Saturday, September 03, 2005

On to Florida

Nothing remarkable about the morning. We hit the road by about 7:00 and figured we’d pull into our campground by mid afternoon, quickly set up camp and be at Joy’s house before she got home from work.

It didn’t happen.

We angled down from Montgomery through Dothan, AL, and picked up I-10 west of Tallahassee. Traffic wasn’t really bad all day, but there were a lot of big trucks on the road going slower up hill than down, so it was rare that I got to just set the cruise control and let it protect me from radar speed traps.

We noticed more convoys. Lots of them. Some were trucks like those we’d seen yesterday from different electric utility companies. Others were just lines of those muddy-orange colored tree-trimming and removal trucks that have ASPLUNDH painted in black on the sides and back. All were headed west.

Well, they were all headed west until we turned south on I-75 towards Tampa. Then they were all headed north. Occasionally we saw other convoys consisting of either Florida State Trooper cars (often in lines of 10-15 cars, and sometimes with their lights flashing but no sirens) or fire trucks (in lines of 6-8, but never with lights flashing). Were they also going to disaster areas?

I could see that the fire trucks might be needed, but would Florida State Troopers have any authority outside the state? I doubt it. Were they needed in far west Florida (Pensacola)? We hadn’t heard reports of many problems in that area, but we wondered.

We saw gas prices as low as $2.85 and as high as $3.15 per gallon for regular, but the trick was finding stations that had gas to sell. Many just had plastic shopping bags over the pump handles to indicate no gas.

Through planning we were able to avoid too much anxiety about gas. By “planning” I mean that we filled up whenever the tank dropped below half-full.

That, of course, meant twice as many fuel stops as usual. The day wore on and the road, as the song says, seemed to go on forever. Plus, I’d forgotten about crossing the time zone and losing an hour as we headed east.

Joy called us, home from work (often she gets off a bit early on Fridays), to ask where we were. We told her we were still an hour away from the campground, but should be there by 5, set up camp in about 30 minutes, and then it’s a 15-minute drive to her house.

Good plan. But…

It has rained a LOT in this part of Florida lately. The campground at the state park had a number of camping sites under water! Getting checked in took far longer than it should have, because there were folks in the office seeking a refund for their pre-paid camping fee after they’d found their reserved site underwater. Since our “camper” is well up off the ground, we weren’t too concerned. Unless the water was inches deep. And had snakes and alligators in it.

Well, suffice to say that our site was just barely usable. We both got shoes muddy and socks wet during set-up, but compared to some sites we were well-off.

But the conditions slowed us down even further. We finally arrived at Joy’s house after 7:00 p.m. Didn’t get to dinner until well after 8!

However, as several of you have pointed out, safety is a LOT more important than speed, and we now have a nice long weekend to visit, see Trevor, take pictures, see more of Trevor, catch up on Joy and Johnny’s lives, spoil Trevor, and more of the same. By Monday I imagine they’ll be glad to see us hit the road.


kenju said...

I hope the rest of the trip is better than the beginning!

Michelle said...

Am thrilled to bits that you arrived safely. Have a fabulous weekend with the family.

Mike Ashley said...

I'm glad you arrived safely and getting to see Trevor, play with Trevor, and spoil Trevor.
...Enjoy the rest of your trip.