CHAPTER “26”….DAY 22…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 5, 2016…..DAY TWENTY-TWO!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

I have to admit that the lazy side of my brain (contrary to popular belief it is NOT the entire brain) told me to just copy and paste the opening of yesterday. I have to admit that it was very similar…..BUT…it wasn’t exactly the same. I meandered down to the hotel lobby and secured my HUGE cup of black coffee like I have in the past couple of days but this morning I was a hair earlier. I made my way to the pool deck where unlike the past couple mornings I found it to be nearly cloud free. This morning I was going to have a good view of the sunrise. It was something that Bob noticed when he came to join me as did Steve and Jean when they made their way to the pool deck. We broke right into our dsc_4859morning banter but all the while we were peering into the east watching the rise of that bright yellow/orange ball that we hadn’t seen a lot of over the past couple days.

There was to be no breakfast buffet at the Sunrise Café this morning. Today was packing and leaving day. Everyone said that they were going to meet in the lobby, head over to the Marche Burette Deli for a small breakfast. Lisa and I decided to pack up and checkout at the same time. We were nearly packed already so it took us only minutes to be completely ready to go. We went directly to the registration counter in the lobby and checked out. From there we met up with everyone else.

There were a lot of goodbyes and pictures taken. Alice got assurances that I would be 20160905_094532.jpgseeing her for her 70th birthday celebration. They headed for the shuttle and I turned in my ticket for our car. So far the morning 20160905_094515.jpghad been a whirlwind and now Lisa and I stood alone as we loaded the car. We both decided to go ahead and drive to the Marche Burette Deli to do a REALLY final goodbye. That seemed easy enough…….HA!

We were weaving through all sorts of little roads and parking areas…..including the VALET ONLY area. I have a feeling that we were no closer to finding the place than we were before we ever left the hotel. Sheesh!! Then I saw a shuttle sitting there so I pulled up next to him and unlike the character of ANY male human being I asked the driver for directions. Of course that created severe trauma inside my body that I probably won’t go away until I get good and lost sometime in the future. The driver said “follow me” and away he went. In minutes we were parked and on our way in to do a small encore of the Bova family sitting together at a table. Another round of goodbyes we watched as Bob, Laura, Jean, & Steve started walking back to the hotel. Norm and Alice elected to take the shuttle…….. HOWEVER…now that I was such an expert driving around here I volunteered to chauffer them over. Believe it or not I was able to drive straight there without an issue. If we would have stayed a couple more day I believe that I could have applied to be a shuttle driver.

We had a good drive home. “Good” equates to absolutely nothing to report on.

Once home we chit chatted with Lisa’s Aunt Maureen a bit before we headed out to take her home. We were all a bit hungry and thought that a bit of Italian would fit the bill. The

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D B Pickles Ormond Beach, FL

first place we stopped, Decato’s, closed for Labor Day…CRAP. The second stop was Lenny’s but they are closed on Monday…..CRAP. Our third choice was D.B. Pickles…..YAY….they were open. We ate and we were happy.

 

We got Maureen home and headed home ourselves. I was going to be in my own bed again…woo hoo!! However, I had to be up early. Why? I’m glad you asked. Obviously the first reason is to fulfill my responsibility of waking Lisa up for work and taking the dog out. Secondly, Sherry would be coming for me to drive me back to Georgia to pick up my bike….EARLY. So we are not done yet!!!! I’ll tell you about it tomorrow.

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation

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CHAPTER “25”….DAY 21…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 4, 2016…..DAY TWENTY-ONE!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

Today I started the day almost exactly the way that I started the day yesterday. I got myself ready and went down to the lobby (without getting lost) to get my LARGE cup of black coffee. Shortly after I had my coffee in hand my brother, Bob, appeared with his LARGE

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Bova Brothers with their Morning Coffee

cup of coffee. Following closely behind him came Jean and Steve. Jean once again invited herself to the “All Guys” coffee time. Once again, even though we labeled it “All Guys” she was, as a Bova sibling, very welcome.

