Saturday, October 20, 2012

On The Road: Miami to Lynchburg

17 October 2012

We've broken up this mammoth 14 hour journey over a few days, with one night in Tampa and another in Atlanta. So we say goodbye to Miami, and head north, finally leaving the east coast and start to move west. There's still a lot of miles to cover before we hit the west coast, that's for sure.

We leave at around 11am.

The road stretches out in front of me. Husband taps away on his iPad next to me. The miles hurtle by, calling destiny closer and closer. It's a mean balance between control and lack thereof - I'm steering this journey, but not the pace. Cruise control is on, I'm moving much faster than I'm ready for. The car is almost driving itself. It feels like my life right now - there is so much unknown, so much to be discovered, and I'm hurtling toward it, day by day, faster than I can control. It's completely frightening.

I want to slow this journey down, to sit back, to reflect. This road trip is something that could have easily been stretched out, over months, even years. And then each town would come with lazy days, and long rest stops, and true time for introspection.

Of course, at some point a line must be drawn in the sand. There must be a moment at which the destination is reached, and real life is resumed. Mostly because there just isn't enough time to continue with such follies indefinitely, but also because the constant holiday will eventually take its toll. Lazy days sweep into lazy weeks, which in turn become lazy months.

It just won't do.

At some point, society beckons. Jobs must be found, bills paid and rent made. The dream can't continue indefinitely. And so I scramble from one moment to the next, from one town to the next, trying to grow and change and be mindful and thoughtful, and to live each second to its utmost, and share each experience in the most eloquent and emotive fashion.

But often it is not possible, and this becomes a mere chronicle of a sequence of events, somewhat hollow without full time and reverence to think each word through, to draw all out of it that can be drawn. Each new destination pulls me forward with anticipation of the next big thing to see, but I toe the line with trepidation, fully aware that each new destination is dragging me closer and closer back to that real world.

I've had many comments from readers that nothing bad ever seems to happen, and it can't all be good, all the time. And they're right - it can't. But we are on holiday so it's usually more good than bad. That's what a holiday does to you. But yes, it is isn't all good - there are bad days, torrential downpours, slow punctures, horrible meals, PMS, tears, mounting financial pressures, hangovers, and moments when everything just seems to go wrong - those just aren't the things I feel are necessary to share. Listen to the news if you want doom and gloom. Or come back in a month's time, when I am officially bankrupted, exhausted, and homeless.

I hope I still manage to find the good and happiness in those moments too.

And so it is that we arrive in Tampa at dusk, setting aside trepidations, and ready for the next step of the journey. 

We make it to our hotel after dark. We're out on an island at a hotel called Coconut Cove. We check in - the pool is aglow with coloured lights, water splashing loudly from all the waterfalls.

We're soon on the beach, walking to find somewhere for drinks and a late dinner. The sand is the softest and whitest that I've ever felt, the beaches are the widest I've ever seen, and the water is so calm that in the dark you can barely hear the splash of waves. We stop at Frenchy's - a restaurant right on the beach. It is loud and vibey - absolutely packed. We sit out on the deck, order a couple of starters to share (we had a late lunch on the road), and lots of drinks. 

18 October 2012

We wake up and extend our stay in Tampa by a night, yesterday evening was just too good, and too little. It does mean we'll have a big 11 hour drive the next day, but it's worth it.

After some grocery shopping (and my favourite - some Halloween outfit shopping - eeek!), it's a quick lunch and then beach time. It's strange to think that in a few days we'll be back in chilly temps, up north, all wrapped up. Right now all clothes feel too hot. The air is close, tight, sticky.

I'm glad we decided to stay an extra night. The small glimpse of the Tampa beaches that I got last night was completely accurate. This place is too good to be true. It's my perfect kind of beach - sun chairs, umbrella, water as calm as a lake. Not too windy, not too crazy, not even too salty. I'm loving it.

And I was blessed with a bout of good luck in the form of a warm perfectly white seagull poop, landing right on me. Ka-ka! Blegh. I had to order Husband not to laugh, but I did have a good chuckle myself.
The evening brings relief from the sweltering heat, and a magnificent sunset.
19 October 2012

We're up at 4.30am, it's going to be a seriously long day. We're on the road from sunrise to sunset.

We start our journey in the pitch black of night. The roads are dark, and misty, and it is a long time before the sun even starts to peak over the trees. But when it does, breaking through the mist, creating silhouettes of forests and cows and pitch fencing, it is truly magnificent.

And then it's mostly just about the driving. I sleep a lot of the way. We listen to country music. We eat the sandwiches and salad we made the night before - a big time saver, and so much nicer than any lunch we would have found on the road.

Late in the afternoon (so late in fact that we have to turn the clocks back an hour - we've officially passed into Central Time, and are now faced with a seven hour time difference from back home, as opposed to the previous six hour), we finally make it through Georgia, and into Tennessee. We've made it back up so far north that the trees are changing - just like we saw up in Maine. With the rolling hills, and sharp rock cliffs along the roadside, the drive becomes beautiful.
We pull into Tullahoma - a very small, very quiet little town, and follow some very precise directions to our B&B - a wonderfully restored circa 1905 house, complete with full wrap-around porch, beautiful black horse in a field next door, and fallen leaves in all the autumn colours.

I'm overjoyed to be spending the whole weekend here.

Accommodation in Review:
Coconut Cove
678 South Gulfview Boulevard, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767
(727) 216-6993

Green Rose of Raus
330 Smith Chapel Road  Tullahoma, TN 37388
(931) 695-3351

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[Map from Google Maps]

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