Saturday started early. Our plan was to drive away from the Dog River Marina around 7am. Of course, correcting for “cruising time”, that meant that the boat’s 4.5 inhabitants were just crawling out of cold beds around 7:30am. The next 4 hours were spent on last minute packing and the final steps of closing down and winterizing our sailboat. Around 11:30, the Prius and Thule topper were stuffed full of Tiger In Our Car’s supplies from a 3-month road trip, everything Caye and I would need to live for the next 2.5 months of traveling in Ecuador, 4 twenty-somethings and one labradoodle puppy.
Some numbers from the trip that followed:
714 miles driven
11 hours in the car
12 donuts consumed
6 cups of coffee consumed
4 gas stops
25 miles/gallon average
1 state border crossed
Dog farts…. countless
We arrived at the Vacation Village Condos in Weston, FL just before midnight and were greeted by a spacious second floor flat, with two bedrooms, three bathrooms a full kitchen, porch and jacuzzi. Three hours of dancing, sing-a-longs and imbibing followed – a good cure for cramped joints and sore car butts. Even at midnight, the temperature was around 75 F, 24 C – a very good sign.
At this point, it’s probably worth giving a bit more explanation about what exactly we are doing, considering we are not, as our tagline states, “cruising the world” at the moment. Way back in August, we bought round-trip tickets between Miami and Quito for December 13th through February 8th. We are kind of on an every-other year holiday schedule with our families and this year will be the first that I spend both Christmas and New Years in Ecuador – exciting! Buying the tickets in August was symbolic because it meant that even though we had only sailed solo once in our lives, a few weeks prior, we had committed to sailing Surkha over 1,500 miles from Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico. A leap of faith to say the least.
So, this whole trip, we have been aiming to arrive in Mobile, AL a couple of weeks before our flight, in order to meet up with Morgan and Jena and get in some quality beach time before they headed back to snowy WI for the holidays and we headed back to Quito’s chilly 9,350 foot elevation. Unfortunately, our arrival in Alabama coincided with a bit of a cold streak and neither cruising or swimming were options. Rather than just hanging out in Surkha’s mini-cabin for two weeks, wet, cold and cramped, we decided to start calling up friends and family, looking for a place to stay in Florida – somewhere warmer and closer to our departure airport. Good fortune was with us and Caye’s stepfather generously let us use a week of his timeshare network to stay in a Weston condo. Thanks Ivan! So, that’s where we are now. None of us have spent a lot of time in condos before and the population density and general intensity of South East Florida is bound to be a adventure. A fun and warm adventure.