CHAPTER “27”….DAYS 23 & 24…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 6, 2016…..DAY TWENTY-THREE!!   MILES TODAY: 0.0    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

I did something this morning that I haven’t done in a long, LONG time…..I over slept. That is if you call sleeping until 6:15 instead of 5:45 oversleeping. It is a rare morning indeed when Lisa is up before I am. It is just the natural order of things. She was a good wife…..she woke up, took the dog out, fed the dog, and started getting ready for work and all the time letting me sleep. Hmmm, it felt kind of good. I wonder if this will become a habit??

Lisa left for work right on time. Just as she was leaving I received a text from Sherry confirming my address and telling me that they were on the way. They pulled into the driveway at 8:20 and within minutes we were back on the road heading for Gainesville, GA.

We made a quick Starbuck’s stop near Lake City but it was just a quick stop. We didn’t stop again until Lenox, GA where Tony gassed up and we bought an armload of HEALTHY snacks. You know that is a lie because it is impossible to go into a convenience store and get an ARMLOAD of healthy. Among other stuff there was a bag of pretzels, M&M’s, cinnamon roll, Coke, & a 3 Musketeers. I hope that my doctor isn’t one of the four people reading this blog.

The rest of the drive was a bit uneventful. As I have said before “uneventful” driving on I-75 is a good thing. We pulled into Sherry’s driveway at 3:45.

Sherry’s son, Kyle, greeted us along with Sherry’s new puppy. She is a six month old pile of energy…the puppy not Sherry. After a little bit of freshening up we were back in the car heading for Sherry’s parents’ house. Her mom, Judy, is my first cousin who has been almost as close as a sister for as long as I can remember. Not only are we cousins but we are great friends. Her husband, David, is a super guy that has always been an inspiration. They both have worked hard all their lives to support their family and they continue to work hard. Their hard work has paid off in a lot of different ways.

On the way there we were talking about all the different foods that we could take. We just wanted this to be a restful visit without anyone having to cook or fuss around. Tony and Sherry dropped me off and went on to pick up pizza and some Chinese (food not people).

While they were gone I visited with David and Judy for a few minutes before Sherry’s other son, Seth, arrived with his NEW fiancé, Summer. I had never met Summer before and if my opinion means anything Seth did good. He just popped the question over the weekend. That was obviously the talk of the night. I had to sit back and smile at how well Seth and Summer were handling Judy and Sherry trying to take over ALL the planning. Little does that young couple know but they are going to have that “HELP” in planning until about 5 ½ minutes before the ceremony. It will only stop then because the mother and grandmother of the groom will be escorted to their seats!!

Shortly after 8:00 we got ready to head back to Sherry’s. We were all tired and tomorrow Sherry & Tony had to return to work and I had a 500 mile ride. I did get a chance to show them the Head’s Up game that Laura had shown me over the weekend. Then we hugged everyone goodbye and off we went. We were back at Sherry’s right around 9:00 and by 9:30 Tony had gone home and we were all going to bed.il_340x270_425383324_5vx4

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 7, 2016…..DAY TWENTY-FOUR!!   MILES TODAY: 474.5    FINAL TOTAL MILES: 3293.7 

Today is the final day of the trip that has taken up all these pages. I woke up at 5:00 at the same time as Kyle was stirring. He started the coffee pot and I got myself ready for the morning. After starting the coffee he made his way back to his bedroom. I packed up what little bit I brought with me, called Lisa to get her up for work, wrote some notes in my journal, drank my coffee. I thought that by that time I would see Kyle again and that maybe Sherry would have gotten up…..nope, not a creature was stirring not even a 6 month old puppy!!

I tiptoed out to the garage and rolled the Yamaha out to the driveway. I loaded everything up and closed the garage. Back in the house there was still no movement. I had told Sherry that I would be waking up and leaving immediately. I wrote her a very sincere thank you note for all she had done for me the last few days and……I was off.

I weaved my way from her house to U.S. 129. When Tony drove out yesterday afternoon and when we returned last night I followed along on Google Maps on my phone and memorized how to negotiate the various turns to find my way out. Once again I have to say…..I LOVE THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY! I followed 129 to Athens where I picked up U.S. 441. I would be staying on 441 all the way through Georgia and to Lake City, FL.

I am not ashamed to say that I was anxious to get home and make the final turn of this 24 day vacation into my driveway. I did my first gas stop in Madison, GA. This is a great town that has many Civil War era houses that were spared from Sherman’s burning of Georgia. If you are every cruising around North Central Georgia I recommend a stop in Madison. Some of the houses and adjoining yards are truly fantastic.

