I just returned from a little weekend getaway. I drove over to the east coast (of Fla) to visit my brother, Robert and his kids - they live in Dania, which is just south of Fort Lauderdale (he's about 15 minutes from Port Everglades).
I had several reasons for taking this trip, and not in any order of preference. I wanted to visit with Robert, and I wanted to do it in a way that he could relax and not be constantly tending to his children. I wanted him to be able to enjoy a cocktail without worrrying about driving. Usually, Robert comes over here - to visit Mom, to visit my other two brothers who live here in Lee County. I used to live in Broward County - in another life - and wanted to see the old stomping grounds. And I wanted a ROAD TRIP for the New Car!!
Last week I bought a 2008 Honda CR-V... "Nighthawk Black Pearl" with "Ivory" leather interior. SUH -WEET! I'm just silly-happy with this new ride!
You who know me, know that I don't drive much. I'm a wimp on the interstate. Perhaps it's from so many years of being married to a man that always "had" to drive , and did so very aggressively. Add to it the fact that I live very close to where I work, and bicycle to work. ..I don't drive much and so when I do, I'm wimpy. But I decided that I am ready to expand my horizons, and I'd better just get back in the saddle. With a brand new, fuel efficient vehicle, I have no excuse for road paranoia.
The ride over was a breeze. It's about 160 miles or so, Interstate nearly all of tthose miles, with 70 mph speed. I love driving over Alligator Alley. I remember when it was a narrow, dark two lane road with no rest areas or call boxes. The speed limit was 65 daylight and 55 nighttime. The panther crossings weren't in place and the fencing along the canals didn't exist. The alligators basked all along the shores and frequently wondered onto the highway. Now it's pretty super duper. There are four lanes, with several rest areas, fences, call boxes, all the modern conveniences. The toll now is $2.50 (one way) and well worth it. From toll booth to toll booth it's about 80 miles. I popped in some fave tunes, set the cruise control at 70 and just hummed along.
The other side of the alley scares the crap out of me. 595 is a nightmare. There's sometimes six and seven lanes coming from all directions, cloverleafing all around. And those crazy east coasters drive like coke freaks. Seventy miles an hour is crawling, and if you don't change lanes every ten seconds you're an old fart. Several times I touched my bracelet and reminded myself "Courage".
It was great visiting with Robert. He was relaxed and candid and we shared a couple of bottles of wine and ate shrimp and chips and dip. We visited with a neighbor who is having a rough go of things, as his wife just left him with a five year old. Bob's boys are something to see - they're 19 and 17 and probably six foot four and three hundred pounds. But it was fun - they got to 'show off' their "ride(s)" and the woofers and tweeters or whatever.
On the return trip across the alley, I hit some torrential rains. Traffic slowed to a four-way-flashers speed of about forty for about five miles. The rain over the 'glades is breathtakingly beautiful. The darkness over the green sea of grass is nature at its finest. Having cleared the rain and resumed to normal conditions, I was on cruise control, listening to Eric Clapton and feeling all groovy, when suddenly there was a car in front of me that was backing up across the two north bound lanes! WHAT AN IDIOT! I slammed the brakes, of course, but was ever watchful of the semi that was on my ass. All ended well, by the grace of God, I imagine.
On several occasions, cars would be pulled off to the side of the road. I recognized the signs of motorists with small children that "had to go!" and they'd be pulled over with the doors open to act as shields. (no trees!) Occasionally there'd be a vehicle broken down, some with drivers, a few without. Then I saw a really strange sight: A white pickup truck was pulled off the road with the passenger side door open. I saw two people next to the door and as I got closer, I could see that they were Dancing! He was spinning her and they were dancing. ...One can only imagine. (must be those crazy Miccousukees! )
Good trip, good time.