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The 1,000-Mile-Per-Month Club

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. And welcome to June 2023. This blog post officially begins my 17TH year of modern-day blogging. This blog started on MySpace in May 2007 with 310+ entries before I moved it over here to WordPress. (There was also that ill-fated nearly 5-year period where this blog existed solely on Facebook.)

But enough about that. Thursdays are all about travel, and I’ve been doing a lot of that in 2023.

May was my 4TH consecutive month of driving over 1,000 miles. Driving between South Florida (Homestead) and the Florida Heartland (Sebring) has done that. It’s about 185 miles each way, and it’s a scenic mostly rural drive along U.S. 27 and State Road 997.

My records don’t go back that far, but I believe that this is the most driving that I have done since 1993 into 1994. That’s when I started the year living (and working) in the Washington D.C. area – then moved to Melbourne Florida – then got a job in Tampa Florida – and commuted weekly between Melbourne and Tampa (opposite coasts) – then eventually moved back to Homestead. That was a lot of driving back then, and my driving now rivals my driving then.

You know back then I thought that I would live (and work) in Melbourne indefinitely – and then in Tampa indefinitely. Neither scenario occurred, but now I live within a couple of hours of both Tampa and Melbourne, and I’m living in my dream home in my dream neighborhood in my dream part of Florida. All things worked out. It just took 30 years to do so.

Driving 1,000 miles per month is quite the feat for me. I did it once in 2022, 2021, and 2019, twice in 2020 and 2018, and 3 times in 2017, 2016, and 2015. Last year I only averaged 512 miles per month.

June should be another 1,000-mile month. I just need to drive an average of 10 miles per day on the 26 days this month that I’m not driving between Homestead and Sebring. We’ll see if that occurs.

About 13,500 miles is the national average per year. That’s about 1,125 miles per month. I exceeded that last month.

Next #TravelThursday I’m exploring #SRQ. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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Neighborhood Walks

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Longtime readers of my blog – going back to its debut here on WordPress some 15½ years ago – may remember a series of blog posts under the heading of “The Major’s Walk-A-Thon”. It’s where I revealed and described my various neighborhood walks – mostly at dawn. They were dedicated to the memory of my Dad – who lost the ability to walk on his own in 2007 – and eventually passed away from the devastating effects of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

16 months into my fantastic journey (salvation in Christ) I began neighborhood walks to get healthy – physically, mentally, and spiritually. The walks were mostly over 1 mile in length, and up to 2, 3, and even 4+ miles. They were confined to the dry seasons here in South Florida – generally from October to May. They were “power walks” – with a pace of between 17 and 18 minutes per mile.

Season 1 was 2007-2008, and it was a shock to the system, as I had never done such a thing before in my entire life – walk to get fit. It was well-documented here on my blog. At that time in my life – I was slowly rebounding from the worst physical shape of my life. (I actually quit drinking less than 2 months earlier.)

I’m now approaching the end of Season 16. That’s right – 16 seasons of walking. So far this season I’ve walked around my neighborhood 27 times. That’s the 2ND-most number of walks in a season (surpassed only by Season 8 – 2014-2015). Those 27 walks include 8 in my longtime Homestead neighborhood (or the nearby city park) – and 19 in my new Sebring neighborhood. (My new 55+ neighborhood is near-ideal for such walks, and many of my neighbors are doing it too. I need to keep-up with them.)

So far this season I’ve walked a total of 37.80 miles. That’s the 4TH-highest number of miles (surpassed by 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017).

This season is not yet complete. We’re still getting (weak) cold fronts up in the Florida Heartland, and those cold fronts are still delivering the refreshing 60s into the region at dawn, and low humidity during the day and into the early-evening hours. Eventually it’ll get too consistently wet, warm, humid, and buggy to walk, so I’ll just be resting-up in preparation for an early debut to Season 17 come September !

