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2023 - April - Road trip - Day 7

Moving day again. This time a mere 287 miles around the bend of the Florida panhandle. There were no planned stops on route unless we went way off course to either Tallahassee or Gainesville (which did have an interesting looking Natural History Museum). Instead, we thought we would just plough on and stop if we came across anything of interest.

Actually, our longest journey in one day on a USA road trip has been over 400 hundred miles. I cannot remember where we were in Northern California but we made it all the way to Vegas. I think we took about 8 hours that day with stops. I was quite tired by the end of the day.

We didn’t know whether to make an early start (and risk getting to the next hotel and not being able to check in) or a late one (and risk being held up and not arriving until very late). In the end we went for a middle option and after breakfast were packed up and one the road about 9.30am.

Once we got clear of Panama City the roads cleared. They were wide, open with very little traffic. The roads were lined with forest mainly consisting of pine trees. It soon became quite repetitive. The biggest disappointment is that we both missed where we crossed the time zone to see our watches and car radio jump forward an hour. One time I looked and it was so many minutes past 10 and the next time it was a few more minutes past 11.

Karen dozed for much of the journey and each time she woke she was in a worse mood. Apparently, I should have made sure we were doing the long journey on a poor weather day and not one that was glorious. I should also have told her weeks in advance that there were no Starbucks on the route and made sure that in between the places we were driving there were major points of interest.

I just kept on driving, followed by more driving and then even more. After almost 3 hours I needed a break and pulled into a rest area. It had clean toilets, was quiet and had some nice picnic tables. However apparently, they were all rubbish as none of them were in the sun, which I kind of pointed out was deliberate with the Florida heat. Despite having bought some rolls for the journey, I should also have found a restaurant or something that served coffee. For the most part I remained calm and said I would stop at the next MacDonalds so that caffeine could be purchased, however difficult it may be to get to it even if it was on the other side of the highway.

Indeed, it was on the other side of the highway but was quite easy to pull into. I waited in the car. Once we got going and the caffeine kicked in and the journey became peaceful again.

Finally, we came to Crystal River, our stopping point for the next 2 nights. It didn’t seem the most glamorous of places. The Holiday Inn Express though seemed new and the Receptionists were very jolly and helpful.

After unpacking I chilled out by surfing t’internet whilst Karen went and got some sun by the pool. As the time had gone back, the evening sun would be later than we had had for the last week.

For tonight’s meal we decided to go local and headed to a Fish restaurant called Seafood Seller. It was less than a mile away and there were lots of cars outside and people milling around, which was a good sign. We went in and were told there were 11 bookings waiting ahead of us but it shouldn’t be too long. It was.

We took a seat in the waiting area and were there almost an hour. We didn’t know at what point to give up. It would have been shorter but a couple of the local sheriffs came in and went to the front of the queue. Karen was not happy but I pointed out they were the law and they had guns.

We also worked out everyone else waiting were local and some were there to celebrate birthdays and so that it must be worth waiting for. It was ironic that the inside of the restaurant had a New Orleans theme to it despite us being 555 miles away (yes – we were that bored we did look it up).

Eventually we were given a table. The choice of fish on the menu was splendid although as were the prices. We both went for our old favourite of Mahi Mahi. I had mine blackened though. It was delicious and there was nothing left on either plate.

It was gone 9.30pm by the time we got back which was late for us so far this trip. Despite this we realised we hadn’t watched this week’s episode of Succession. So, I downloaded the Sky app onto the MacBook, switched on the VPN and streamed it without any issues. It was another classic episode.

And so, by 11pm I was finally tucked up in bed, glad that the longest drive was out of the way and ready for manatee adventures in the morning.

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