Back Up Florida

It was 2pm before I headed out of Pompano Beach.
This was the first time I had approached the Atlantic Ocean on this trip, and I didn't want to drive back up to Gainesville, my next stop, without seeing it. Gainesville it further up the state and right in the center, so I'll have access to neither the Gulf or the Ocean.

FL-A1A, US-1, FL-46, CR-44, CR-42, I-75

I took the coast road called A1A for about two hours. The views were spectacular. The beach is beautiful and the Atlantic has some really good waves. I was dying to stop and play in the waves, and River was drooling at the grassy areas, but I couldn't stop because there was no parking available. And I didn't look too hard for parking because I knew I had a 7 hour drive ahead, and if it wasn't going to be quick and easy to stop, I wouldn't want to waste the time.

We drove past mansions and luxury hotels in Boca Raton, Palm Beach and Riviera Beach.  Eventually I got tired of the 30 MPH pace and the traffic lights, so I tried going up US-1 for a while. But not only was it just as littered with traffic lights, I seemed to be hitting all the yellows. And in an annoying co-incidence, it seemed like at least four times, I was given a yellow light right at that exact awkward moment when I have to choose between running through the light or stopping. It isn't quite safe to do either, with the speed of the traffic and the load in my car.  I was just getting annoyed with all the inconvenient stopping, and the scenery on US-1 was bullshit. It was Taco Bell and Walmart and Texaco and the Baptist Church. So I crossed over using state and county roads to get to the Interstate and high tailed it up to Gainesville.

On the way, I passed by Lake Monroe, but my camera was full so it wasn't letting me take any new pictures. I have to go through and delete more videos.

Around five pm I got hungry and passed a sign for Steak & Shake. I didn't really want a steak, nor a shake, but I took a gamble that they also sold burgers and pulled off the highway. It turned out to be in an Outlet Mall. I'm glad River was with me, because otherwise, I might have wanted to go shopping. But instead, I got a burger at the drive-thru and pulled off to a shady parking spot near some grass to eat it while River explored. The burger was really good. It was a fast food burger, but it was substantial and had good flavor.

It was late before we finally pulled into Gainesville and checked into the Motel 6. River was riled up and so was I. It had been a long, hot day.  We were both tired of being in the car and just wanted to feel cool and quiet. But first we walked all around the motel property. And across the street was an abandoned old motel, so that was fun to explore. It has obviously been overrun with frogs and the noise was incredible. River stood and stared into the reeds toward the sound for a long time without moving, and then finally looked at me and we ran away, quickly!

In the morning, I had a Nia class in Gainesville. It was only ten minutes away. There was a small turn-out, as we sort of expected. Lots of folks were away, including the teacher and my host, Sarit. She enlisted the help of a student, Lorry to be my host.

The four of us had a great time, enjoying the Amazing routine, and afterwards, talked about Nia and life and travelling, Lyme disease and politics.

After class I hit the road again. 
FL-310, I-95

I stopped for gas and to buy some BBQ in Brunswick, GA at a place called Sonny's. It is a chain, but I wanted to try it anyway. Not so good. I wrote more about it in my burger blog. 
But I didn't eat it right away. I had planned to eat it at the rest area that I noticed was just a few miles up the road, but when I drove past, I was disappointed to learn that the only access to the rest area was on the southbound side. And the next northbound rest area wasn't for 75 more miles. So instead I took a small detour and stopped at the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Well, I tried to stop, but it was closed. Just down the road a piece was a boat launch, though. And River loves those. The gradual access to the fresh water is just his speed. 

So, first I let him hang out on the grass while I ate my food. 
Then we walked down to the boat launch. There were some people fishing off of the dock and when they saw River approaching the water, one of them called out to me that there were 'gators in the water. So I quickly called River out of the water and we headed back to the car. One of the kids called out, "I like your dog." And I called back, "Me too.  So I don't want to feed him to any 'gators"

So we got back in the car and drove another hour or so until it was River's feeding time. We had crossed over into South Carolina by then, so we stopped at a SC Rest Area and used the big lawn as our feeding grounds.

It was still light out when we got to the Motel 6 in Florence, SC.  They had given me an upstairs room, which I balked at. I was wearing my Motel 6 T-shirt, which tends to get me extra special service, so they let me use the upstairs room as a waiting room until they could fix up a downstairs room for me. So I just watched TV for an hour or so until I could get into my room.

Once checked in, I stepped out again. I went to Walmart where I knew they had a water filter dispenser, and then I went to get a burger from CookOut.

At Walmart (Got, I hate that place) I wondered if ANY of the guys wore anything but basketball shorts and flip flops. What a white trash costume that is. 

At Cook Out, I took another chance. I didn't realize it was a fast food chain until I was there, and already sold on it, so I went ahead and ordered. I got a tasty burger and had it in my room with some fermented veggies.

River seems to be developing his bad itch again. It was gone while we were in Florida, but it's back today. 

I don't teach in Florence, but it's the closet Motel 6 I could find to Myrtle Beach, where I'll be going in the morning. 


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