Road Zombies

IMG_7023.jpgWe are home after a whirlwind drive to Florida to visit my 92 year-old-mother.  For various reasons, it had to be a quick trip.  But we were able to sneak in two nights to enjoy time (and some awesome meals) with our son and daughter-in-law in Georgia.  The drive was strictly a means to get down south and back as quickly as possible–no dilly-dallying for sightseeing or exploring.  In other words, interstate almost the entire way. IMG_6791

It’s a drive we’ve taken many times before.  When I was in college, a friend and I got a ride with a couple in a Volkswagon van who drove straight through–24 hours from Massachusetts to Florida.  They dropped us off in Daytona Beach and we dove into the ocean fully clothed–it felt so good.  On another memorable trip, when our kids were young and both sets of grandparents lived in Florida, we headed there for Christmas.  An unexpected snowstorm closed the interstate in Georgia just as we were coming through.  Fortunately, we snagged a hotel room at an interstate exit.  Others were not so lucky and had to bed down in the lobby.  The hotel’s Chinese restaurant–the only food option–was absolutely overwhelmed.  It took several hours to get dinner, but there was that wonderful festive atmosphere that often arises among strangers stranded together in travel.   IMG_6813

Nothing so exciting happened on this trip.  We took I-95 through New York City, the industrial ugliness of North Jersey, and then Baltimore and the Washington DC Beltway.  IMG_6818Not very pretty.  Bridges, tunnels, and billboards.IMG_6768IMG_6824.jpg

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In south Georgia, billboards for “adult entertainment” were interspersed with billboards warning of impending eternal damnation.

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The Walking Dead series is filmed in Georgia and, fittingly, a whole series of religious billboards there featured zombies.

Sandpaper eyes, antsy legs, sore bum, hour after hour of road, road, road.  We did our best to avoid traffic by hitting the cities on weekends.  But there was always traffic and more traffic, sometimes jammed and creeping along for no discernible reason.

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The brave souls ahead of us drove their Class A RV through I-95 in the Bronx.

We had a slice of gorgeous weather in Florida and watched the installation of a new dock in front of my mother’s house.

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The metal tube was used to pound in the dock pilings.

The sunsets, as usual, were stunning.

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Since her hip surgery last fall, my mother doesn’t walk as far as she used to.

IMG_6932Even so, we found plenty to look at in her yard and on a walk around her neighborhood.

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This gargantuan tree was in full bloom and covered with birds sipping nectar.  I don’t know what kind it is and the owner didn’t either.  Does anyone know?  Update:  It’s a Bombax or Kapok tree.

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IMG_7036IMG_7010IMG_6950IMG_7041IMG_7004IMG_7046Then, back in the truck, for three more long days of driving.

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We enjoyed a lovely misty morning during our brief time on back roads in Georgia.

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Georgia pecan groves

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New York’s George Washington Bridge.

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A view of the New York City skyline from the bridge. I shot this so fast, I had no idea there was a bike rider passing by.

I used to enjoy these road trips to Florida.  Not so much anymore.  We couldn’t wait to get home.IMG_7140

36 thoughts on “Road Zombies

  1. I’ve had to make similar trips back to Illinois and it’s rarely a fun adventure. Fortunately traffic through Omaha isn’t as insane as cities in the northeast. Glad the trip was uneventful and you’re back home.

    • Thanks Ingrid. Yes, these trips are more slogs than adventures. Our infrastructure badly needs updating to keep up with exponentially growing traffic. But, unfortunately, highway work seems to grind things almost to a halt. I, too, am glad that we made it home in one piece. Sometimes it feels like a demolition derby out there.

    • Thank you Laurie. It was so sweet to pull into our driveway. It’s amazing how quickly Maine has become home. Wasn’t the weather today amazing? Like full-on spring. We are happily knee deep in spring projects.

      • We are, too. Tops on my list today is getting the patio swept. There is only one teensy-weensy piece of ice on it. We are well a month ahead of where we were last year at this time.

        And there’s no place like home! So glad Maine feels that way for you.

    • My mom cannot talk very well because her stroke six years ago left her with aphasia. But she doesn’t need complicated language to convey her delight in seeing us. The warmth and beauty of Florida was a welcome break, but it made my heart sing to get home!

  2. What a drive! I have travelled on Interstate in the USA, the best way to cover a lot of ground quickly when you have to. We don’t have anything similar down here on my part of the world. Our roads are notoriously windy and narrow.

    • Thanks for stopping by Jill. I generally prefer the windy and narrow, but on these trips it’s all interstate. I am looking forward to someday exploring the roads in your part of the world!

    • This time of year, Florida is packed with people. But my mom lives in a beautiful area. Her neighborhood is filled with old trees and her yard is full of orchids and bromeliads. There’s always something blooming.

  3. Florida does look so beautiful and must be such a contrast to your home. I’m glad your survived the drive it does seem so a long. long drive. Sarah x

    • I know, I feel a bit guilty complaining about the trip when the wonder of it is that you can drive from late winter to the tropics in three days. How lucky are we to be able to do that? But it is a looooong drive. As we headed out, I told my husband that I’d be happy if I didn’t end up in the hospital or dead by the end of the trip.