I made my next stop in Dublin and then Pearson, GA. That put me a bit over half way. All my stops were getting gas, buying a bottle of water, texting Lisa, and jumping back on the bike. My last gas stop was in Lake City, FL. There I left 441 and jumped on Florida State Rd 100 which took me southeast across Florida’s peninsula to U.S. 1 at Bunnell. A quick turn south brought me home.

I pulled into the driveway just before 4:00 and the trip was over and what a great trip it was. I’ll recap that in the last Chapter. 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 “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

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.

CHAPTER “22”….DAY 18…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 1, 2016…..DAY EIGHTTEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 47.7    TOTAL MILES: 2819.2

Early to bed….Early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Hmmmmm, I would like to even have 2 out of 3!! I have 1…………most of the time!! That be as it may, I was in bed early last night and I was up early this morning. I did my normal wake up call to Lisa and the dog. I headed for the lobby and ate breakfast, typed on the computer, and watched the storm. I made the decision that the decision I made was a good one and I remained decisive. Hurricane Hermine’s speed and direction now made it impossible to judge when and where it would be relative to our travel plans.

Another quick call to Sherry and it was confirmed. She would go to work for a couple hours in the morning and head for home early. I would go visit with her dad and mom for two or three hours and then I would ride to her house. I would leave my bike in Sherry’s garage and the three of us…..me, Sherry, and Tony, who was Sherry’s friend and frequent riding partner…….would hop in Tony’s car and drive to Florida and return on Tuesday.

That done I sent a text to Sherry’s mom. Sherry is my “first cousin once removed”…..my comment is that we have removed her several times but she keeps finding her way back…..and her mom, Judy, is my first cousin. The text I sent was asking if they were up and if they were to give me a call. I got a text back saying she was up but BARELY and she would call in 20 minutes or so. I waited patiently….tapping my foot……staring at my watch!!!

Judy called and away I went over to their house. They are about 10 miles from the hotel. It is mostly a really nice ride along 441 in North Georgia. I pulled up to their house and was greeted warmly by my cousin, Judy, and her husband, David. Oh yeah, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I was warmly, loudly, and slobberingly greeted by their two dogs. I love being loved!!

I was escorted to their dining area where I was greeted by a breakfast cake…..aka birthday

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Happy Birthday to ME!!

 

cake….and a semi sorry rendition of Happy Birthday. Thank Heavens it is the thought that counts!!

 

We did the normal chit chatting away gossiping about anyone not in the room. Since there were only three of us it was Open Season on just about everyone else in the world. Due to the fact that we were limited to only 3 hours we kept the subjects of our story telling (fact and/or fiction) to just family members.

So I was traveling around for both Lisa’s birthday and my birthday. Still, Lisa received flowers and mystery cards, quite a few Facebook greetings, a pile of “snail mail” greeting cards, and a destroyed cake a week later. I received a gazillion Facebook greetings, generous cards from in-laws, a special greetings from Lisa (and she let me do this trip), a cousin concocted birthday cupcake with WAY more candles that OSHA normally would allow, and another cousin birthday serenade accompanied by a breakfast cake. You can have all your gifts and presents…….I had a GREAT birthday (although a Burke’s Law Rolls Royce would have been nice).

It was time to go. My main issue was I wasn’t really sure how to get to Sherry’s house. Judy, bless her heart, did her best to give me directions. I’m sure that they were accurate but I have this feeling that if I tried to follow them I would right now be running circles in Wyoming trying to find the “big tree right after the liquor store” so I could turn right a block past the other place I could have turned right but the second place is better so I was to forget she mentioned the first place. I think that she could tell by the absolute blank look on my face that I had no clue where her instructions were leading me so she said “would you like me to drive and you can follow me?” WELL OF COURSE THAT IS WHAT I WANTED!!! However being the brave, highly intelligent, macho, hunk of a rocket scientist that I am it seemed like I needed to SOUND LIKE there was no need for that BUT if she WANTED to run over there I would follow her…..just sayin’!

I have been to their house a few times on my bike and I always have pulled up ALMOST to the back but where there was a spot to turn around…….with a bit of back and forth rolling. For some reason I pulled all the way to the top of their driveway and the only logical way out was to leave the concrete and follow the sand and gravel back down the 100-150 feet back DOWN to the road. Judy had gone to the other side of the house to get the car and would be coming down a different driveway.

