Friday, May 09, 2008

May 2008 Cruise -- Getting to Port Canaveral

Thursday & Friday

On Thursday morning we set out from Pensacola and headed to Cocoa Beach for our cruise on Carnival Glory. We had lunch in Chipley at Gary's Flamin' Grill, a local favorite.
Gary's card
Mid-afternoon we arrived in Gainesville -- 340 miles -- and spent the night at the Holiday Inn Express there. We had dinner next door at the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®. As they say: "Half Restaurant. Half Store. All Country.®"

Our drive on Friday was much shorter than Thursday's and we had lots of time. This was good because we got into a long traffic jam on Interstate 75 in the middle of nowhere just south of Gainesville -- in a huge expanse of lakes, swamps and bogs called Paynes Prairie. A bus had caught on fire and was totally consumed. It had happened hours before and the traffic problem was due to the cleanup operation.

As soon as we got going again it was clear we needed to stop in Ocala for windshield cleaning supplies. It was love bug season in Central Florida and the windshield was covered with them. The weather was nice and we were in no hurry so we decided to get off Interstate 75 and not take the dreaded Florida's Turnpike. We headed on country roads for the coast and Daytona Beach. With a clean windshield.

Lunch was overlooking the Atlantic Ocean on New Smyrna Beach (World leader in shark attacks) at the Breakers Restaurant & Lounge. From there it was a short trip to Cocoa Beach and the Hampton Inn where we would spend the night and park the car for free until we returned from our cruise.

Florida's Seafood GrillOur dinner was at Florida's Seafood Bar & Grill in Cocoa Beach. Very nice. And popular with the locals.

Todays drive was 160 miles.

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