“This sh*t is bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S,”was sung at least a dozen times while River Roamin’ with the Tillerys meandered through the channel markers that lined the Banana River nearest the Thousand Island Conservation area just to the north of us in Brevard County, Cocoa Beach. Not only did this river have its own theme song, compliments of Gwen Stefani’s Holla Back Girl, we also were able to bring along some of son’s buddies as a sort of belated birthday gift to our freshly turned 17-year-old.
The Banana River itself was quite wide with lots of houses and commerce on either side. To the west side of the river, the houses that we saw were mansions on top of hillsides. Whereas the east, it was the more unassuming houses and older condominiums weaved in between the businesses. It was a windy day, yet the sun was shining brightly. We found an island about 20 minutes from the security of the mangrove’s sanctuary. While in route, with good music blaring, the four teens managed to eat 20 Italian style sliders and a full jumbo bag of cool ranch Doritos; it was lunchtime, and they were all hungry. Our group moored up to the island and immediately descended into the water for some football and races. While all the teens and dad ran about, this river roamin’ mom kicked around on her float with built-in cup holder and took in the joy of being in this salty water and the busy boom of the Space Coast.
After a few hours of water time, we headed back to check into our oceanfront hotel, the South Beach Inn. It was a quick 5-minute drive from the boat ramp and parking was challenging as there are many hotels and condos up this way of A1A making each one difficult for parking boats. The complex was dated but the property itself quite charming with areas for grilling, dining, fishing, entertaining, and a short, cleared path through the dunes to the beach. Our little two-bedroom suite was tight for four big teens and parents, but it had its own little kitchen with seating making it adequate for our one-night stay.
The teens were ready to let loose after devouring a platter of donuts and brownies, so each was given a smoothie and sent on their way to explore the oceanfront, try to setup for some surf fishing, and prep their area for their fire that evening. The time change had sunset for 6:30 that evening and they wanted to be ready. With everything they needed to cook Koegel hotdogs over an open flame and 160 pizza rolls cooked, dad and mom set out for a stroll also. We headed south and went to Squid Lips for a bite at the bar. The space was impressive, complete with Coy fishponds outside and large interior dining rooms. Yet it was the outside area with decking from floor to ceiling and nicely laid out bar that had this mom very happy with her pick. We enjoyed a blue burger and the sites, then headed back taking an incredible path encapsulated by banyan tree branches before popping out onto the ocean just south of our boys setup. We walked up to see a nice fire glowing, despite the winds, using our portable firepit. The boys were just getting ready to eat so our timing was good to help them streamline the process.
A few hours later each teen was asleep despite vowing to not sleep at all, so dad and mom sat out at the back deck and met a few different guests ranging from a young, gay black man who was meeting his boyfriend’s friends for the first time to a machete carrying Florida gal who can sing and loves to stay up late, visiting an old friend of hers who had fallen asleep early. Eventually dad too fell asleep out on his rocking chair with the ocean breeze at his face and it was just me and my new friend, Anita. We walked along the ocean until the sun came up and from that view, with the first rays of sunlight I could have sworn I saw a glimpse of heaven and was so touched by it decided to have a conversation with my grandma above, I do believe she listened and smiled upon us here below. Once back up on the property, it was a quick clean up and we each set back down a1a for the 2.5-hour drive home; it was a great trip short and sweet! Happy river roamin’ ya’ll!