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Life on the Road

Life on the Road: Pink flamingos, back pain and gas station cuisine



MIAMI – Somewhere in a parking lot just off Route 75 South in Florida this morning, at what looked like a place that sold old campers or RVs, your humble correspondent here pulled his rental car over leaned the seat all the way back and “rested my eyes” from approximately 3:45 to 4:30. I may have actually been asleep for a minute or two, which almost never happens for me in situations like that.

Part of a day in which I drove another all-nighter, Tampa to Miami, after the Avs game last night, to catch a 7 a.m. flight back to Denver. Alas, I will not be in St. Louis Monday night when the Avs play the Blues.

I’ve got to get my back checked out by a real back specialist. The lower-back sharp pain, accompanied by sciatic pain that has my hamstrings feeling tighter than a drum and very sore with every step I take, returned with a vengeance in Florida. I have an appointment for Monday.

Aside from being in constant pain and driving bleary-eyed this morning to race to Miami and just barely make my flight, it was a nice time in Florida.

Any time you can walk up to your rental car at your hotel and find a flock of pink flamingos hanging out, it’s a good thing.

That other bird? Some kind of duckling. Not very pretty. Is that the origination of the ugly duckling phrase?

There was a tropical storm that hit the Tampa area yesterday, which posed a big threat to the flight of my former Denver Post colleague Mike Chambers. So I gave him a lift in the rental from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa. Good to catch up with Mike, who was gracious enough to ply me with a Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast and some gas station cuisine later in the roughly four-hour drive. Mike’s gotta work on his iTunes song list game, though. I spotted some Alanis Morrissette in there. Come on dude.

I covered the game, then soon got right back in the car for the four-hour drive back to Miami. Roughly 550 miles of driving.

Florida is, of course, Florida. Lots of animal life around, and not just the pink flamingos. I was driving to the Winn Dixie near my hotel on Friday night and suddenly a long lizard skee-daddled right in front of me. He made it to the other side without becoming roadkill.

(Speaking of roadkill: I counted, and I passed seven deer carcasses during my drives from Washington to Pittsburgh and back. Just laying there on the side of the road. Tough way to go out).

In Tampa before the game last night, I hung out in the media meal room with the great Scotty Bowman. He’s got a new book on his life coming out on Monday called “Scotty: A Hockey Life Like No Other” (written by Ken Dryden). Pre-order it here on Amazon. It’s going to be a must-read. Scotty is still sharp as a tack. Smartest guy on hockey I’ve ever met.

Tough to top that, hearing Scotty Bowman stories.

Thanks to some of you who have given me well-wishes on the back. I’m a bit worried about it, but we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

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