Travel Journal – From California to Florida

Day 1 – Friant, CA to San Marcos, CA – I had an emotional start to the day.  I actually broke down and cried at one point.  I was in the backroom fixing my hair and noticed a binder with my aunts name on it.  It turned out to be a memorial binder for her filled with pictures and letters written about her.  That combined with the emotions of leaving home hit me hard.  I locked myself in the bathroom until I got it together.  I was fine after that for the rest of the day.  I had a few more twinges of sadness for leaving, but overall, I was happy to be venturing off into something new.

We didn’t even make it off the road my house is on before we came upon a bad accident.  We got around that and made a couple of quick stops in town and then were off.  We were almost sideswiped by someone checking his phone on the 99, and hit bad traffic near LA (of course), but other than that it was a pretty uneventful drive.  Granny told me about her mother and father and how she had to start working when she was 14 and the different jobs that she had.  It was interesting learning about family I didn’t know much about.  We made it to San Marco, CA to spend the night with family.  We went out to dinner and enjoyed our time with family.

Day 2 – San Marcos, CA to Tucson, AZ – I slept horribly last night. We were up early again to take Reagan (my 8 year old cousin) to school & then were of to Yuma to see more family.  When we dropped Reagan off at school, she asked granny, “will I ever see you again?” I didn’t hear it, but granny told me about it and it about made her cry.

We stopped in Yuma to visit my cousin and meet her new twin sons, Liam & Lane.  What cutie pies!!  It was great to meet the boys and visit with the rest of the family.  I wish we could have stayed longer, but we needed to cover more ground today than San Marcos to Yuma (it’s only a 3 hour drive between the two).  After our visit we stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner (the first Cracker Barrel of the trip and unfortunately it wasn’t very good) and then headed out to Tucson.  We checked into a Super 8 and plan to sleep in tomorrow.  If we drive 8.25 hours a day from here on out, we will be in Florida by Saturday!

Day 3 – Tucson, AZ to Fort Stockton, TX – Today has been mostly all driving, not too much excitement.  We did stop at a roadside attraction to see The Thing in Arizona.  It is a gas station, gift shop, and museum.  It is only a dollar to go in the museum and see The Thing.  There is three buildings filled with antiques and artwork and the mysterious Thing.  I’m not going to tell you what it is.  I’ve waited all these years to find out for myself what it is, and I am going to make everyone else do the same.  It’s worth the buck.

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Granny discovered James Hunnicutt’s music today and fell in love.  It was awesome to listen to her sing along with the songs and giggle with delight when one of his Christmas songs came on.  Looks like I will be ordering her some CD’s soon. UPDATE – I let James know how much Granny loved his music and James, being the stand up guy he is, said he wanted to send her a care package.  What a sweet gesture.  If you haven’t listened to James Hunnicutt sing, please go to his website and check him out at jameshunnicutt.com

We are at a Super 8 again tonight (a MUCH nicer one than last night), in a small little Texas town.  I still need to map out the rest of our trip, but we hope to be in Florida by Saturday and are going to stop and see my Great Uncle for a few days before taking Granny to Clearwater.

Day 4 – Fort Stockton, TX to Brookshire, TX – We were up early to have breakfast at the hotel and need to drive 464 miles a day to reach our destination of Ocala, FL by Saturday.  We put in our 464 miles today and ended up in Brookshire.  Our plans to stop in Ocala have changed and we will be going straight to Clearwater now.  I’ve been tired all day today so we made it an early night and had dinner and checked into a hotel by 7:30pm.  I’m excited because I can read my book and hit the fitness center too.  I need it after being in the car for the bast 4 days!

Day 5 – Brookshire, TX to Moss Point, MS – I think I am going crazy.  It’s been a looooooong day.  My grandmother is starting to drive me batty.  We have the same conversation over and over again and it is filled with so much negativity I think my head will explode.  Eh, what are you going to do?  Family, can’t live with them, can’t toss them out of the car on the I-10!  Tomorrow we are making it a short day and only driving 4 hours and then will be in Clearwater, FL on Sunday by noonish.  I can’t wait!  We covered a lot of ground today, unfortunately  some of it was  at 5mph, but we got thru it all.   We started in Texas, went thru Louisiana and ended in Mississippi.  I love this part of the country!

Day 6 – Moss Point, MS to Monticello, FL – Today was a short driving day.  We went thru Alabama (which I absolutely loved) and are part way into Florida.  We stopped at the Florida Welcome center and took some pictures and stopped again to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s.  We are now in the hotel eating Subway sandwiches and I have made a new friend with the desk clerk, who happens to be from East LA.

Day 7 – Monticello FL to Pinellas Park, FL – We made it!  Granny is now all settled with my Aunt and  I am off to stay in Crystal Beach with my Uncle for a few days and then I’ll be headed down to Naples!

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I will be posting more Florida adventures soon!  My uncle will be taking the boat back from Crystal Beach to Naples and that will take him 2 days.  I will be in my van and it will only take me 4 hours, so I have to stretch that 4 hours into 2 days or be stuck in Naples with nowhere to go.  I’m excited to spend some time camping along the Florida coast!

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