 

There was no roaming around the pool deck this morning. We found chairs, sat ourselves down, talked about yesterday, life, and what all was going on in our lives. Even though we are all getting “up there in years” we are blessed with the fact that we have all been active and are still active. Even though our sister Laurie couldn’t come because she was under the weather she still remains active in her hobbies and artistic skills. So we weren’t talking about sitting all day in the recliner watching Kelly Ripa and Dr. Oz. Actually, some of what we are doing in these, our “quiet” years, is pretty amazing. Bob is 57 and just bought a house, barn, tractor, and acreage and is taking his City Slicker life to “ranching” while both he and his wife, Laura, continue to work full time. Jean is 60 and has just completed getting her college degree and is pursuing a NEW career in the medical arena. I am 68 and you are now reading about my solo 3,200+ mile motorcycle trip to attend my 50th class reunion. Alice who is about to turn 70 has just purchased with her husband a cherry Chrysler Crossfire, just finished with their own business of assembling that they maintained for years, and is planning for her 70th birthday party in November. Stopping doesn’t seem to be in our vocabulary.

We again agreed to meet at the Sunrise Café for the breakfast buffet. I gave Lisa a call so that she would know to meet up with us. They seated us. We had asked for Melanie to be our waiter again but the hostess took us to another area. Nevertheless, Melanie came over to greet us and give several of us hugs. Yep, our group is remembered. Today’s breakfast was no different than yesterday. In fact, this one was better because we added Alice and Norm to it. The fun and laughter was so prolific that it almost hurt. Gee, it is great to be with this group.

Since Jean did such a great job securing our pool chairs yesterday we voted 7-1 in favor of her doing it again!! Again she did a superior job. Everyone has to have a talent and we have now found Jean’s. Following Jean’s lead we all made our way to the chairs plopping down and giving the little girls serving our area our orders.

After a couple of hours we saw a dark cloud forming over the Atlantic. A quick check of the radar showed that there was ONE cloud dropping rain in all the southeast of the U.S. and it was about to dump on the Omni Resort on Amelia Island……..and nowhere else!! As it neared we made sure that we told all around us that the rain could be blamed on the fact that Bob was in Florida. We made it a point to tell them all that wherever Bob located himself there was certainly going to rain and/or snow. And rain it did.

Due to the size of the cloud it was a pretty good bet that it would not rain very long but it really didn’t matter how long it was going to rain. The Bova siblings scattered out of the pool area and into the building. Some went to their rooms and some went back to the Sunrise Buffet where they were having the afternoon brunch. After mulling it over a bit Jean and I fell to the temptation of ALL YOU CAN EAT shrimp and oysters. We had 45 minutes left before the brunch was over and we were confident that we could easily offset the cost of the brunch in that amount of time. Don’t know if we did or didn’t but we gave it a good run.

We went to the hotel’s “gamer’s room”. It is a small room that has video games hooked up to TV sets. There were tables set up for playing cards or even putting together puzzles. For the most part we were the only people in there. Here and there someone would come in and punch on a video game for a couple minutes before getting bored and leaving. Bob had brought several envelopes of pictures and wanted to pick all of our brains (a task that doesn’t take that long) about the names of people in the pictures. Most of the pictures were from my parents and Bob wasn’t sure of all the people in them. That brought on a couple hours of reminiscing and reliving old times. It was so great. Of course we were boring the spouses to death but us siblings were having a ball.

We broke up with the plan to meet at 6:00 in the lobby. Tonight’s restaurant of choice was the Verandah which was more of a seafood establishment. I left the rest of them but it sounded like a perfect time to hit the bed for about an hour’s nap while Lisa sat in the room reading her Kindle. Everyone else made their way to Bob’s room and watched old home movies. EVERYONE was having a successful afternoon.

We met and jumped in the shuttle for the Verandah. Once again the meal was top notch and the service was excellent. We ate extremely well and did not stop having our fun.   One thing that had us laughing the hardest was when Steve and Jean left the table to go to the restroom. For some reason Steve had just checked his phone and laid it on the table……and HE LEFT IT THERE!! Lisa pointed that out. Bob and I grabbed it and started taking every kind of picture that we could think of. Laughing so hard tears were forming we slid

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Bova Siblings at the Verandah

the phone back and that’s when Bob’s wife, Laura, said “you know that you can get on his Facebook!” I grabbed the phone and opened his Facebook and Bob started posting “stuff”……..Holy Android Batman…….We laughed and laughed so hard. The following is a public service announcement….”Do NOT leave your smart phone unattended….EVER!” The next thing that happened was when the table next to us was having someone take their picture Jean photo bombed them. Nothing terrible but just made sure she was in the picture.

 

We got on the shuttle…..that was PACKED. There was standing room only but we squeezed in. The driver, Mr. T (seriously…that is what his name plate said), assured us that we would all fit in. He gave a string of Mardi Gras beads to Jean & Lisa……and they didn’t even have to show their boobs.

Back at the hotel we went to the pool deck for a few minutes and chit chatted. We didn’t last long and very, very shortly headed off to our rooms. More to come tomorrow starting with the “Guy’s” coffee time.

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

CHAPTER “24”….DAY 20…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 3, 2016…..DAY TWENTY!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

Let’s see….I don’t have to wake Lisa up to go to work nor do I have to take the dog out…..BUT….I do have to meet my brother for coffee…yay!! That is way more important than waking Lisa up for work. Knowing that I found it easy to pry myself out of bed and make my appearance reasonably acceptable to mingle out in public.  With visions of coffee in my brain I headed down to the lobby. Believe it or not I was willing to give the stairs another shot. Now that I knew going down that extra floor meant walking through the bowels of the Omni with no guarantee that the light of day would ever be seen again……I made sure that I did NOT go down that extra floor.

It is amazing but getting off the stairway on the correct floor made it faster and easier to get to the lobby…go figure. I walked into the lobby (pretty proud of myself I might add) and on into the coffee shop where I proceeded to purchase the largest black coffee they could whip up. I meandered around a bit when I saw my brother Bob out in the darkness that still surrounded the pool deck. I went out and we walked around the pool to see what it was like while no one else was there. The hotel staff was wheeling stacks of pool chairs and lounges out. They had taken ALL the chairs, tables, lounges, and anything else that wasn’t nailed down in case Hurricane Hermine took a swipe at Amelia Island. The storm passed us by with just a whimper so they were now hustling the equipment back out before the mob of holiday pool lovers started to emerge from their rooms.

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The Omni Resort on Amelia Island and Its Pool Deck

We hadn’t been wandering long when my sister and her husband, Jean and Steve, came to the HUGE pool deck carrying their coffees. The joke was that the “morning coffee time” was to be GUYS ONLY but Jean seriously cannot miss out on anything so she invited herself along. It is really not an issue since being with the siblings is the whole point of the weekend but it is fun to mess with Jean…..and, let’s face it, it is all about the FUN!!  We continued around the pool and made our way out to the beach on the shore of the Atlantic. The crew out there was busy setting up umbrellas, chairs, and cabanas. We priced things and made a plan in case we elected going down to the beach area. The odds were in favor of us never leaving the pool deck but IF we did we had a plan in place.

 

As we started heading back we looked at the hotel and I could swear that Lisa was standing on our balcony looking at the pool deck. It is hard to judge the distance but she was far enough away that you couldn’t tell for sure. The gal had short dark hair like Lisa and she was wearing the hotel robe. So I started waving and Jean, Steve, and Bob joined in on the waving. We looked like we were lost on a deserted isle and had just seen a boat. At least we weren’t shouting “help….help…..over HEER-RRE”. I’m not really sure if she saw me or not but she turned and walked back into the room without paying us any attention. So I took out my phone and I called her……guess what…..I woke her up!! She climbed out of bed and came out to the balcony and we CRACKED UP!!! Our room wasn’t anywhere close to where we saw the other gal. I took advantage of the situation and I told her we were meeting for breakfast at the Sunrise Café on the first floor of the resort at 9:00.

