Peculiar pets, Captain Jerry, and Morgan’s first beach day…
After about 30 hours of driving in pouring rain and heavy wind (most of which was done without working windshield wipers) and an overnight stay in a Walmart parking lot outside of Nashville, I finally arrived at a marina boat dock in Apalachicola. I read online this marina offers free RV camping. It didn’t.
I arrived at about 10 or 11 at night and decided to hold off until morning to get out of the van and check things out. I slept up top in the pop up tent for the first time, and woke up about every 20 minutes to a sound in the night or the cat trying to claw her way to the birds calling outside the tent.
It didn’t take long the next morning until the townies started to wonder who this new person was. The first person I met was a middle age man driving around on a golf cart with a dog that stood less than a foot tall with its belly dragging through the grass as he sporadically investigated the lawn around my parking place. The man had a childlike kindness to him and spent his day zipping around the campground chatting every one up. On the drive up my fridge went out and my sink stopped working. He set me up with an RVer in the camp that helped to get my fridge running again. He sent me to the dollar store to get an extension cord to hook the van into a generator and beat me there taking the back way on his golf cart to ensure I purchased the right one.
Vance, the RVer, is a story of his own. While we wait for the van to charge up to get working on the fridge he tells me his stories of camping and traveling over the years with his wife and their dogs and cat. There’s one more pet I learn though… Nibblers. Vance goes into the RV and, I shit you not, comes out with a stuffed squirrel. He explains to me that a friend who had passed away left Nibblers to him in his will, and he’s made sure Nibblers has lived the high life ever since. He even has his own web page showcasing all the trouble he’s gotten into during his travels! Visit it at http://www.Acroflyer.com/nibbler. And I of course had to get my own travel shot…
He recommended me helpful RV and travel pages and reminisced about his days flying planes. He also reminisced with me about a good friend they had lost in earlier years. I’ll spare the details but the gist of the story consists of a bedridden friend ripping the IVs from her arms and spending her last few days dancing in the rain on a camping trip with a circle of friends as close as family. A truly beautiful story fit for a fairy tale. Vance was just my first example of the generosity I would find and the beautiful, sometimes hilarious, stories I would hear.
Later that evening I had the pleasure of meeting Captain Jerry. I could fill this entire blog with the stories, theories, and ideas I heard from him and his friends. The amount of good energy coming off of this group of men was surreal, they were truly loving life and living out their dreams here in this small town marina. And they protected me like hawks in my time here from nosy onlookers and from the local officers patrolling the area for people trying to camp out in the marina for free. They offered me advice ranging from safety while traveling, places to visit, and just on life in general. Jerry told me of how he admired my drive to get out and see the world the way I am, and praised my level of intelligence about the world in comparison to the kids he had worked with teaching boat making in the community schools. I would continue to get comments like this along the way, but it never became less humbling at any point.
As for the town of Apalachicola, it was a quaint boating town stock full of art and craft galleries. A small place but not a quiet one. And it hosts souls filled with life, character, and love.