Happy November all! Time continues to just fly by at a crazy pace during this life on the road! It’s been another week filled with fun and family as we left behind the beautiful colors of fall and reentered summertime!
Last Tuesday we left you somewhere on the road as we were beelining it from Maryland to Florida; the only stops we made were in small town Virginia for a run and then somewhere South Carolina to get our chores and laundry done. Wednesday consisted of more driving and an evening stop for a swim at the YMCA while Thursday we were determined to close the gap and make it to Florida. We woke up in Augusta, GA on Thursday morning after sleeping at a Cracker Barrel the prior evening and starting the day with a huge, yum breakfast. A few hours later we stopped for gas in Albany, GA where someone was being handcuffed at the pump next to us, it was quite the scene as the gas station across the street was filled with cops and closed with yellow police tape. We don’t know what happened but we just minded our business, got gas as quickly as we could, and got the heck out of there. As we pulled out of town, we pulled over to take in the sights of the endless cotton fields we had been driving through.
We finally pulled into Lynn Haven, FL (where more of Jim’s family lives) that afternoon with the goal of getting in a bike ride before his brother got off of work. We drove to a portion of where the bike course will be on Ironman race day (race is this weekend!!) with the intention of doing a 30-40 mile ride on the actual course. Come to find out, the bike paths are pretty non-existent and will only be rideable on race day when the road is closed to cars. That plan was a bust so we drove to Jim’s folks’ house (who were not yet back from their summer in Minnesota) and set up the bike trainers for 2 hours of humid, spinning fun. It’s crazy how warm and humid it still is here; we’re glad to have this week before the race to attempt to acclimatize a bit. After our workout, we used his folks’ water to take some quick showers (thanks Aunt Sionna for letting us into the house!) before heading to Jim’s brother’s house. His brother, Morgan, and his wife Erica live in a beautiful home with their two daughters, 8 year old Myleigh and 5 year old Olivia. They have a nice big yard for us to park Bertha as well, so we’ll be here mooching off their high speed Internet, electricity, and water for a week. It was good to see everyone as we ended Thursday evening with a big spaghetti dinner courtesy of Erica.
Friday was Heather’s 35th birthday and all she wanted was to spend the day at the beach. We slept in and Jim let her stay in bed while he made french toast and coffee, so spoiled! We eventually made it out of the house and drove the 20 minutes down to Panama City Beach. Jim’s aunt and uncle are staying in a beach condo while their new house is being finished, so we went up to the 10th floor to take a look at their place and to take in the ocean views from above. We quickly realized we were hungry again so we took a short drive down the beach to Schooners for lunch and a beer. After lunch, we rented a couple of lounge chairs and a big umbrella so we could alternate between some shade and the intense Florida sun. It was a beautiful day out, we took a little nap, did some reading, swam in the ocean (watch out for jellyfish), and attempted to build a sandcastle. It was just what Heather wanted. As the sun started to set, we went back to Morgan and Erica’s where they surprised Heather with a birthday cake and Myleigh had made her a card. What a great birthday!
Saturday was another warm and beautiful day so we had planned to spend it out on Morgan’s boat. First, we had to get in our taper run so we headed out for a 12 mile run. It was SO hot! We had a hard time keeping our heart rates down since the heat was so intense, which meant we had to try to slow our pace more than usual. We meandered our way through the neighborhoods before finally making it back to the Holmes’ about 2 hours later. A quick change into our bathing suits and we were off to the boat launch across town. Morgan took us out for a fast cruise around the bay and into the gulf where we could see the skyline of Panama City Beach, and along the way we saw countless, HUGE jellyfish in the water. We’re talking a foot across! They’re terrifying and look kind of like aliens; not comforting at all when we think about the upcoming 2.4 mile swim through these waters this weekend. We eventually pulled the boat up to Shell Island where the girls got off the boat to play Queen Olivia with their Uncle Jim. We had a lovely afternoon of playing in the sand, lounging on the boat, enjoying each other’s company, and soaking up the sun. Back at the house that evening we had a nice barbeque dinner and spent the night playing with the girls and just hanging out together.
Sunday morning we had a lazy morning at the house playing in our pj’s while Uncle Jim made pancakes. But not just ordinary pancakes, he made pink and purple and teal pancakes! He’s the breakfast master and the pancakes turned out perfectly done, they were both beautiful as well as delicious and the girls loved they fun colors. It was a relaxing day at the house, playing in the pool a little, running around the house, and some of Jim teaching Myleigh how to play the piano. That evening, in preparation for Halloween, we helped Myleigh and Olivia carve their pumpkins. Erica helped Olivia with hers, they used the stencil set and made a really cool pumpkin with a bat, while Heather helped Myleigh with her pumpkin, a self-drawn face with different eyes and squiggly smile. There was one smaller pumpkin for the girls to share, leave it to dad to carve that one entirely with his power drill. He carved off the top, emptied the insides, then drilled holes around it. Olivia was not happy about getting no say in the creation but it actually turned out pretty cool. Uncle Jim baked the seeds for us to enjoy when the girls went to bed and the grown ups stayed up to watch Inside Out, the kids movies about different emotions (also their Halloween costumes so we wanted to see the movie before they dressed up; it’s super cute and actually hilarious for adults in some parts).
Monday was Halloween! Everyone else had to get up for school and work that morning so we had the house to ourselves. We started the day by giving Jim a long overdue haircut, then set up our bike trainers in their garage for another sweaty session. During the ride, we watched another kid’s movie, The Secret Life of Pets and it was also adorable. After the workout, we picked up some groceries for dinner and Jim had to get some work done for his clients. Once everyone was home, the Halloween festivities kicked off – Erica got to work turning Myleigh and Olivia into Joy and Disgust from the movie while Jim and Heather made kabobs for the grill and roasted some potatoes. We then got ourselves ready, turning into devils (we hadn’t planned on dressing up and had grabbed some horns at the store earlier, it was the best we could do on short notice) while Morgan turned into Anger and Erica into Sadness. They all looked amazing! We then piled into the golf cart, us and the kids in the back and Morgan and Erica up front. It was a fabulous way to trick or treat, the grown ups get to sit and enjoy a glass of wine while the kids run from door to door. Myleigh and Olivia made out like bandits with bags full of candy after only a few houses, and they were tearing their way through it really quickly! As the trick or treating wound down, Olivia admitted to a tummy ache and stopped unwrapping new pieces. Cousin Alaina came by once we got back to the house and we were able to spend the rest of the night catching up with her once the kids had gone to bed.
Tuesday was a catch up day around the house. We admittedly had a lazy morning in bed, watching the last two episodes of Stranger Things on Netflix (so good!) before starting our day. Jim had more work to do while Heather got to work on laundry (yay for not having to go to a laundromat!) and Bertha chores. As the day wound down, Jim’s folks had returned from Minnesota and came over to join us for a pizza dinner, along with Jim’s aunt and uncle, Allen and Sionna.
That’s about it for last week, most of the remainder of this week is going to be focused around getting ready for Saturday’s race. Can’t believe it’s actually here! We both feel pretty ready, though slightly concerned about the heat and humidity (it can be a game changer) and maybe a little concerned about the jellyfish as well. But barring anything crazy happening, next time you hear from us, Heather will be a first time Ironman and Jim will be a ninth time Ironman with a new Personal Record! If you’re interested in following along with the race progress live, go to www.ironman.com and click on the link to watch. You can enter our bib numbers and see exactly where we are on course. Heather’s bib number is 1075 and Jim’s is 600.
Hope everyone had a wonderful October and Halloween, thanks for following our journey!
Total RV Trip Miles: 10,402.7