At that point we had gotten back to the pool deck and we all split up to get ready for breakfast. Frankly, I was ready so I just wandered over to where the restaurant was and I sat and played with the phone. I wonder if Steve Jobs knew how he was going to be changing the world in just a few short years when he unveiled the IPhone?? I laugh when I am in an airport because everyone is scurrying around but NO ONE is looking where they are going. They are all looking down at their phones. It makes you wonder how in the heck we made it with just ONE phone in the kitchen and NO answering machine and God forbid if we got a long distance call……”DAAA-AAAD….IT’S UNCLE JOE….LONG DISTANCE!!” Then Dad would RUN through the house, they would talk 100 MPH, and hang up in less than a minute. And they call those the Good Old Days. No way man….I like 2016 and I can’t wait for the next big thing.

We met at the Sunrise Café for the breakfast buffet. It was great. Our table was filled with fun and laughter. I swear that all the hotel staff knew us by the time we checked out.

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Breakfast at the Sunrise Cafe

Melanie, our waitress, took care of us and you could tell she was having a ball waiting on our table. During breakfast we appointed Jean as our official chair saver at the pool. It was her job to pick out 6 chairs, cover them with towels, and guard them with her life. That really wasn’t going to be an issue because the Omni has a HUGE pool and pool deck with up to 10,000,000 chairs…….well maybe there was a few less than that but nevertheless there were a lot.

 

We donned our bathing suits and to the pool we went and stayed ALL day long. Hurricane Hermine was gone but there were some residual clouds that kept the heavy sun off us. It was great. Then around 4:00 our older sister with husband, Alice and Norm, arrived from Atlanta. The Bova siblings that could come were all there. Missing was oldest sister, Laurie, who lives in Nebraska and was under the weather and couldn’t make the trip. Trust me……she was missed!!!

We broke up our pool reunion (much to the pleasure of everyone around us) to go to our rooms and get ready for dinner.   Our restaurant of choice for the night was Bob’s Steakhouse. We met in the lobby at 5:30, took a few pictures, and headed out for the shuttle. Bob’s was on property but a bit further than any of us wanted to walk…….meaning that is was at least farther than 50 feet because that is about all we were good for at one time.

Bob’s was not a disappointment. Our waiter, Robert (not the owner!!), fell into line with the rest of the hotel staff and seemed to love the fun and laughter that came from our

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Dinner at Bob’s Steakhouse

table. I remember this same atmosphere when the Bova siblings a generation older than us got together. It was non-stop laughing. Not the hollering or trying to be the loudest group in the place…..just fun, jokes, and laughing till it hurt. That is the way this night was. The meal was great, the company was great, and the night was perfect……well, it was 80% perfect because we were missing Laurie.

 

Back at the hotel Bob’s wife, Laura, pulled out her phone and introduced us to a game called Head’s Up. It is put out by Ellen DeGeneres and it was great. We found a spot way at the end of the lobby floor with comfy chairs, lots of room, and no people to bother. The game is like Charades in a way but it is done with the phone and it is a hoot. You hold the phone to your head and words or phrases appear and the group or your team tries to get

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Find it at your App Store

you to say the word using clues and/or gestures. The funny part is that while you are guessing it is recording the group giving clues and you get to watch it after you are done and it is WAY funnier than the actual game. That took us to bedtime…….a WONDERFUL day.

 

I’m already looking forward towards tomorrow…..talk to you then!!!

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.

CHAPTER “23”….DAY 19…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 2, 2016…..DAY NINETEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

WHOA!!! What is this?? Oh yeah, I remember now….it’s my OWN BED!! This is the first time that I have woke up in my bed for 17 days. It is going to be a short lived feeling because I will be leaving it again later today.

I did remember my old routine and woke Lisa up and took out the dog at 5:45 AM. The time of day didn’t make any difference because I had never stopped doing that for almost the entire time I had been gone. I am trying to find out when it is that retirement is going to start being relaxing. Not today!!

I can’t say that the day was very exciting at all. I headed up to the loft over our living room which is my “Man Cave” and starting pounding on my computer. Those that know me are aware that I have an Excel spreadsheet for just about everything that I do. I would lay out a

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THE BOVA MAN’S CAVE!!!

few examples but if you are reading this you are already aware that I lean to the weird side. If you saw what I track on my spreadsheets terms like “certifiable” or “yikes” will come into play. I spent a good part of the morning updating 17 days of spreadsheet entries. AHHHH….I feel whole again!!! I also did some badly needed blog writing and caught up on a couple of emails. Aunt Maureen would stop at the bottom of the stairs leading to the loft and listen for me hitting the keyboard so she knew I was still alive up there.

