Friday, September 13, 2019

The Sweatiest Road Trip Ever - Days 12, 13, 14, Whatever

Days 12 &13 -

And now, a brief photo collage of our last two days on the road. Driving 13+ hours each day.

Prepare for blast-off!

9:04 a.m.

Let's do this!

Only 23 hours  and 9 minutes to go!

Welcome to Alabama.
Blasting along the Hank Williams Memorial Highway.

And considering eternity.

I suggested entering Squanket in a drag race.

But that is the actual dragway and it didn't seem... I don't know... safe?
We stopped at Love's for some gas.

And found The World's Largest Selection of Rollable Meat-Like Products!
I don't know what they have. Kerri refused to stop.

And then we were in Georgia!

And Tennessee, where I was adamant that we needed to get some official BBQ.

Or, at least visit one of the dozens of "World's Largest Fireworks Store"s that we passed on this trip.

Kerri opted for Archer's BBQ in Knoxville, and it was a wise choice. This is called the BBQ Sundae. It is a bowl of heaven.

And then, northward through the driving rain,

and roaring thunder,

and biblical-level lightning.

A brief stop at a rest area where we were stalked by...

a black cat, skulking through the parking lot.

And when I turned away, there was another one, hiding behind the garbage can.
Or was it the same one...?
We finally called it a night in Wyethville, VA, the same town we had stayed in on our drive down.
And I am now, forever plagued by the idea that I want to get Professional toilet paper for home use.

In the van the next morning at 9:10. 
And if we play our cards right, we can be home tonight!

What are YOUR lubrication needs?

If we lived here, we'd be home now.
But we don't, and we weren't.

There was a lot of stunt-hauling along the highway.

And, once again, I was denied a visit to the John Wayne Truck Stop and Chrome Shop. Curse you, Kerri!

Kerri also didn't let me party with them.

The ring of dirt, grime, grease, I don't even want to know, on this bathroom door was impressive.

As is the posted list of rules and regulations for using a Pennsylvania Rest Stop. Maybe they should add, "Wash your nasty hands before touching our nasty doors!"

We survived the doors of doom and I was, once again, allowed in the driver's seat. Here we go!

I can practically smell home!

This is the pond that gave Squanket her name.

And then, just like that... We were home.

Over 4,300 miles and over 80 hours of driving.

We got Tori to school safely.
We got back home safely.
We all survived.
And we're all still talking to each other.

Now, we're planning the next adventure...

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

The Sweatiest Road Trip Ever - Day 11 - Maybe Florida Will Let Us Live. Maybe...

Day 11 - The Final Day In Florida

I work up early and made a cup of coffee to take down to the pool deck for some morning reading.

Not a bad start to the day.
On my way to the pool, I couldn't help but notice the last line on this sign. You had one job, sign guy.
Also, unlike the previous pool, it is apparently okay to swim here if you are ill with diarrhea. Good to know!
After my coffee, I went for a long walk along the beach. The waves had subsided a bit and I notice large, black areas of water near the shore. The ranged in size from a few feet across to 50 or 60 feet across. Because of how well the water in Florida had treated us so far, I naturally waded in to see what sort of sting, bite, puncture, burn, break, rash, or infection I could get.

The black pools were actually huge schools of tiny minnows swirling and swimming near the shore. It was sort of magical to watch and, contrary to Florida maritime law, did not hurt me in any way. I passed a couple who were obviously making their fortune off the fishy phenomenon. Or they were getting dinner. I actually have no idea which.

He had a huge net and was wading into the middle of a school of fish. He slapped the net into the water a few times and brought up a writhing ball of fish. She would run over with a 5 gallon bucket, he'd dump the fish in and she'd empty the bucket into a cooler that was up on the shore.

When the novelty of watching other people work had worn off, I went back to the hotel and we all spent the day at the pool, watching other people work.

The only real excitement of the day was when the maintenance crew descended en masse around the pool, quietly and calmly asking everyone to exit the pool for routine maintenance.

It seemed to us that routine maintenance generally doesn't not occur in the middle of the day while everyone is escaping the heat.

That can only mean one thing.

We eagerly watched the scene. Even though none of the maintenance guys weaved his way across the pool deck clutching a steaming turd in a pair of long-handled tongs, we have our suspicions.

While we waited for the pool to be sanitized and de-pooped, we walked along the beach where Alex continued his practice of flicking beached jellyfish back onto the water so other people could enjoy The Complete Pensacola Experience*.

*Now, 85% stingier!

When the All Clear blew, we spent the rest of the day lounging around in the hopefully poop-free pool.

The pool. Viewed from above. No poops from here! 

The Tiki Bar because, as per Florida law, every establishment, no matter what sort of business it is, MUST have a Tiki Bar on premises.

The menu is cleverly posted along the lazy river. Fiendishly effective!
Eventually, it was time for dinner and since we had dropped the vegetarian off at college, we made a solemn family pact to try as many BBQ places as we could on the way home. We weren't technically on the way home yet, but it seemed wise to get a jump-start on this endeavor.

Because you needed to see my food.

With smoky deliciousness still lingering in our mouths, we headed back to the pool for a night-time swim. It was quiet and warm and wonderfully relaxing. Which is good. 

Because tomorrow, we hit the road again.

Monday, September 9, 2019

The Sweatiest Road Trip Ever - Day 10 - A Jellyfish Buffet

Day 10 - 

Today barely merits a blog entry. But I'm still going to do it.

It began with coffee on the balcony overlooking the beach.

It looked

like this.

The wall of rain moved in and, though there was no thunder or lightning, for some reason, everybody who was in the pool scattered and ran inside.

So they wouldn't get wet?

Alex and I went for a stroll along the beach and he spent much of the walk flipping stranded jellyfish back into the water so somebody else could get the full Pensacola experience.

They blend in well.

And don't look like a gob of snot at all.

Beware the tendrils of stinginess.



The Purple Flag of Marine Deadliness™ is still flying proudly.
Disregarding the purple flag can have dire consequences. Alex risked getting in the water up to his ankles.

The ocean once again extracts its vengeance on Alex. Now, he will chafe.

We spent the day bobbing along in the lazy river. It was cloudy, but still very hot. Florida knows how to do heat.

When the sun came out mid-afternoon, the pool got really crowded and when the clouds came back a short time later, it cleared out again.

I have no idea what everyone was doing inside.

Maybe they were all getting tattoos that celebrated their room numbers.

Like Alex did.

When we had had our fill of relaxing and wanted our fill of food, we walked to a restaurant called Shaggy's. Passing through the parking lot, there was a beautiful sunset reflected in the window of a car.

In gentle contradistinction to the TRUMP FOREVER stickers we had seen.

At Shaggy's we were treated to mediocre service that provided mediocre food. That's all you need to hear about that.

After dinner, we walked back to the hotel. There was a free public concert happening on a bandstand on the beach. Alex and I stopped to watch them play a few classic rock songs while Kerri headed back to the room to go to sleep.

Rest and relaxation is tiring. And tomorrow, we have to do even more of it!