My friend Rita had me at “Hey there traveler! Missing you and wondering where you will be the last couple weeks of January?”
Rita’s text couldn’t have come at a better time. I was feeling a little bit homesick. Rita and her husband Curt have been friends for nearly thirty years. We moved into our home at the end of our cul-de-sac soon after they had. From flashlight tag and chasing fireflies to celebrating graduations together (literally!) our kids navigated their childhood as a unit.
When our oldest daughter, Claire, died, Rita was one of the first to help guide me on my path. I remember walking down the street together just days after, Rita holding onto my hand. She was a literal lifeline.
Rita was a tremendous help in getting Claire’s Day, our tribute to Claire established. Like so many angels who descended upon us during our most difficult hours, Curt and Rita were always there.
The kids moved on and out, as did Curt and Rita.
But the friendship remained.
So it ended up that we all got together at our stop in Port St. Lucie. The Motorcoach Resort St. Lucie West offered the nicest accommodations we’ve had so far on the trip. Our site included an outdoor living area complete with fireplace, fridge and comfy seating.
Brad and Luna hanging out on our site.
Curt and Rita stayed just five minutes up the way, in a nice Holiday Inn. Brad and I vied for best Uber rating in bringing them back and forth to the coach.
As they are both as adventuresome as we are, Julie the Cruise Director set to task in organizing activities for the long weekend.
We kicked off the reunion by sharing excellent Thai food and a bottle of wine at the Malakor Thai Cafe. Yummy.
The next day happened to be Brad’s birthday. His choice of how to spend his special day included kayaking then cooking up a steak dinner at our campsite. Curt and Rita were able to rent kayaks at the River Park Marina, where the owner Jackie was awesome. We were too busy paddling through the mangroves to take pictures, but trust me, it was the perfect start to our adventures.
Brad’s birthday dinner was perfect…steaks grilled by Brad and Curt, excellent salad and potatoes, yummy wine to accompany.
The next day’s forecast didn’t play out as expected. Instead of the sunny skies and warm temperatures we’d been enjoying, we woke up to clouds on Saturday.
But, we didn’t let that stop us as we ventured to Fort Pierce, strolled around and stumbled into their Saturday morning farmer’s market. We ventured to the little manatee education center, and then grabbed a bite to eat at Cobb’s Landing.
I’d rented a boat from Salty’s Water Sports, complete with personal instructions for operating the pontoon boat. We were told numerous times to make sure to follow the channel and to pay attention to the No Wake signs posted. This was manatee country. We were warned that the Coast Guard monitored the waters closely.
Note how Curt and Rita look concerned about what lies in store.
Sure enough, the Coast Guard takes their job seriously.
This unit pulled us over. Captain Brad was fortunately taking the warnings seriously. After a routine check, we were back merrily on our way. We witnessed dolphins chasing fish, and playing together in the water.
Photo credit: Tom van O0ssanen
Note, this is not the boat we rented. This is the 384 foot megayacht (I didn’t even realize there was such a term, and apparently Spell Check doesn’t either) owned by Eric Smith, the CEO of Harbor Freight. The Infinity is the largest motoryacht ever to materialize from a Dutch shipyard. It features seven decks, three pools and a yoga studio. I’d definitely feel like Namaste on this vessel.
We wrapped the weekend with a fun round of golf at The Saints Golf Course. We had a beautiful day on the challenging course. We even saw a few little gators.
As I write this several weekends after Curt and Rita’s visit, I find myself missing home once again.
But these fun memories serve as a touchstones for the rest of our journey.