Friday, December 2, 2016

Count down to Cruise: On the ROAD!!!!

Liverpool, NY-Miami, Florida 
November 17th-November 19th 

The days prior to our 2016 Cruise was full of excitement, packing and long hours in the truck....
That Thursday I came into work to find this at my desk!!!

 Happy Birthday to me from my amazing co-workers!!!

I sure felt special!!!! and Birthday cake too!!!!
After the celebrations!! I shot home to pack the truck and prepare for our 20+ hour ride south!!! 

First stop!!! Pennsylvania. Notice I am smiling and actually somewhat fresh! It's only about an 11/2 drive from my front door to the PA border. We got this. 
 Soon the sun was setting behind these Pocono hills. Although the picture doesn't show just how beautiful the sun was over the horizon it was quite pretty.

 Before long it was getting dark and we were just about 1/2 through PA!
 We made it to the Lehigh tunnel on the PA turnpike. All of us still feeling pretty good about the drive. No heavy traffic, we were moving pretty well...when BAM!!!

 We hit right outside of Philly!!! Stop and go for miles!
There always seems to be TRAFFIC in PA.  We traveled through Delaware (I don't even know how we ended up in Delaware, this was a first through this area for me.) and got lost looking for both gas, and a place to eat dinner. We finally found a small strip of road that had eateries. Mark kind of lost his mind while we searched and decided that people in Delaware do not eat, get gas or pee!! He was pretty funny. Finding food and a rest was much needed. We had dinner at a very LOUD 5 Guys restaurant and were soon back on the road. By the time we got out of Delaware it was pretty late and I took a few car naps. I drove for a bit in the dark too! We drove for hours in the dark stopping at several rest stops along the way. Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina.....I drove through what I thought was fog, we found out later it was the smoke from the Tennessee devastating fires.  Around 4am we hit South of the Border!
 Say hello to Pedro!!! This heaven of lights is always a pleasure to see when its been a long long drive down rt 95!!!
 I'm not looking so refreshed at this point,,,,,Both of us were pretty pooped and had several more miles to go. I was terrified to drive the truck. Its so much bigger then my rav4. The idea of driving at night and tired had me struggling to calm down enough to get some sleep.
 Somewhere in South Carolina we found a friendly Waffle House and had some breakfast. Georgia was a quick trip after some coffee and eggs....and finally we saw the sign we had been hoping for.
 Stopping at the Welcome Center just north of Jacksonville.

I had one of those email pictures here I got sent to me from the welcome center...but it was deleted by the blog, (Not sure why).
A few more hours south on 95 and I called about a local hotel. Got one of the last rooms at a Comfort Inn in Palm Bay. Ironically it was the same hotel Ben (my step son) was to have the last part of his Sonic interview. When he arrived we all tried NOT to look like stalkers as he went on to meet with the representatives. He looked so mature and business like. (Nope I did not get a picture...he would kill me,)
Instead of pictures of Ben, I got these guys who live at the hotel.

They were much more receptive to having their picture taken, In fact they barely moved the entire time we were there.
After Ben completed his new position hiring stuff. (He is now officially an employee of SONIC!!! His Dad's FAVORITE restaurant.)We headed out to Ben's favorite and a new one to all of us. JERSEY MIKES!!!
I had a delicious Turkey Wrap!!!! YUMMY!!! After dinner Ben returned to his house with his step fathers car, and we headed back to the hotel. We all would have liked to explore the area with Ben, but truth be told....we were EXHAUSTED!!!! I feel asleep pretty early that night....can you blame me?

Saturday was CRUISE day!!!! Up early I hit the gym. the way was the last time I stepped on a treadmill all week. Although I did PLAN on going once I was on the ship....I even PLANNED to be one of THOSE people who make exercise a part of their vacation and walk the jogging trail. NOT!!!
Ready to rock!!!
We still had to drive to Miami as well as stop and pick up Diane (MIL) who had flown into Fort Lauderdale.  We met her at a hotel and while we waited for bathroom breaks and preps for the next leg of our journey. A women was driving around the hotel circle yelling and honking her horn.
It was an odd thing. She kept screaming "Pumpkin!!!" "Lets go!!!"  It was entertaining but definitely strange....
We  had a few picture opts and were soon back on the road,
Previous to leaving NY, I had suggested to Mark that we reserve a parking spot by the port. Its a good thing we did!!!! Although we were EARLY. (ship set sail at 7pm) the place was booked up and crowded by noon!!! We had to wait in line forever just to get out, unload, and check our truck in....we finally made it to the shuttle. WHAT A NIGHTMARE!!!! But on our way...nothing but smiles NOW!
On the shuttle...and onto customs/check in.
Moving on up!!! And look there she is the Norwegian ESCAPE!!!! Our home for the week!!
Up next!!! Day 1 of CRUISE LIFE!!!! :)