  4. A full day of driving and I’m beaten these days. What an exhausting trip! I’m glad however that you were able to see some interesting things and the sunset was lovely. I was amused by the contrast between stripper and religious billboards. I’ve not seen that in Australia yet. Enjoy being home! 🙂

    • After the first bout of fatigue, I eventually got into a road rhythm, fueled by coffee and adrenaline, I guess. I used to enjoy long-haul drives. Now, after a few hours in the car, I crave exercise, healthy food, and my own bed. My pleasures have matured! I’m glad you enjoyed the billboards, I thought they were pretty funny.

  5. Such an interesting photo essay of your trip Brenda. So much contrast and those sunsets are glorious. Your Mom must’ve so appreciated your visit. Did Zoe come with you? Would flying and a rental car at the other end be an option? I just couldn’t handle all that non stop driving both physically and mentally. when we are on the road 400-500 kms is a looong day for us, usually call it a day after about 300kms. I can understand how good home would look after that marathon.

    • Yes, we brought Zoe with us, which is one of the reasons why we drove. My mother loves seeing her and Zoe’s in heaven with my son and daughter-in-law’s dogs. We could fly and get a rental car, but it’s still a lot of driving if we combine the Georgia and Florida visits. So, we decided to just bite the bullet and do the drive. I suspect we’ll fly next time we have such a short turn around time.

  6. Wow….what a trek! I’m glad it was uneventful and that you are home safe, travelling on the road is exhausting, I would have been thrilled to get home too.
    Some interesting views and billboards! I didn’t realise that The Walking Dead was filmed in Georgia, I am a a huge fan of that show.
    What lovely sunsets and beautiful wildlife, good to see the sun too, how lovely to have caught up with your mum and family. Lovely to hear Zoe went too, I bet she was happy to arrive home!xxx

    • One of the nice parts of getting home is that we seem to be having an early spring and life is stirring everywhere. We’ve been seeing our foxes again, the birds are in their spring frenzy, bulbs are popping up, and it smells like soil and growth. We went straight from road exhaustion to pruning, digging, and designing. Zoe’s thrilled to be home and surveying her domain.
      The billboards down south are highly entertaining. The Walking Dead has some wonderful Georgia countryside and old buildings. If we still lived there, I would have tried to get on as a zombie. I have the lurching walk down pat.

  7. I don’t envy you that drive. Now that I’m no longer making the round-trip drive to Gettysburg twice a year, I find I really don’t want to drive more than 300 miles in a day.
    At least, you didn’t come home to bad weather. Instead, spring seems to have arrived in Maine a month early.

    • Hasn’t the weather been gorgeous? So unexpected and welcome. We’re taking full advantage of it to get an early start on our projects. I have about 20 old apples to prune (something I find immensely satisfying), we’re getting the cleared area ready for garden beds, and the bee area ready for hives. If the rain comes tomorrow, as expected, I’m hoping to have time to finish up some indoor sewing projects. What a happy dilemma of choices. I feel rich. Hope your Beethoven and botany are going well!

  8. All that time on the busiest stretch of road in the US! It can take two hours on 95 from Arlington to Fredricksburg–about 50 miles. Ugh. Glad you enjoyed the trip and got to see sights with your mom. I would hazard a guess that tree could be a flowering quince. Trouble is the owner should have mentioned the fruits. I’ve also never seen one quite that shade. Still.

    • We ran into stop-and-go congestion (weekend mid-afternoon, no less) on the Arlington/Fredericksburg stretch heading south and hit gridlock in Florida due to an accident. Other than that, we were extremely lucky traffic-wise. Still, even “normal” traffic flow on 95 is ridiculously busy.
      Thanks for the guess on the tree. I did some more research, which prompted a memory light bulb to go off. The tree is a Bombax–we used to call it a Kapok tree. My mother inherited her house from my grandparents, who lived there since 1959. I used to visit there as a child and this tree was large even then. Now it’s several stories tall–just enormous. But it’s been decades since I’ve seen the tree in flower and I couldn’t remember its name. And my mom’s stroke has rendered her unable to remember either. I asked the owner, but she had just moved in last year and had no idea. I gathered that she rather hates the tree because it drops flowers, sap, fruit, seed pods, and the birds it hosts poop all over their cars. I fear they may take it down. Understandable, I guess, given all the falling debris. But it’s a magnificent tree.

      • I’m going to have to look that up. I’ve heard of Kapok trees, but never seen one. I hope no one cuts it down. It looks so lovely. My cousin lives in Fredericksburg and I tell you, I don’t go down for the day!

  9. It’s been a long time since I’ve had that sort of road trip, but I do remember what they were like. When our kids were small we used to drive to my in-laws in Ohio for Christmas, which was “only” about six hours. Your mother certainly has some gorgeous flowers in her garden.

    • We’ve done a lot of road tripping all over the country, including quite a few drives to and from Alaska. I love to drive, but there are too many people on the road now and the infrastructure hasn’t kept up. It feels more like a battle than pleasure these days.
      My mother’s yard is packed with orchids, bromeliads, and birds. Pretty sweet.

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