It was light, I knew that it was morning, but I could tell that it was still early. I looked around the RV and Casey was up, and with the generator now working, he was using the microwave. We chatted for a bit, and I asked him about the driveway earlier that morning. They had driven to the house of the house where they were going to stay, gone inside and slept for a couple of hours, and then woken up to get to the beach on time. I guess that our good night sleep was definitely slaughtered.
Aaron was outside prepping James’ bike. He wanted to find someone to give it a tune-up; even with 3 bikes to rotate, each had still seen quite a few miles by this point. Fortunately, there was a bike guy there, helping with the event. He got right to work, getting James’ bike freshened right up.
It was time to get James up. There was media coming, and they wanted to get the interview before he got into the water. I went in to wake him up, and it took forever. I tried talking to him, rubbing his back, rubbing his feet, his head, and nothing worked. I finally physically sat him up, which seemed to have worked. I made sure to start talking to him right away, trying to engage his brain, getting it fired up for the day. I got up and made him oatmeal. I added as many things as I could: walnuts, chia, honey, protein powder, etc. I needed to get this thing up to as many calories as I could. He kept dozing, “James! Stay awake!” I got the oatmeal ready then went over and babysat him while he ate it. He requested that I rub his feet, “They hurt so bad!” I stayed away from the sore toes, and worked on the bottoms and tops. The oatmeal and foot rub had become a ritual, every, single morning…
It was soon time to get him out of the RV and outside, there was a massage therapist there to work on him. I took him outside and led him to the pavilion, where they were expecting him. He laid down on that table and was out cold in an instant. He laid there, sleeping, as they worked on him. I walked around and greeted people, visiting with them and answering their questions.
We had done pretty well on time, but more time was now passing, and we needed to get going. I, once again, went over and woke James up. He did not want to get up, naturally, but we had to get going. I remembered my trick that worked in the RV, and I sat him up. The news anchor needed to get the interview done, as she had a specific allotted time. James got ready for the swim, and headed out to the beach. We, including James, had Subway breakfast sandwiches, that had been generously dropped off. He grabbed one and munched on it on the way to the beach, it didn’t even matter that he had already had oatmeal. The interview began, and he was completely out of it! This interview captured exactly where James was physically and emotionally in this journey.
The water was shallow, which made it so that the Wingmen could goof off and have more fun and not just swim. They swam the first loop, and then played a bit during the second one. They got out early enough to have his bike ready to go. There had been flooding, from the hurricane weather that had come through, so the road they had intended to use was washed out. It was being discussed how they would need to change the course, as a volunteer came and adjusted the upside down headlight on the RV. He fixed the pieces that were poking out and were at risk of falling off. Seriously, so nice of him to go the extra mile and fix it up for us, so that things wouldn’t get worse!
They took off on the bike and a gentleman offered to take us out on his boat for the day! This was an extra special treat, since we don’t own a boat and we don’t get to go out as much as we would like. We skipped over to the boat, with my Zyto helper Brytin, and went out for the day. It made everyone’s day when there was a dolphin that came up to the boat, and swam beside us. We stopped to enjoy it, as the dolphin swam back and forth under the boat to the other side. This is the event that made Florida the kids’ favorite state, over the entire 50/50/50! Our destination was an old fort; we jumped out and explored. It was an awesome afternoon!
We returned to our beach, thanked him profusely, and he went on his way. We had parked at a beach, different from where we had started, and the water was shallow. The kids were able to go way out into the water, playing and swimming to their hearts content. It had been overcast during the day, which I knew meant that the weather was perfect for James. The weather was amazing and the kids had really had a perfect day. To make it even better, we had parked right next to a tourist gift shop! The kids went in and spent a solid hour looking at all of the random trinkets that were sold in the souvenir shop. They giggled all the way back to the RV, discussing their treasures, talking about the dolphin, and living the life in Pensacola, FL.
The weather had changed by now, the clouds were gone and it was now unbearably hot! We cranked the AC up in the RV, so grateful that we had the generator working again. We were thrilled when we saw our friend, and chiropractor, Dallas arrive. He quickly jumped into the water to cool off. We knew that with Dallas there, James would be well taken care of for the weekend. Not only had Dallas arrived, but we were expecting Kyle that day as well.
The shirts had been selling well, so we had ordered more, and a new order arrived that day with Kyle. There was already a large group waiting to do the 5k. There was a woman there, with a couple of girls, who were all visiting from out of town. She could not believe that she vacationed at the exact place and time as the Iron Cowboy doing his day in Florida. They were so excited, and they wanted pictures and shirts. Lucy and Lily got going on selling shirts and setting up a raffle. More and more people were arriving by the minute; it was really exciting! It was so rewarding to have people show up and making donations!
We had over a 6 hour long drive to Atlanta, and we knew that we would need to leave early that night. After the 5k, we grabbed sandwiches at Subway for everyone on the team. We left Dallas and Kyle with James, the Wingmen hoped into the RV, and the kids and I were ready to go. There hadn’t be a lot happening in the RV that day, so I was able to do my chores while they drove. It was going to be a long night driving; I was very grateful that the Wingmen had each other to take turns. I was sure to offer, “If you guys need me, please don’t hesitate to wake me up. I am happy to take a turn so that you can rest.” They both laughed, already loaded full of caffeine and Little Debbie Snack cakes, “I think we will be just fine,” I had a comforting feeling that they were right.