To preface the next statement you have to remember that I ride MOSTLY in Florida where it is flat and straight EVERYWHERE. Hence, I have become a lazy rider and use my front brake about 98% of the time and rarely touch the back brake EVER. Also there are virtually no areas in Florida that are left unpaved. It is amazing but EVERYTHING is paved in Florida. Ok…not EVERYTHING but you almost have to search for unpaved streets, parking lots, or driveways. All that is a lead into me making about four mistakes at one time. I got going DOWN their rocky, gravelly, and sandy driveway picking up speed as gravity was pulling me down the hill, I pulled in the clutch SO I WENT FASTER, I never touched the back brake to slow and stabilize me, I waited until the last minute (still going too fast) to look up the road, realized I had to stop, and hit the front brake while turning the handlebars. Let’s see…..Motorcycle 101 says “doing any one of those things is wrong……doing them all is plain stupid”. The Motorcycle 101 penalty for breaking those rules is to imitate Artie Johnson’s Laugh-in Tricycle skit of flopping over. Of course Judy was panicking and I was laughing too hard to ease her panic. Thankfully the young guy in the VW that was going by stopped and helped the OLD laughing guy and the OLD panicking women lift the bike.  Darn it….I was laughing and not thinking (obviously) and I didn’t take a picture.  Oh well, next time!!

After a little readjusting of the mirror we were off and on our way to Sherry’s. As we weaved our way to her house I was trying to recall Judy’s instructions…………nothing seemed to be matching. We pulled into Sherry’s driveway, I parked the bike in her garage, I loaded my bags into Tony’s car, I met Tony, we said our goodbyes, and before 1:00 we were out of the driveway and headed to Florida.

I was in the backseat and I realized that I am SO glad that I grew up when I did. When I was a toddler, youngster, and preteen we didn’t HAVE TO sit in the backseat. In fact most of the time toddlers were STANDING in the front seat. There were no such things as seat belts……in fact highway safety was the guy with the biggest bumper. The backseat is, in a

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The Backseat View!!

 

word, boring. Thankfully, I had my phone and I could look at it every once in a while to keep me occupied. I’m not saying that Sherry and Tony were boring. They were the best part of the drive but one can feel a little isolated back there watching the trees fly by only to be blocked by an occasional tracker/trailer every now and then.

 

The drive was good pretty much the whole way. We hit two or three pockets of heavy rain but it never lasted a long time. We did one quick stop at a Northern Florida Waffle House. We were hungry and it was fast and it was good. It was also REALLY cold!!. I’m not sure why but in the summer it seems like all Waffle Houses are COLD. Maybe it is so you eat fast and then get out. If that is the reason……it worked!!

Right about 10:00 we pulled into my driveway. Tony and Sherry did a quick “rest stop”, did some minor small talk with Lisa, and left to hopefully reach Sherry’s twin’s house before 11:00. I plopped in the recliner……a sweet thing that I hadn’t seen since August 14. I did some chit chatting with Lisa and with Lisa’s Aunt Maureen before heading to bed. Maureen was at our house to spend Labor Day weekend watching our dog while Lisa and I went to Amelia Island for my Bova Sibling Reunion.

That brings me to the next phase…….Bova Reunion on Amelia Island. It wasn’t my original intent to include this weekend on this blog but since the motorcycle trip won’t officially end for 6 more days when I pull my bike into MY garage I will carry on. For the three of you that are still reading this I am forewarning you of a few more chapters. 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.

CHAPTER “21”….DAY 17…2016 FLORIDA TO MICHIGAN ROAD TRIP!!!

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 31, 2016…..DAY SEVENTEEN!!   MILES TODAY: 400.2    TOTAL MILES: 2771.3

Wow….I slept ALL night without getting up once. I think that I mention back in Chapter 6 that sleeping ALL night is somewhat of a rarity as one continues along in the aging process. I think that the last time I slept ALL night before the Chapter 6 event had to be sometime around Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address… it could be a year or so either way but it was close to then. Regardless, I did sleep great and woke up naturally around quarter to six. That was time enough for me to get myself ready and to give Lisa her wake-up call.

I made my way down the stairs and Marcia had staged the coffee maker. Being the industrious guy that I am I was able to push the button and was rewarded with that hot brew.   Marcia soon joined me. She had an appointment in Charleston and had to leave at 7:00. That was perfect for me. The first task, however, was to scope of the strength and path of Tropical Depression 9.

As of right now my plan is to stay in Commerce, GA for two nights visiting with another of my cousins, Judy, and Judy’s husband, David. That would take me to September 2. On the morning of the 2nd I would leave with Judy’s daughter, Sherry, and a friend….both are riders. Sherry’s twin lives in Florida about 40-50 miles south of me. Sherry was going to take the opportunity to ride with me and her friend. It APPEARED like the storm would pass by quick enough that we would scoot around behind it……BUT I really couldn’t tell for sure.   As it stood Sherry and I were leaving the plans as is…..but we were communicating constantly via text making sure that we were on the same page.

It was obvious that we were still not sure what we were going to do. We had already spun out all of our options…..and we had a lot of them…..but we weren’t really ready to make the final call. That being said, it was time to start my day.

