A DeAlmeida New Year Vacation
Exploring the nooks and crannies of Florida is the best way to understand why thousands of people migrate south each year. They have Disney, the Fountain of Youth, the Gulf, The Everglades and everyone’s favorite South Beach. Oh, how could I forget the Keys, now that is the happiest place on Earth.
Five days into our road trip. We had already explored Gainesville and Clearwater. Clearwater Beach was not as dog friendly as we had hoped and the town was popping. I wish the west coast was much more welcoming. With every bed booked, hotels not pet friendly we saw no other choice but to high tail it through gator alley all the way to Fort Lauderdale two days ahead of schedule. Andrew’s mother lives in the area which makes escaping the Jersey winter a must. Three years and counting. I remember a time when I thought you only went to Florida to die. But the state is slowly starting to grow on me. Maybe one day it’ll be me sunbathing posting year round beach pictures on Facebook. You know you have that one friend.
Its now December 28th. Two Dogs, a cat, a grandmother, mother in law, her boyfriend, Andrew and I all under one roof. If threes a company what does eight mean? After a couple of drinks and face time, eight turned into nine. We drunkenly bought Andrew’s little brother a ticket two days into our lounging. The ultimate question being how were we to get him back?
The first day was all about lounging. Sitting out on the balcony enjoying the sounds of silence. Ahh silence, what a precious gift. Something an only child knows oh too well. Living in the tri-state area, silence is a thing of the past. More people moving in, one on top of the other. Ambulances and Fire Trucks racing down a one way. Too quiet and we start to question if the apocalypse is happening. But in Florida, silence is what they live for.
Everyday after that was a trip to a new neighborhood. Del Rey, Deerfield Beach, Las Olas. We even took a boat ride on the Intracoastal Waterway. Fun Fact: that water runs all the way to Maine, or maybe Massachusetts I already forgot. If I ever come into money you will catch me living next to Wendy’s & Taco Bell. Not the drive thru restaurant but the homes belonging to their children. So many million dollar homes, you would not believe there was ever a recession. Most of our days were spent bonding, drinking; eating everything in sight. Dinner was never less than $150 whenever we went out. That’s probably why we only ate once a day. The first half of the stay was rainy, the sun only came out during the second half, you know to remind us what we would be missing when we left. Shameless Sun!
The last two days were all about soaking up every bit of that global warming. This time of year is the best to really appreciate Gator Country. Its just hot enough to get you out on the water and never cold at all. The Floridians hate us but that never stops us snow birds from finding our way back. By January 2 we had overstayed our welcome but most importantly we needed to check on our cat. Nine turning back into four as we headed up the 95 to St Augustine. Andrew wanted to check out the town and I wanted to go back and see if I liked it just as much as I did the first time. Liking it was an understatement, I loved it!
The weather was perfect for being farther north. The cobblestone downtown was just as fun as I remembered. The stores have so many samples its like Costco on a Saturday morning. Unfortunately our stay was short lived ending it at the Blue Hen Cafe. We quickly made our way to the campsite in Savannah, another 3 hour trip calling KOA our home for the night. Stocked with our Saint Augustine moonshine and chicken chili we more like they partied the night under the stars away. Everything except our sleeping conditions worked out just perfectly. Imagine two 6 foot men, my little ass and Memphis sharing a four person tent with a giant inflatable mattress that does not belong in a tent. If weren’t close before you can best believe we are now.
Our next stop unknown. I wanted to see how far I could get without stopping. Georgetown, South Carolina was as far as I got. Little did the guys know, I took the roundabout way so I could also sight see and drive. Four hours in, we were still nowhere near home but we did find ourselves in an adorable fishing town. It was there we decided to take the hour drive to Myrtle Beach and enjoy the beautiful day we had left. Leaving us with a ten hour drive home. By the time we got to Myrtle Beach, it was cold, misty and deserted. The only cheap place being a Days Inn, which was fine because who really cares where you stay as long as it has a bed and a shower. We got dressed and left Memphis behind to explore a town I had been to plentiful of times as a kid.
There is so much to do when you are the only one in the town to do it. We explored Broadway on the Beach which is similar to Universal Citywalk in Hollywood, California. Lots of places to eat, shop and a few childish rides. After a few wine tastings, a wet willy slushy, moonshine and everything in between, we called for a Lyft. At some point the driver passed us free tickets to the strip club and not a minute later I’m hanging out with my friend April. Not my friend more like the lady I gave all my singles to as she explains her desire to be a stripper. Damn I got suckered.
It was the next morning, I was ever so grateful for my brother in law. Hungover, with no space to really take a nap, he jumped in to help me with this ten hour drive. He made it Virginia before we stopped at Taco Bell and I had to get into the driver seat. A road trip is all in good fun until you’re the one fighting sleep wishing the next exit is your stop. 12 hours later, a meow was heard. Chico and Memphis were united and my bed felt like a thousand heavens. Remind me, this time next year to plan my vacation ahead of time, because as much as I love Florida, the drive will never get easier.
Until next time…
Love More, Peace More and Roar More.
your not sure if this sounds as fun as part one roadtripping spirit guide,