|April 2 finally arrived and we were packed and ready to head to Florida. Prior to travel day, we had enjoyed
shopping with Justice and getting him a few things to take with him -- like a new black suit, black shirt, and
bright lavender tie that matched my black suit, shirt, and matching tie. We decided to go formal with
our own style.
With the Suburban packed to the limit, I left a seat up in the back for Justice to ride on and soon he had carved
out quite a comfortable position to travel in -- stretched out and asleep. As we left the Atlanta area and headed
south on I-75 for Florida, we knew we were going to have a busy time with traffic as we were driving straight
through to Cape Canaveral Florida in one trip -- 515 miles and 9 long hours away.
The Interstate was jammed packed with cars full of people headed south. I think every kid that had a car that
lived north of Atlanta was on the road with us and going on Spring Break. There were times when traffic was so
heavy that we were only moving along at about 40 miles per hour.
About the time we crossed over the Florida line and stopped at the Welcome Center, Justice finally woke up – all
rested up and ready to go. As we went into the Center, I noticed that he was still wearing his favorite shoes – a
pair of soft, floppy, worn out moccasins. D and I just looked at him scooting along in them and laughed and
prayed that he didn’t trip and fall because he constantly was walking on the sides of them,
letting them just flop on his feet, whatever.
Hours later after we had finally escaped the clutches of the Toll Monsters that surround Orlando, we were
headed over to the coast and our destination at the Radisson Inn there about one mile
from the cruises ship terminal.
If you ever go to the Cape by way of the Florida Turnpike, Orlando, and then the road over to the Cape, you will
feel like you have been caught up in some sort of “Toll Booth Nightmare.” It seems like there is a toll booth
every 45 feet as you go from one roadway to another before finally escaping the money grabbers. After we paid
our last toll, we noticed that just one mile down the road was another huge toll plaza under construction.
When it was first built, the “Bee Line Expressway” was just that -- a fast trip between the Cape and Orlando.
Now with at least seven toll plazas and more on the way it seems, they ought to call it the “Snail Trail.”
After 10 hours on the road, we finally crossed over the bridges connecting the Cape to the mainland and were
immediately thrust into cruise mode as we started seeing signs for the cruise terminals and finally,
we could see the ships themselves tied up at the docks.
Our hotel was a welcomed site after a long drive. Even though we had stopped a bunch of times to let D get out
of the car and walk a bit, she was worn out and I was not too far behind. Having slept most of the way down,
Justice was all rested up and roaring to go. After we finally found our rooms -- building layouts are like a giant
puzzle -- we relaxed a bit before heading over to the restaurant in the hotel for dinner.
The hotel had a great pool area and it was packed with people. We found out that our reservation for a shuttle
bus over to the cruise terminal in the morning had been lost and that the earliest they could take us over would
be 3 PM. There was no way we were going to wait that long. Heck, by 3 PM, D and I
would already be on our 2nd or 3rd “Welcome aboard Coco Loco.”
I called the local AAA Cab Company and they said they would pick us up at 10 AM. The main reason I chose this
hotel was for the shuttle service and you could leave your car parked at the hotel for free
(cost over $100 if you park at the cruise terminal).
Anyway, we had a great dinner and then went back to the room to watch some TV before calling it quits and
getting a good night’s rest. The ride down from Marietta had been long and tiring. I can drive all day long on
quiet back roads and never get tired but 9 hours on the Interstate -- especially when it is bumper to bumper
with high-speed crazy drivers -- can (and will) wear you out.