Florida, A Northerner’s Dream

My husband and I have been coming to Florida for a long time, but this year’s visit has

Shirl and Burl at Siesta Beach, Sarasota, Florida

been the longest, and the nicest. We believe that those living within reasonable driving distance to Florida are quite fortunate. Eleven hundred, plus, miles is about what we drive to get here and when arriving, we meet many Canadians and others who drive much farther.

We’ve never been quite as adventurous as my husband’s parents who started coming to Florida with a, station wagon, 1940’s vintage. It had a home-built kitchen on the tailgate. Later his father converted a school bus, which not only provided them with transportation but also sleeping accommodations. Does anyone remember how school buses rode back then?

It was only a few years ago, that we thought we could manage a month away from home and work, while pulling behind us our living accommodations, an unthinkable, twenty-four foot sail boat. Well, it became unthinkable! It was fun for a number of years, it was, that is, when the weather cooperated. But the year the weather turned bad, we found ourselves trying to sleep in a boat being tossed about by heavy winds, while slamming against the pier. Maybe it was our age, and the fact that erecting and taking down the 30 foot mast was getting harder, but we began to think there must be a better way. I’ll never forget the distinctive sound of clanging halyards on neighboring, vacant boats, in the dead of the night.

Now we pull a 35 foot R.V. and stay in a park that offers all the comforts of home and more. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Nearly thirty years ago, we ventured down here for a couple of weeks and stayed in a 16 ft. camper. I must say we were not immediately sold on Florida. The weather is not always tropical. We remember temperatures in the 30’s, “which is very rare,” they say. Of course, the over 1100 miles to get here, presents a challenge. Although I’ve met travelers at rest areas who make it in one day, it takes us three. I’ve accused my husband of having a less boring trip, than I, because he’s driving. He doesn’t ask me to drive, for which I’m glad and there are things we do to chase away the boredom of seeing miles and miles of just, plain old pine trees along interstate 95. There’s not much you can do to ease the trauma of the stretch of bad highway that begins just as you cross into South Carolina. Pedro, our parrot, can tell you all about this. He’s been to Florida many times and that stretch is the worse part of the trip for him. As we hit each seam in the concrete highway ,”kerplunk,” “kerplunk,” he hangs on with one foot anchored on his perch while hanging on, for dear life, to the side of the cage with his beak. He’ll tell you it is worth the trip because once he gets here, he spends, nearly, every day outdoors.

So what do we do to ease the boredom of the long drive? We watch for the first palm tree, visit every rest stop and get munchies at gas stations, (I don’t want to talk about the price of gasoline, which we get morning and noon.)  We hold our breathe each time we look for a place to eat. Why?, because it is easy to find ourselves in a parking lot that really doesn’t accommodate a truck pulling a big rig. To chase away the boredom, reading is what helps us the most. I read, aloud, for hours and on the third day, we find we’ve made it, all the way to Sarasota. And the driver, my husband of course,  says, “Thanks for reading, hours of travel flew by and I hardly remember it.” Beautiful Florida, it’s been wonderful this year, and we actually have two whole months to enjoy it.

14 thoughts on “Florida, A Northerner’s Dream

  1. I don’t think I would ever have wanted to try Florida from a sailboat like you did! That sounds REALLY adventurous! I remember Grandpa and Grandma’s converted bus. I thought it was so cool! But, I must admit that it was great going down in our pop-up and staying last month. Wonderful to spend time with you there. I guess Florida is beautiful in the winter no matter how you get there or what you stay in! Have a wonderful rest of your stay.


  2. It sounds like you had a nice vacation. I didn’t know that you took Pedro with you. Florida weather is perfect for parrots! I don’t want to ask what your gas costs were for the trip. LOL I’ve driven to Florida twice; and I did it in 20-22 hours, both times. It is a long ride; and a stop over would be much better. I’m glad that you had a nice time and a safe trip.


  3. hi shirley..the picture of you abd burl is great ..you both look well rested..hope you are enjoying yourselves and the weather..as for staying on a boat and sleeping that doesnt sound good to me since i dont like the water..i would have to sleep with a life jacket on which i feel would be very uncomfortable lol..enjoy the rest of your time their..love you ada mae


  4. Hi Neighbor!! The beautiful picture of you and Burl caught my eye…..you both look wonderful and so relaxed!!! So happy you’re enjoying yourselves and the weather. We were down two years ago and had to buy winter coats because it was so cold!!! We always drive it too, but stop and visit friends along the way….that makes it a much less boring trip for us. Enjoy and see you…or hear Pedro…in the Spring!


    • What fun to hear from you,Cathy. We have been here when it was cold, too, but this year has made up for the cool ones. It’s been absolutely beautiful.(It’s living up to its reputation.) Hope you are enjoying my blog,so wonderful hearing from our good neighbors. Getting away is relaxing, hope you and Dave can do the same.


    • He tries! Sometimes all he sings is “I left.” You thought he was a smart bird, didn’t you. He is, but sometimes forgets lyrics. 🙂 Thanks for your comment. Hope you’re enjoying shirlandyou.


  5. Hi,Shirley!
    There are so many good Christian writers who have filled their books with everything from romance to mystery. When we travel, audiobooks are the fav. The characters are so real we can’t wait to get back in our van and pick up where we left off . . . the miles just fly by. Our latest audiobooks has been Karen Kingsbury’s “Bailey Series”. Wish the end of March would hurry up so we can get the finale. I started reading her books years ago when she began writing about the Baxter Family. What an awesome writer! I love Dee Henderson’s books as well.


      • Thanks for writing, Colleen. Again, you have good insight on the subject I’ve written about. With so much interest in proper eating, I hoping that many will talk about on shirlandyou. God bless you.


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