Off on our first trip of 2013, the annual February trip to Florida. As usual, the plans call for visiting Jean's son, Sandy, and family in Palm City (southern Florida). Then this year, we hope to see some of the Florida Panhandle on the way home.
We got started yesterday (Saturday the 23d). This time we tried heading straight south, until we connected with I-95 in Florence, SC. That should cut off quite a few miles from the way we did it last time. Unlike last time, we didn't get lost in Greensboro. The day was overcast, but we only ran into a few light showers.
Below Florence, we pulled in to a Cracker Barrel in Santee and got permission to spend the night. They told us that all Cracker Barrels let you park overnight (not necessarily true of Walmart, especially in Florida). They even gave us a map showing all the Cracker Barrels in the country. Cool.
We did 329 miles in seven hours, including all stops.
Today, after having breakfast in Cracker Barrel, we headed out early (for us), about 9:30. Our problem for the day was Daytona. Today is the Daytona 500, which means that there will be no place to stay for the night within 100 miles of Daytona; and traffic in the area will probably be horrendous. Should we stop well short of Daytona, or try to get through it somehow? Until we could resolve that question, we got on the interstate and put the hammer down. Surprisingly, even spending much of the time at or near 70mph, we still got 19 miles to the gallon!
Jean spent much of the day texting her brother Chillie, who until recently worked NASCAR races and has all the inside information. We were making good time, and Chillie calculated that if we got to Daytona between, say 1:30 and 4:30 we could probably get through with a minimum of traffic.
As it worked out, by skipping lunch and taking a minimum of breaks, we hit Daytona a little after 2:00 and breezed right through.
Next problem. The automatic step on the Roadtrek stopped working, mostly in the "in" position. It had been very sluggish, which I put down to the cold weather. However, it is not cold here in Florida and now the step doesn't work at all. We thought about stopping at Leisure Time RV, where we bought the rig and whose people I trust, on the way home. But what if they have to order parts? We can't wait around until they come. So I decided (and Jean agreed) that we should go to Winter Garden tonight, and see them first thing in the morning. That way if they need to order parts, they will have a week to get them and we can stop on the way north and have the work done. At least that is the theory.
So we are now at another Cracker Barrel in Winter Garden, with plans to go the the RV place first thing in the morning, then hit the Florida Turnpike for Palm City as quickly thereafter as we can. Will this work? Will we ever have a working step? Or will we have to carry a stool to get into the motorhome? Stay tuned for the exciting answers to these questions.
Incidentally, today we did 417 miles in eight hours. Boy, are we tired.