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