 

Lisa’s workplace closes down every day at 3:00 in the afternoon. She didn’t waste any time getting home meaning that by 3:30 I was loading the car with our weekend bags. The plan is for us to meet up with my brother and two of my sisters at the Omni Resort of Amelia Island north of Jacksonville near Fernandina Beach, FL. The original plan was for me to ride home from North Georgia today, run in the house, shower, put on fresh clothes, and run back out to the car. Because of that I had packed my weekend bag 3 weeks ago and had it ready to go. We anticipated leaving about 7:00 in the evening to make the 2 hour drive up to Amelia Island.

Giving credit where credit is due we have to give thanks to Hurricane Hermine for, 1) causing us to worry and having me come home early in a car and, 2) to change course and speed enough to have little or no impact on our weekend. Here it was 4:15 and we were pulling out of the driveway….a full 2 ¾ hours ahead of the original plan. Sometimes when you think that Mother Nature is out to screw you up it turns around to be the best ever.

The drive up was moving right along on I-95 when, OOPS, traffic ground to a near stop. At the same time the emergency responders..i.e. police and fire….were racing up the wp-1473522999887.jpgshoulders. Whatever was in front of us must have just happened. Sure enough about a quarter mile later we see a semi off the road facing in the wrong direction. Then as suddenly as the traffic slowed down we were back up to speed. Had we left our house 15 minutes later we would be in the middle of a huge traffic back-up.

We got to the Omni and I let the valet take the car and let the bell guy take our bags. We checked-in and found our way to the room. I have to say that the Omni Resort in Amelia Island is a very nice place. We did wait a little longer than we thought we should for our bags but that wasn’t a big deal. We were both hungry and the rest of the family were either making airport runs or still had to fb_img_1472856715554.jpgcheck-in so we headed off to eat.

Our “target restaurant” was the Falcon’s Nest because the brochure said that Friday night was Prime Rib special night. Somewhere I am sure that I have a spreadsheet on prime rib!!! Lisa saw a stairway near our room and we thought that it would be fine to take since we were going DOWN. Unfortunately we went DOWN one too many floors and our short cut had us walking all over the place. We also elected to walk to the Falcon’s Nest rather than taking the shuttle. As it turned out that wasn’t a bad call but since we had no clue where we were going we really didn’t know how far we would be walking. Thankfully after we corrected our blunder of wandering through No Man’s Land after the stairway we negotiated our way to the restaurant flawlessly. Soon we were sitting comfortably and were finding out about the OUTSTANDING customer service there was at the Omni. The prime rib was excellent and I have to tell you…..I HATE asparagus and yet I ate every single one on my plate because they fixed them perfect. Those were some of the first asparagus that I have eaten in my life and stand a good chance of being the last….but those 8 stalks were delicious.

Back at the hotel my younger sister and her husband, Jean & Steve, were there. They live just a short distance from us in Florida. Along with them my brother and his wife, Bob & Laura, were also there. They live north of Dallas in Texas. It was his brainstorm to get all the Bova siblings together. We all hooked up and found a table and cushy chairs near the pool where we talked and laughed and laughed and talked until it was time for bed. The last thing mentioned was coffee at 7:00 in the lobby. Yep, life is good!!

Back to the room and a really good night’s sleep! Talk to you tomorrow!!

I hope that you enjoy my trip as you read along with my traveling. Don’t forget that anytime you might feel it appropriate you may “Like” or “Share” this or any of the posts on social media which would, of course, give me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside. You can also drop me a line or leave me a comment. You can write to me at donandlisabova@msn.com using “Your Blog” as the subject line. You can check me out on Facebook by going to www.facebook.com/don.bova also because I will generally have more pictures and comments over there. Also you can read the blog about my 2015 road trip from Florida to Michigan at www.donbovaroadtrips.wordpress.com.   Lastly, you can look at pictures of my past yearly road trips to Michigan dating back to 2009 at www.gotyourpic.com/Vacation.