Florida, Here We Come!

It’s Snow Bird time for the D’Elias, and Susie and I leave the cold and inhospitable beach in Ocean City, for what we hope will be a warm and inviting, Gulf of Mexico beach in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida!

We left OC yesterday morning, and our friend the Waze GPS App took us in a way that we’ve never gone before. Rather than across the 9th Street Bride to the Garden State Parkway to the Atlantic City Expressway, it had us go south to 34th Street, and across the Roosevelt Blvd bridge. Then it took us on back road, after back road, after back road (some we’d been on during one of our “Sunday Drives”, and eventually dumped up on the New Jersey Turnpike a couple of miles from the Delaware Memorial Bridge (or DELMEMBR)! Perhaps it was because we left the house at 7:45 and this was to avoid rush hour traffic heading towards Philly, but honestly, it wasn’t a bad way to go!

Traffic once on I-95 was good, and we hit Baltimore and Washington, DC at the perfect time to sneak right through, before the traffic Gods knew we were even there! As we approached Washington, Susie was driving and got this great Instant MPG reading on the Honda CRV! Not bad for driving 60-80 most of the way in a fully loaded SUV!

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Everything was going along fine, till we started seeing overhead signs talking about a “major accident” by mile marker 103 in Virginia with the right lane closed!! What a colossal waste of our time, directly related, I think to the (sorry but) CRAPPY way so many people drive today!! Speaking about that, if anything, Americans’ Driving Skills are even worse that we’ve seen on other car trips we’ve taken! Driving 20-30 miles above the speed limit, tailgating at speeds in excess of 70 MPH, cutting you off as they change lanes, weaving in and out of 2-3 lanes, just to get ahead of a car…you name it, we’ve seen it! Amazed there aren’t more accidents!! Well, the Waze took us off 95 to a ridiculous detour, that was backed-up FOREVER, because of a traffic light within the first 1/2 mile, that only let 3 people turn at each sequence! We lost 40 minutes and I was pissed, till getting back on 95, we came upon people who were right next to us when we exited 95! The age old question…get off or stay the course! Looks like it didn’t matter!

We ended up getting to Billy and Lori’s new house in Wake Forest, NC a bit after 5, but once we got hugs from the littlest D’Elias, all was right with the world! They’ve been in the house since just a bit after New Years, and have done a wonderful job getting new furniture, and making the house into a real home! So proud of the two of them and happy for their new house and their great success!!

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Susie and our 4th Grandchild, Beatrice!  A wonderful, loving soul!

We took off this morning about 9 and it was 36 degrees and overcast. No rain, but that would come before our day was half over! Of course, we had to take our obligatory, yearly South of the Border pictures, as we passed from North Carolina to South Carolina. It continues to be very sad, and we won’t be surprised to drive by and find it abandoned one day!

img_2476We enjoyed our “Traveling Guilty Pleasure” of Arby’s for lunch again today…we did it yesterday too…but since we get the roast beef sandwich without the bun, accompany it with a side salad with ranch dressing, and a diet soda, our carb intake is very low, (under 5) so do we really have anything to feel guilty about anymore?? Wonder why we never drive down to Cape May Courthouse to have it for lunch back home???

Then the rain came! Cold, yucky, light to heavy and everything in between! We usually love getting to the one rest area in southern South Carolina, where we first see palm trees! Those trees were very sad today in the cold, driving rain!! No dreams of shorts and flip flops there today!!!

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Our stop tonight is in Darien, Georgia for one of our favorite stops along the way, B&J’s Steak and Seafood for our first shrimp meal of the trip, the 1/2 pound Fried Shrimp Basket! Tonight was also the Friday Night Seafood Buffet, which all looked great, but we’d only eat too much and suffer tonight!

Tomorrow we’re out of here and head to Florida. We are 49 miles from the Florida/Georgia border tonight in the Darien Hampton Inn, and just 300 miles and about 4 and a half hours away from our condo in Indian Rocks Beach, and what we hope will be our preview of the Summer of 2020!

