In the twenty plus years since I met Bob on the beach in Oregon, we’ve swapped hundreds of postcards. He’s been back to Oregon a few times, I’ve visited him a couple times in Michigan, and now he’s coming to Florida for a visit. Our claim to fame: we are likely the last men sending postcards. Yup, we are “pen pals “.
Postcards are the norm for us in communicating so when Bob texted that he had a wedding in Ft. Lauderdale last week, I felt he broke our solemn postcard oath. An oath only broken with the rare butt dial, Bob’s one classic drunk dial, and when a visit is pending. The Man from Michigan is visiting Florida Man. Yes, it’s true! In order for me to move more freely through airports and to vote in the Sunshine State, I relinquished my Oregon status (and passport) for Florida Man. This is Bob. . .
We have quite a few things in common: football banter, hiking, the beach, and canoeing. Back in Michigan he is known on his local river, the Huron, as Captain Bob. Today we’re taking a ride in the van up to the Wekiwa for a day on the river.
Interestingly, the put-in is called Kings Landing. A reference to Game of Thrones in which Bob has not seen a single episode. Here your weapon is a paddle not a sword. This will be his first warm-water canoe trip captaining through the mangroves and gator infested waters of Florida. I’ll be second paddle.
Captain Bob can tolerate the alligators as long as they stay on that side of the river. We were a bit surprised because the gators don’t normally come out in cooler weather. And by cooler weather I mean below 70*. By noon they were prowling and did indeed stay on the sunny side of the river. Although Bob was not shy to make me aware that he’s a bit skittish with snakes. We saw just one.
On the opposite river bank we were allowed to pull-in, pack a picnic, and have a couple beers. Beers that were offered from this cooler back at Kings Landing. A FREE BEER sign lured Bob to the cooler. He took the bait!
Fantastic day on the river. Not sure what was more exciting for Bob, the alligators or the 50-mile ride in the van. My guess? The snake. Thanks Capt’n Bob for steering the boat straight and fetchin’ my paddle from the sunny side of the river.