Crossing the border into Florida, I take a picture of the Welcome sign, intentionally cutting out the Rick Scott, Governor part. By late afternoon we make it to St. Augustine. The ride is mostly uneventful. We don’t run out of gas and we cross no scary bridges. We do get slightly lost for a brief amount of time but quickly make adjustments.
This time we blame it on Luke, Ashlee’s boyfriend. Luke is a traveling wind technician. I love his job title. I can’t tell you how many romantic stories swirl around in my mind about Ashlee and her handsome traveling wind technician.
Luke is looking for a new job. He has been on the road since he graduated from college and is ready for a change. Shortly after crossing the Florida border, Mary Jane and I start brainstorming job opportunities for him. My friend Sandy’s husband works in oil and gas, maybe he can recommend some job opportunities.
We go on and on, talking about resumes, job interviews, every job we’ve ever had or wanted to have. Suddenly we notice the exit for Route One but it’s too late. I am way over in the left lane and one thing we quickly noticed about Florida highways, they are extremely busy and it is very hard to make a sudden lane change. Unless you are a perpetual lane changer and a bit suicidal.
We get off at the next exit hoping to do a quick turn around but apparently Florida is one of those states, like parts of New York around the city or on Long Island, that doesn’t have the same exits on both sides of the road. When we get back on Route 95 going North, there is no exit for Route One. Or maybe there was and we missed it again. This is where we start blaming Luke. We have to blame someone.
We take the exit for Old St. Augustine Road. Our reasoning is it has to be going to St. Augustine or it wouldn’t be called Old St. Augustine Road. There is a bit of confusion over whether to turn left or right at the exit so we pull into a gas station and ask for directions, learning this road will eventually run right into Route One. Excellent.
We congratulate ourselves on being women and unlike men we can actually ask for directions. Then we conclude, once a mother always a mother. Luke isn’t even our son, as a matter of fact I have never even met him, but here we are managing his life. What is wrong with us??
St. Augustine is a lovely old Spanish city, once you get through the commercial Route One part of it. We are splurging our last night on the road and staying right in the heart of the city at Hotel Casa Monica. I earn Marriott rewards points and got a great deal on the room. We pull my beat up old Hyundai into the courtyard and the valet assists us. We have arrived.
After freshening up, we head straight to the waterfront and have several martinis, starting with a Lemon Drop. Afterwards, we walk through the campus of Flagler University and both agree one of our kids should have gone here. It is beautiful. Dinner is at a lovely Italian restaurant run by a Brit at an outdoor table on a Spanish style side street that reminds me of tapas alleys I have been to in Spain. We love this city!
The night ends in our ornate Spanish style bedroom with red velvet headboards. I’m not sure what Mary Jane was dreaming about but my mind was wandering to thoughts of Johnny Depp in Don Juan DeMarco.
The next morning, we leave early because we would like to be on the beach in Delray by the afternoon. However, as we get closer to South Florida, the clouds build and we drive through several downpours. It is not looking like a beach day.
We can’t help but notice that everyone in Florida is hauling something. The guy in front of us is towing a car that is slightly askew. I don’t like following him and immediately change lanes although Mary Jane has been nagging me the entire trip about my lead foot and wants me to slow down in the rain. My theory is, don’t follow a guy who is hauling something. It could be trouble.
Apparently this is a state full of transients. There are people hauling boats, generators, roofing tiles, and furniture. There is even a guy with an empty trailer. We decide he is just looking for something to haul. He is working on the assumption you never know when you might find something you need.
At two o’clock, we arrive safely at Sandy’s. We may no longer be twenty five years old but there’s nothing like a road trip to make you feel young again. I highly recommend you get out a map, pick a destination, leave your troubles at home and get on the road. It’s an amazing country we live in.