It’s homecoming… a weird concept if you happen to live in the town where you went to school… but nonetheless, a holiday the City of Gainesville takes very seriously. Yes, I said holiday.
You see, in town the schools are closed. Many businesses close their doors or have allowances for people to leave early. There’s a parade (which means UPS drivers come in a few hours early to make sure they can deal with the traffic/road closures).
Yeni and I started early — very early — Saturday morning. After loading the truck and topping off the tank, we hit I-94 somewhere around 4 am. It was BEYOND cold with the truck showing outside temperatures ranging from 10 – 15 degrees. Normally, I make as few stops as humanly possible; combing fuel stops with rest breaks (and yes, “rest breaks” means exactly what it sounds like). I learned quickly, that while traveling with someone else (aka Yeni) brings great joy, it also requires more frequent “rest breaks.”
Our first break was near Dayton, OH. Finding a Dunkin’ Donuts, we stopped for “rest,” coffee, and an egg bagel. Mmmm, egg bagel. After topping off the tank, we heading back on the highway hitting a major traffic jam in Cincinnati, OH. After staying in place for the better part of an hour, we were able to cross the bridge, enter Kentucky, and put Ohio behind us.
When we reached Lexington, KY, we got off the main road and visited a college friend of Yeni’s (Maria Fernanda and her husband Diego). After a nice visit and a great breakfast, we dropped Mafe at the Univeristy of Kentucky and continued south. I’d never been to the University, and it’s always nice to visit a place where the Gators have dominated (this year we destroyed Kentucky, but that was a home game).
My favorite part of driving to/from Michigan is the leg from Lexington, KY to Knoxville, TN. The trip takes you through the Cumberland Mountains (southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains) and provides beautiful climbs, views, and scenery. Although best experienced riding on a Harley, the trip is still enjoyable from the truck.
After reaching Knoxville, we called my good friend Patrick and met with him, his daughter, and wife (Jessi) at a local Italian restaurant. It was great to see their family and playing with lil’ Lil put a big smile on my face. After eating some pasta, rolls, and cannoli , we were back on the road — this time with Yeni at the wheel.
Chattanooga is only a few miles north of Georgia, and the drive through Georgia is long; very long. Did we mention construction? Georgia’s I-75 passage can be described in three words: Pecans, Outlets, Construction. Despite being on the road for more than 20 hours, Yeni was determined to drive through Georgia by herself. She made creative efforts to stay alert, such as talking to the GPS device, counting Juanes songs, and singing.
We reached Florida around 2am and I took over the wheel. When we arrived to the house in Gainesville, Yeni wisely suggested we inflate the bed, grab some shuteye, and rest for a few hours. We rested until around 7 am, loaded Grandma’s chandelier into the truck, grabbed breakfast at DD, and hit the road. Yeni had never seen Florida’s west coast or the Everglades, so I decided to take I-75 straight through to Fort Lauderdale.
When we reached Tampa, we took I-275 to visit the Tampa Bay and see the ocean. I-275 takes you over the Sunshine Skyway bridge (the world’s longest cable bridge) and the ocean view provides a great contrast to the snow we woke up to on the previous morning. Yeni seemed to enjoy the ocean, and Spider-bear was excited to play on the rocks (during one of the “rest” stops).
We continued driving (well, I drove while Yeni napped), and after crossing the Everglades reached the Casa de Parientes. I cannot wait for the rest of the family to arrive and celebrate my favorite holiday.
The plan was (originally) to quickly stop by the house in Gainesville, check on it’s condition, and continue on to South Florida. The new plan is to arrive in Hogtowne around 2 AM and crash for a few hours.
Our day started at 3 AM in Ann Arbor, so a little rest will be nice. Yeni’s set on driving until she hits Florida so she can have driven all through Georgia.
It’s always nice to be in Gainesville after a big UF win. Go Gators.
Quote of the moment: “Georgia construction sucks. Literally. “– Yeni
Another weekend with Yeni in Florida. Was great to have a visitor at the house but unfortunately the weather was less than cooperative.
After a great visit to the University of Florida and Big Lou’s Pizza, we had a quiet evening in the house on Saturday and prepared for what we thought would be an awesome all-day bike ride to St. Augustine.
Well, mother nature decided that the flowers needed some more water and the rain started before sunrise and never stopped.
We headed to the beach anyway to have Conch Fritters with friends and see the ocean.
Has to be my new favorite phrase. If you haven’t see the video (or videos), You tube is going crazy with them… You can find some at this link here. Or play the small selected catch phrase portion below…
Anyway…. I don’t know if it were a set-up or whatever… but I can’t say it looks like the police handled this very well at all… and anyone who knows me, knows it’s very hard for me to be critical of law enforcement officers… Agencies? Sure (gpdsucks.com anyone?)… but not officers… except if it’s something as pathetically handled as this little taser incident.
Greetings from Vegas and thank you to my Alma Mater, the University of Florida, for a history making domination of college athletics. And an even greater thanks to the State of Nevada for legalizing gambling and allowing me to make some change off of the Gator win. Why? Because when you’re a Gator, you don’t bet that the Gators will beat the spread… you know in your heart that they’ll win and then you bet accordingly. And what if you’re wrong? Then you blame the other guy and smile that you still beat FSU. So a hearty “Fuck you” to all the people who thought that UF shouldn’t have made it to the championship. The SEC is a fucking tough ass conference, and the big win over Ohio should let you know what time it is.
Bellagio is nice… room is great, very high class. Casino is a little rough. We’re not loving the dealers here and lately have been heading to other casinos to gamble… the other dealers just make it a little more enjoyable to lose your money. :)
And a big congrats to Mr. and Mrs. Oblander for tying the knot Vegas style!