Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Bumps On The Holiday Road

To the guests of the Super 8 in Florence, Kentucky the night of December 25th: my wife and I sincerely apologize.

Vacations always have their bumps. One of our's occurred early in the morning on December 26th when we were sleeping at a Super 8 in Kentucky. The alarm woke us up rather rudely at 5:30 a.m., but I wanted to get an early start driving as we had a long drive to Key West ahead of us.


I let my wife fumble for the alarm while I made a quick pit stop to the bathroom.


After I finished, I came out to see Wendy still desperately trying to find the shut-off on the motel alarm clock.


This thing was as noisy as a hotel fire alarm. She had pushed, pulled and turned every dial and button to no avail.


And the walls in your garden variety Super 8 are not very soundproof. I'm sure we were being heard in rooms all the way down the corridor. I finally wrestled the nightstand away from the wall and pulled the plug on the clock.


What the ??? Did this clock have a battery back-up or something? Did I have to run down the hall carrying it to the front desk like some kind of bomb? I held the clock to my ear. Nothing! It wasn't the hotel alarm after all. It was our travel alarm clock that Wendy had set nearby. And she says I'm losing it. By now, doors were slamming up and down the hall, guests obviously roused from their slumber by the racket. It was our quickest ever check-out. Do they still tar and feather in Kentucky? I was worried.

Another little vacation bump down in Key West. Very busy down there at this time of year; I couldn't find a spot to park near our hotel, so I parked about four blocks down in a space I wasn't sure was legal. Left Wendy there while I ran up the street to check in and get better parking instructions.

So I signed papers, gave them my credit card at the front desk, got a map of the hotel along with information on their continental breakfast. What about parking, I asked.

"You brought your car?" she asked with a hint of incredulity. What, like most people parachute in or something? Of course I brought my car. She basically said I was on my own. I did see some empty street spaces marked "residential." Could I park there? She said she thought I could whereupon a more veteran clerk remarked, "I wouldn't recommend it."

So . . . what would they recommend then? They said to find a pay lot, park for the night, then try to find a vacant street spot in the morning when more should become available. Turns out that this part of town is a little on the "urban" side, whatever that means. For me, it meant I was worried about my brand new Dodge Grand Caravan for the next three days. And it meant that once I found a parking spot, which I did just down the block, it stayed there until we checked out.

Anyway, the trip still was fun. Here are some pictures from the Keys and south Florida.

The iconic Key West sunset

Why did the chicken cross the road? It didn't. It stood in the middle of the road with its chicks feeding while cars and trucks drove around.

Sloppy Joes bar, Hemingway's favorite.

The lighthouse next to our hotel.

The view from the lighthouse. Note the line of folks waiting to tour Hemingway's home.

A street level view of Hemingway's home.

An alligator in the Everglades. As I approached the opposite shore of this canal to take this picture I heard a tremendous spash on my side. Turns out there was a bigger gator lurking in the brush below me. Wow. What I won't do to get a good picture for my blog here.


Blogger Out on the prairie said...

I like the gator shot, we often forget how many are around until you see the signs warning you.

10:11 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

OUT ON THE PRAIRIE--I don't remember any signs on this highway. Once we turned off onto a gravel road, THEN we saw the signs.

3:50 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

you know, I left a message here-came back and it obviously got lost! oh well, another one for cyberspace Dave.
What beautiful pictures. We went to Key West on our 20th anniversary cruise and thought it was a fun town, friendly people. But we've never been able to see the everglades, what a pretty sight. maybe, since our plane doesn't leave until the evening when we're on our way home we can squeeze in a tour!

2:14 PM  
Blogger Hilary said...

Wonderful photos. I think I'd feel pretty nervous to be near those gators though I've always wanted to see the Everglades. I got quite a chuckle out of your alarm clock woes.

Thanks for your visit to my blog and in turn, introducing me to yours.

8:25 PM  
Blogger TechnoBabe said...

Dave, at least you and Wendy are willing to venture out on vacations to new parts and see new things. With so many different things which could cause negative experiences, such as the no available parking thing, you are gutsy to head out over and over to places. I don't know how long I have been reading your blog, but at least a couple years. And I have enjoyed reading about your adventures when you and Wendy hit the road.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

CARINE--If you go down "Alligator Alley", Highway 41, in Florida you will find lots of airboat ride safaris into the Everglades. They were always packed with tourists too. If I went back, I would like to try one of those.

HILARY--There are signs warning you not to approach alligators. They stand their like statues but they can move quickly when they want to, I understand.

TECHNOBABE--My dad thinks I push the envelope on my vacations just so that I'll have something to write about in my blog. I do like a little adventure though.

6:46 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ I liked the alarm clock story even if the other patrons didn't. And the gator episode was a
bit scary.Like your Dad says, maybe you create these situations for us bloggers. Thanks if you do, but be careful. So You call McDonalds Mickey D. Maccas rolls off the tongue
and where else to eat on Christmas
day. The floods cover a huge part of Queensland and are devastating for the people there.We are having
Relief funds to donate to, to help them. They help Victoria 2 years ago after the dreadful fires.
Glad you liked the photos and also the poetry. Take care, my friend,
Regards, Merle.

9:40 PM  
Blogger Isabelle said...

Oh, your grandbaby will be the most beautiful ever born. Until mine arrives, of course...

8:44 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MERLE--We noticed that Big Boy's restaurants were open on Christmas day too. They probably don't have those in Australia though.

ISABELLE--I located our boys' old crib in the attic yesterday. I'm going to see if I can get it down and assemble it for those visits to come.

3:55 AM  
Blogger B.S. said...

Wow! I think I'm going to have to check out Key West someday! Maybe I'll move there, since they seem to share my attitude toward cars....

9:49 AM  

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