I said my goodbyes and a sincere thank you to Marcia and we were both off. I followed her on Harper Rd to I-77 where she swung north and I headed south.

I don’t know what she was facing but I was in HEAVY fog. It was that fog that pretty much left everyone blind except for the 20 feet directly in front of them. I thought that it might treat me like the rain did the previous day making my view change with every curve. Nope!!! The view stayed pretty much the same no matter what…..and that was for the most part nonexistent.

Ok….there is a tunnel right at the West Virginia/Virginia border and I’ll bet that once through that mountain I’ll come out to the bright, smiling sunshine. Not So Grasshopper!!! I stayed in the fog….come to think of it I pretty much live in a fog but this

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Mountain Tunnel near Bluefield, WV

 

was different. The fog persisted south from Beckley for the remaining miles of West Virginia, the ENTIRE portion of Virginia that I-77 runs through, and nearly all the way to Statesville in North Carolina.

 

At the same time I was having a hard time deciding where I was going to stop for gas. I didn’t like that one, didn’t want to do that exit, the station was on the wrong side of the road, or I “prejudged” the condition of the restroom. Whatever the reason it was 170.9 miles before I stopped in Statesville, NC for gas. For all of the 71,000+ miles I have on this bike this is the second farthest I have traveled. The bike has a gas gauge and when it gets down to about ¾ of a gallon it shifts to a different system telling you how far you have gone since hitting that LOW amount. I call it the “dirty your pants gauge”. It is the part of the gauge that has you telling God about exchanging future changes in lifestyle for an open gas station to appear. You’ll be happy to know that for the next year I will help EVERY little old lady I see with whatever she needs!!! That is because I came up on a perfect gas station and bought my gas and I was good to go for another good while. You know, I’ll bet a lot of those old ladies don’t really want the help. I might have to evaluate with each situation to verify if I think help is REALLY needed!!!20160831_132419.jpg

My first target for the day was Simpsonville, SC just outside of Greenville. While planning my route and Googling various areas I came across the Bova Brick Oven Alternative Italian Restaurant in Simpsonville, SC. I made the location fit into my travels and I was swinging in. Before I knew it I was standing in front of the place. I tried to tell the waitress that the founder was a long lost but well-loved uncle of mine. Didn’t work and I still paid full price for my Bova Club Sandwich……which

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Bova Club Sandwich

 

, by the way, was excellent and even though Bova is my last name and I still had to pay full price I will still recommend it highly.

 

I continued on I-85 out of South Carolina and into Georgia reaching my exit at Commerce, GA. The previous night I had realized that my shirt calculation was a little off. I had a couple of days that I had worn TWO shirts and the ones that I did have really weren’t worthy of going out. Since I was again seeing cousins I was pretty sure that I would be going out. Once again the motorcycle traveling gods kicked in and there was an Outlet Center on the Commerce exit. I found the GAP outlet store and for 9 bucks a piece I had me two pull-over, collared shirts. I might even look semi respectable if I’m not careful.

I made it to the Comfort Inn and Suites and checked in. I made a series of phone calls….one to Sherry, one to my wife, Lisa, one to my brother who was flying into Florida for Labor Day weekend, one to my cousin Judy, and then back to Sherry. It was all in reference to “The Storm”. It was now upgraded to a Tropical Storm and named Hermine. It was predicted to be a hurricane and be smack dab in our way by Friday. By this time I had already arranged with Sherry to make our ride a two day ride instead of a one day but even that was looking shaky. When the dust settled from all the phone calls it was decided that I would spend tomorrow morning visiting with David and Judy at their “chicken ranch”. I hurricane-hermine-lgwould then ride to Sherry’s and park the bike in her garage. Sherry, her friend, and I would jump in the car and drive to Florida on Thursday afternoon/night. I would be home and she would go visit her twin. I could do the Labor Day weekend with my siblings and on Tuesday, the day after Labor Day, the three of us would travel back to Georgia, have dinner with her parents, spend the night on her couch, and ride back on Wednesday the 7th. Don’t bother trying to memorize all of that because you get to live it…..you lucky readers!!!

Yep, my ride was originally going to end on September 2nd but now I won’t officially be done with my ride until September 7th. I may abbreviate some of the days but we will carry this forward until I have my motorcycle in my Florida garage. Riding in a hurricane was not in my original plan.  I actually have earned my “Hurricane Badge” in 2004 making my way through a storm called Francis.  I would tell you about it but my wife still gets upset when the story is told.  I will leave it with…..I AM NOT GOING TO DO THAT AGAIN!

So the plan is set. I am tired and I am going to bed. Talk at 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.