The Race is Upon Us

Tomorrow is the last day standing between Taylor and I and the race. We are excited. Getting everything squared away beforehand has proven to be a challenge, and as such, hearing the gun go off will be a relief in itself.

One interesting puzzle we’ve been facing as of late is the inability to use bicycle transportation in the days leading up to the race, as we may need those muscles later. Finding transportation is a mystery yet to be solved. Of course, if it comes down to that, I will ride where I need to!

Here is my hand posing with the official Ironman wristband.

Other than the few remaining technical logistics, I need to take care of the food I will be eating for the race. Ironman has 5 bags that you fill (bike gear, run gear, morning clothes, etc) and they will supply them at different points throughout the race. It seems simple, but it’s not. Little known fact; brain function decreases roughly 80 Percent in the days leading up to an Ironman.

So I’ll be scrambling around for the next 48 hours!



For those of you sounding out that wonderful acronym above, it is pronounced the same as swimmer, but  with a strong new england accent (SWIM-AH). 

For those of you who have a natural disposition for perfect pronunciation and moved on only to be foiled by the meaning of the acronym, I will gladly reveal it. S.W.I.I.M.A is none other than:

Steve’s Wicked Important IronMan Advice

This will be an ongoing series of tips and hints that I accrue leading up to (and following) Ironman St. George. Of course, these tips will be made to apply not just to this race, but any endurance event you may lay your registration upon. 

Without further a due: 


1. Oreo cookies are NOT a feasible substitute for proper race/training nutrition.

This tip is especially important, and I can speak from recent experience. I, one known often as the ‘Steel Stomach’ or the holder of ‘Incorruptible Intestines,’ was easily foiled by this horrendous ploy. Of course, it is commonly known that those training for triathlons commonly ingest an oozy post-nuclear substance known affectionately as Goo. 

That (surprisingly as it seems) is a much better idea than the oreos. 

2. Avoid this: 


 I tried my best, but got hit with a great dowsing of it.. Alas! One of the great downfalls of bicycle travel lies not in the bicycle itself but its relationship with the premier transportation machine. 

3. Embrace those around you who you share an interest with!! 

Come on.. Unless you live in Amsterdam, or a few other select bicycle havens, it is not too much work to acknowledge fellow pedal pushers around you! Of course, it is completely acceptable to be in so deep a zone that you acquire what is known as ‘tunnel vision,’ thereby missing your counterparts.  

The other side can be quite uplifting, however! Try this guy out, for example.


 Well, That is about all I have for you for now. Yes, today’s 3 tips are quite heavy on the bicycle section. But they still apply to all three disciplines (maybe not so much swimming, unless you are creative) and even to life itself! 

I hope you enjoyed the advice. I hope you can apply it when you get off the computer today to go outside and ride! I am sure that will be happening soon, right? Oh, it’s too cold out? You are tired? You have plans? I understand. That’s why you are reading this blog. Well at least go on a walk or something. 

See you soon with some real life updates about my life and training! 




The Ironman is fast approaching

Here I am with a long awaited update and insight into the lives of your two favorite bicycle toting travelers. 

Our travels have been speckled with hitchhiking rides across long expanses, bicycle rides through the most varied scenic passes, and the occasional sojourn with newly forged acquaintances along the way. 

I suppose the story continued as we left the door of Eric Allred’s garage. Route 10 southbound became our gravitational stopper as we headed down slopes towards our eventual destination camping spot for the night. The day’s ride held a twist. Taylor regarded the tailwind and elevation drop as promising, and he accordingly went out with quite the gusto and speed. A different viewpoint was planned for me, however. Most of the morning was spent struggling to keep my significantly weighty bicycle at level with Taylor’s brisk pace. This did not prove very successful, and I had to watch from afar as he signaled the companion he thought was directly behind him. My hard work to keep up left me with an empty stomach and a need for some A/C. Eventually, lunchtime came into play and I opted to splurge on a 14″ Large pepperoni pizza, with an accompanying 12″ breadstick round. By the end of it all, there remained only 2 pieces of pizza and 2 end breadsticks. Taylor made the conservative (and smart) decision of eating his own food. 

