Sunday, 29 March 2015

21 Days

Halfway. It's been 21 days since I left my cozy little apartment in the chill of a Calgary winter, 21 days since I have slept in my own bed, cooked in my own kitchen, watched my own TV, showered in my own bathroom. It's been 21 days since I've seen my Calgary friends, the family that has surrounded me for the last couple of years, the people who are such an important part of my daily life at home.

In those 21 days, we have swept down the Great Plains of North America, skirting the eastern edge of the great cordillera, that massive, scoliotic spine which runs the length of these two great continents and the isthmus connecting them. We've dipped in and out of the edges, made our way to the midst of the wide, open prairie, wormed out way south all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. We've made the turn east, skirting the edge of the ocean, winding through the swamps and bayous of the Gulf States, visiting the great American cities along the way. We've seen family, old friends, new places along the way; made memories, collected souvenirs, taken photographs.

We are a short distance from Key West; by the end of the day it will only be a few hours off. Our voyage today will take us further down the west coast of Florida and into the Everglades, that sweeping swampland bordering the Gulf of Mexico, creating a unique and unusual habitat primarily populated by fish, reptiles, birds and aquatic mammals. It's no place for us. Another day or so and we will have gone as far south as possible; we'll turn about, heading north, making another wandering pathway to home.

Florida is a busy place; there is no sign of a recession or economic difficulty here. Lower gas prices have re-awakened the American love of a road trip. This is vacation land; every hotel is full, every restaurant has a line up, traffic fills every highway. There are no budget hotels; even the cheapest runs in the $100 US range. Last night our Super 8 was $120, and we got the last room in the place!

Today we will head down further into this madness, loving every minute of it. Budget be damned; we are near the turning point. There will be other days, other chances to get a cheap motel, eat a cheap meal. For today, I plan on living, enjoying what I have and where I am, doing what I can... for another 21 days.

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