sting rays, which was cool. This was “flats” fishing, on the Gulf side of the island, with a lot of poleing the boat over very shallow flats, so we could see very clearly what was swimming around under us. Husband didn’t have any luck but he thoroughly enjoyed himself all the same, and has expressed greater interest since we’ve gotten back home, in getting out there more. There’s talk of renting us seats on a local fishing boat in the coming months. And when I got up this morning he was casting in the back yard!
Tuesday night we spent more time exploring the island, catching up on the last of the recommended beer bars, getting our fill. Wednesday morning we had the time to wake up in a leisurely fashion, get Husband a new fishing hat (the other one disintegrating) from a local angler’s shop (so it’s a functional souvenir, good work Husband), and make the drive back up to Miami for an evening flight home. It was a fairly quick trip but we got everything out of it we wanted to (except a tarpon – maybe next time) and made it home with free time to spare.
Nephew Tanner kept all three little dogs alive and didn’t burn the house down, so things were a success all around!
Thursday morning involved some unexpected travel: we drove out west of Houston to Columbus, TX, one of the areas that was hit hard by wildfires in our absence. My family owns property out there and we had to assess the damage. In a nutshell, we were lucky: the hard work of the local fire crews saved our house, literally stopping the fire at the doorstep (as they did for countless of our neighbors). We lost our barn and tractor, and 30 acres of woodlands are spotty, some places nearly destroyed by fire (biggest trees standing but scorched, little else, carpeted in ash) and some places almost untouched. Overall we were most definitely lucky. Columbus lost 11 homes. Nearby Bastrop has lost some 1400 homes; this is almost unthinkable, in terms of all those families who have only what they could carry. We did take some clothes, toiletries, food and books up there with us to donate to the effort.
And now I’m just settling back in. I have several books and audiobooks to write for you. They might be brief reviews; I didn’t take any kind of notes, sadly. It feels good to be home. Here’s hoping you’re enjoying your reading, maybe even a break of some sort, and hoping your families are safe and fire-free…