Next #TravelThursday it’s all about the miles – on my car. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Blogging Driving Travel Home Geography

Carnival Jubilee

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. A couple of days ago I observed exactly 2 months in my beautiful new dream home in my dream neighborhood in my dream part of Florida. I closed on it (officially became the owner) on March 16TH, and I actually purchased it on February 16TH, so that marks 3 months since I first walked-in to my new home and almost immediately decided that it would be mine.

But this week’s edition is not about that. It’s about a cruise that I took with my parents exactly 19 years ago this week. It was a 5-nighter out of #JAXPORT (Jacksonville Florida). (My parents lived in the area at the time.)

Over the course of 32 years (1991-2023) it was my only cruise out of Jacksonville. It was on an old Carnival cruise ship – the Jubilee – that was in-service from 1986 to 2004. In fact she was sold to an Australian cruise company just 3 months after our sailing.

I don’t remember much of anything from that cruise, and I have no photos of it – mostly because I didn’t take photos back then before the smart phone era. I don’t even remember the ports-of-call. Maybe Nassau ?

It was 1 of just 3 cruises that I went on with my parents. It was the middle cruise. (The first one was 13 years earlier when we all went on our very first cruise ever. I instantly fell in love with the idea of cruising, and I continued on with 23 more cruises after that first one in 1991.)

I’ve been telling friends recently that I probably won’t be booking any further cruises at this time. This past January I was on the newest, biggest, and best that Carnival has to offer – their brand-new Carnival Celebration – and I documented it for 6 weeks in a row here on #TravelThursday. It was perhaps a perfect ending to my cruising experience. Now that I have 2 homes and a 30-year mortgage on my new home – I’m on a budget now. I’ve declared a spending freeze of sorts. I need to figure out how to live my life with less than half the money I make today once I retire at the end of the year.

As for travel opportunities I really want to explore more of Central and North Florida – and into Georgia and Alabama – and the Carolinas – on a series of road-trips. I’ve conquered the sea, and now I wish to explore the land. I want to visit with some good friends along the way.

Next #TravelThursday I’m not driving – I’m walking. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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Orange County Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last Saturday morning I headed northward from my new home in the Florida Heartland (rural South Central Florida). I drove through Polk County – and then into Osceola County – and then into Orange County. (That’s where Orlando is, and I did enter into its sprawling city limits.)

Once I entered into northwestern Osceola County – rural evolved into suburban – with more homes, and stores, and restaurants, and of course – heavy traffic.

I spent the day with my brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces – visiting from the Dallas Texas area. As an aside – news broke that (Saturday) afternoon about the mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets. My family lived in Allen for about 6 years from 2007 to 2013, and since 2019 they’ve lived in a nearby suburb within a half-hour of that large outdoor shopping mall. I’ve been to that mall countless times with my family while visiting them. I lift-up to our God Almighty the family and friends of the victims of the shooting. May He comfort them in this difficult time.

Back in the Orlando area – me and my family spent much of the day at the Orange County Convention Center at a national cheerleading tournament. (My youngest niece is a cheerleader with her 9 and 10-year-old peers.) After that we spent several hours at Disney Springs. Once upon a time (mid-1990s to mid-2000s) I spent many vacation nights partying at Pleasure Island – which is now known as The Landing. I even had an annual pass to the nightclubs for many years. We enjoyed a late-Lunch at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Kitchen at The Landing. The food was good, abundant, and expensive. The front of the restaurant faced one of those former clubs that me and my brother loved to hang out at.

It was a fun but exhausting 189-mile day-trip. It was about 14 miles longer than it should’ve been. That evening I accidentally missed the entrance to the hotel that my family was staying at, and we ended-up on I-4 for a frightening 7-mile stretch. As you may know (as a longtime reader of this blog) I don’t drive on interstates, expressways, or turnpikes anymore (with rare exceptions) due to anxiety attacks. Luckily – it was near bumper-to-bumper slow-moving traffic during the entire stretch, so I was sort of fine with it.

It was good to finally return home to paradise in the Florida Heartland after that Saturday adventure !

Next #TravelThursday I’ll look back at a fun cruise from exactly 19 years ago. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp