It’s very rare that Chris and I travel independently these days. But once we got to Eugene our paths would diverge for a few days.
You may recall that my father’s submarine veterans organization honored him by naming the 23′ model submarine (caution, that post may cause tears) they were building as a parade float after him. My father was very involved at a local and national level with submarine veterans, and he was deeply honored by this project.
In fact, he passed within hours of the naming ceremony that we live video streamed to his hospice bed. This was the moment that he chose as his time.
I made him a promise that I would do everything I could to make it back for the official commissioning and launch of the submarine in its debut parade.
Planning around Jello
The construction went a little slower than anticipated, and that debut was recently scheduled for ‘a parade in November’. My mother assumed it would be Melbourne Veteran’s Day parade on November 11, so we started thinking through logistics of how we’d fly back out to Florida when we had no clue what city we would be nearby or when.
After all, we’re routing entirely by serendipity for the next few months.
At that point, we had vague caravanning intentions down to the southwest with our buddies Nina & Paul. They offered to happily keep Kiki company for us and watch over the bus while we made the trip.
We had it almost all figured out where two RVers would end up so I could book flights, when in a surprise turn of events – the ‘November parade’ the submarine would be debuting in was actually a Founder’s Day Parade in the nearby town of Satellite Beach… on November 1st.
Ok, toss all that planning out the window!
Given that Nina and Paul already had an appointment with their RV repair shop near Eugene, OR – we decided it would be best for just me to fly out of Eugene, and then I’d meet back up with the caravan in Reno a few days later. This would help avoid some potential winter weather encounters by trying to extend our stay in Oregon any longer and kept our movement on track while I was away.
While we have done some solo travel before, this would be the first time with both of us in motion doing our own thing and meeting back up in a different town. And the first time Chris would be repositioning solo since I joined him on the road 8 years ago.
To Florida I Go!
Last Thursday Chris dropped me off at the Eugene airport, and my mother picked me up in Florida a half a day later.
The submarine vets further honored us by inviting my mother and I to ride behind the float in a convertible! We would also be pelting… err.. tossing… candy to parade onlookers. We had been practicing our queen’s wave too.
While the parade was a small town parade, it was so worth making the effort to attend. Seeing my father’s legacy make its debut was such an honor – and I know he was smiling down on us all with pride.
I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a few tears shed.
Very touching, and I’m so very thankful to all the folks involved with building this amazing model and dedicating their hard work to a man so special. The model is operational with spinning props, a klaxon ‘ooga’ horn and steam effects. A lot of effort and love went into building it, and I hope it makes many parade appearances!
I stuck around Melbourne for a few days of quality mother-daughter time – something one just can’t get enough of. We had a lot of great adventures and lovely memories made.
While I love my mobile lifestyle and the quality time with people it affords us, I so miss not being always near the ones I love too.
On my last day in town, we took advantage of the Kennedy Space Center’s resident special of admission for just $15 with canned food donations. The new Space Shuttle Atlantis display is now open, and I was itching to see it. Having lived on the Space Coast of Florida for many years before hitting the road, the shuttle program is near and dear.
The display is very well done – you watch a video on a big screen.. and then they open up the doors behind the screen. And there she is.. flying right at you! After you get over the overwhelm of ‘this is the real deal!’ – you can walk around and see the vehicle from all sorts of angles, and it’s just amazing to be so close to something so amazing.
And then I boarded an air shuttle of my own back to the west coast – greeted by Chris at the Reno airport after his 500 mile solo drive (caravanning with Nina & Paul – who just blogged about the trip) from Eugene over the past few days.
It’s been super fun catching each other up on our independent adventures, as we usually are sharing them together!
Chris will follow up with the exciting stuff he was up to. After all, I did leave him at a premier RV solar installation shop in the country with a credit card.