So ready for this cruise! I was very happy to begin this trip since 6 weeks ago we were not sure that we could even go. But, Chuck has worked hard to recover fully so we got the all clear from the doctor. So, with suitcases packed and cat sitter ready to go, we left at 7:30 a.m. this morning bound for St. Augustine. Our ultimate destination is Fort Lauderdale but 8 hours is about all I care to drive any more in one day.
We had a smooth ride through Atlanta – yay for that HOV lane. Didn’t see too many cars using the new Peachpass lanes but maybe it was because we were getting there a little later than the normal rush hour. Probably packed between 6:30 – 8:00 am and 4 – 7:00 pm.
We stopped for breakfast at a Waffle House in Forsyth. Love those hashbrowns. Back on the road heading south. Started to rain hard on us around Fort Valley and it would not stop until just outside St. Augustine. Sometimes it was just a drizzle and sometimes it was so hard that I found myself squinting and gripping the steering wheel but it never stopped completely. Only other stop was exit 2 outside of Valdosta for gas. There are two truck stops, one on each side of exit 2 which makes it an easy on – easy off stop and the prices are usually pretty good.
Our reservations are at the Quality Inn near the Outlet Malls and we made it by 3:30. I thought the area looked familiar and realized that one other time we stayed at the nearby Fairfield Inn. The room, thankfully on the first floor because I didn’t see any elevators, appears to be newly renovated with a nice tile floor, comfortable king bed, microwave, and refrigerator. Water pressure is very good also but I always think Florida water has a smell. I’ll use some of our bottled water for the coffee in the morning. I’m not the biggest fan of rooms that open up to the parking lot but this area seems safe enough.
Needing to stretch our legs, we walked a few laps around the property. There is a large pond in back with a sign that says “Beware of Alligator” – no swimming or fishing. I did not see any alligator but I did not venture down to the edge for a closer look. Not a good place to walk a small dog. Chuck thinks the two hotel properties (Quality Inn and Holiday Inn Express) put up the sign just to make sure nobody goes swimming or fishing because of the liability and there really is no alligator. Guess we will never know as we weren’t prepared to test the theory.
We didn’t stop for lunch so by 5:00 we were ready for dinner. Drove toward the outlet malls but strangely enough did not see any restaurants. Who goes shopping without wanting to stop and eat somewhere? We could have walked across the street to the Burger King but we are really trying to limit our fast food intake. Finally decided on the Ruby Tuesday a couple of miles down the road which was an interesting choice because we ate at one in Atlanta the night before we flew to Seattle for our Aug/Sept cruise to Alaska. Otherwise, we have rarely eaten at a RT as there aren’t any near home. We opted for happy hour drinks and the salad bar. While we were eating, it started to pour again, this time with some lightning thrown in, so we took our time. Back to drizzle by the time we were ready to go.
Back to the hotel for an early evening. No reason to have to jump up early in the morning since it is only 4 – 5 hours to Ft. Lauderdale. Hoping the travel weather will be better.