With Love, from Gainesville

It’s especially difficult to blog while on the Friends and Family tour. There’s this intimacy you feel, after you’ve made all the arrangements and finally caught up with someone—Yay! I miss that feeling when I’m alone and cherish it when I’m with someone. But it’s intense and it’s brief. One minute you’re borrowing barrettes and the next you’re alone again. And then on to the next intimacy.

I just spent too much time figuring out that I wouldn’t see Tracy’s sister, Darci, again—until I don’t know when. I was like, “Wait! We still have tomorrow! Come by the campsite!” We don’t.

Soon it’ll be quiet from Florida because we’ll have moved on to the next set of folks on the Friends and Family tour.

We did have a great time with Darci. She treated us to a scrumptious meal at a fancy restaurant (thanks to her company’s Christmas gift, photo up top). She hosted us so I could use the world’s largest washer and dryer (I’m still getting over that)—twice. Tracy helped her move furniture.

Banjo ran around Aunt Darci’s pool like it was the Talladega superspeedway. The fun part was seeing Tracy run around the pool trying to goad Banjo, which I cut out of the video; there are only so many presumptions I’m willing to take here.

At Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park, this lush part of central Florida has been a joy. Although I haven’t been able to hike, or bike, or kayak, I’ve spent time watching the sunlight reflected off the water onto the underside of the live oaks. As the Spanish moss sways. It feels very old here.

I really love Florida—the greenery, the proximity to water, heck, the fact that it’s the east coast. But arranging a full winter here involves months of planning and about three times the money we spend in Texas, even when all the plans fall into place. We really did ruin ourselves by spending our first winter on the road here, because nowhere else in the U.S. is winter quite the same.

My joke is that we’ve been eyeing Darci’s driveway. Just kidding, Darci. I know Banjo would chase all your deer neighbors away.

See you sooner rather than later.

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