It all began 4 years ago when Catherine and I decided to run all over the world. There were several circumstances that had to come together for us to make this leap of faith. I am not going to go into all the details but will point you to other documents along the way.
As a commercial Airline Captain, I had to get a routine physical every 6 months. Back then I was running Marathons like nobodies business and felt like I was at the top of my game. When it came to listening to my heart my Doctor of over 20 years asked, “Did you know you have a heart murmur.” Those words forever change my life as I knew it. This was back in 2011.
The FAA does not much like pilots to have heart issues but in this case, I was able to keep my medical, however, they did keep an eye on me for the next two years. I felt great at that time so I kept up my running and had just completed an Ironman that previous August.
As time went on I was starting to slow down my pace but running was the outlet that I much needed. Fast forward to around April of 2014 and it was decided that a repair of my Aortic valve was needed and a schedule was put together so I could keep running. A June, 14th date was decided upon with the Berlin Marathon in September as a goal.
The surgery went well and you can read about those details here. On a parallel path about the same time, I thought there were some serious concerns about Catherine’s short-term memory. While I was recovering we were also dealing with her now health concerns.
After a lot of testing and evaluations, it was determined that she had Alzheimer’s or like condition. Since she was only 53 at the time it was also classified as early onset. You can also read about that ordeal here.
I had always wanted to retire at 58 but I did have one of the best jobs at UPS so I stayed an extra year. With Catherine losing her job and a new job at UPS on the horizon, we put our condo on the market with a possible move to Atlanta as we entertained several options.
We had numerous running events lined up for 2015 so we thought about just hitting the road with Atlanta being our new home. Out of the clear blue, a lady wanted our Condo, she had cash and wanted us out in 2 weeks.
The stars were lining up so I did what anyone else would do in our position. I retired, put everything in storage in Louisville put other items in our Motorhome and drove it to Atlanta. I was not interested in living in the Motorhome so I worked overtime to put a schedule together with ATL as our hub.
As many have said, “the rest is history” and I have written about our adventures ever since. It has been a labor of love and hope, all that have read it over the years have enjoyed it. From time to time I read it to Catherine to jog her memory on where we have been over the last 4 years.
At the same time San Juan PR has a special place in my heart. Over the years at UPS, flying to and from there was one of my favorite flights. I flew that route on both the DC8 and the B767. Since I was in management I did not fly routes like other pilots. I mostly flew a desk during my career but when I wanted to fly I would then pick the route and give the crew member the day off.
That brings us to where we started our 5th year of running all over the world, San Juan on a Windstar Cruise for two weeks. Over the last 4 years, we have been on numerous Windstar cruises in the past however this one is rather unique.
They have some of their cruises classified as James Beard Foundation cruises. Windstar has partnered with the esteemed James Beard Foundation as their official cruise line to offer an elevated culinary experience unique in the cruise and travel world.
On this cruise, they went one step further by bringing on board Chef Jose Mendin who has restaurants in both San Juan and Miami. He also held a cooking demonstration during our sea day. They were not to be out-done so to add to the outstanding experience they also brought on board a mixologist and freelance bartender, Tiffanie Barriere. She held three tastings during the cruise.
The first was a late morning Rum tasting one day and on two separate occasions an afternoon wine tasting and beer tasting. She also had those wines available, complementary, during dinner. Tiffanie refers to herself as The Drinking Coach and hales from Atlanta.
It’s a small world after all. As Catherine and I were walking down the street in Grenada we ran into a gentleman that I use to work with over 30 years ago. I had decided to go on a different route from where we usually go in Grenada. In an effort to find the beach there, I went right instead of left off the boat. As we were walking along a car pulled up with their horn blowing but I did not recognize the woman in the passenger side and did not notice the driver.
As I kept walking thinking the person wanted directions the driver turned around and this time the driver was on my side and I noticed that I did know the driver as, Frank Comissiong He is a retired UPS pilot and someone I use to work with at Wheeler Airlines, a commuter airline we both worked at back in the 70’s and the 80’s.
Turns out he comes to Grenada every year back to where he and his wife grew up. It was great seeing him and brought back memories of our time working together. We continued on to a great beach that we walked along but we will be sure to enjoy next time we are here.
The rest of the cruise went off without a hitch and now we are on our
Once we get back to San Juan we will drop off most of the people on board but for Catherine and I we head back for another week of sun and fun. We go to different Islands except for one, St Maarten. Also, there is one island, Virgin Gorda, I am not sure we have been to before since I can not find a picture in my photos, but you never know.
The second week was fabulous. It being Christmas week there were a number of families on board which made the group a bit more lively. The ship’s staff really outdid themselves this year with all the decorations throughout the ship.
One of my favorite Islands is Montserrat even though half the Island was covered in Volcanic ash back in 1995 Here two guys typically come on board and perform local music for the passengers. They had us all up and dancing. This time we took a hike over a mountain to a secluded beach and it was well worth the trek.
The island barbecue was held on the island of Virgin Gorda and in fact, we had never been there before. This island is famous for the area called The Baths. Unlike everyone else we ran the 1 mile each way to take a gander and is a must see.
There is a section where you can swim, walk, wade to get from one point to the other. I would have had to do a lot of bending over so we bypassed that part but the views along the path there and back were breathtaking.
After the cruise it was off to San Diego to meet up with my son, Aaron and his finance, Kelsey who live there. Catherine’s daughter and family along with my daughter, Mariah were also there. My son, Shawn and his wife Cassie could not make the trip but we were able to Video chat as they gave me the Christmas present with their birth announcement.
After a few days in not so hot, Atlanta is now time to go back south for 47 days. First stop South Beach with a 5-day cruise to the Bahamas and Hatti on a big boat, as Catherine puts it. The upside is that it is with our old friends, Kim, Debra, Mike and Kay. After that, the 6 of us head to Key West for a half marathon.
Catherine and I will then venture off to St. Kitts for two weeks at my sister, Gwen’s place there. From there we are on to St. Maarten to meet up with our favorite Windstar ship, Windsurf for two weeks. Fun in the sun will be had by all.
It has been a great 4 years and no telling where and for how long we will keep up this running all over the world gig. When we land in St. Kitts it will be our 400th destination. That is still averaging about packing up every 3.5 days and does not seem like that rate will ever change.