What’s the toughest job you’ve ever had? For me, it’s being a father and husband. Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love being a father to my kids and a husband to my wonderful wife. I know how blessed I am to have both in my life. I also have a great diverse group of friends, and sometimes, I need to recharge myself. I need time with my friends, time to not be a father, or husband. Just to be one of the guys…When we plan our RV travel, we always try to accommodate something for the entire family. We will typically plan excursions for the kid’s enjoyment, then we plan things that we do together as a family, and finally if we can we try to sneak in some “grown-up” activities. And it seems to work well for the family. As we planned for this RV season, we decided to try to be a little more diverse when creating our RV travels plans. This year we’ve taken more weekend trips; I’ve taken the boys out a few times for just father and son weekends, and my wife, Tia, has even had a “girls weekend“ RV outing.
My latest trip was a first for me, a buddy RV trip. Yep, for the first time, I was taking the RV for a weekend trip with my buddies. I was so excited to embark on this first ever “grown-up guys weekend. “ I have to admit, I felt a little guilty leaving my wife and my boys behind. My namesake, KJ, so desperately wanted to join me on this trip but this time I had to turn him down. Our boys truly love our trips and are always ready to join in on each and every trip. This time the trip was about me reconnecting with some of my best friends in life. I was meeting three of my good friends in South Florida, and we were going to enjoy a weekend of food, fun, and football.
We met at the campground I was staying at, the Hollywood KOA. There we decided to head to our first activity of the weekend, parasailing. Not sure if many of you have tried parasailing in the past, but in this group, I was the only one that had any experience. My friends trusted me that they wouldn’t die in their first experience. We would challenge ourselves, facing a fear and conquering that fear. Much to my dismay, I must make the following disclosure: Over the past couple years, I discovered that I easily get motion sickness (ask me about the Disney trip sometime :-). Not only do I get motion sickness, but also, I’m not a big fan of boats because I tend to get seasick. I told my buddies, if I could face that fear of getting seasick and still get on the boat to go parasailing, they needed to join me. And, to their credit, each and every one of them boarded the boat without hesitation. We set forth on a stormy day, and of course, I volunteered to be the first to get strapped in to parasail. What an incredibly smooth ride being up over 400 feet over Biscayne Bay and seeing all of Downtown Miami in its glory - it was worth the queasiness in my stomach. Next up was Mike. Mike’s ride went off without a hitch and he came down with a huge smile on his face. Kevin was the next one up, and he decided to FaceTime his daughter from 400 feet above the water. Our final parasail rider, Rod, was still a little uneasy about going up, so I volunteered to do a double with him. I have to admit, the idea of getting off that boat might have been the driving factor in me going back up the second time. We had a great ride, landed safely on the boat and headed to shore.
Next up, we headed down to South Beach to grab a bite to eat. I have to admit this part was not planned out as well as it should have been. I know better than to blindly drive the RV through city streets. My buddies were so impressed how well I navigated the RV down to the harbor for parasailing. They goaded me into taking the RV to South Beach. Isn’t that what we guys do to each other? Challenge us to push past our levels of comfort? After struggling to find a place to park the RV, a very nice police officer suggested that we park the RV in front of the high school. It was a perfect location, easy in and out and only a few blocks away from the restaurant. We found a really nice restaurant that had the afternoon college football games on the big screen. We grabbed some refreshing drinks and some great Miami food to round out the day.
Finally, the day of the game arrived, a Sunday night national TV Dolphins game. Being a former Dolphin, I was actually very excited to be in the stadium and see my team perform in front of the nation. Since it was a night game, we had plenty of time to tailgate. Kevin, who I would say is probably the grill master in our group, faithfully took control of the grill. He grilled up some perfectly seasoned manly meat. We had burgers, hotdogs, brats, and even grilled a few delicious steaks. And yes, there were some grilled vegetables to make our wives happy. It happened to be military month in the NFL and the Dolphins had this game as a salute to the military. Being a former Dolphin player, I got an invite to attend a “Salute to the Military” pregame tailgate. All my buddies came with me and we took that opportunity to personally thank our current military for their service. Seeing and speaking with these young soldiers, many the ages of our children, really made an impact on all of us. Unfortunately, my Dolphins lost the game, but just being at the stadium at night was still an electric experience.
My family has used our RV to explore, experience and enlighten our lives. This time I was able to use the RV to recharge my “man battery.” I know that’s a weird thing to say, isn’t it? Let me explain ... Sometimes, we as men, need to spend time together, just the guys. RVing continues to amaze us in how many ways it can touch and enhance our lives. I had so much fun spending a few quality days with my buddies. Each from totally different backgrounds, different states, and even from different countries. As we hugged and said our goodbyes, we each made a vow that we would do this “guys getaway” again very soon. As I drove my rig home, I smiled, knowing my wife and my kids were getting a newly energized husband and father.