About three years ago my sister and her family moved out to Tallahassee – both she and her husband had new positions at Florida State University – and had a custom-made home built. My mother and I still hadn’t made it out there to visit so we finally loaded up Betty the Blue Beetle and decided to drive over for a weekend visit. We were both really looking forward to seeing my nieces who we hadn’t seen in about 2 years! Now they would be five and seven and from the pictures and phone conversations had really grown up so fast!
So we drove. And drove. And drove. And drove some more. Through Louisiana… and Mississippi… and Alabama… finally into Florida. Here are a few numbers:
— over 11 hours of driving one-way
— almost 1500 miles round-trip
— 6 tanks of gas
I managed to stay relatively calm even as my Mother drove my car, despite her inability to drive in the center of the lane (she drives towards the left and often hits the edge or creeps into the other lane, once even getting honked at). She is also not very good at driving and navigating, slowing down without really worrying that the car behind us may not appreciate it. sigh Yes, I was trying to navigate to help her but she is also not very good at listening to instructions. double sigh Anyway, we survived. Somehow.
The stay at my sister’s was nice. Her home is beautiful and inviting. The girls warmed up to us pretty quickly (I was afraid they would be distant and shy with us since it had been so long since they’d seen us). My mother and sister managed to get along and there was no family drama. We were only there a couple of days so we just hung out.
We did drive out to Wakulla Springs on Sunday though and took the boat tour to see the alligators. That was a lot of fun and we had the incredible good fortune to have a group of Florida manatees swimming around that day in the springs. This is a rare occurrence and it was really a treat because this particular species of manatee is endangered and there are less than 3,000 left in the wild. We saw a group of five including a baby calf with it’s mother.
It was a good trip in general and the girls were a lot of fun. At least one of them was always at my side and they loved riding around in the Bug. I look forward to my next visit but I’ll go ahead and just take the plane!