A Vacation Much Needed
We are on our way! The lovely Kath and I are on our way to Florida for a week in the sun, surf and sand. Mental note: must keep two of those three out of my cameras and lenses! It will be a short trip this year, only 7 days, but it is so needed. Even though it has been a fairly dry and warm season, this change of pace will heal the tattered soul. When saying “warm” I mean warm for a winter season. Single digit temps, sub zero double digit wind chill factors, cold toes and noses were endured. The furry cats on the other hand never noticed the temps and winds, just that is was dark when they got fed in the evening. Their biggest winter inconvenience; the front porch becomes off limits. Their little noses never get cold.
After printing boarding passes, adding a last few items to the triple checked bags and having sun soaked palm trees dancing in our heads off to an early bed time we go. Our travel day will begin in the wee morning hours, the first of many trials and tribulations that must be endured before our toes are once again warmed by soft sand. Many penances will be paid before time becomes slower and ours.
Hating the sound of alarm clocks, my iPhone, iPad and the lovely Kath's Blackberry are set to wake us. She has waves crashing on to a warm beach set and I have a bell tower ready to chime. This abrupt change of routine will leave the cats dazed and confused. Disturbed early from their slumber and dreams of chasing mice, bugs and zebras will leave them surly at best. Since they didn't get a memo informing them of the coming unwelcome change, they let us know of their displeasure with their eyes. First mad and then a look to makes you feel as guilty as hell. Having had the suitcases out for a few days they knew something as afoot but now the day of reckoning arrives. No joy in furville today.
My photo traveling hard case is always packed a few weeks before our day of freedom arrives. I always get the most important packing done first then the secondary miscellaneous items, clothes, deodorant, toothbrush. I have priories, photo gear, tee shirts and then the rest. This gives me time to think about what I'm taking and to change out gear as ideas change. Last change this trip was to leave the fisheye and bring the 2x teleconverter. We will be visiting an exhibition of sea lions, and I hope to get up close to them using the teleconverter. For the coming trip to Ireland my gear list was completed years ago. I hope it all fits but if not, well, a few pairs of socks will stay home in a drawer.
We are picked up by a parking lot shuttle bus that careens around snow piles, parked cars and a few sleepy travelers not yet rescued from the dark, cold abyss that is the long term parking lot. It is only now I start to think, I should have taken those air sickness pills before leaving home. After a long two minute bumper car ride we are delivered to a pedestrian unloading zone. Grabbing our bags we cross the last 20 feet of chilly Michigan air before entering the warmth of the airport terminal. That was the last chill to be felt until once again I'm back standing in the pedestrian loading zone, but that is a life time from now. After handing over our bags to be checked, we move on to the strip show that is going though security. The x-ray screeners always like looking at the equipment inside my hard case. “Photographer?” they ask. “Yup, but just an amateur, not a pro yet” I answer, never wanting to use the term “pro shooter” in an airport. Then off to kill time until our flight boards. Thanks be to Steve Jobs for creating a device to help with this chore.
Descending below a few scattered white fluffy clouds we can see palm trees and their fronds swaying gently in tropical breezes, waving to us in greeting. The pilot announces a welcome and that it is warm & humid, with a temp of 81 as we taxi up to the jetway. Music to my ears since at take off the temp was reverse of those numbers. The third joy of the trip is soon felt when the bags are spied taking a spin on the baggage conveyor belt. After a rush, rush morning and then a bit of sleep on the plane, the real slowness of “vacation time” kicks in at the rental car counter. Why this always takes so long will remain one of those mysteries long after I'm dust. After taking a short crash course, while driving, in learning the controls of this rental car we are finally off! Leaving the airport we see signs directing us to the beaches! Yes, we have arrived. No more snow. No more slush. No more freezing our butts off! For 7 days Florida's sun, surf and sand awaits. Mental note: must keep two of those three out of my cameras and lenses. And that my friends will be the only mental work I'll be doing for the next 10 days.