"Dude! How the hell are ya'll!" Mike said in his southern accent as he swung open the door to his town house in an upscale neighborhood in Atlanta and wrapped his bare, burly upper body around Tom and myself in a happy greeting. He was shaved bald and smiling from ear to ear. He had packed all he needed for a tropical adventure, but had somehow not yet put on a t-shirt. I mention that he was shaved bald, because the last time I had seen him he was on his epic bicycle adventure across the lower 48 states and he had a long, blonde, curly mane that made him look like Jesus. While he isn't the "Lord and Saviour" re-incarnate, he certainly has a big strong free spirit and a lust for life and adventure that makes everyone around him love him instantly. Mike and I became fast friends...nay brothers last year when a short stay turned into a 10 day fun fest that spanned a couple Northeast states. We had way too much in common to not form a life long bond, and yesterday morning was a sort of re-joining of the forces. Tom and I had just spent the whole night driving the deserted I 75 South to reach our formidable friend early in the morning and continue on the Leesburg Florida, where Tom is now living.
This adventure had spontaneity written all over it from the start. About a week ago, Tom, who had been working in Buffalo for the past few months, came home and said, "Hey man, we ought to go to Puerto Rico with Mary and Colleen on the 10th of November." "I'm in!" I said without hesitation, knowing that Mary was going on the trip on account of all of my recommendations of the island. She also wants to meet Lucy and the children. She has been very sick for the past year, so I knew this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us to really enjoy a vacation together while she is feeling good. Mary owns a fabulous restaurant downtown and has been a dear friend for a few years. I met her like I meet everyone I spend any time with...it was an instant, serendipitous connection. She came over to my table and started rubbing my shoulders and telling me that I must have a "charmed life" and "an old soul" and that I was soooo cute, like a sweet son... to her. Needless to say I became a great customer and a dear friend over time... Mary has tons of friends and customers who love her for this very charm. Not to mention the food at her restaurant is to die for!
This put the wheels in motion. I checked my schedule for November, made some adjustments to free up time, and picked up the phone to call Lucy in Puerto Rico and make sure we could come stay with her. "Of course! We can't wait to see you again!" was her reply. "We will get your house ready!" I hang up the phone and it rings again.... Mike.... "Dude, I need something to do... I am stagnant down here in Atlanta and I just quit my job a month ago. I"m gonna go into hibernation mode of I don't get the heck outta here" "Wanna go to Florida and then Puerto Rico?" I asked. "When do we leave?" "We'll pick you up in a few days... I'm ordering your plane ticket now." "Awesome! I'm so excited!" It was that easy, Mike was going on this adventure. He requested that we just buy one-way tickets in case one or all of us decided to just stay in the Caribbean for a while. Now the goosebumps were building up my arm. I told Tom the good news and he shared my excitement!
We got into Leesburg last night and the fun began. Hot tub, pool, golf carts. The luxury life in Tom's new "retired" community has been super sweet so far! Plus you can't beat the weather. It has been a bit seasonably cool at 67 F with a light breeze and plenty of sunshine. We made steaks on the grill last night. I cooked a salmon and eggs breakfast. Mike and I talked about tons of awesome adventure ideas while swimming in the pool, including one that would involve us leaving and living for one year just walking around the continental US, following the seasons. Today we helped Tom clean up the house and get things organized. Everything is just flowing so sweetly.... the way it should be. There's sure to be some great stories from the three of us.... keep your eyes peeled!!!