How Not To Drive To Venice Florida


This story is one of many trips I have made to Florida and back.


The Fast and Furious Trip To Florida and Back.

My recent (2013-14) Florida trip began when I asked Paul if he would like to go to Florida and help get my stuff I had to leave behind when I faced the terrible ordeal of having to leave there at the beginning of 2012. About a week later Paul said, were going to Florida. We planned the trip. Leaving home Tuesday the 21st, at 3:15 pm and making a stop in town to pick up Paul’s wife, and to drop off some food for his Mother-in-law. Paul’s wife not being able to go, Paul and I were finally on our way at 9:15 pm that evening.

So finally Paul and I were on our way south, heading to Florida to get the stuff I left at a friend’s (work boss) house. The highway engineer’s thought they were improving the driving conditions of the Capital Beltway south of Washington, DC and falling snow hampering driving we were detoured briefly as the result of road direction confusion.
After I was content we were on track, I began to talk -thinking talk will help- and talk I did, spilling my guts about everything, expressing my dislikes and disapproval of what is happening in the world and the event that caused this trip to Florida.

My ranting wasn’t filled with hate or bitterness and resentment -mostly- I was just venting. (some of this report will be filled with memory gaps) I remember stopping a lot mostly due to we were in a rental vehicle that had a no smoking policy, and I sure can smoke them damn cigarettes down to a nub. Not to mention the need to release our bladders and to gas the van. Morning had come, it was now Wednesday the 22nd, I had been the driver for nearly 4-5 hours at this point, and well away from the snow event, stopping in South Carolina or was it Georgia -memory gap- rest stop, Paul was to take over driving. Talking, I may have been a distraction to Paul, the weirdest thing happen.
We started to move backwards as to leave this rest area -but- the van was in drive, Paul braked, and we realized the strangeness of what had just happened, we laughed and contributed it to an act of God, preventing the van from slightly hitting the trash receptacle that was in front of us.

On our way, once again I tried to get some much needed sleep, having been awake since 5 am Tuesday morning. In motion, I have a problem with sleeping. So I perked up the seat and began to get my bearings for my personal contentment of the unknown. The driving was pretty much routine and nothing to speak about, except for the talking and my allergic condition began to act up, and I had no relief, even with the medication taken.We were now in Florida, north of Jacksonville, parked at the last rest area on 95 before the 295 exit to interstate 10 west. I’ve driven this route multiple times and never encountered any problems with the drive. Paul wanted to confirm the routes to take that he had seen on “Triple A’s” web site and began the call to home for the direction’s. The same way I have taken multiple times and knew well, I expressed to Paul I had already confirmed this route with you the day before we left with Google maps. Paul’s memory gap wasn’t welcomed -but- Oh, well life goes on. We left the rest area -I was driving- Paul was to take over driving once we arrived onto route 301 south off of interstate 10.
The exchange was flawless even though this stop had been the -at least- the 15th.

Paul began his turn at driving, and I needed to sleep, so I gave a try at it. I did nod off. About an hour later the loud horn of a train woke me. The trains run parallel with 301. Awake and alert I talked, picking up previous conversations I had started hours before. I must have been driving Paul nuts with all of my talking. Hmm, I wonder if I did?
The turn off point in Florida to get over to route 75 south is one of two exit in the city of Ocala. We past them both, turned around and chose the first one we came upon
(the exit I thought I always driven), it wasn’t the way we wanted to go.
After much distance covered and knowing we were going the wrong way, we pulled over and asked for direction to 75 south. Getting back on track, the sun was in its pre-stage of setting for the day. Knowing this I knew we weren’t going to the beach or any other attraction the gulf side of Florida has to offer. We pushed on for the destination.
I think it was 7 – 7:30pm when we arrived in Venice, Florida.
Close to Venice, Paul and I discussed weather or not to pack my stuff or sleep over till morning and then pack. We decided we needed sleep. Arriving at my friends house
(we were finally there) and going through the normal happy greetings and its been a long time stuff, I felt and gained the power to pack the van with my stuff, Paul felt as I did.

It had been at least 35 hours since I slept a solid slumber. Completing the task of packing, we once again re-evaluated the decision about leaving or staying over night. 10 minutes into the process of deciding we quickly left for home, it was now 10:00pm Wednesday night.There was a lot of un-spoken Whews on my part at this time in the journey. Talking again and heading North on interstate 75, I knew this time the drive was going to be without doubt un-problematic. Paul was now familiar with the drive and I had regained lost memories. We had made it all the way back to Interstate 10 with out any major distractions or wrong turns, and or vehicle problems. Between Ocala and the city of Starke on route 301 North we stopped on the side of the road in a dark sky area and looked for any moving satellites or UFO’s, there were none. My brain is full of random thought’s now and I’m not writing well now. However, I will press on to finish.It is now 3:30 pm Thursday the 23rd and there is one more stop to take care of. We are going to stop off in the town of Scotland neck, North Carolina where my Mom had lived for well over 15 years and where I had spent the last 5 years of her life helping her in any way I could with daily task she had to do. Much to this time of my life that is another story that can be written -but- I won’t at this time.

The reason for the 30 minute drive off of Interstate 95 trek into the North Carolina (Scotland neck) country side was to get my stuff I had to leave behind when I went to Florida to work and live with my brother -name not to be mentioned-. Years of accumulating material objects and sentimental trinkets ended up in a leaky shed collecting dust and where corrosion would effect most earthly materials.  I had planned to go through everything before loaded it into the van -so as to keep any un-wanted allergens away from my breathing. Having only an hour to load the stuff before sunset, there was time to do it the way planned. Lost anger surfaced and dislike regained its place towards some, but was quickly discarding so as to not let the once lost gain a foot hold onto my life. Paul and I were once again on our way, making one stop out of town to call George, who had help me store my stuff. The call to him had to wait, cause of no cell phone coverage in town. I had to leave some stuff behind in Scotland Neck, all of it would not fit in the van. There wasn’t any reasons to stop, so we pressed on and finally arrived home (Maryland) at 11:45pm that Thursday. Un-packing was essential, getting the rental van back to the dealer Friday morning was a must, so as to not have another day of charges tacked onto the already reasonable debt. If you do the math you may come up with an equation that I had been awake for nearly 72 hours. Finally laying my head on the home pillow at 12:30 am Friday, I slept like I was in a coma. I’m so grateful to Paul helping me get my life back on track.  And most of all, acknowledge God is and has worked in all of this for a reason that is currently unknown to me.

In conclusion my Father is known saying, “If you are going to write, write in the early morning hours with a cup of coffee by your side and you will write at your best”.
This story is a result of that practice.


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