Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. (Romans 12:1 The Message)
To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive. (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12: 2 NLT)
So far on this adventure, we have driven across several states in our truck and cruised through waterways in some of the very same states. In addition to truck and boat travel, we have used our feet, our bikes and our kayak to absorb the world around us. Each of these modes of transportation offers a different perspective, mainly because of eye level. Of course, speed can alter the view, too.
Over the weekend we got the closest to the water yet, besides swimming. We took our kayak off the top of the boat, tying it next to the boat. Next, we managed to lower ourselves off the side of the boat into the kayak. Once we were secure in the kayak, I was ready for a quiet, peaceful meander across the ICW and into the salt marshes.
Les, the natural navigator, had already scoped out our route, and conferred with the marina manager about what dangers to consider, like getting lost in the marshes, as the tide changed. I was oblivious. I was ready to relax and paddle a little. (We have a two-person kayak, so sometimes I leave the paddling to the rear admiral.) My camera was in the dry bag, along with an apple and the phone. We each had a water bottle to stay hydrated.
We paddled serenely away from our boat. And without notice, we were fighting for the right-away with a boater that was buzzing around the marina. I fumed under my breath, and thought it ironic that his motor brand was Evinrude, because I thought his behavior toward us a bit rude. He probably thought we should be in the salt marshes, like reasonable kayaks.
Little did I know that the most tenuous part of they day would be getting across the ICW. We started to paddle out of the marina basin to cross over. But we had to halt our paddling, because three huge cruisers were coming down the ICW, which is like a wide river. The cruisers cruise at high speeds creating wakes that could tip over, say, a two-person kayak. Les steered the kayak perpendicular to the waves, and I held my breath and felt just a wee bit panicked.
The first wave bumped under the nose of the kayak and gently rocked us, and a little splash surged over the front near my feet. I took a deep breath, and complained to Les, who couldn’t hear me because of the wind and the wake. A couple more boats were coming, so we had to wait out another wave of wakes before crossing. It felt like crossing a major interstate highway.
Les gave the go ahead to start paddling. Of course, I paddled furiously thinking that would get us across more quickly, but Les’s power, rather than my lack of finesse got us across without being wiped out. Once across, he informed me of the dangers of the tide, and the possibility of getting lost. Another deep breath, so much for a slow paced paddle in the salt marshes. We maneuvered through the channels with the rising tide taking us into the marshes; we didn’t even need to paddle, because the current was carrying us forward.
Once I felt safe, I started looking around and asking Les to move us closer to the grasses, so I could get a close-up, water level shot of a small buoy. I finally relaxed, having seen a cell tower as my landmark earlier, just in case the tide went out before we headed back. I didn’t want to get lost.
We were fine. Our excursion took about an hour, and crossing back over to the marina didn’t seem such a big deal.
On Monday, we woke up to a cool morning. I mulled it over, cleaning day or expedition day? Expedition day won. I packed my rucksack with some snacks, book, journal, pen,transistor radio, beach towel, phone, small camera and sunblock. I actually stuffed all those things into the “trunk” of my bike, so I could ride without anything on my back. I was ready to head toward Flagler Beach, a mere fifteen miles away. I knew I would have to retrace those miles, but I planned to take my time coming back. I said good-bye to Les and Kokomo.
The A1A highway parallels the coast, and at times you can see the ocean from the road. The addition of bike lanes, as well as, a paved path next to the road made it a safe passage for my long bike ride. I had two pit stops in mind along the way, Bing’s Landing and Varn Park. I knew both had water fountains and bathrooms, if needed. I really didn’t know much about Flagler Beach, except for seeing a postcard of the pier at the grocery store.
I stopped at Bing’s Landing to see if the manatee was around, but instead was treated to Mr. Heron, who looked like a haggard old man. I said good morning old man, and he just stared ahead. No sighting of the manatee, but a couple cruisers passed by waking Mr. Heron, who squawked at them. I know how you feel old man, I replied. I told him I was off on an adventure. He made no reply.
I continued toward Varn Park. I had noticed this colorful building, a week or so ago, when I got lost going over to Palm Coast. I pedaled up the inclined driveway to check it out. The slant roofed building housed the bathrooms, and behind it was a dune that obscured my view of the ocean. All the wooden walkover bridges were closed, due to storm damage. I climbed the dune to see the beach below, and took a few pictures before heading south toward Flagler Beach.
Those closer, I pedaled towards Flagler Beach, the more I felt transported back in time. Even at Varn Park, the architecture gave me a late 60’s, early 70’s vibe. There were some big modern mansions along the way, but I didn’t take their photographs. I was hoping to find something groovier ahead. (After I got back, and downloaded the photos, I actually used my photo editor to give the photos a 1960s/cross-process look.) About three miles out, I could see the ocean as I rode my bike along the path. Periodically, there were little picnic table shelters and walkways to get down to the beach. Most were closed, and some were private access only. (For my camping friends, there were campgrounds right along the beach, in a small town called Beverly.) I took a photo of the campsites. I noticed a RV that was covered with shells. It looked like the owner glued them all over the shell of the camper. I couldn’t get a decent photo of it, but it was groovy.
As I pedaled into Flagler Beach, I was surprised that some of the beachside stops were open. I was going to stopped for a short rest, then kept cruising toward town to see the pier.
Once at Flagler Beach, I locked up my bike, and sat on one of their groovy roofed picnic tables, to get my bearings. Surfers were rinsing off in the outside shower, a man with his laptop sat on top of the table next to me, doing work, I presume. I ate my orange and a snack bar, then headed down the steps to walk under the pier. I observed a fisherman, a woman sunbathing in her lounger, a young couple watching their friends surf, a couple lifeguard chairs turned toward the street rather than the sea, and a flock of seagulls huddling against the brisk wind coming off the surf. I never sat down because I had so much fun taking photos, and the sun was blaring down on me. (I prefer a shaded spot when sitting on the beach.) After my photo shoot of the beach, I looked at the menu at the pier restaurant and decided it was too expensive. I got a Gatorade at the pier’s snack and bait shop. A group a local men gathered in various chairs, talking politics and such, just outside the shop. One of them was sitting in a wheeled office chair. The pier was closed due to storm damage. The observation deck at the end of the pier had been washed away.
I left the pier to find a place for lunch, but first I noticed a kite store. I bought a small kite for myself, and hope to use it here at the beach. Oh, I forgot to tell you about an artifact that I collected on the beach. A little bottle of bubbles. (Another little love note.)
For lunch, I stopped at Sally’s. I was the first customer of the day. After eating the best burger ever, I went back to get my Espresso Chip ice cream cone, letting it melt all over my hands, while I ate it.
After lunch, I moseyed back to the marina on my bike. I stopped at one of the beachside areas along the way, to see if I could find a shady spot to read, but couldn’t. I hauled my bike back up to the road, and rode on. I hit both pit stops on the way back. Three miles from “home,” I stopped for a water and bathroom break at Bing’s Landing. I noticed my California son called, so I called him back. We had a nice visit, while I rested in a shady spot. I finished the last three miles after that. I was pretty pleased with my thirty mile jaunt on the bike, which transported me for the day.
Where have you been transported to lately?