Thursday, March 31, 2011

Our first cruise was now 'in the books' and it was time to head home and catch up with our lives up in Ohio.  Three months was a long time for us to be gone and I think we were both getting a little tired.  We have Maya tied up to a dock behind a friend's home near Fort Myers Beach. She will stay there for the next couple of months while we get ready for the next adventure.

We were scheduled to attend a Defever Cruiser's Rendezvous in Sarasota the third week of March.  This annual event is a chance for fellow Defever owners to confab together to share stories, drinks and adventures.  We always look forward to seeing all of our friends at the annual Rendezvous.  Its a great three day party.

Around the end of day two however, we started to run out of gas.  We had been boating non-stop almost since Christmas and feelings of homesickness were beginning to set in.  Maya had been put to bed, our car was loaded up for the drive north and I think our brains had already checked out from life on the sea.  As we got ready for the final day of the Rendezvous, we discovered our hearts just weren't in it.  So instead of taking the highway offramp for the meeting venue, we kept going straight up I-75.

We haven't made the drive up from Florida to Ohio in a long time.  Being back on the highway sure brought back some good memories though.  When I was younger, we used to vacation in Florida every summer.  During the high school and college years, there were the spring break trips.  Now that I am in my golden years ;>) I am a little nostalgic for this old ribbon of concrete.

A few things have changed over the years.  Yes, there are still senior citizens driving around with their blinkers on and truckers doing 85 mph on your tail.  That part is still the same.  What struck me the most was the flavor of the billboards along the side of the road.

I remember those benign (and annoying) signs for Stuckey's..... "8 Miles Ahead" or Howard Johnson's.... "AAA approved".  Although those signs seemed to be everywhere back then, they were essentially harmless. During this drive up from Florida however, we were bombarded with signs touting "No Scapel Vasectomies" and "Porn Superstores."  The Coppertone Girl has been replaced by scantily clad XXX models.  I even saw one billboard cleverly advertising "Lookout Mountains" as the come-on to their porn shop.

I am no prude, mind you.  But really.  Do we have to have these signs all along the highways?

By far however, the most prolific ads were for personal injury attorneys.  They were everywhere.  Here is a short list of the best 'easy to remember' phone numbers in case I am in an accident:


and my personal favorite:


I am thinking that a fair number of accidents are caused by people reading those annoying signs and not paying attention to the road.  Probably a potential lawsuit in there somewhere.

Anyway, we are scheduled to make our next trip in a month or two.  The plan is to cross Florida at Lake Okeechobee and head out into the Atlantic Ocean on our way to the Abacos.  The Abacos are part of the Bahamas chain of islands and are the closest to the US mainland.  Only 50 miles east of Palm Beach, the Abacos are a wonderful way for us to get our feet wet as we explore the islands outside the United States.  We are very excited about this upcoming trip and already wishing we could leave tomorrow.


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