The two of us hopped back on the bikes, and I was in for more demoralizing miles as I struggled beside the coal trucks. Luckily, the difficulty was broken up with the inevitable views of the Utah landscape. I will let taylor’s pictures speak to that, as a median between the imagery I would attempt and the ability to actually be there and see them! Anyway, we continued on to the last small town before we would reach Interstate 70. We went into Randy’s general store and found from the friendly clerk, Mary Lynne, that it would be fine to use the rest area across the road to camp for the night. She didn’t let us get away with just that, and she insisted on buying us a snack and drink a-piece as her good deed for the day. 

Taylor and I settled in and I informed him that I would like to take the next day as rest, so as to send back some weight that was holding me down. As the night fell, we found that Mary Lynne’s kindness was not soon to end. She had brought us hot chocolate! 

Upon waking, we found breakfast waiting as well. The kindness we were shown is heartwarming indeed. The two of us went through our bags to send things home, and we got quite a bit out on the way to MA. The post man, Randy, expects a post card from MA when we return home, and this will hopefully serve as a reminder for me! Our activity for the day was a climb of a nearby rock formation that resulted in stunning views as well as some interesting finds. Taylor gained a unique cone shaped rock to add to his necklace, while I found a small geode and a piece of amber (petrified sap). We returned down and back to home camp before dark. At that point, Mary Lynne’s family extended even MORE kindness and we were invited to a wonderful dinner at their home. We found the company and the food to be first rate. 

The following morning, we packed up and headed out, feeling well rested, well filled, and light on the bikes. We made it to the Interstate, and off we went, west across another mountain range. Confidence was in us both that day, and we climbed from under 5000 feet to nearly 8000 feet without a single problem, and averaging quite a speed the whole way. Our efforts gleaned quite a reward, and we then coasted down the mountain ridge for almost 20 miles, at which point we stopped for lunch. The day was going well, and despite our successes, we decided to try a new method of travel: Hitch-biking. 

The idea was to hitchhike, but with our bicycles and gear with us. Not complicated at all. But who would pick up two guys so heavily laden with gear? Apparently, a lot of people would. We gained a ride within a few minutes, and met a truly kind guy who was on his way home from Moab. He brought us to Interstate 15. We were making serious headway for the day. Our goal became St. George by nightfall! We secured a ride again with a father and son on their way to Las Vegas for a car show; George and George. Coincidence? I think not. Their willingness to help others led them to stop again for a stranded hot rod, and we gained 2 more to our troupe. Their car was having some trouble, but we made it into St. George as the sun fell behind the red rocks, and the moon rose behind the same on the opposite side. 

A cheap motel for the night was in line, and we chose the Sands. This motel will come into play in the future as well. 

It was roughly at this time that Taylor informed me I once told him on the trip that I owed him a favor, and he chose to realign us toward Los Angeles. His yearning to see the pacific coast remained strong, and I had no choice but to oblige. Of course, when put that way, it seems as if I did not like the prospect, when contrarily, I quite looked forward to it, and besides, we had plenty of time before we needed to settle down in St. George for training. 

The road was reserved for a bit more hitch-biking, and we had an easy time of it, until Las Vegas. We again made it our goal to arrive at our destination by nightfall, and we were now hard pressed to get a ride on the outskirts of Sin CIty. I was led to believe it was because of the outgoing traffic’s poor prospects at the casinos that they did not want to pick us up. That did not affect one driver, however, and we saw a small car stop behind us on the entrance ramp to  the interstate. A well dressed girl roughly our age stepped out into the wind and greeted us merrily. We chatted for a bit, and all came to the decision that despite the size of the car, it would be worth and effort to attempt securing them in the trunk, as Nicky was also headed to L.A. 

All was successful, and we jumped in the car. soon enough, we were 3 pals on a road trip, and we enjoyed the time well with good music and a stop at In + Out Burger. The time eventually came when we departed and she dropped us off in West Hollywood, where we were graciously offered room to stay with Joey Fiore and Bart Walsh. Good times were had, and we also got to see quite a bit of the surrounding area. Taylor and I rode down to Santa Monica beach, taking a detour through the Hollywood and Beverly Hills. The houses were grand, the cars were flashy, and the whole world around us was a beautiful, varied garden. The smelling was wonderful! We eventually got to the beach and trudged our way through the sand to place our bicycles in the great Pacific! 

