East Coast Road Trip – Heading to Florida for the Winter

I break from my Eurotrash ways to give my gentle readers, and the citizens of Florida, the following announcement:

My most adorable pocket-sized parents have closed up their house on the Jersey Shore and are heading on down to Florida for the winter, to my aunt and uncle’s spacious, beautiful home in Odessa. Over the course of the next several months, my father and my uncle will play golf, watch golfers come down the fairway of the course out back, talk about golf, and run errands together like Frick and Frack. My mother and my aunt will drink coffee and smoke cigarettes by the pool, and make each other cry with laughter.

This year’s trip has been marked by the newest addition to the family, and one which I believe was purchased with their annual southern foray in mind – a freakin’ CONVERTIBLE. My mom hasn’t been this excited about a car since back during the Johnson Administration, when she found out my dad had an MG convertible.

Their winters in Florida hilariously include a stay in Naples, within walking distance of all their New Jersey friends. They, too, make each other cry with laughter, but over long dinners after having watched the sun set into the Gulf together.

And now, without further ado, a chatty email from my mother about Florida Road Trip 2007.

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When we drive into a new state we stop at the information center and pick up the coupon books for hotels for the state. It has always worked well. On I-95 there are nothing but hotels, so when we start to get tired I open the book, find a hotel, call them, ask them a few questions – like do you have any rooms (they always do), and wifi, etc. You can’t make a reservation, so I just tell them we will be there in about 10-15 minutes. Perfect.

Well, this time, the one with wifi, free breakfast, newspaper, smoking room, was an Econo-Lodge. The coupon said the room was $32.00!!!! And it was, but worth $16.00. Ha ha ha. It was clean. It was neat. However, I had to ask for a coffee pot… don’t all rooms have a coffee pot these days?? Then I had to ask for the secret code to get onto wifi. I was handed a secret card from a secret box in the office, with the secret code.

I just could not go back and ask for an ashtray. I used a cup with water in it. It is a hoot. I suspect the operative word here is “Econo”.

Next Day

Today we traveled from Dillon, SC to Myrtle Beach, and on to Charleston. The road between Dillon and Myrtle Beach was about 67 miles, a four-lane highway separated by a large grassy median. Nice tall scrubby pine trees lined the road. So few cars on it that for miles we were the only car on it, besides lots of road kill.

Some observations along the 67 deserted miles:

Every so often a rusty single- or double-wide could be seen from the road. My heart ached. Sometimes a nice red brick home. Then all of a sudden we saw a school. A school?? Where in the world would the kids have come from? Once or twice we stopped at a traffic light, which I found amusing as there was no apparent reason for the light.

There was actually a Wal-Mart we passed, and the parking lot was packed. Out in the middle of nowhere. Can you imagine needing bread or milk? Talk about a trip to the store! Every so often against a tree along this road there hung handmade baskets, each with a pretty red bow. No one was there selling them, and I do not know who you would pay if you wanted one.

But the sun was shining and the temperature was 80, and all was right with the world.

We are staying right in downtown Charleston. We do not have to drive to anything. It is an old hotel that was purchased by Best Western. The room is large and very pretty. I did not have to ask for the “secret code” for the wifi, and there is a coffee pot in the room as well as in the lobby 24/7.

Nice furnishings, very clean, and in a charming old hotel setting. Tonight we looked out our window and saw a restaurant with southern cooking – so we ventured there for dinner. Ribs, slaw, baked beans, chicken, salad. Daddy best be getting some pasta by tomorrow, however. As he says, he is going into semolina shock.

We took a walk toward the ocean, which is just two blocks down, after dinner. Those two blocks are where the “Market Place” is. Lots and lots of stalls under roof. By the time we finished dinner and took this stroll, the vendors were packing up. Ah but yes, tomorrow is another day.

We are going for a horse drawn tour in the afternoon. Or maybe a trolley tour. Who knows? Daddy is afraid the horses will stink in the heat and I might puke. He is so considerate. LOL.

After the tour, we think we will be able to tell if we like Charleston or Savannah better. We are both leaning towards Savannah. But will wait until the tour is done.

One thought on “East Coast Road Trip – Heading to Florida for the Winter

  1. Pingback: southern cooking » Blog Archive » East Coast Road Trip - Heading to Florida for the Winter

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