I have returned back home (where I belong) to Homestead Florida after 18 days on the road between here in South Florida (30 miles southwest of Miami) and my family’s home in North Texas (25 miles northeast of Dallas).
#TravelThursday continues now with a recap of my adventures and experiences along this extended multi-holiday road-trip. In fact I’ll be looking back on this road-trip for the next 7 Thursdays (starting today). I’ve got a lot to cover. I’ve got a lot to look back at with joy. If you’re interested in this trip then read on and stay tuned, for we’ll visit some fun places together (virtually).
Let’s get started – at the crack of dawn on Thursday November 11TH (Veterans Day here in the U.S.A.), as that’s when this road-trip commenced. I took Florida State Road 997 (known locally as Krome Avenue) onto U.S. 27 up the spine of the Florida peninsula. I refer to Krome and the southern portion of U.S. 27 as the #CMDRH. (That stands for the “Chris M. Day Retirement Highway” – for obvious reasons.)
Every military veteran knows that on Veterans Day you can pretty much eat for free at selected restaurants for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Many restaurants offer free portions of meals (appetizers, desserts), and other restaurants offer assorted discounts. Denny’s and Bob Evans are two restaurant chains that offer free meals on Veterans Day. As I cruised up U.S. 27 into Central Florida I intended to stop at either restaurant – as long as the respective parking lot wasn’t jam-packed. I passed by about a half-dozen Denny’s and Bob Evans locations that were bustling with cars and people – even lines waiting to get in. An ideal situation would’ve been to eat at Denny’s for Breakfast (free) – and then Bob Evans for Lunch or Dinner (free). I finally found a Bob Evans with a few empty parking spaces at around 11 AM in Clermont, so that’s where Lunch was to be. After a short wait in line I enjoyed a nice, hearty, and delicious “Country-Fried Steak – Dinner Bell Plate”. #Yum
After my free meal at Bob Evans I continued up the road, over to the Nature Coast (“Big Bend”) of Florida, into the Panhandle, and just past Tallahassee for my first night’s pitstop. I drove 519 miles on Day 1 of my 18-day road-trip.
On Day 2 I took I-10 westward for another 180 miles to the Alabama state line. That’s right – it took me nearly 700 miles just to get out of Florida !
Incidentally driving through Pensacola along I-10 is never fun. It’s actually rather intimidating (for me). It’s a close call as to which stretch of I-10 in the Florida Panhandle is more challenging – Tallahassee or Pensacola. In both cases I-10 skirts the northern fringes of the cities (rather than traversing right through the middle of them). But due to the combination of local and Interstate traffic there’s a whole lot of merging going on, and merging traffic gives me anxiety attacks.
Rivaling both Tallahassee and Pensacola is I-10 through Mobile Alabama. I prefer to cruise the scenic route along Battleship Parkway (the concurrency of U.S. 90 / 98 which runs adjacent to and closer to the water than I-10).
I wrote about Mobile Alabama 4 weeks ago here on #TravelThursday. On this visit (on Friday November 12TH) I drove past a few more places that I’d like to spend some quality time at in the future – including the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. I really need to return to Mobile and spend several days there exploring the attractions of the city on both land and sea. It would also be nice to spend more quality time with my friends there.
I did make a 90-minute stop in Semmes (a suburb northwest of Mobile). I think I know about a dozen people who live in or near Semmes who also lived in Homestead 10 years ago. I ate with one of those people. I enjoyed good Thai food and fellowship with one of my great friends. I’ve known her for nearly 15 years – since the first 3 minutes of my very first Sunday morning church service as a born-again Christian on January 21ST 2007.
And that’s where I’ll end Part 1 of this 7-part blog series. I’ll continue with my road-trip adventures and experiences next #TravelThursday. We’ll cruise-up U.S. 98 into Mississippi, and we’ll cross the state via old rural U.S. highways – over to the eastern bank of the mighty Mississippi River.
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