After our adventures on the helicopter we began the road trip taking us to our winter home. Our first night in Erie PA was the start of our highway trek through several states en route to Florida. There was a fabulous Italian eatery that delivered to our room. We shared a celebration snack and wine with our travelling companion.
We left PA and travelled into Ohio for our next night. Generally driving about 4 hours per day is plenty for us. With Molly we have to be mindful of her routine and deviate as little as possible. A morning walk and feeding; an afternoon walk and feeding. Since we are in strange places we don’t walk or drive after dark. This time of year it means being at our destination by 4 pm.
Our second overnight was in Cincinnati. We have discovered the Home2 chain by Hilton. These are large studios with kitchenettes which is perfect for us. We can store food and drink in the fridge and there’s dishes for any food we might eat. The hotel was great! Super clean and perfect for us. We had some leftovers from the night before so hunkered down in our room watching … groan… Christmas movies! (Which I love) The next morning we packed up and headed for our next destination: Nashville.
I guess my geography rather sucks. I had no idea that crossing the Ohio river in Cincinnati ends up in Kentucky! There are a bunch of bridges crossing the wide river and on either bank is the skyline of a big city. Absolutely beautiful. We marvelled at the landmark stadiums (Louisville Slugger for one) and the Derby … so much to see and do if you’re not plowing through (and during covid!). We buzz through Kentucky wishing we could pull over at the countless distilleries and historic sites but unfortunately we have a timeline and many things are still closed.
As we see Nashville appear in the distance the billboards announce the obvious country entertainment Mecca. But again, lots is closed or restricted. We find our hotel in Franklin just south of Nashville. It’s an upscale neighborhood where I feel like we could bump into someone famous at every turn. We stop into a liquor store (of course) and then a grocery store. Everyone is wearing masks. I pick up provisions for the night and the next day. Since it’s Saturday the stores are busy but the hotel is nestled among office buildings which are deserted. Great for walking molly around their park like grounds. The birds were busy chirping up a storm in the surrounding bushes. It felt like spring; 10C and gorgeous sun.
We pack up and rumble to our next destination: Aliceville Alabama. Backwoods is being too kind. It is so remote and off the beaten path we wondered what we were getting into. As we pull into the wooded lane I felt like I was back in Campbellville. A winding driveway (albeit paved unlike our gravel road) going up hill and then suddenly the woods clear to reveal a sprawling cape cod style home. With about seven vehicles in the front. The welcoming committee consisted of 4 of the cutest kids, two dogs (Bella and Ladybird) and a pile of adults carrying drinks. We were ushered to the outdoor gazebo for a welcome drink and a couple more adults arrived – what a lively bunch!! We were treated to a complete southern dinner with ribs, potato and macaroni salads, beans, corn and rolls. What a feast. I’m trying to get the rib recipe. Fall off the bone mouth watering goodness. Yum!! We practically fall into bed (a huge king with a beautiful quilt) pooped, stuffed and a bit tipsy. Even molly was tuckered out from kids giving her tons of love.
We have a long drive on our fifth day from Alabama to Tallahassee. We choose to put in a longer day so that we can arrive at our final destination in Davenport at a reasonable enough time to get provisions and get settled. So today’s drive was 6 hours plus stopping time. Molly is such a wonderful traveller she takes it all as she gets it. We are up early and I walk her down the lane way and it is still damp from the overnight rain. Rudy collects our things. We say a goodbye to our wonderful hosts and we are off at 8 am (central time … so really 9am). Again my geography is lacking. We are literally 20 min from the Mississippi border and have quite a trek through southern Alabama before crossing into Florida.
The highway from Aliceville is a two lane stop and go until we hit the very southeast of the state. Once we cross into Florida the highway widens and you can see a definite economic difference. Alabama (through Troy and Ozark especially) are very depressed with many businesses boarded up. It was a bit sad to see; hopefully they can bounce back. Around Tuscaloosa there’s lots of action and the most gigantic Mercedes plant I have ever seen!
Florida is the sunshine state. The closer we got the more the sun came out. Tallahassee is the capital city and it is bustling. Our Home2 is in the heart of a busy area teeming with shops and restaurants. We are excited for our final leg tomorrow. Home sweet home.