It must be the effect of those two 12+ hour days in the car that it’s taken me this long to announce that we’re back from Florida.
The first day was smooth sailing. No heavy traffic, the highways through the South are wide and well cared for. The only dilemma was at the end of the day. We had reserved a room at a pet-friendly hotel and there was a slight snag when the friendly lady at the desk informed me that she had our king bed, smoking room all set. Immediately visions of sleeping in the car or setting out on the road again flashed through my mind, but then we were reassigned a non-smoking one.
The next issue was dinner since we weren’t about to leave Mamie, my own personal barnacle, in a strange hotel room while we ate out. On our way down in the winter, being new to this whole traveling-with-a-dog thing, we did take-out and ate in the room. This time the helpful desk clerk told us about a place up the road where we could eat at an outside table with the dog.
I looked it up on line – rave reviews.
And it looked pretty good from the outside, although I could hear lots of raucous male laughter as we drove in. Turns out, there’s the restaurant, then the “patio” – more of an outside room – where we could sit, and beyond that an area with benches and bean bag games and good ole boy beer drinkers.
As it turned out, they were pretty harmless, unlike the second-hand smoke from all the tables around us (this was North Carolina, a Big Tobacco state) and the butts littering what seemed like every inch of the bricks.
Dinner was good, though, and Mamie did fine curled up on my side of the booth.
The second day was another matter. We set out fairly early and were making pretty good time until we hit Delaware, where a long bridge crosses a chunk of the Chesapeake Bay.
Inexplicably, this busy bridge has only one north and one south lane, and that day was further reduced to one lane as first one side crossed and then the other. I tried not to think about exactly what kind of construction it needed as we sat for 30 minutes in the middle as gigantic trucks roared past going south and the bridge shook under their weight.
After surviving the homage to Ben Hur that are the highways through New Jersey and New York, we could almost believe the end was in sight.
We debated the merits of different routes home, made our choice, and it was especially ironic that the one where we sat staring at the car in front of us for 45 minutes is actually call the Merritt Parkway.