I’m on my third and final week at my friend’s house here in Orlando. It’s been a relaxing stay allowing me to wind down from the bullshit I left at the trailer trash hilton. I’ve been able to get the book published, get some semblance of cash flow, and generally just not worry too much about anything for the moment.
This place I am staying in is only a few blocks from my old house. In fact, it’s the very same place, and room where I found and adopted KC nearly 14 years ago. The whole stay has brought back a flood of memories, good and bad. I got to travel around the old neighborhoods a bit and this final weekend, which is also the start of Bike Week in nearby Daytona, I’ll get to visit some old biker friends whom I haven’t seen in nearly a decade. Which will be nice, but…
As I stay up here I am reminded of why I moved away in the first place. Even though this place is a good 30 miles from downtown Orlando, it’s a bustling, busy suburb. My friend likens it to a big ant hill. Traffic is heavy no matter where you go. Get outside the housing developments and it’s mile after mile after mile of shopping centers, strip malls, and chain stores. In Key West, I was 125 miles from the closest wallymart. Where I am now there are 3 within 10 miles. It’s a consumer’s wet dream around here. You can spend your entire weekend just going from store to store and I would not be surprised if there are people here who do such a thing. Every house in the suburb is full of stuff, all purchased at the local emporiums. There are restaurants for every taste and budget, none of which are locally owned, just chains, and even more stores just a few miles away towards the city.
The streets are a maze of criss crossing puzzles where even those who have lived here for decades still have trouble finding their way around sometimes. All the main roads are packed with vehicles and I-4, which connects Daytona to Tampa by way of Orlando, is one of the busiest roads in the country, with constant backups. If you need to be somewhere at a certain time, you really need to plan ahead.
But, it’s not all bad. The ocean is but an hour away, along with many springs, alligator infested lakes, and some damn good fishing along the coast. I used to chase many a redfish in the Mosquito Lagoon area, which was not named for the bird life. Still one of my favorite spots.
The other thing is the state, counties, and some of the cities have cooperated and put together a really nice bicycle/hiking trail throughout the area. This thing is impressive as hell. I used to ride parts of it years ago when I live here and now it’s spread all over the place. Eventually one would be able to cross most of the state by bicycle on said trails. If I were still living here I’d be on the trails every chance I could get. They are paved, well thought out, and go through some really scenic areas. Just watch out for the snakes. But still, I could see doing some serious bike touring on these things as they get more better.
Yet still, it’s not home. Even though it’s been nice to come here and visit, I’m not sorry I moved away. It’s not Key West nor the Keys. The weather has been mild but it’s still pretty cold at night, at least by my standards. I miss my island and I’m anxious to get back, but I don’t know what I will do when I get there.
Currently I have no place to move too, and no finances to afford a place. There are several boats for sale, any one of which I’d jump on if I could but right now, I can’t do it. My current plan is to return next week for a day or two to take care of some minor bits of business. I have a possible gig I may take. It would provide some possible income if I can make it work. More details later if it happens.
For now, I’ll continue to just sorta kinda relax and catch up on a few things. The next few months are going to be rough and I will need to plan carefully. Right now, I am homeless, but free. It has it’s good and bad aspects. But it’s still way more better than what I left. On to the next adventure.