Friday, March 06, 2020
The 2020 Surprise Birthday Party Road Trip
[Note: This is being written after the fact so as not to spoil the surprise of a surprise birthday party. —Editor]
The COVID-19 is close to being a pandemic, and Florida has declared a state of emergency. What better way to celebrate than with a road trip! My friend Joe just turned XX so Bunny, my friend Kurt and I are headed north to Marianna, Florida for a surprise birthday party. The last time we visited Joe was … wow … eleven years ago to attend Joe's father's funeral. At least this time it's under better circumstances.
But first, Bunny and I had to drive from Chez Boca down to Davie to pick up Kurt. Unfortunately, Kurt could not get the day off so we had to pick him up at 5:00 pm. On a Friday. Joy. What should have been a 40 minute drive ended up being over an hour as traffic was insane. I-95 was a parking lot. A segment of the Florida Turnpike was closed. That left the Sawgrass Expressway, which while clean of heavy traffic, left us six miles west of Kurt's house.
And in the short time we spent picking him up, the northbound Sawgrass Expressway clogged up with traffic, leading to even more delays.
It was about 2½ hours after Bunny and I started this trip that we finally got out of South Florida. Then we could start the seven hour drive to Marianna.
Let's see … Bunny and I left the house at 4:15 pm. We arrived at the hotel in Marianna around 2:00 am, but Marianna is in Central, Chez Boca is in Eastern, so we arrived at the hotel at 3:00 am our time, making for an eleven hour drive. For what should have been a 7½ hour trip.
Seriously, these were the cleanest gas station bathrooms I've ever seen
The gas gauge was reading “E” by the time we hit I-10 westbound on our roadtrip. I pulled off at the first available exit that had a gas station and that's how we found ourselves at The Busy Bee. How shall I describe it? Hmm … how about The Four Seasons of gas stations?
Seriously, it's impressive as a gas station. Did I say “gas station?” It's also a recharging station. And a food court. And a candy store. And a confection store. It pretty much has everything, including the cleanest public bathrooms I've even seen. They were even cleaner than our hotel bathroom!
So if you are ever in North Florida and come across a Busy Bee, do yourself a favor and stop. You won't be sorry.
Orange you glad it wasn't banana slices?
It's 3:00 am. Or rather, 2:00 am (this time zone change is really throwing me off here). We've unloaded the car, and as I'm plugging in my iPad to recharge, I find orange segments on the floor. Dusty orange segments.
Personally, I think I would have preferred staying at The Busy Bee than our hotel room. It's not that the hotel was that bad (dusty orange segments aside), but that the Busy Bee was that good.