Later, we reunited with Nicky, and met her friend, Dana. The four of us instantly went off for some adventure, and on queue was a night hike to the Hollywood sign itself, and the Griffith Observatory. We saw a few coyotes passing through the quite neighborhood on the way to the observatory. After all, the four of us became peas in a pod, and we had many a good time. We were soon graciously invited to Nicky’s family’s easter dinner, and they let us crash on the couch at Nicky’s house the night before. We had a fun ride with stops at a hotel bonfire and a flock of flamingos, the site for the upcoming Coachella Fest, and a particularly flashy casino/hotel. Eventually, the night ended and I alone stayed up to cry my eyes out while watching the movie 50/50. I highly recommend it, but don’t forget to bring tissues.

Easter the next day was quite and affair, and we enjoyed company of the whole exciting extended family of Nicky, particularly some of her younger relatives during a rousing game of pickup basketball. We made our way back to Joey’s place, and we all said our final farewells. Taylor and I left the following morning en route back to St. George.

As we discussed places to stay for the night, Taylor talked briefly on the phone with Nicky. She informed us that her grandmother, Jeanne, may have some extra beds for us. Jeanne fondly refers to us and many others as her ‘idiots.’ We were gladly part of the group, and Nicky and Dana even paid a visit to the house later on, albeit only briefly. We said our goodbyes again, enjoyed warm beds, and took up Grandma Parks’s offer to drive us a bit of the way back toward St. george! When we were dropped off, we braved the hot Mojave Desert (yes, even in april), passed through Las Vegas again, and camped at a large truck stop/gas station area for the night. I slept only with my sleeping bag and mat, and the starry sky as my tent. We continued down the road, and eventually picked up a last ride to St. George. (It should be noted that our travels now include over 4000 miles of cycling, 1700 miles of bus transportation, and now almost 1000 miles of hitchhiking! We have gained some travel experience, you could say.)

We then met a refrain of the previous visit to our penultimate destination, and stayed at the same Sands motel as last time in St. George. Again, the room was a nice rest. We stopped in at a cool cafe, the Bean Scene, and struck up a conversation with Christina, a musician in town. She said she might know a place for us to pitch our tents, and soon we showed up at the door of Avalon and Jordan! The two have been gracious hosts as well as good new friends. Taylor and I have been relaxing a bit in the area and preparing all the last things for our race! It is in 19 days now, and we are looking forward to it with overflowing excitement! 

Our travels are nearly done, with just the way back to Las Vegas for our flight remaining. All we have now is the race.

Thanks for reading, We will both be on more frequently now with training updates and posts pertaining to Ironman St George!!! 


Dinoland, USA

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Today, Taylor and I entered Utah. There are big skies, big plains, big buttes (I cannot lie), and big mountains. We stopped at Dinosaur National Monument, which would have been cool if it was open. Luckily it had a sign that said there was ANOTHER Dinosaur National Monument about 24 miles down the road. So we went. We got a tour (which involved a wall of half excavated real dinosaur bones, and a round of applause from the people who drove up the hill to get there and watched us slave up it).

Our stay with my aunt and uncle and cousin was wonderful, and we got some solid training in. At the same time, it’s a good feeling to be back on our own. we are camping tonight on the open range, neighboring the majestic landscape on our way to the race. Posts will once again become frequent!



The Road to Pensacola

Yesterday, I entered the Florida panhandle. With the panhandle came the foothills of the Appalachian range, rows upon rows of reforested longleaf pine trees, a fair share of big trucks with hunting gear, and lots of rain.

The hills started around mile 100 yesterday, and stayed consistent all the way until I called it a day at 138 miles. I pulled up at the side of the road and nestled my tent next to a property fence. This morning, I met Dennis, another touring cyclist who has been riding around the country since August 2010. He has seen quite a bit, and was great to talk to. Unfortunately, some bad luck befell him as he had lost his wallet only the day before.

