Feelin' Alive on the 95

Trip Start Jun 09, 2009
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Trip End Jun 23, 2009


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Where I stayed
Ramada Limited

Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, June 20, 2009

Departure from Virginia, 4am. Destination….Florida.  Haste in this situation does not make waste, so we threw the truck in drive and headed south on the famed I-95.  Famed because it is known as the busiest interstate in the country, connecting such metros as Boston, NY, Philly, DC, Jacksonville, and Miami.  So busy because it is the main artery into the Sunshine State from those northern states, which means minivans full of kids heading to one place….Orlando.  M  I   C…..K   E   Y………  Well, we are up early enough, and I, Dax Nesossi (driver extraordinaire) with Gina the GPS who also tracks live traffic, will be able to breeze swiftly down this "foreboding" corridor and get us into St. Augustine right on time.

HA!

Think again buckaroo.  This interstate kicked my tail. Just look at the pics for yourself.  It was actually so slow I was able to take out a Nikon, change to a long lens, and point and shoot it to get the shot.  Think I was inching along at about 15mph then.

One car flew up behind me and was riding my tail so bad I had to tap the breaks a few times to get them to back off.  Then they flew around me so fast the Buick almost tipped over.  Sped up and then swiftly snapped back in front of me.  All of this happened so fast, but I was able to see who the driver was, and it was a Nun!  Brian would not let it go that even Nuns pass me on the interstate.  Just wait though…it wasn't until Florida that I really felt like a fast driver.  We had fun watching the cars go down the interstate though.  I was able to decipher life stories of the red minivan with Ohio plates for example.  Mark and Susan Eckles with their two kids Jennifer and Patrick.  They are heading south to Busch Gardens in Orlando all the way from Mentor, Ohio – a southwest suburb of Cleveland.  Mark has two weeks off with a software firm he works with, but he is concerned about cutbacks which is making him on edge during the whole trip.  Susan is telling him to let it go…for the kids sake so they can have a good time.  Jennifer is in 5th grade and is far smarter than Patrick who almost got held back in 8th, barely scooting by to make it to his freshman year at Lincoln High.  Susan wanted to stay in a hotel, but Mark’s sister Beverly, or as the kids call her Aunt Bev, is offering them a place to stay in Kissimmee, just outside of Orlando.  Then there was the newly married couple Chris and Melinda hauling a U-haul with his dad’s Chevy Silverado truck from Harrisburg, PA to Ft. Myers, FL.  Melinda completed her Marine Biology degree in……..(and this conversation went on for the better part of 200 miles.  Great fun.)

North Carolina became South Carolina.  South Carolina became Georgia.  Time to stop for some roadside peaches.  Georgia then really flattened out (after being spoiled with the Smokies) to become Florida.  As the truck pushed south I did notice that the outside air temp was indicating a significant rise as we crossed Jacksonville.  From around 70 in Virginia, to about 105 in Florida to be exact.

Ah, welcome to Florida.  Where their number one import is Seniors.  I stopped counting the number of Buicks and Towncars after 100.  I think the state flag of Florida should just be a steering wheel with two hands and a large hat.  These people had me thinking that I was driving Daytona!  Up north we saw car after car hauling bikes on the back, boats and other sporting things.  These people actually strapped their gazelle on the back.  You know...the motorized vehicle sold exclusively at the scooter store.

Shuffling our feet into the lobby like Tina Turner in the movie “What’s Love got to do with It,”  we checked in and had barely enough energy to get a bite seaside at Barnacle Bills.  The plastic booth seats stuck to my legs as I tried to scoot in to the narrow spacing.  This allowed me enough room to unravel my silverware from the quickly rolled paper napkin fixated with the sticky loop I always love to play with until my food came.  I had the Captainz Mixin’ Platter which was scallops and shrimp and two side buoys of my choice.  I assumed buoys were sides.  I was then able to make my way to the boat shaped salad bar to man the plate with the consummate iceburg and bacon bits, raw mushrooms, sunflower seeds and ranch dressing.  My dinner was wonderful, and Brian’s Seaside Sampler looked great too.  It also came with the salad bar.  I was reminded that were were in Florida cause when we ordred wine, the waiter asked if we needed a straw and embarrasingly recanted when he saw our age. 

Evening fell and the once visible Atlantic Ocean quickly turned to black with the occasional distant light of another vessel heading out into open waters.  The blue neon strip surrounding the top of the building glowed into the window through the swaying palm trees, telling me it was time to head back and get some rest.

St. Augustine appears on the surface to be a wonderful coastal city.  Teeming with history since it is the oldest European settlement in the United States, tomorrow’s adventure promises to be exciting.  It is a little warm this evening though….I hope it doesn’t heat up too much.  Sorry today’s dispatch has not been as exciting as the Washington days, but I hope you will stick with it.  We just have to have those long driving days to get the good stuff.  From Florida and now 3500 miles later….Dispatch out.   
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