Saturday, April 2, 2016

From Homosassa to Biloxi

On the GPS my journey was a seven and a half hour drive, so I knew I wanted to leave early,  but I did not want to get out of bed at 2AM.  
But there I was.
The car was mostly packed, but I still found last minute things to bring, dishes to do, breakfast to eat, the cooler to pack. 
It seems hard to believe, but it was after five before I actually go on the road.

The journey up 19 was really a deserted drive at this time of morning.  I liked it.  Were I to break down I would not like it much, but for the absence of traffic and the quiet, easy ride, it was delightful.

And most of the trip was free of trouble until I got a couple hours from Biloxi.  Then the traffic started to pick up and the rain started to get very serious.   
Twice I passed vehicles that somehow had just left the road.  Both were driven by young men.  One was a little red car.  However, the other was a grey truck.  After waiting in bumper to bumper traffic for a half hour, I saw it, covered in mud, down in a muddy ditch.  The driver was just hanging around. Another truck had stopped and the young men there were just grinning.
I thought I knew why.
At my last pit stop I was just heading for the ramp to the highway when I heard the sound of a truck being revved to the limit.  I looked in my read view and there it was, going like crazy on the wet road, slipping to one side and the another, passing a car behind me.  I pulled off the road to let this idiot go by. 
I used to love trucks.  I associated them with folks who were working on their houses or carrying their boats.  But now I associate them with pushy, aggressive guys who like to tailgate and lane change and push and push.  Idiots.
Now here was this idiot in the ditch, the same grey truck I had seen a half hour before.
I tried not to be glad.

I see these big trucks all the time now.  Usually they are in the way. When I am driving at night, they sit just higher enough to shine their big old headlights right in my rear view mirror as they tailgate me.   I guess the lowered gas prices have improved the market.  Behind the wheel is often some old codger, older than even me.  And he sort of stumbles out and then waddles on bad knees to the grocery store.  I just know this guy ain't putting no sheet of half inch plywood in the back of the truck. Ironically, most of the stuff that might be carried in the bed of a pick up I can put in my stow and go van and the rest of the time I can seat seven.

I misjudged the time change.  I hate time change.  I'm just too simple minded to get it straight.  I kept thinking I was making great time even with my many pit stops, and then I realized that I had an hour more to drive than I had figured.

Well, it went fine.

A thermos of coffee depleted over the trip helped.
A little nap I took in Northern Florida in front of a closed and dilapidated old store or gas station helped.
And I loved my little boom box in the front seat plugged into a cigarette lighter and playing books on tape, real tape, Cassette tape. 
One was a sequel to Forrest Gump.  It was ridiculous and so it was very entertaining. 
Others were old Bob and Ray comedy.
Then Bob Hope.
When I wanted a break, I just put on the car radio and listened to NPR.
I played a bit of music, but these books on tape just do a better job of making the time go by.

I have not driven solo like this for a long while, but without Elizabeth along I could drive as long as I wanted, play what I wanted, and leave early to arrive good and early.


I found my pick of places to stay to be a perfect choice.
Here I had a kitchen, a room close to my car, and good location for the casinos. 

I settled in.  I'm so tired of packing.  I've been doing it in some fashion for what seems like my whole life, getting things to Susan's that stay in Florida until next winter, packing for this trip and for Chicago and for home.  Ugh!

However, it was nice to have a hot meal of leftovers when I got tired playing video poker at the IP.

I could not nap and finally went over to the IP, but I was just too tired to play poker.  I found the full pay JOB and ran my $20 up to over $100 and then back down to $20.  I enjoyed it.  It was good to use my B Connected card here so I can be sure my points will be good when I go next to Vegas.
But I was tired.

The rain was the worst I have seen lately.  A huge downpour and winds.  I got wet inside the parking garage parking my car.  The water just blew in.  I was happy not to have much of a drive.

So, here I am.

Some sad news this morning.  Gary Caldwell died after a long and grueling struggle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis.  His lungs had given him problems all his life. Asthma limited his play and school attendance.  Then it seemed to ease up a bit.  But perhaps the inhaler he used when we were in our youthful days helped cause this new disease.  I'll miss the old guy.  I have known him from third grade.


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