We went our separate ways in anticipation of a tornado warning and lightning storms. *In fact, I am online right now and am interested to find that the aftermath of the tornado leaves me with a flash flood warning for the rest of the day.* So, I rode west through Tallahassee and through the biggest forest in Florida, the Apalachicola National Forest. Pine trees get repetitive, especially when you are in a full-on shower. I have never seen such heavy rain back in Mass. Anyway, I survived, as you can see.

Now, I am in Blountstown, a small main street town on the road to Pensacola. I have 150 or so miles to go, and I will probably do another 50 of those today. On another particularly remarkable note, I passed a small swamp about 2 hours ago that was virtually stacked with alligators. I saw at least twelve! I suppose they wanted to get near the road for some sunlight, as the rain cooled it down to about 60 degrees.

So, I will leave you for another day.


Two roads to the same place

For the next few days, Taylor will be staying in a great little town called Cedar Key, where he will enjoy boating and clamming on the Gulf, as well as a host of other island activities. Conversely, one day out on the clam boat was great for me and I am ready to get back to cycling. I will be riding around the Gulf up to Pensacola area. I am currently in the town of Chiefland, and will be moving on shortly! Taylor will be meeting me when we get to Pensacola.

Also, for anybody who is interested, March marks the beginning of my threshold training for the Ironman. Each day’s ride will now consist of some sprints and longer, faster pushes to get my heart rate down and my VO2 Max up. I will also be on high mileage for running, and throwing in plenty of long tempo runs. I will swim when I can….

Thanks for reading!


Disney done, Alabama here we come!

Taylor and I did not have any internet access while at Disney World. Thus, we have quite a bit to update on. For now, I can only give brief summaries, as we still have plenty of riding ahead for today.

We are enjoying 90 degree weather and lots of nice bike trails. Some brief maintenance has helped our bikes run a bit smoother, and we got complimentary golf balls for our kick stands from a great little shop along the way. Last night held quite a surprise as well.

As I got ready for bed (we were camping beside the bike trail), Taylor hopped up and told me he was going on a run. I told him I’d probably be asleep when he got back. an hour and a half later, I got up to check where he was, and was greeted by his bouncing headlamp blinding me and telling me he did ten miles. And he wants to do 10 more. So I decided I should jump in.

By then end of it all, I had done 11 miles and Taylor ran 21. Pretty good run for 2 guys who just finished 80 miles on the bikes! Of course it will come in handy come May 5th.

So now we are in Hernando, FL and on our way to Alabama. It will be nice to get to a new state and a new month.


Blood, Sweat, and Gatorade

The two of us woke up and started Valentines day by  conquering a coconut tree; Taylor brought home the prize, as you dedicated video-watchers know. I got my knife out and immediately began hacking and cutting the coconut’s outer shell in the hopes of reaching the center. It turns out, the knife was not the best approach. My next attempt was better, but not by much. I brought the coconut outside to where Taylor was using his phone, and I threw the coconut against the tar. It bounced like a football. Again, I tried, this time with all my effort. I got a decent sized crack and started to peel away a big chunk of outer layer. By the third time, there was an aggravated ‘CRACK,’ and the inside coconut started spewing coconut water like an overturned fire hydrant. I lost myself, and started running around like a chicken with his head cut off, the coconut quickly losing it’s precious water. Taylor ran over and told me we needed to drink it, so i managed to direct the flow over my head, and we passed it between each for a few turns, surprised there was so much still in it. I ran and got a cup so Sekajipo could enjoy his share.

Once the coconut was spent, we packed up a bit. Most of the day was soon lost to song playing and video recording, and the two of us rolled out at around 1:30. Plagued with hunger, we sped down the metro bike path and spotted a 5 guys burgers and fries, where we ate a few burgers. Taylor got Jalapeno, bacon, and onions, while I got mushroom, A1 sauce, and tomatoes. We got back on the road and hit what must be the most stop-light concentrated road in the world. Our progress was slow. Our goal was Key Largo, where we would bandit camp in the woods. As we finished the bike route and were about to join up with the main road, Taylor and I spotted a cyclist with back panniers, loaded for a decently long ride. We decided we wanted to talk to him, and thus started yelling like mad men and gaining stares from surrounding pedestrians. Yet, the one man we wanted to hear us was the one man who didn’t, and he waltzed inside a building. Looking up, we saw that it was a hostel, and we rode over to the entrance, waiting for him to return to his bike.

