There are some things that are too amazing to describe. The emotions that bubble to the surface are hard to capture in words alone. I experienced one of these moments as we were driving to Panama City, Florida this last weekend.
Every couple of hours I noticed something happening. Something that we haven’t seen in out part of the woods for quite some time — the was temperature rising!
I would occasionally glance towards the Fahrenheit readout on my SUV’s rearview mirror. Little-by-little it would inch upwards. When we were just about thirty minutes from where we would be camping it peaked at 85 degrees. That’s right. I’m proud to say it, a whopping, sweating, T-shirt and shorts wearing 85 warm, soothing and all-too-welcome degrees. Hah!
That night we experienced a cold front move through that spring-breakers haven’t seen the likes of in a long, long time. Try camping in the mid-30s.
In just one day I went from ecstatic to sleeping in sweatpants, socks, T-shirt, sweatshirt, and a coat, not to mention piles of blankets. I was still cold so I finally resorted to sleeping completely under the covers, and since I didn’t want to suffocate myself on the first night of our vacation, I would surface for fresh, frosty air every couple of minutes.
How had the trip I had been looking forward to belly flop so quickly? To make matters worse I was supposed to take my boys fishing in the morning.
At first, that wouldn’t sound so bad. In case your not aware of Florida fishing, a severe cold front is to Florida bass what kryptonite is to Superman — it's just devastating.
The water temperature when I first arrived was in that magical upper 60s range that has big bucketmouths thinking about getting shallow and spawning. It is the time of year when dreams are made. It’s the time of year when a true 10-pounder is possible; the time of year when a die-hard bass angler salivates at the thought of setting the hook on the biggest fish he has ever caught.
When we hit the water the first morning I might as well have been shoveling snow. It was bitterly cold and windy. Not just really breezy, but the type of wind that is relentless in trying to send frost to the deepest recesses of your soul.
That first day on the water we only had a couple of little bites and one small little bass on for just a few seconds. When we loaded the boat and headed back to camp I don’t know if I was fully conscious or not. Severe brain freeze will do that to a person.
Now I know that it sounds like I am being negative. I’m not. I’m just reporting the amazing story of my life. There are still lots of awesome things to do, like watch hundreds of college spring breakers frustrated beyond comprehension at not being able to strut their stuff on the pristine beaches of Panama City. When droves of hormone crazed guys headed here last week I doubt they expected to see their female counterparts all wearing sweatshirts! That has been amusing.
I have also liked watching the locals wear even more clothes than I have on. They move in the cold like thick molasses in January. Their glazed-over shock and awe as to why nature hates them so much has made headline news all through the area. There are a few that are undaunted though.
Just tonight I saw a brave gentleman on the beach. He was wearing just swim trunks. He was also carting a kayak down to the gulf’s edge and proceeded to slip this thing into the water and kayak out way past the pier. Soon he was just a dot on the horizon. The whole time he is doing this, my entire family is wearing heavy coats and watching him like he is psycho. Never mind we are standing on the beach in the cold watching him do this.
I still am confident though that this week will turn around. Slowly, the weather is supposed to turn for the better. By the time we pack up and leave, it will be just about where it was the day we arrived.
There has been one real positive though. I’m not sure if my wife has ever wanted to snuggle this much before. Win-win.