If I told you that all I had to do today was deposit a check, you’d probably imagine I walked to a nearby bank, fiddled with my ATM card for a few minutes, walked back to my boat, then spent the rest of my glorious day lounging in the sun, sipping Mai Tais.
And you’d probably think the check-depositing portion of my day took up about 30 minutes, maybe even an hour, while the Mai-Tai-sipping portion swallowed a good, jolly 6 hours.
In that case, you’ll never believe it took me 9 hours, 15 miles, 1 disassembled bike and 2 hopped fences (and probably a few broken laws) to accomplish a singular task that, in my previous life, would have been a mere hundredth of a typical day’s to-do list.
But, alas, this is the life we chose, and so rather than sipping Mai-Tais on Daytona Beach or watching Nascar at the Speedway, our day looked like this:
9:00 am: Forecast: 81 degrees and sunny. Reality: 67 degrees and raining.
12:00 pm: Too cold to go to the beach. Good day for errands. Found a Chase Bank in Ormond Beach, just 7 miles north of Daytona Beach. Maybe I can finally cash this check I’ve been carrying around in my wallet for the last month. And we can take our bikes for a nice ride along the beach. I’m sure Daytona is beautiful.
1:00 pm: Hmm. Choppy waves. It’s difficult to hold the dinghy still enough to get two bikes on it without losing them in the water. Looks like we’ll have to ferry the bikes from the boat to the dinghy dock one at a time. No problem.
2:00 pm: Two bikes on shore, dinghy locked up, camera ready for fabulous beach photos. Wait, the dinghy dock is in a sports complex with a locking gate. When do they close? Unfriendly park attendant says the gate shuts at 11:30 pm. No problem – we’ll be back before then.
2:30 pm: Palm trees! This is going to be a beautiful ride.
3:00 pm: Hmm. Some of these houses are in pretty bad shape. What is Daytona famous for again? Can someone steal your bike while you’re riding it? That guy looks like he’s thinking about it. Pedal faster.
3:30 pm: How many dollar stores and cheap motels can one town have?
4:00 pm: Chase Bank! 1500 miles of sailing from New York to Daytona and not a single Chase Bank. It was well worth cycling 7 miles to find one. Maybe we should take the scenic route back? Like, maybe the other side of the river?
4:30 pm: Man, this bridge is steep. But we have to see the beach. Oh, this side of the river is the nice side! Oh wait, it was just that one street. What is that girl doing sitting in a recliner on the sidewalk?
5:00 pm: So this is the famous beach! Where are the cars? Is there anything here but hotels?
5:30 pm: Another dollar store. Should we stop? We need paper towels and mayonnaise. We should double-lock the bikes. Ooh! Purple glitter Santa hat! Yes!
6:00 pm: Ryan’s bike is dead. The pedals don’t move the wheels anymore. Looks like we’ll have to walk the last 5 miles home. Slowly.
6:30 pm: My new purple glitter Santa hat is really handy for keeping my ears warm in the cold wind. But Ryan won’t walk next to me now. Did that drunk girl just yell “Ho ho ho” at me?
7:00 pm: Frustrated with walking. Bike is now in pieces on the front lawn of a diner where people can watch us bang bike parts with tools while they eat. Hey, the banging worked! The pedals are moving the wheels!
7:30 pm: Off to meet a fellow sailor at Scuttlebutt’s for a drink, if Ryan’s bike can make it there.
8:00 pm: We made it! Jason, who we bumped into in St. Augustine, just closed the deal on an Island Packet sailboat and is trying to find time to go cruising. He’s a tour bus driver for rock bands and his wife is a mortician, so between their two unusual jobs, they’re trying to organize time off to go sailing. I love it when interesting people drop into our lives!
10:00 pm: What time did that park ranger say this place closes? 11:30? Why is the gate locked? Shit. Climbing is one thing, but how are we going to get the bikes over the fence without the cops coming after us?
10:30 pm: Turns out our bikes are really lightweight. It also turns out Ryan and I are pretty good at scaling fences. Not sure where that talent came from. What does that sign say? “All vessels left for more than 2 hours will be removed at the owner’s expense.” Shit. Whew, the dinghy’s still on the dock. Let’s get the hell out of here!
So, just like that, we made it back to Hideaway with our bikes intact and no police sirens after us with just enough time for a glass of wine before falling into bed. Okay, so it wasn’t six hours of sipping Mai Tais in the sun, but we got a few hours of chatting with Jason in a dimly-lit bar. And we got to see a fair bit of Daytona, even if Daytona wasn’t really worth seeing.
And, most importantly, we put some much-needed cash in the bank, so we can’t say it was all for nothing.
It turns out when you simplify your life and sail off into the horizon, some stuff inevitably gets more complicated. But everything’s a compromise. We traded office chairs and Starbucks for cockpits and sunsets. So even when those sunsets are in ports as unimpressive as Daytona, there’s really nothing to complain about. You can always move on.