“We saw your bike, and wanted to know what ride you are doing!” I asked. He told me he was going to Key West from Naples, and I responded by telling him we were doing the same (from MA), and would be searching for a place to stop on Key Largo.

“Stop here,” he said. “You won’t find anywhere to camp on the road ahead. You don’t want to miss this place,” he ensured us, and we elected to think about it while he checked in and got the tour. Eventually, the two of us decided the drab day was beyond repair (our total mileage couldn’t have been more than 40), and we went to check in. Mark Wessels was the man who made this fated suggestion, and his involvement in our story is yet to fully bloom.

The decision to stay was indeed a smart one.

Our quick tour took us through the building and outside, where a jungle tree house atmosphere prevailed and happy conversation twirled about. The place had a full spices-equipped kitchen, 2 pianos, and countless lounging areas, one of which was a gazebo with a rooftop sitting area. A slackline was tied between two trees, and I immediately jumped on and did a few tricks. There was a rope canopy in the adjacent tree, so I climbed that as well.

Once our tents were set up out back, we kipped over the street to Rosita’s and got ourselves some burritos and other mexican dishes. It was well worth the 30 minute wait. Taylor went to bed early, and I stayed up and enjoyed some sorely missed social time. We started with a few fun games, and moved to the gazebo for a ‘slumber party’ on the sundry cushions and pillows. Dancing and music were prevalent, as were John’s more-than-amusing stories, and skittles and Valentines day chocolates were passed around. Soon, the night came to and end and I fell asleep.

Upon waking, I had pancakes and conversations with different people. I ventured to Robert Is Here, a great fruit stand, with Alexa and Amanda. I slacklined a bit more, and stayed up nearly as late as the night before.


It was the morning of the 16th, and all-you-can-eat pancakes brought Taylor and I to a moderate processing level, allowing us to formulate a few simple words and to start jumbling our gear back together. Taylor was the good one at this stay, and went to bed right early both nights at the Everglades Hostel. We said goodbye to a few of our new found friends, and headed out the door. Our goal for the day was to get halfway down between Florida City and Key West. We embraced the hot day and had our share of sights along the way. Islands were sprinkled like fresh cut grass on a puddle and we followed the seemingly endless route 1. My tire decided not to stay in it today, and we were often stopping off to pump it up again. As we got closer to the mid point, we decided to look up the campsite I had researched earlier, only to find that it was located on Sugarloaf Key, a ways from where we could get to within daylight. We decided to ignore the night, as well as my constant flat tire.

Night fell, and the stars rose. The water that displayed fish, jellyfish, sea turtles, and a beautiful turquoise color during the day was now a dark, empty plain. Taylor and  I were still biking, and with a blinking light on my back, we flew over the 7 mile bridgeat around 20 MPH. That was the last stand of my tire, and it would no longer hold air at all after that. The way was slow, and a cop stopped at one point while we took a snack break to see if we were alright. We eventually got to the road of our campsight, a few miles past a KOA campsite. The road seemingly ended, and until we pulled up close enough, we could not see the small hole in the mangrove trees that revealed an abandoned and potholed path stretching into the night. The starlight grew brighter away from building and street lights, and the mangrove trees glowed green on either side. I felt like we were crawling through a tunnel to another world. Countless spider webs stretched the expanse across the road, and almost all of them ended up in our faces. The road was unrideable and seemingly endless, so we decided to set up camp right there on the path, confident that no one would be driving it any time soon. The stakes would not go into the ground, so we tied up our tents to our bikes and panniers, and settled down. Taylor mentioned to me that we were completely void of any traffic noise or artificial lighting at all. We were really isolated. Despite that, sleep was hard to come by in the continuously stifling heat and buggy sky.

