Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bad influences from Jimmy Buffett

I am sitting here, working on the motorhome and typing away every so often, and listening to Radio Margaritaville. Jimmy Buffett is playing a small unannounced show at the annual Meeting of the Minds convention a few years ago. A show that I am proud to say that I was lucky enough to be in attendance at.

And Jimmy is telling his story of arriving in Key West, where he was now performing, years earlier. He claims that on his first day in Key West he found a gig at a small bar to play guitar at, got laid, and bought a bicycle. All in 24 hours. Suddenly, he realized that this was his kind of place.

Now he's there in Key West with a large band, a bodyguard or two, and the place is full of tourists.

Man, life was simpler back in those days, wasn't it?

Fun, too.

Kinda reminds me of a revelation that I had a few years ago. I saw some relatively bummy guy over in the little town of Mayport, FL with his fishing gear in a trailer that he was pulling behind his bicycle. And I remember thinking that, well ... except for wanting a better bicycle he was basically living my dream while I was working my ass off waiting to retire. I want to go fishing and bicycling in a coastal area when I retire. And he was doing it now.

OK, so life isn't quite that simple. I'd like to carry that bicycle on top of my 5 miles per gallon 40 ft. motorhome so that I can fish in some different places, and it takes a budget to do that. Still, I thought that this man of modest means wasn't doing badly at all.

Life is funny like that. Sometimes the simplest things are actually the best memories and bring the biggest smiles to your face.


I don't usually promote that much Jimmy Buffett stuff on my joke list ( but for the last few weeks I have been plugging a site called MeetThePhlockers ( And I have to say that the response throughout the Parrothead Nation has been remarkable. The site went from somewhere around 200 members a few weeks ago to something over 1,500 as I am writing this.

Meet the Phlockers is a bit like MySpace meets Buffett fans. I could never get into MySpace but this is a social network that works for Parrotheads.

What amazes me the most are the old friends that I am seeing from the days 15-20 years ago when we first started to discover Jimmy Buffett, the Buffettesque lifestyle of sun, sand, sea, and (usually) respectable hedonism. Most of these folks haven't been online for years.

Another thing that amazes me is how many folks from that period have moved to tropical and/or resort sorts of locations. We are indeed pursuing our dreams.


Lately my dreams largely revolve around refurbishing our Bluebird Wanderlodge motorhome. Constantly blogging about the improvments that I have made would largely be about like blogging about grass growing - in total, a before and after discussion might be interesting but no one really cares that I changed out the side turn signals last week. Or my problems with new tail lights.

But the old girl has become immensely livable in the 2 years that we have owned her.

The old, ugly blue carpet left during the Turkey Day and X-mas holidays, to be replaced by a laminated hardwood floor up front, and an industrial cork floor in the bedroom and bath. Today I am finishing up the edges and cutting molding. And if I dare say so, it looks g-r-e-a-t. All of the flooring was laid at a 45 degree angle, and the look is pretty spectacular. Considering the number of compound curves around the bathroom, that wasn't exactly a small job.

As mentioned, I also replaced the tail lights and side turn signals with modern LED units. God willing, before the summer is out, I expect to have all of the marker lights replaced and the front end will undergo an extensive modernization as the old round sealed beam headlights get replaced with lower set European-style halogens. It will be interesting to see how close to a modern bus the old girl will look then.

And there's the CB radio that recently got hooked up, the gas heaters are now working and working well, the driver's seat has been replaced twice (now an ISRI seat of the type usually seen on high speed buses) and the passenger seat has been replaced once.

After lots of trial and error my computer center (two tower units, docking station for a Dell laptop, a Sony sub-micro, and a Fujitsu table computer, all networked together, mostly all controlled by one switchable keyboard and LED monitor, and connected to the Internet via a router running an EVDO card so I have high speed Internet just about anywhere that I can get a cell signal at) is at long last working well. This is all housed in a modified desk that was originally in the 'bird. Just spin the passenger seat around, unfold the end of the desk, and start typing. Sweet!

I have had some problems with computer emergency battery power supplies however. For some reason this setup has been eating them alive. I now have a super-fancy power supply designed for large networks and it seems to be working well, if you can believe the readouts. I should be able to work on the computers and run the entire Internet network connection for at least two hours if needed before the battery backup dies.

We've pushed back our Panama City (Florida), Lower Alabama, Mississippi, and New Orleans trip until the middle of next week, incidentally. Deb has been closing house sales left and right this week but a couple have been delayed. Once those are taken care of, however, we expect to be on the road and hopefully updating friends regularly.

So stay tuned!

Incidentally, we put 60 gallons of diesel in the Bluebird yesterday. We considered $4.03 a gallon to be a relative bargain for this part of the country and at 5 miles per gallon that should get us over to about Marianna, Florida where the fuel prices are supposed to be better. Ouch!

See y'all down the road!

New interior (under construction) and new tail lights:


Louise said...

Glad to hear you are making progress on your Bluebird. Your time in the sun will come, soon!

PyrateJohn said...

Thanks Louise! Motorhomes and bus conversions are about like boats. A lot of folks don't realize the amount of dedication that it takes to keep the crazy things running. Hopefully we'll see y'all down the road one of these days!