Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Road Trip

Dec 9-14
We left the house at 8:19 am. The weather was clear, traffic was moving well and even the sun had made an appearance by the time we got to the 407 – toll-road. The plan was to exit at London and to cross at the Windsor border, then travel the I-75 to Florida. Plans change. 
We unintentionally missed our exit. Maybe, it was a subconscious decision or we were just so happy to be finally heading south. Either way, we blew past our exit and by the time we realized it, there was no point in turning around. We stayed on until the QEW exit that would take us past Hamilton and through onto the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie. (Personally, I think my other half wanted to go that way)

Thankfully Screech & Fred quieted down about an hour into the drive. They must of remembered from the last trip that it was going to be a long day… 

I would of thought that the Peace Bridge would have been backed up and we would have to wait to cross, but to my surprise there was hardly a car on the bridge. We breezed through and besides stopping for a few questions with the customs officer it took only three minutes from the time we crossed over the bridge and got back on our way down the highway. From the many crossings we made at Windsor, we half expected to be stuck in a long line of cars.

We had come back this route for the first time in the spring when we left Florida to go back to Canada and were surprised that it was a slightly faster and easier route, well easier in the sense the traffic is a lot lighter than heading through the more heavier populated cities through Detroit, Ohio and Georgia, not to mention sometimes the mass of congestion through most of Florida. We managed to shave almost two hours off our time. Add to that the stretch from Toronto to Fort Erie is a lot quicker and less boring than the flat, painfully long Toronto to Windsor route.

Only problem with the I-95 route, it has a few tolls – they really are not that expensive, all totaled a mere $5.80 US. It also takes you over the mountains in Virginia, (a breeze to drive in good weather but could be a nightmare to drive in a snowstorm – that is why we had never went this way to go down before, we usually leave in a snowstorm…) The only other problem with this route is there is a lot more watching for which highway to take next. Unlike just following I-75 all the way south, this route makes you work for it. 

In the six years we have been coming here I never drove, until now. We switched at our gas/pit stop in Angola NY at about 12:30 pm and I was more than happy to be the co-pilot again when we stopped again in Waynesburg PA at 4:30 pm. 
(Of course I managed to miss our first exit towards Pennsylvania – <grumble> I probably lost about 10 min. for that) 

Not that I minded driving, (I usually prefer to be a driver than a passenger) but I have to admit I was a bit stressed, more so because it was unfamiliar roads to me, and when the traffic got heavier it had an effect on me. Never seemed to bother me before, I must be getting old… 

We continued on to Hillsville Virginia where we stopped for the night. We pulled in at 9:14 pm. We now only stop at Best Western motels. Our experience with motels on the way down is that “pet friendly” rooms can be the most disgusting rooms that travellers can sleep in. At least at a Best Western we found them to be clean with slightly worn furniture. It is also nice to have a fridge and microwave in the room.

Virginia marks the halfway point to our destination. Making our first leg of our journey a 13-hour day. I would rather just make the one overnight stop than drag it out longer, I just want to get there! 

Screech & Fred were happy to finally get their bathroom break but then serenaded us the entire night. Pay back….
Dec 10-14
The next morning we were on our way by 6:44 am. Quite a chilly morning at only 4.5 C but I was hopeful that by the afternoon we would be in Florida and in at least double digits. We hit traffic through North Carolina, but I figure it was just the morning rush. The rest of the way went fairly smooth.

I didn’t offer to drive again, Screech and Fred had kept me awake all night so my head was so fuzzy I didn’t really trust myself to get behind the wheel. My honey slept a bit more than me, I heard him snoring a few times – that is always a dead give away.

Overall the traffic moved well on the I-95 route. Except for a couple of accidents along the way and running into rush hour that slowed us down to crawl a few times, I prefer this route over  I-75. 

About 12 ½ hours later we pulled in the driveway at 7:37 pm – I was right, it was at least in the double digits. I would of chosen higher double digits than 11 C degrees, but it is sure better than what we had left with snow covering the ground, holding at a steady 0.

Home Sweet Florida Home J
It is great to be back!

Florida didn’t let me down, the next day I was ready to sit in the sunshine by the pool… - now to get my bike on the road J 

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