Susie and I have just had a very unusual 6+ weeks trip to Florida…here’s a look at it.
It started off like a perfectly normal trip, as we left Ocean City on Thursday, January 30th! The car was packed for a 6 to 8 week visit to Florida, and our first stop was with our son Billy’s family at their brand new house in Wake Forest, North Carolina. It was a great visit with Billy and his wife Lori, and our Grandchildren, Layla, Henry and our brand new Granddaughter, baby Annabelle! A great time was had by all, and we left with 10 boxes of Layla’s Girl Scout Cookies….the perfect stop!
The next morning we were off, and the next stop was Darien, Georgia, so that we could go to our favorite fried shrimp place in the world, B&J’s Steak House and Seafood! It was incredible!!
Our Post, Florida, Here We Come from February 1st contains more details!
The next morning, we continued our journey south on I-95 again, arriving at our rented condo in Indian Rocks Beach Beach about 3:30 PM! If you’ve been following our blog, you’ve read about week one in IRB…if not, check some of them out on the right side of the home page!
We were thrilled during our month long stay there that my cousin Jeanne and Walt joined us for 4 days, and then “Our Boys”, son Kenny and his husband Chris were able to join us for a week! We had a wonderful time with the boys, exploring many wonderful places and finding both new places to eat and wonderful places to have a drink! Of course, lots and lots of beach time, perfecting our tans, and making us look like we really had been in Florida!
It was at the end of the week the boys were with us, that we got the call that Susie’s Mom had passed away. We scrambled getting plane reservations, and making arrangements. The boys headed back to OC (Spirit Airlines from Tampa to AC for under $200 roundtrip for both of them) and a day early, on Friday, Susie and I drove across the state to Ft. Lauderdale airport, left the Honda in Long Term Parking, and winged back to NYC for the weekend! (Life Happens from March 3rd has more details)
Then it was 6 wonderful nights at the Doubletree Resort in Hollywood Beach Florida. If you haven’t read details of that yet, check out our blog Doubletree Resort, Hollywood Beach, Florida from March 12th.
Then we were off to my cousin Jeanne’s in Barefoot Bay, Florida. We were there for 3 nights with them, and then they were winging their way to Hawaii for 4 weeks, and we were planning on staying in their house for a couple of more weeks! We were looking forward to pool time, a Spring Training Mets game at Port St. Lucie, and my first visit to Cape Canaveral, and the Kennedy Space Center…then the shit hit the fan!
We started reading online of the ramp-up of measures to prevent the spread of Corona Virus in the US. The one that really got our attention was the suspension of travel between the US and Europe! If that was reality, might there be a suspension of Interstate travel in the US? In my visions I saw State Trooper’s vehicles lined up across I-95 as it crossed from one state to another. Then MLB, NBA, NHL, and all the other initial organizations started canceling games, and then one that seemed un-imaginable…Broadway, Disneyland and Disney World CLOSED! This was real, and we started talking. Would we rather be possibly stuck at Jeanne and Walt’s, where we knew but one person (their friend and neighbor Bruce – Jeanne and Walt had left that afternoon for Hawaii), and were 1000+ miles away from our Ocean City Family and all our Doctors, or would we rather be back in our little New Jersey beach town, surrounded by our family (Our Boys are with us), our Ocean City friends, and a phone call away from our Doctors? We decided that Ocean City won out over Florida!
So on Thursday last week, two weeks or so earlier than we were originally planning, we started packing and before the sun went down, the Honda was loaded, and by the time we went to bed that night, we were ready to head back north! At 8:30 Friday morning, we locked up their house and drove out of Jeanne and Walt’s driveway, and headed out of Barefoot Bay! Within about 20 minutes, we were on our home for the next two days, I-95 North, heading to our beach town! Our plan was to do the trip in two days, stopping just one night, rather than the two nights we usually do. Let’s face it…at this point, we wanted to be home in Ocean City!!
Day one went well, and at 12:35 PM, this came up on the GPS, showing that we were 777 miles from the Atlantic City Expressway!
After driving for about 8 hours, and having a cold cut lunch in the car, our stop that night was at a Doubletree in Fayetteville, North Carolina. We splurged and had our only Cracker Barrel meal of our trip! Of course, there was a women in the next dining room coughing up a lung…just what we needed to think that our decision to eat out had been ill advised!! We slept well that night, and were off again Saturday morning at 8:15…without stopping for the free breakfast we were entitled to!
We made great time on Saturday and were projected by the GPS to arrive home, a few minutes after 4, but we decided to stop at our favorite Italian Market, Bagliani’s in Hamilton. Just 2 miles off the Atlantic City Expressway, they have great cheeses, meats and Italian products, and we figured this might be a good place to stock up on some items to eat during the coming weeks. Here’s the meat we ended up with after Susie had split them up and used her Seal-a-Meal to vacuum pack them!
Even with the stop, we arrived back in Ocean City a few minutes past 4:30. On our entire 6+ weeks trip, we drove 3302.6 miles in the Honda (and got 31.3 MPG for those miles), and we were home in Ocean City, and happy!
All was well, we were home, and the house was stocked with all the necessities!
Kenny and Chris were out in Iowa doing one of their weekend gigs, and arrived home to Philly airport early on Monday. They drove home, we sanitized them with antibacterial spray, wiped the car down with antibacterial wipes, sent them off to shower and wash everything in their suitcases, and the four of us began our days of hunkering down in Ocean City! Their weekend gigs have been postponed for the next two weeks at least, the house is stocked with lots of supplies, and there’s nothing left to do but take walks through the neighborhood (while avoiding anybody we may meet), catch up on TV and movies (we’ve got a long list of Netflix shows that we’d been saving for summer, but which we will dip into now), read a book, write, and take care of household tasks. We have no idea what the days ahead will bring, what else will be closed by government mandate, or just by the owners not interested in putting workers in harm’s way, and how long we’ll be forced to remain close to home. We’ve bought some online gift cards to our favorite restaurants in hope that some cash infusion will help them still be there when this is over. What the future will bring, we have no idea, but as I read on Facebook the other day, “Your parents were called to a world war…you can sit on your couch for a couple of weeks”.
Hope everybody we know is safe and staying that way. We have no idea what the world will look like on the other side of this, but we will get through it as we follow the rules and realize we’re all in this together. Please be smart and take care! Love to all!