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My November Vacation 2021 Road-Trip

#TravelThursday continues now with Part 7 of my 7-part blog series on my recent 18-day road-trip between South Florida and North Texas.

Last week I left-off at the end of Day 17 at my hotel destination in Crystal River Florida – about 6 hours from home. Had I not stopped for the night in Crystal River and I continued all the way home – I probably would’ve arrived by 12 Midnight. (Remember I started the previous day in Hattiesburg Mississippi, so that would’ve been an almost 850-mile drive for the day.)

I can’t drive 850 miles in a single day. I used to be able to. I once drove 1,095 miles in a single day from Northern Virginia to South Florida – only to be stopped just shy of the main gate of Homestead Air Force Base because the base was in a short lockdown at the time (almost 3 AM) due to the arrival of Manuel Noriega from Panama. #PerfectTiming

Nowadays 600 miles in a single day is my maximum, and 500 miles is closer to my comfort level. Driving to Texas I had a 519-mile day. Driving from Texas I had two back-to-back 523-mile days. I’m too old to drive much more than that in a single day.

So the drive home – I took Florida State Road 44 eastward to U.S. 27 in Leesburg (a northwestern suburb of Orlando). Leesburg is a city that I’d like to visit for a few days to explore. I’ve only driven through a small portion of it (many times). I think a lot of retired people live there (I know at least two), but as the Orlando Metropolitan Area continues to expand (especially northwestward) I fear that it will experience a population explosion in the next couple of decades and lose its small-town charm. Mount Dora is nearby (about 15 miles from Leesburg). I’ve heard a lot of good things about Mount Dora. Maybe I need to visit the area for more than a few days.

I took U.S. 27 southward for over 240 miles on that last Sunday morning of November through Clermont, Haines City, Lake Wales, Avon Park, Sebring, Lake Placid, Moore Haven, Clewiston, South Bay, and then into West Broward (County). I then picked-up Florida State Road 997 (Krome Avenue) just south of the Miami-Dade County line, and I took that straight into Homestead. I arrived home at exactly 1 PM on that 18TH day of my road-trip.

I drove 325 miles on that final day for a grand total of 2,822 miles from Thursday November 11TH through Sunday November 28TH. By comparison – in the previous 174 days combined I drove 2,823 miles.

Next #TravelThursday – I’m leaving the country.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries

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My November Vacation 2021 Road-Trip

#TravelThursday continues now with Part 6 of my 7-part blog series on my recent 18-day road-trip between South Florida and North Texas.

Last week I left-off at the end of Day 16 at my hotel destination on the west side of Hattiesburg right around sunset that night. It was my 2ND stay at that particular hotel, and it was a good night’s stay. Back in November I wrote all about Hattiesburg Mississippi here on #TravelThursday. On a future road-trip I need to spend a couple of days there exploring the local area rather than just a hotel night.

Early the next morning – Saturday November 27TH 2021 – I departed at dawn with freezing cold temperatures and a heavy layer of frost on my car windows. Temperatures dropped to as low as 30°F / -1°C during the first hour of my drive southeastward along historic U.S. 98. I drove through Semmes and Mobile Alabama right around 8 AM, and on the east side of Mobile (after another scenic drive along Battleship Parkway) I picked-up I-10 eastward.

Post-Thanksgiving holiday traffic on I-10 eastward was a madhouse. Once again it was quite scary driving through Pensacola. It didn’t really get much better after that. I don’t think I’ve seen and experienced I-10 as busy as it was on that Saturday.

I eventually had enough of the extreme anxiety, and I got off I-10 about 95 miles earlier than originally planned – at U.S. 231 – which leads southward into Panama City. I’m very familiar with this road, as one of my longtime friends has lived a couple of miles off the road for the past 20+ years. After a fuel pitstop at Love’s (my new favorite gas station / travel stop on the road) I took a series of backroads across the Florida Panhandle (south of Tallahassee) and into the “Big Bend” area of the Florida peninsula.

U.S. 98 is fun (translation – peaceful) to drive between Hattiesburg Mississippi and Mobile Alabama, and I especially love it along the “Big Bend” area of Florida south of Perry. I picked-up U.S. 98 in Wakulla County – which is another fascinating area of my state that I’ve spent very little time in (other than driving through). I’m a big fan of “Welcome To Plathville” on TLC, and on a recent Season 3 episode the family ventured down to Wakulla Springs State Park for some fun in the sun and sea. Now I want to visit !

I enjoyed a nice #LuDinner (late-Lunch / early-Dinner combined) at an all-you-can-eat buffet restaurant in Chiefland – which incidentally I plan to eat at on every future visit through Chiefland. After my hearty meal I continued on for another hour to my hotel destination for the night in Crystal Springs (another town I’ve spent the night at previously). It’s located along U.S. 98 and Florida State Road 44, and where the two routes meet – it’s a very busy and congested intersection.

From the very cold low-30s up to the mild mid-60s – those were the temperatures during my drive back into my home state.

Just like Day 16 I drove another 523 miles on Day 17, so that’s 2,497 miles on this road-trip so far. And that’s where I’ll end Part 6 of this 7-part blog series. I’ll conclude with my road-trip adventures and experiences next #TravelThursday.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp Ministries