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!!

Day Two….Sunny Afternoon in Georgia!

So, the end of day two finds us in Darien, Georgia at a very nice Comfort Inn.  Our room tonight is much nicer than the Days Inn was last night.  Lesson learned……You get what you pay for!  Today we traveled from Virginia, through North Carolina, South Carolina, and into Georgia.  Driving was good, but if some of the folks we’ve encountered on the road today, did what they did on imagethe Garden State Parkway or the New Jersey Turnpike, I think they’d be dead.  Lets just say, interesting drivers.  We’ve spotted license plates from 21 states, the District of Columbia, Official US Government, Quebec, Ontario, and a bunch of US Army Humvees in full battle gear, with no license plates.  We drove by Paris Island,  Pope Army Air Base, and saw huge GI helicopters come in low over I-95.

imageThis morning, when we crossed from North Carolina into South Carolina, we passed South of the Border.  We’ve heard from friends that it’s a shell of what it used to be, and although we didn’t stop, it did bring to mind a story from one of our very early trips to Florida with the kids.

I guess we were nuts, or perhaps just didn’t know any better, but we loaded up our 1986 full size Ford van with two 18 month old twins, our almost 6 year old son, our baby sitter, and started down I-95.  Among the things loaded into the van were two porta cribs, which we unloaded and set up at every hotel.  Nuts, or what?

So, as we leave our first night’s motel, I notice that one of the tires on the van needed a little air.  I filled it before leaving, and when we got to the North/South Carolina border, we decided to stop at South of the Border to check the tire.  Once again it was low, so I decided to see if I could get it looked at.  The guy at the gas station in South of the Border said he had no empty lifts, but if I brought him the tire, he could fix it.

I went back to the car, got Susie, Eileen our baby sitter, Krissi, Kenny, and Billy out of the car, and started to jack up the van.  The way to jack up that generation van, was to slide the jack way under the frame, and then lift it off the ground.  Just as I was getting the jack under the frame, two Air Force fighter jets buzzed South of the Border at about 100 feet!  From that time on, Susie loved telling the story of how, when the planes flew over, I dove under the van, totally abandoning my wife and my 3 young children to protect myself!

So that’s my South of the Border story for today.  Tomorrow we have about 4 hours to Walt Disney World, and our reservations at Disney’s Port Orleans, French Quarter.  Tonight we are in 60 degree temperatures, tomorrow we’re hoping for the 70s!  Also, looking forward to using my ABC/Disney Retiree discounts!  Ah, retirement!!