We rose early, and I checked my phone to find that Mark Wessels (previously mentioned) had left a message and was staying at the very campground we had passed at the beginning of the road. I returned a call to no answer, and we packed up and got on the road. We were right at the 20 mile mark, got to mile 18 when Mark called back. I stopped, and we planned to meet up with him. I got to work on my tire, first attempting to patch the old tube. When that didn’t work yet again, I finally replaced the poor worn tube, and to my delight, it held air quite well. We moved on toward our final destination on the east coast. Mark was very courteous and covered our breakfasts, and we soon arrived at Smather’s Beach. I immediately jumped in the water, and cooled off in one of the southernmost beaches in the contiguous US. Mark left off, and I set up the slackline while Taylor traded a meal for some stories and poems with a guy he met.

Our next stop was the actual southernmost point in the Continental US. It was mobbed with other tourists (who took motorized transportation to get there), and we waited in line with a couple from Northborough, MA. Our pictures were taken and we sweated our way down the street to get some coconuts. It was well over 80 degrees and I was sweating incessantly. In fact, I reasoned that I was sweating continually since the morning of the day before, as I sweated through sleep as well. We soon met up again with Mark at the hostel he was staying at. Now, Mark has the distinction of being a major sculptor of the way my life will pan out. I have always believed in giving selflessly as the key to a peaceful world, but I had never seen it performed with such sincerity until now. Mark extended his care to the two of us, who were not far from strangers to him at the time. He took us out to lunch and dinner, supplied us with needed gear from the bike shop, and even provided our stay at the same hostel. The results are all clear as a bell; All three of us had a wonderful time getting to know each other and bonding over endless and great conversation and great food. We are endlessly thankful for Mark’s demonstration of how to live well, and when it comes our turn to pass on the kindness, you can bet we will be treating some young adventurers to the riches of kindness. Thank you, Mark, for everything, and I wish you the best of luck on your travels, as well as with your growing family. Also, I can assure you I am regaining my consciousness of healthy food choices!

So, with a fun filled day at our backs, we slept well in the hostel and woke up with only 2 plans that day. Plan 1 was to get key lime pie. This was a success, and we even got to take pictures with the chef himself. He shared a story of his world travels in a VW as a youngster. Plan 2 was to leave to Fort Meyers via ferry. Since Taylor had his hydrophobic tattoo, we could not do our most anticipated activity of snorkeling, and we decided it would be best to escape the temptation as soon as possible. Plus, Key West is plain expensive and full of drunk people. So, we meandered through the streets for the day until 5, when we needed to be at the port. We followed some tour trains and listened to pieces and parts of Key West’s history. At long last, we boarded the ferry via a farmers walk holding all our gear in a painfully slow boarding line. We plopped down at our seats, watched and episode of friends, and relaxed.

The sun was going down, so Taylor and I skipped up to the top of the ferry and joined the crowd to watch. I got myself a 4 dollar-4 inch circle pizza to bring up with me. It took about a minute for the sun to touch the horizon and completely disappear behind it, and it finished with a round of applause from the crowd. Taylor laughingly joined in. We laughed at the X-Men movie, followed by the Big Bang Theory all of which were punctuated by visits to the top deck to enjoy the stars, the wake of the speeding boat, and the isolation from other passengers.

The ride was done as quickly as it started, and we left the boat ready to gain our campsite. Sleep soon infested itself in me. We woke up and started the day, getting breakfast from Gwen’s Cafe (Hi Gwen!) and getting right on track. The day was destined to be our longest yet, and we knocked out the miles quickly on the way to Lake Wales. Route 31 is mostly vast farmland, and we did not see very much. I had no water, and soon had to ask to borrow some of Taylor’s, just so I didn’t die. He later shouted to me that we had about 5 miles to Arcadia (which meant food), and I was relieved. Even better, I spotted a gas station around the bend, and had to stop just to make sure it wasn’t an oasis. It turned out to be real, and I forewent one of my usual Arizona Ice Teas for 2 gatorades. I drank them all within about 15 minutes, and we soon stopped at Dominoes, consuming some pizza and bread. The road ahead held some nice lake views, some high speeds, and a peculiarly sandy road through an orange grove, which we enjoyed swerving about in.