Stay tuned!!

On The Road, Again

On the Road Again…..Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, …

“On the road again
Goin’ places that I’ve never been
Seein’ things that I may never see again
And I can’t wait to get on the road again
Here we go, on the road again
Like a band of Gypsies we go down the highway
We’re the best of friends
Insisting that the world keep turnin’ our way”

This morning was our last in Walt Disney World, for this trip, and as we have had several days before, we had a very nice breakfast in the Innkeepers Club.

We enjoyed several breakfasts and even dinners in the club, and although there was an up charge to stay in a Club Level room, when you figure what we spent on meals at Port Orleans last year, and even more, the incredible service you get, we didn’t really care about the price. Such nice people in the club and all over the Boardwalk, made our stay, as Disney would like you to say, Magical!

We called the Bell Desk, and Amil was dispatched to help us with the bags, and it was time for us to say goodbye to cottage #1210, our home for the past 5 nights. It was a great stay, and we’d love to come back!

By the time we got to the hotel entrance, the Sonata had been brought up (we swear it’s cleaner than it was when we used it to go to the ballgame Wednesday…did they wash it?), and within a few minutes the trunk was packed, and we were on our way. As the Disney Gas station is just across the street from the Boardwalk entrance, we decided to top off the tank. Good thing we did!

After I finished pumping gas, Susie handed me our Magic Bands and asked me to tuck them someplace in the trunk. When I couldn’t open the trunk by just pushing the button, I realized something. I didn’t have the Sonata’s smart key in my pocket!! Glad we were right across the street!
As we were just driving up to the hotel, we got a phone call telling us we’d left our keys. I just pulled up, and a young man was at my window with my key fob. Just another example of how they do things right at Disney! Do we really have to leave???

Leaving for the second time in 10 minutes, we followed the GPS, and shortly were off WDW property, and on I-4 headed east. Some really difficult construction happening going through Orlando (when isn’t it), and because of that, traffic, but soon we were moving along. Within no time, we were making the transition to I-95, our “home road” for the next 3 days.

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It wasn’t long before we were approaching the Georgia border, and had to say goodbye to Florida. Twenty wonderful days of summer, but now it’s time to put our shorts and flip flops away, hopefully only till May. We’re stopping again tonight in Darien, Georgia, and Susie just looked at the Weather Channel, and it calls for 50 degrees tomorrow at 9 AM. I fear that the denim shorts are done for, and will be replaced with the long jeans and perhaps the flip flops will be replaced with socks (???) and sneakers in the morning! I hate it, but we did have a lovely preview of The Summer of 2018, and living at the beach, we can hardly wait for it!!

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So I guess you know why we’re in Darien tonight. If you’ve read the last 3+ weeks of this blog, you will remember Darien as the spot for our annual fried shrimp stop, and this trip, we are hitting it while traveling both south AND north. We are such pigs!

Last time we were at B&J Steaks and Seafood, it was Saturday, and we waited an hour and a half to get a table. Since it’s a Friday, we were afraid we’d have a similar wait, so we decided to head over there a little before 5, and it was perfect. Maybe 10 minutes, and we had a table! If you remember back 20 days, we had a grand plan to try the fried chicken this time, which we’ve heard is as good as the shrimp. Well, we couldn’t pass on the shrimp, since we know it will be at least next year before we pass through Darien again, so yes, two half pound fried shrimp baskets, please. Susie did have a good idea though, and we traded the french fries for cole slaw!

After dinner, we filled up the car with gas, and now we’re back in our room and the sun’s not even down. We did grab the jeans and sweatshirts out of the car, but Susie and I are both going to try to continue with our summer footwear…flip flops for me and Birkenstocks for her. Wish us luck!

Darien is a real one horse town (and somebody borrowed the horse), so we will hit the hay early, hopefully have a good night, and tomorrow morning, we’ll get up, head out, and be on the road again!!