Sunday, March 18, 2012

Florida Roadtrip 2012

 Saturday (10) -

The tent is up!

Sand dunes!  <3
We have arrived at Anastasia State Park in St.Augustine, FL.  We had a great drive with lots of sunshine, but have arrived to clouds and wind.  The park is great though!  Sand dunes, windswept trees, and private camping sites.  We can already hear the crickets, and with a chance of rain, and the ocean waves crashing in the background, it should make for an interesting night of camping.  Speaking of camping, we still need to get batteries for the air mattress and food for dinner.  We decide to head to historic St.Augustine and had dinner at OC White's...  a quaint little cottage restaurant right on the outskirts of town.  Everything is packed and people are everywhere!  It's good though!  By the time we finish dinner, find a Walmart, get supplies, and head back to camp, it's 9ish and really quiet.  It seems as if everyone is already sleeping...  Oh well, we get the bed set-up, crawl in, and fall asleep, exhausted and happy. 

Sunday (11) -

Pure magic.

Bike Week 2012
We woke up refreshed!  It was amazing sleeping in the tent with the rain, crickets, and waves in the background!  I've never slept better in a tent!  We go ahead and get the camp cleaned up and go look at the ocean.  The wind is still blowing rather fiercely, so getting in isn't an option.  It's beautiful though!  Such a great beach and the dunes are unforgettable!  We have a breakfast of Poptarts and fruit snacks and are soon on our way towards Orlando.  We travel down AIA through Daytona and get to see some bikes.  Bike Week was supposedly in full swing, but it was subdued on a lazy Sunday afternoon...  we probably saw 30 bikes in all, but I'm sure there were more out there...  We keep heading south and then cut west to Orlando.  Ah, more traffic, more crowds, and few options when it comes to lodging.  Did we mention it was Spring Break, bike week, oh and Canada has the week off too!  It makes for a busy Florida.  We lucked out and found a La Quinta near the parks.  We freshened up and then headed to Downtown Disney for the evening.  It was rainy and wet, but there's no denying the magic of the place!  We had a simple dinner at Pollo Campero, dessert at Guiradelli and did some window shopping.  It was great! 

Monday (12) -


We woke up, had breakfast at the hotel, and then headed to Epcot!  Our most favorite Disney park was a lovely detour from our beach vacation, and with sun promised for the day and highs in the 70s, we couldn't pass it up!  We had a great time in the "world of tomorrow" and snacked our way through the "world showcase"!  My favorite thing was the School Bread from Norway.  It is a sweet cardamom flavored pastry, filled with a vanilla custard, topped with coconut and whipped cream. It was fabulous!  Such a great day!  And it was neat to get a little something from all of the different countries, mostly.  After Epcot, we got back to the hotel just in time to relax and watch the second half of the Bachelor.  hehe.

A fruity drink from Haiti!

"school bread" from Norway

Tuesday (13) -

We woke up, ate breakfast, and got on the road pretty early.  We headed east towards Cocoa Beach and Ron Jon's Surf Shop.  I could probably spend some time in there looking at all of the fun stuff.  Very nifty!  We had lunch on the beach at a place called Coconut's on the Beach.  We had some fish dip, bacon wrapped scallops, and the best mussels I've ever had!  The place was nice and open, full of people, and served some great food!  I highly recommend it if you're ever in the area!  From there, we drove south on A1A to Sebastian Inlet State Park.  We got the camp mostly set up and went to see the cove.  The pelicans were soooo close to the pier (probably because of the people fishing) and we even got to see some manatees chilling in the water!  The mosquitoes were out in full force and somehow managed to even attack us through our clothes.  Ouch!  We made sure to put bug spray on our list, and headed to Publix for some grub to grill.  We ended up with small lamb steaks, steamed shrimp, zucchini and squash, salad and some fresh fruit.  It was wonderful!  G did a great job grilling everything up for us!  We headed to the cove to watch the end of the sunset and then read some, crawled into bed, and slept.

Ron Jon's
Mussels, fish dip, bacon-wrapped scallops.  Yumm!

