Since the Ball dropped on America, our lives have become more and more surreal.

After our Black Eyed Pea Breakfast, we packed up and went to the beach.  The weather report called for rain, but the sun was sparkling and the temperature in the 70’s. It was cool for the locals but just right for us thick blooded Rocky Mountain folk.

On the Beach
Beach time in 2010

We spent the entire afternoon with good music and sunshine, watching the kite boarders off in the distance. Clouds rolled in at about 3 so we went back to camp for showers.  By the time we’d pulled in, the sprinkles began. 15 minutes later we were drenched with rain.  Tim and I took shelter in our tent as the water pooled up around the sides.  The deluge ended about an hour later and we emerged to a beautiful sunset.   We cleaned ourselves up and cabbed back to town for fish sandwiches at BO’s Fish Wagon and hilarious entertainment at Captain Tony’s, Florida’s oldest Bar. Here Buffett got his start.  Hemingway, John Kennedy, and Pacino have all graced its dingy doors. It’s a mecca to not be missed.

Saturday morning Tim and I woke up early with a plan. Today we hoped to pick up fixed Frank in Homestead and then find a place to give Jimmie and Keri their surprise Christmas present. We packed up camp, visited the US’s Southernmost Point and were on the road by 9 heading to Miami.

90 Miles to Cuba
Key West's Famous Southern Most Point

After traffic jams all the way up the Keys, we arrived back to Armstrong Ford. Frank’s hubs were getting remachined and were on the way back to dealer as we arrived. Time was ticking. The rental car had to be returned by 3 if Frank was going to be ready.  But if the hubs didn’t work, we had to keep the car through the weekend. It was 2:45 pm when the hubs arrived.  All the mechanics gathered around to look at the work and agreed these were going to work. Tim hopped in the car and returned the car to Enterprise just as Enterprise closed up for the weekend. Keri and I went to the grocery store to restock our supplies for Frank.

As we stood in line for the checkout, I noticed my phone had 8 messages. DON’T BUY ANYTHING, Jimmie Shell said.  The hubs didn’t work. The bolts were slightly offset and Frank’s wheels still didn’t fit. Now we had no place to stay, no car, and nobody in Homestead was open.

We needed a little morale lift for the troops so Tim unveiled Jimmie and Keri’s Christmas present. We had 4 tickets for Sunday’s Steelers/Miami game at Landshark Stadium. We had to get north.

Frank Substitute
Frank's Sub

It was time to get even craftier. With no rental car places open on Saturday, we took the next best thing.  A UHaul Cargo Van.  We loaded up everything we’d need for a tailgate and made a reservation for South Beach Miami and got on the road.

King James - South Beach
The King in his Castle

South Beach on a Saturday is rocking.  After checking into the Carlton Hotel, we hit the streets to explore.  We settled into a pizzeria on the corner of Empasado and Washington and people watched, ate delicious thin crust pizzas and toasted to Frank’s substitute and good friends.

Dinner on the Boulevard
Dinner on the Boulevard

Despite our plans being turned upside down, our Florida posse has bounced back. Now we sit in the parking lot of Landshark Stadium with our $19.95 a day UHaul cargo van celebrating the Steelers. We’ll need more New Year’s luck for Frank on Monday, but today we are enjoying a beautiful day in Miami!