The last trip we blogged took place in Canada. Now we are back in the USA and on the road again driving towards New Mexico. It’s quite a drive from Florida. Starting off early in the morning, in the rain on Northbound I-75, on a Saturday with minimal truck traffic. Yep, a road trip across the country. Not quite a Griswold trip as we are traveling in our Audi; however, we will be making stops to visit relatives.
We have done this trip a couple of times before, yet it is always interesting to see what has changed in our country. So far, three hours into the trip, not much. And the only strange sight is a man walking along the side of the Interstate with his backpack in the pouring rain. Further ahead, a pick-up truck with goats in a cage in the flatbed?!!
The rain continues on and off even on I-10 Westbound. After 5 hours, we stop at a Flying J truck stop which happens to have a Denny’s attached. The Denny’s is typical food and good service.
The Flying J is the full Monty for truckers — showers, laundry, barber shop, lounge chairs in front of a TV and wi-fi along with a store with everything you couldn’t possibly need and probably shouldn’t eat. What I always wonder in these gas station stores, is why is there always a smell, the same smell, in the store – not food, not air freshener, maybe old socks or shoes?
This Flying J happens to be in Midway, Florida just near Tallahassee. Did you know that Tallahassee was named the Florida State Capitol in 1824 and it was chosen because it is MIDWAY between St. Augustine and Pensacola, the two largest cities in the state at the time. Florida didn’t become a state until 1845 – I knew that would be your next question.
Back on the road, playing the various Sirius/XM radio channels, finding just the right music for the mood of this trip. Our last trip’s them was Cool Change by Little River Band; on this one we might go back to our Route 66 playlist. Actually we listen to the 70’s on 7 and doing the disco down the road. 🕺💃
Further down the road on I-10, wow – lots of tree damage from Hurricane Michael (2018) – trees flattened down and a whole section of trees just snapped in half. New fence along the roadway too. Road signs twisted and some severely dented. And this goes on for at least 10 miles. Same hurricane that totally destroyed Mexico Beach and most of Panama City. This damage we are seeing a year later is further inland, just a reminder how powerful these hurricanes can be.
Looking to make a day of driving interesting….some other things forgotten….520 miles from Sarasota to the border of Florida and Alabama. Entering Alabama, I-10 is a drive across a wide area of swamp/lowlands while all the time you can see the skyline of Mobile in the distance. Don’t forget the Battleship USS Alabama, parked there for 75 years and then I-10 takes you through a tunnel – maybe a mile? – to the other side of Mobile, AL. Didn’t remember that.
Rest areas – of course – for bathroom stops. Always see something worthy of note.
And finally, Mississippi – 3 states in one day of driving – we arrive at the Courtyard Marriott – now in Central Time – seems early 3 PM – oh it is really 4 PM – almost 12 hours since we left. Got to love road trips – day one! And people: Stop complaining about the heat in Florida! We left 80 degrees, and arrive in Biloxi at a very humid 100.
Strange tree sculpture at the Mississippi Welcome Center…spot the birds!