Driving into Florida was a bit of a change because I had someone I knew I could stay with and it would be a blast. A buddy I used to work with in Hawaii had moved to Florida to work with the Houston Astros baseball team. In West Palm Beach, they have their training facilities and various affiliates will be there from time to time and it serves as a good home base of sorts. Not only did I used to work with him, we would golf a lot and hang out rather frequently as well. We must have played nearly 90% of the courses on Oahu, the private ones being difficult to gain access to.
As I was driving down from Georgia, I had a little bit of time and saw a sign for the golf hall of fame. As one may guess from the previous paragraph, my interest spiked up a bit. Being that I had gone to the baseball, pro-football, and rock n roll halls of fame, I figured I’d add another one to the list.
It had a gorgeous environment, with a replica of the famed TPC par 3 island hole. I had a chance to get a hole in one and win some prize, but as my vagueness indicates, I failed to do so. I was happy that I made some good contact on the ball though!
Within the hall of fame, I took in the history and found it to be neat but nothing incredible. They did have some interactive portions where you could put and so forth. It was neat to see how the game and equipment transformed through the years. Something unanticipated and irrelevant happened though when my brother called and asked my advice on a business issue. Those who have been following the blogs know I have called on him more than once for advice and it was a nice change of pace to be on the opposite side for this exchange.
I then made the way back to my friend’s place and met up with him which was great. As I would stay with various people, my goal was always to minimize the burden I cause. This is so they don’t mind hosting me and hopefully, they would recommend me to a friend or family member that may help me out in the future. My friend gave me a spare key to the apartment and told me to make myself at home and come and go as I pleased. I made a comment that I appreciated it, but I could just come and go when he did to make things easy.
“Dude, just stop” -he said it in his firm yet caring way. He told me to stop being ridiculous and that we were friends and it’s different here. He said here was a place to relax, recharge and not worry about a damn thing. Other places could take effort and concern but not here. It was one of those exchanges that shakes you for a moment, and yet you realize how nice it is to have good people like that in your life and to have the opportunity to spend some time together.
We cracked some beers, watched some baseball and chatted things up.
The next morning, I had a 3-hour drive across Florida to a gym. It may seem excessive to do so, but even before I started the journey, an old supervisor at the job I was quitting to make the journey happen had put me in touch with an owner in Florida. Well, the time was now to make that meeting happen. I drove to CrossFit Nullis Terminis and heard how a thoughtful, adaptive operating guide allows the business to flow in a way where focus can then be put towards the athletes. They were kind enough to offer me a chance to work out, but due to my schedule, I had to hit the road again.
I had reached out to a brewery and had luck scheduling a meeting. I went to Khoffner Brewery and looked for the owner. A beertender went out to the brewing area where he and others were hanging out. He welcomed me and instantly offered a beer which I happily accepted.
They were having an Oktoberfest celebration which was fun and also Khoffner was looking to brand his own cigars as well. Through the chatting, I was able to hear how 3 generations of brewing lead to a philosophy of doing the simple things well. It was a great time and he offered me another beer. It was an experience that felt familiar and fun, yet I had to remind myself it was the first time meeting him and being there. The wonderfully warm hospitality that was hard to leave.
I headed back to my friend’s place and we ended up grabbing some dinner which he kindly treated me to. The next day he said he could offer up a tour of the facility and had some time to hang out.
Getting to the Astros complex was a sense of awe and surprise. Awe because I love sports and being around professional facilities is quite exciting. The surprise was that they semi-shared the area with the Nationals organization. The difference was the Astros were on one side and the Nationals were on the other.
It was fun to walk around the facilities, see the locker rooms, meet some strength and conditioning staff, see the fields, sit in the dugout and frankly feel special for having a friend like him who does such good work.
The later part of the day we had a chance to hang out. We had decided to play golf the next morning and so the rest of today was rather chill, but we found a little putt putt place. Being that it’s us, we put some money on the game for some beers after. If there is a time to feel ok losing a bet its when you’re staying with a friend. Putt putt was fun, and we had a good time hanging in the outdoor area, chatting, having beers, and watching sports. I told him it’s like Hawaii but needed more trade winds.
The next day we hit a golf course. I had been bringing my 7 iron, golf glove, balls, ball mark and ball repair for just such an occasion. I decided I’d use the 7 for everything and barrow my friend’s putter. I could’ve used all his clubs, but he uses left-hand clubs and I don’t. It made putting fun, but I did fairly ok. I’m not great at golfing anyways, more so just fun to get out there.
While we had played many rounds of golf, this one was unique from the start. While checking in, the guy asked if we wanted to check out a speaker. We asked if there was a cost and he said no, just leave an ID. So, boom, we did that. Then he asked if we wanted a shot. We asked if there was a cost and he said no. So, boom, we did that too. Not a bad way to start a round! It was a fun time and I played within my normal area (as I said, I’m not good). The rest of the day was just hanging out and relaxing which had an eerie feeling as I ought to do more but felt nice.
The next day I had another meeting and another 3-hour drive ahead. This time I wouldn’t be coming back to West Palm Beach. I had posted some information on the journey to a Facebook group and had a contact that put me in touch with Burg CrossFit. I was able to meet and hear how the staff is committed to high performance as they have been through a deliberate 6-month internship prior to coaching.
Moving on, I had a meeting with Rock Brothers Brewing, but this was to take place in a coffee shop for ease. It was an interesting experience to hear how a love for music and events led to an opportunity to start the brewery. They take effort in creating beers around songs and often look to pair the release of a beer with a music event. A unique and cool approach. It was also extremely kind of an owner to give me a tank top, some beer, and stickers!
Feeling great from my final meeting in Florida, I had one last contact to see before leaving the state. It was someone I had worked with for a couple weeks while traveling for a past job. He was quite busy but had time to get a beer which was nice. We caught up on current events and revisited some memories as well.
It was then time to head out of Florida, which I realized I had a decent amount of driving ahead of me to get to a mid-morning meeting in Alabama. After all my solid nights of sleep, I didn’t mind a change of pace to sleeping in the car, especially since I knew the next night I’d be good to go.