Thursday, July 1, 2010

Adventures in Florida, Part 6: Southbound to West Palm Beach

Saint Augustine Beach
After waving good-bye to Sandy and leaving Saint Augustine Beach behind, Jamie and I began the roughly 240-mile drive south to West Palm Beach. If my GPS was telling me the truth, the drive was going to take approximately 3-1/2 hours – give or take – on Interstate 95, a road that I am very familiar with up here in the northeast.
For those of you who have driven on I-95 anywhere in the northeast corridor you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that it’s not the most relaxing highway in the world! There are just too many people in too many cars on roads that weren’t designed for the amount of traffic that they receive. Generally speaking, by the time I get to where I’m going I almost have to pry my hands from the wheel! I was hoping that wasn’t going to be the case with I-95 in Florida and that the drive would be at least a little more enjoyable than what I was used to dealing with up here.
Daytona Beach
The first 60 miles down to Daytona Beach weren’t too bad even though there were a decent number of other cars on the road. People weren’t weaving in and out of traffic and cutting each other off and slowing down and speeding up or any of the other angry-driver shenanigans that go on up this way. It was actually quite refreshing and I was able to remember what it was that I had always enjoyed about driving back before it became an exercise in frustration!
Florida Driving
Beyond Daytona Beach, the highway dropped down to two lanes rather than three but the traffic lightened up considerably also. What hadn’t lightened up, though, was the grumbling in my stomach reminding me that it was after 1:00 and I had yet to even eat breakfast! Problem solved when I pulled off the highway and stopped at a Chick-fil-A for the best southern-style chicken sandwich I had eaten in a long time! We seriously need to get one of these up here in Connecticut!
Florida Chick-Fil-A
Back on the road there wasn’t a whole lot to look at except maybe for the clouds overhead …
More Florida Clouds
And the trees by the side of the road …
Florida Landscape
But I didn’t mind – I like clouds!
Clouds Over Florida
My co-pilot apparently got bored with just the whole clouds, trees …
Florida clouds
… clouds, trees repertoire and she decided to inspect the back of her eyelids for awhile instead …
My Co-Pilot Hard at Work!
That was okay by me, though, I was enjoying the drive and the slightly higher speed limit than we have here in New England. Oops, no wonder the miles were flying by! It seems I was exceeding that slightly higher speed limit by about ten miles!
I Can't Drive 55!
Getting closer to West Palm Beach, the Florida sunny skies started to turn not so sunny -
Not-so-sunny Florida
Clouds Over West Palm Beach
And even left a few drops on the windshield ...
Raindrops on the windshield
By the time we pulled into the parking lot of the West Palm Beach Marriott, though, the clouds had passed, the sun had come out, and there were bright blue Florida skies overhead once again.
West Palm Beach Marriott
Having spent the previous night at the not-so-great-quality Quality Inn in Saint Augustine from the moment we stepped into the lobby of the Marriott, Jamie was majorly impressed with our accommodations for the night.
The Marriott Lobby
She was even more impressed when we arrived in our room which included “Look, Mom! Real glass glasses wrapped in paper!”, lots of big fluffy pillows on the beds …
Our room at the Marriott
… and even an overstuffed chair in the corner where she could contemplate the nicest hotel room that she had ever stayed in!
Contemplating a nice hotel room!
Our room at the Marriott was definitely nice and was made even nicer by the fact that I had scored a great rate on the room on Priceline.com and had only paid $50 for it! Gotta love William Shatner and his expert price negotiation skills!
However, as nice as the room was we had an invitation to dinner with an Empress and her hubby and we didn’t want to keep them waiting; besides, I'd also heard there was cherry pie!

16 comments:

  1. Nice score on the hotel room! The beds look very comfy! Especially since I'm about to go back to bed, I just got up for a glass of water (yes, that would be a euphemism!) and decided to check something that was busy working when I went to bed. Unfortunately, as happens far too often in the computer world, 'something happened' and it didn't work. I'll have to start from square one tomorrow. Ah, well.

    When I drive to Miami I always take the Turnpike rather than I-95. It's always MUCH less traffic and well worth the $11 (or whatever it is now) to me!

    The skies sure looked pretty, until they didn't! My entire body was tensed up driving in the torrential downpour coming back from the airport. I kept trying to force myself to relax it but simply could not!

    Oh, and you'll never catch me going 80. Ev.Er.

    Big hugs xo

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  2. I drove that stretch of 95 back in 1992. I drove from Daytona Beach to Washington DC in 16 hours--straight--without sleep. I agree there are some really harrowing stretches, but the stretch from GA to NC I cannot for the life of me remember (I think I fell asleep at the wheel, seriously). Must have been a WONDERFUL feeling seeing the room and then ALSO KNOWING that there was cherry pie waiting for you at Bee and Sarge's house!

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  3. wow that was a great rate at that hotel! good for you! the ride south on 95 is pretty boring, i know. and it rains for a half hour every afternoon in the summer, well this year we haven't had nearly as much though.

    smiles, bee
    xoxoxoxoxoxo

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  4. Love the rate on the beautiful room. I'm going to check that out for our lodging in February. Way cool.

    I've not been to Florida and know nothing about the 95. Sounds pretty boring though. I'd let hubby drive and I'll take the nap like Jamie did.

    Now I'm hungry for cherry pie. I wonder why?

    Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

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  5. OMG. I LOVE CHICK FIL A!!

    I love their waffle fries. Did you have them? Please tell me you did!!!

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  6. The hotel room was a steal - well done you!

    You are so brave driving on those roads. Did I tell you I don't do motorways? :(

    Looking forward to hearing about your visit with Bee and Sarge. :)

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  7. Hey, you just passed our exit (when we are in FL for the winter). We know I-95 and the Turnpike quite well from all our years of living down there full time.

    Great photos, as usual. Love the one of the sleeping princess.

    Big hugs...

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  8. I am a loyal Marriott customer...

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  9. A picture of your speedo at 80?
    z

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  10. Thoroughly enjoying the East Coast travelogue. A little worried about having the photographer also doing the driving.

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  11. I avoid 95 as much as I can..Turnpike and Federal Hwy are the routes I take most often..I usually only get on 95 for 1 or 2 exits to get to 595 and go west.

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  12. Driving and shooting photos at the same time? That is a tad dangerous, my Duchess.

    I liked the clouds that accompanied you as well. The room looks great - especially for 50 bucks.

    You could be a travel writer you know.

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  13. Bringdeprived of Chil fil A is horrible and must have derange your senses. Why else would you be taking pictures while going 80!!!! Or were you missing the ambulances just then?

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  14. I'm loving Jamie's neon pants!

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  15. I really enjoyed your nice pictures of your travels in Florida, a state I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed in anymore. I have driven I-95 in selected spots. Georgia once, and in Baltimore in circles looking for the DC exit. That was pretty fun, I must say. And in Massachusetts trying to flee Boston once, though the traffic at the time was hardly conducive to fleeing.

    I realize I am not being very witty right now; highway humour is not my forte and we don't really have many good highways where I live. It is a treat to find them in the good ol' U.S. of A., though. You guys are so lucky! Thank you again for the interesting photos!

    PS-I-95 is much less traveled in Texas, though it is harder to find there.

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  16. Chick Fila is one of my favorite places for fast food. It is soooo good. Try the chicken salad sometime.
    When you're driving south again...hint hint.

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