Saturday, June 19, 2010

1st Day in Sarasota

We met up with Suyen's friend from the Philippines at her house in Sarasota.  Our friend, Ken, also got us in contact with a friend of his, who now lives in Sarasota -- Shannon.  We are still wiped out from last night, so the first part of the day was spent getting up and around, and going over to the house and getting re-aquainted.  I took a nap which wiped out my grogginess.  I had to spend the early morning hours fighting with the computer as an update from Apple screwed some things up that I was trying to do.  Suyen, Stella, her mother, Tima and I met up with Shannon at a nice coffeehouse downtown.  I haven't been to southern Florida since I was little in 1973.  I went to the panhandle of Florida in 1995, when I was in the Air Force Reserves doing Silver Flag training at Tyndal Air Force base.  We got visited by a nice hurricane then called Erin.


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From Nashville to Sarasota

Day  Map Fri 19 Jun 2010
We left the Com"fart" Inn after having brekkus at afflehouse.  Suyen and I got in too late for the free continental breakfast.  Most of those are barely worth the walk to the lobby anyway.  The afflehouse was more local color anyway.  Suyen was noticing the accent, which is really thick in this part of Tennessee.  We headed south and I looked at the clock on the dash... 11:11.  We got to the Smoky Mountains, and I thought about the Civil War, and how depressing that was.  A major battle took place in these mountains.   Like the Battle of Lookout mountain, many people pass this way every day as the gateway to Georgia and Atlanta.
Driving up the steep grades west of Chattanooga Tennessee...
Going down the steep 6 percent grade in the Smoky Mountains West of Chattanooga Tennessee...
Not much to see of Chattanooga Tennessee from the highway...
We headed south with haste hoping to beat rush hour in Atlanta, barely giving Chattanooga a glance, as it could scarcely be seen from the highway, anyway.  We did penetrate Atlanta's traffic barely an hour before the evening rush, and even at that, it was bad.  We had to pee really bad, but we waited until we had cleared most of Atlanta.
Driving past downtown Atlanta Georgia just before rush hour traffic on the interstate...

We stopped at a Quicktrip, which was surprising, because I didn't realize they had them this far south.  Quicktrip has become my favorite convenience chain because of their clean bathrooms and decent food.  We had thought we had ditched the traffic, but the worst was before us on I-75, just southeast of Atlanta -- road construction.  Afterward, we made a poor choice of getting diesel at a Pilot.  It turned out to be poor because there were only 4 pumps available for regular cars that carried diesel.  All four were filled, and people seemed to be not in a hurry to fuel up their vehicles and make the pumps available for others to use.  Most egregious was a baptist church group in a bus who were camped out at one of the pumps.   I parked behind them because I thought they were going to be done first.  Boy, was I wrong.  They finished fueling, alright, but then the driver looked up at me waiting and slooowly turned away and fiddled around flirting with his young teen female bus riders.   Suyen, who went in the store to go to the restroom said it was worse in there, as the kids had gathered around the register at once and took for ever to get checked out, thereby forcing other drivers at the pumps to wait.  A pump finally opened up.  I fueled up, then parked the truck so I could go in and use the bathroom and take Tima for her potty break.  When we left, the bus was still camped out at the pump, and kids were treating the parking lot as a playground, playing frisby and running around and gabbing with each other in large clumps, not paying any mind to anybody else tring to get in and out.   We headed south in the forever part of the trip.  We crossed the state line into Florida way past dusk.  We stopped for some KFC at 10, mainly for a break.  Around Tampa, the drivers got angry and impatient.  It was close to midnight and there were still a lot of cars on the road.  If you dared venture into the left lane to try to pass, someone would get right up on you and flash their lights impatiently.  The result of all this was that we ended up being delayed by a fatal wreck involving a van and an 18 wheeler.  The biggest offenders I could remember were a woman in a silver jeep who raced, zig zagged, flashed and tailgated her way south, an 18 wheeler who almost clipped us as he passed us, and a Florida Movers van who was blaring music and dancing in the drivers seat, then yelling threats at us when he wanted to cut in front of us at the ass ident scene.  Later, he was racing and zig zagging through a construction zone.  We arrived in Sarasota about 01:30, and found a nice Best Western with Mid-Century modern design.

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