Sebastian Inlet State Park

Pelican - up close and personal

My grillmaster!  :)
Wednesday (14) -


I woke up to my eye hurting more.  I think I scratched it Monday night because it was bothering me all day Tuesday, and being out in the sun was more of a pain then I would've thought.  I was hoping it would get better overnight, but it was worse, so we decided to stop at an eye doctor after getting everything packed up.  Turns out I had a cornea abrasion, and that it would heal in a few days with some medicated eyedrops.  And with that, we continued on our way!   We drove all the way down to Coral Springs, which is just north west of Fort Lauderdale, and made a reservation at a local Marriott.  We had a "family & friends" voucher so we were able to get a good deal.  From there, we headed East to Pompano Beach and got to get in the ocean!  :)  It was splendid!  I got to wear goggles and go underwater, which was great!  I searched for the good shells/ pieces of coral and got to go under the waves instead of being crashed by them.  I even saw a fish!  lol.  After we got dried off, we headed inland and had dinner at a place called Station House.  It was a little fancier than we were expecting, but we decided to go for it and ended up having bruschetta, escargot and lobster (firsts for me!).  And it was so good!  We were impressed!  Then we headed back to the hotel, got cleaned up, and got to relax.

Station House (near Pompano Beach)

Thursday (15) -

We woke up and headed south towards Miami!  There was a 30% chance of rain, but we didn't find that out until we started getting poured on and wondered why...  We were hoping that that was the 30% for the day, and that it would be done!  I love driving around Miami and Coral Gables!  I discovered banyan trees on my first visit years ago and make a habit of seeing them whenever we go down from now on!  They are fabulous!  We had lunch with Gary's grandmother for her birthday.  It was good to see her and catch up!  Then we headed towards the Fair!  Turns out the rain was not done, and it wasn't going to be done for the rest of the day, but we went into the fair anyways and splashed in the puddles nonetheless.  It was neat!  I saw (not rode) some rides that I had never seen before and of course sampled some of the finest fair food around - namely, elephant ears, fried oreos, and fresh squeezed lemonade!  Yumm!  It was nice walking around and seeing the people, the exhibits, and the bright colors, even if it was raining cats and dogs!  From there we headed back North towards the hotel and stopped at Sawgrass Mills to explore!  It's just like Discover Mills (for those ATL folk), but more crowded.  I was amazed by the amount of people we encountered this week in general, but even more so at a mall on a Thursday night.  lol.  It was nice!  I wish I had more time to check out all of the stores, but I guess I'll just have to go back in the near future.

so lush!

outside the fair

raining and pouring
(after the storm at Sawgrass Mills)

Friday (16) -

Along Alligator Alley!

From here we headed across Alligator Alley, and counted 46 real alligators along the way.  Gary was so cute!  As soon as he saw the first one, he was facing the marsh the whole time, looking for little bumps on the water to indicate an alligator!  We originally had thought about staying in Sarasota for the night, but when we got there, everything was so crowded (go figure) and then I wasn't feeling it.  The week had caught up to me and I was tired and cranky, and pretty much ready to go home.  lol.  So we kept driving north, and actually made it all the way up to Lake City before stopping.  Luckily for us, we found a Country Inn and Suites that had an indoor pool, and so we were set!  We spent our last night in Florida at a Bob Evans for dinner, and then at the pool.  And it was just what we needed!  We both slept great that night!

We got pretty familiar with there this week...

Saturday (17) -

From Lake City, we were traveling home!  We hadn't closed off our minds completely to the idea of doing some more activities along the way, as long as we could find something to do, but when push came to shove, we decided to get to Atlanta and then do something around the city instead.  So we stopped at a few of those Florida souvenir shops, got some oranges, and then made our way to Atlanta in no time!  We stopped by Laura's house and caught up with her for a bit and then we all went out to Virginia Highlands and the drive-in!  We had a great time looking around the shops, seeing everyone in green, and had a great dinner at Yeah! Burger!  (Crispy brussel sprouts?  Yes please!)  And then we went to the drive-in!  We saw 21 Jump Street which we all enjoyed, then packed up, and went home.  Our kitties were even there to greet us when we walked in!  :)
Sisters at Yeah! Burger in Virginia Highlands

Crispy Brussel Sprouts, California Love, and a Spindrift

@ the drive-in

anxiously waiting for the show!

(I love this!)


It's great to be home!
We had such a great trip and are already planning our next!  :)

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