On Friday afternoon I got out of the office around 3 allowing me some much needed time to wrap up prep at home for the road trip.  Thanks to a second day without significant rain I got back out on the tractor and mowed some additional parts of the yard that dried up a little bit.  It was far from dry however, when I was done I had to hose down the tractor as it was covered in enough mud to make a 4 wheeler proud.

We got our clothes packed and started the preliminary loading of the car.  Ali stopped by close to 7:30 to pick up Sadie and Elsa as she and Shugs are going to be our dog sitters for the week.  It was very hard, especially for Cindy, to say bye to Elsa but we both know she is in good hands and will have fun with Sadie and Shugs two dogs, Latte, and Ferdie.

Shortly after Ali left, Katie, who will be our chicken caretaker showed up for a refresher course.  We actually have a modified set up for Katie while we are gone.  Instead of dragging out the rubber mats into the mucky yard and hosing them off we have the floor of the coop covered in paper that can be simply rolled up and thrown out everyday.  It will hopefully make the job a little more streamlined for Katie.

The chickens enjoyed their last day of freedom.  Since Wednesday we have let them roam the entire backyard to get them out of the muddy mess in most of their dedicated yard.  It’s funny how quickly the chickens reverted back to their old hang out spots.  Almost immediately a couple of them dug holes in the yard to lay in, one of the annoying habits we could do without.  With as much of a mess as the yard is a couple chicken holes mean very little at this point.

So we didn’t fall asleep until after 11 which was a little late with a 5:30 alarm.  When my eyes opened this morning I felt like I could easily lay in bed another hour or two.  Instead I limped out of bed and got moving.  After I ate my Pop Tart power breakfast I headed out to the coop to get the clean up process started which Cindy joined me in.

It was pretty dark outside still, much darker than the chickens are accustomed to.  All of the birds were still perched and their automatic chicken door was still in the down position.  I gave the hens an early wake up call, gently picking each one off the perch and placing them on the ground.  The birds all headed outside into the dimly lit yard, you could tell they were a bit disoriented.

Clean up with the paper isn’t bad but I definitely prefer the mat hose off technique as it allows you to clean the floor under the mats as well.  The high water levels have caused fire ants to seek higher ground, in this case the platform the shed is built on.  The ants have created some sort of colony in between the flooring of the shed and the plywood platform.  Around the chicken door there are spots where the ants are spilling up top.  It’s difficult to treat the infestation with normal things like Amdro because it can be poisonous to animals if consumed in large enough portions.  For now I have been just spraying the exposed ants with the same vinegar solution we use to clean the perch.

We both took quick showers after cleaning the coop and then finished loading up the Ioniq for it’s first long road trip.  We got out on the road close to 7:30 which wasn’t bad.  As we backed out of the driveway I still felt some trepidation about heading out but I was confident that we crossed our t’s and dotted the i’s.

I drove all morning and Cindy is now behind the wheel as we push east across Florida in the northern part of the state.  Our day one destination is Charleston, South Carolina.  If we can avoid any major delays we should roll into town between 5 and 6pm, a long day of driving but not awful compared to some of our previous road trips.

We are hoping to explore the town a little bit on a single wheel before pushing out relatively early tomorrow for the push to Rehoboth Beach.  I don’t recall if I mentioned this in the blog but the Rehoboth stop is being done for multiple reasons.  Sure I wanted to show Cindy the town I used to look forward to spending two weeks of vacation at many summers as a kid and later as a young adult playing in volleyball tournaments.  I have so many positive, fun, and lasting memories that took place there.

There is also a somber aspect to the stop.  My mom had always said she wanted her ashes spread in the ocean.  After she passed away I originally had planned to do just that in the Gulf of Mexico.  However my brother had thought it would be more appropriate for it to be done in the Rehoboth area and hopefully have all three of us involved.

Well this desire resulted in no spreading of ashes occurring for the last three years because of the reality of myself, my brother, and sister living in three different corners of the country and our lives that have their own complications for various reasons.   I planned this action unilaterally but made my siblings aware of it once it was finalized.  I really had no expectation of either of them actually being there although they were of course welcome to come, I just wanted to let them know that I planned to finally do what needed to get done.

Todd is actually going to come down to meet up with us with his girlfriend, her daughter, and my niece.  Torrin was originally going to try to make it too but it would have been a big mess for her to make it happen so she isn’t coming which is totally understandable, I never thought it was realistic to expect her to make it and I thought it was cool that she was seriously considering making the cross country trek.  We are going to try to tie her in via Skype when we honor mom’s wishes.

I will be glad to have this part of the journey behind me.  I hope to get the sad stuff out of the way early so we can move on to the Grotto’s Big Beers portion of the stop.

Have you ever been in a car with someone the changes the radio station incessantly?  It’s not annoying, at all.  Did I mention the Ioniq has the ability for 18 preset stations?

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