(please excuse the writer for a moment; he is enjoying dinner with Taylor’s grandparents)

Soon, the sun fell. We caught it on its last legs, and it was one of the biggest sunsets I’ve ever seen. We had 20 miles to go. The pace was picked up, and 5 miles melted away quickly. despite being over a century, our riding was at 18 MPH. We were hauling. We shot through Lake Wales State Forest and Lake Walk-In-The-Water. At last, we took a few turns and showed up at the door of Taylor’s Grandparents. I read a book and went right to bed.

Here we are, having just finished lasagna for dinner, relaxing before we hit the Universal parks tomorrow. The theme parks will be our last major rest before crossing to the west. We are going all out and hitting all the parks; The grand finale of our childhood, if you will. All that lies ahead of that is the endless road, the elevation rise through western Texas, the Ironman, and our grand endpoint of California coast.

Until next time,


Beggar The Dolphin!

Steve and I are having lots of laughs in Dunkin Donuts right now. I think the heat is getting to us.

The audible nightmare of the screeching sand crane rang in my ears. I rubbed eyes and took notice of the abundant clouds in the sky. On this day we were going to be taking out the boat. I love boats. I love the sea. There is magic in it. I reached for my phone blindly, while I kept my eyes fixed on the window. I glance down and read 8:47 on the cellular clock. After cracking my knuckles and snapping my back, I rolled out of bed. I gently put my cross necklace on over my tousled hair. I itched by behind as I opened the door.

“Good morning sir!”, a friendly voice greeted me. Steves Grandpa Jennings was enjoying the morning air on the porch. “There’s muffins, cereal, fruit, and coffee…have what ever you like! I would like to head out no later than 10.”

I peeked my head into the living room and saw Steve’s feet dangling off the air mattress. He was reading…what else is new?

The door squeaks, and out walks Grandma Jennings. “Hello my little angels!”, she exclaims with a smile. “I really hope we see a dolphin today”, I explained. “Do they still come out when it’s cloudy?  Grandpa came at me with his quick wit, “Well, I sent them an e-mail”.

After breakfast, we headed to “Freedom Boat Club” to pick up our transportation. We picked up a nice little boat by the name of Island Daze.

Pelicans and many other colorful birds greeted us as we cruised by. I enjoyed watching the old ocean beaten sailboats and vintage ships. Steve attempted to nap in a cramped seat toward the bow. I filmed whenever possible. Hopes were high in me to see a light grey finned ocean dweller.

As I was relaxing with my feet up, I was jolted by the cheerful exclamation of Grandma Jennings. “DOLPHIN! DOLPHIN! It just went under the boat!” We all sprang to our feet. I slung my camera over my shoulder and reached for my camcorder. I clicked record. Panning the nearby ocean, “it could be anywhere”, I thought. My heart was pounding with the thrill of finally seeing a dolphin. Part of the fun was trying to guess where he would pop up. We all began to smack the side of the boat with our palms. (I’ve been told this lures the dolphins because some people feed them. The dolphins learned to come to the clapping) This dolphin’s name is “Beggar.”

“There he is!” Grandpa Jennings shouts as he points to the starboard side of the boat. I turned myself around using my camera lens instead of my eyes. Sure enough, a chipper dolphin was swimming directly alongside the boat only a few inches away. With a smile and   an exhalation through his air hole, he was gone. Farewell Beggar!

I sat down with a smile. Steve was grinning from ear to ear as well. Grandma and Grandpa were very happy that we got to see what we set out to.

We had Pb&J and Chicken salad sandwiches for lunch with cookies and chips! (Side note: there are only 2 remaining zones on Steve’s face that don’t have mature facial hair. He just exited the bathroom exclaiming with joy)

Anyway, the day was filled with fun and many more dolphin sightings. I can’t express enough how much I loved sitting on the bow of the boat with my feet skimming the water. I felt unattached to anything. The freedom at that moment was surreal.

Many laughs and photos later, Capt. Jennings brought us home.

Until Next time, stay healthy!