The Trip – Part 1


Tomorrow, I will be driving my Dad, my two nieces and their shared girlfriend down to the Keys for some fishing and snorkeling.  This promises to be a memorable trip, if but for the passengers along for the ride.

Dad, as befits an active octogenarian, has definite opinions about how people should be driving, acting and basically all other aspects of behavior.  As such, three hours in the shotgun seat with three teenage girls in the back should provide him with ample opportunities for making his opinions known.  And that’s just the trip down.

As to the other passengers, well, the sisters can be anything from civil to surly to silly (fairly common with most siblings), with the girlfriend often providing a focus for the shifting emotions.  Considering our starting out time (5 am) I expect a reasonable respite from the negative emotions, especially with an exciting day ahead of exploring Florida’s watery treasures.  The trip back could be adventurous, though it’s possible that hours of sun and play could leave them all semi-catatonic.

Today was prep day.  Dad was taking care of the food chores (various sandwiches to various tastes) and I had most of the more practical responsibilities (towels, hats, sunscreen, cooler, munchies, trash bags, etc.). We agreed to meet in the afternoon to transfer other “hard goods” and then I would pick him up at 4:30 am tomorrow prior to heading down for the kids.

I drove up to see Dad with the trunk open and a large selection of “things” on the ground around the back of the car.  As I drew closer, I noticed some items hanging out and down the side of the car.  I feel it necessary to interject a clarification here.  My Dad’s trunk is like unto most other people’s garages.  I daresay he may actually keep more in his trunk than some people can fit in their garage.  This perhaps is yet another example of my extreme opposite behavior from Dad, specifically, my trunk usually remaining sparsely populated.

As Dad is poring over various oddments of fishing equipment (some in an old tackle box, some in an old pail, some randomly strewn across the trunk), I can see he has already stuck himself a couple times with hooks as he unwinds this or that fishing rig.  He gestures for me to park next to the car and we proceed to spend the next half-hour on a scalding parking lot in the steamy summer sun deciding what we need to take (the small lead sinkers, not the heavy ones…well maybe one or two heavy ones; small hooks only, we’re just bridge fishing; we could use bigger bobbers; yeah, bring the scaler and the filet knife).  Thus begins our Boy Scout on steroids decision process.

Here, take this extra hat.  Why do we need another hat?  Maybe one will blow off and fall off the bridge.  Here take this extra umbrella.  Why do we need another umbrella?  You never know and it’s a small one.  Here, take these extra hand towels.  I have a whole bag of towels.  You can never have enough towels.  Here take this pan.  What do we need that ratty old pan for?  Well, in case we want to cut up some extra bait, you don’t have to carry it back and forth.

He thinks I don’t know the real reason for him giving me all that extra stuff.  He just can’t cope with a clean trunk and by gosh he’ll not put up with it!  The eerie thing is, even after filling up my trunk with “stuff”, I still can’t see the bottom of his trunk.  And you thought I was exaggerating before, eh?

Finally, after all the rods have been strung and tied off, the coolers exchanged and plans reaffirmed, we said goodbye.  Just before I left, I plugged in the general destination of our travels (Marathon) in the GPS and got the readout, 164 miles and roughly 3 hours.  Presuming we left on time from the girls (figure 15 minutes to load the trunk and drag their sleepwalking bodies into the car), that would allow us a reasonable five or six hours of activity and still get us back before rush hour got too bad.

It’s likely I won’t be posting tomorrow, but I will surely provide the follow-up by Thursday.  It should be a blast!

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