Homeward Bound

This week déjà vu swept in with a follow-up ice storm targeting Atlanta. I dodged the bullet the first time around with being off and smuggled away on a Disney Cruise. Unfortunately, this time around, I found myself stranded in Fort Myers, Florida. After completing my last working leg to Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), my crew was granted a 22 hour layover with scheduled deadhead back to Atlanta the following afternoon. Normally, I love being one of the “Grateful Dead (Headers),” but this would have resulted in my being stranded in Atlanta.

A sleek red number! (Mazda M3 Hybrid)

After a discussion with a scheduler about the intricacies of my situation, I requested and was mercifully granted a deviation from my deadhead to Atlanta. The only catch? I would have to get home via road trip! I used to drive five from Gainesville down to my old house in south Florida, and after a fitful night’s sleep, I was ready to power through. Not only did I want to get home, but I also had an evening of wine and chocolate scheduled, and I wasn’t missing out on it!

Getting out of Dodge…

Within minutes of hanging up the phone and furiously repacking my life into my bags, I proceeded to get a great deal on a rental car from Priceline.com, headed to the lobby, printed out directions home, and dropped off my key. In less than an hour, I was already on my way to the airport. With so many flight cancellations and traveling on a weekday, the rental car queues were empty– on par with The Walking Dead type of empty. Thankfully, I was greeted by a lovely lady at the Avis/Budget Rental counter and not a swarm of shambling walkers. Again, in less than ten minutes I had my keys in hand and I was making my way out to E28, where a beautiful red Mazda Speed3 awaited to take me home.

Love me a Garmin!

The tricky thing about these new fangled, eco-friendly cars is that unless you’re automotive savvy or an owner, you might not be able to figure out how to turn on the darned thing! As luck would have it, the garage attendants reassured me that I wasn’t the first, nor will I be the last to ask for assistance in turning on a car. Once I got that sorted out, I went about setting up the Garmin GPS and felt like I was tearing out of the airport on two wheels. The accuracy and ease of use, truly makes me want to pitch my TomTom in the trash and invest in one of these beauties.

“Breakfast” in Zolfo Springs!

Despite my best efforts to power my way through the drive, my morning coffee and otherwise empty stomach urged me to make a pit stop at a BP in Zolfo Springs. One of the biggest frustrations I have is being hungry but completely indecisive about what I want to eat. After three laps of the food, I settled on frosted strawberry PopTarts and a Little Debbie cherry pie pocket. Neither of which have much nutritional value, but performed a great service at settling my stomach and soothing my nerves. I hate eating in my own car let alone in a rental, but I didn’t want to waste time sitting in a parking lot eating.

Lately, Orlando and Daytona area radio stations tend to play the same songs simultaneously or within minutes of one another. I can only hear Pitbull & Ke$ha’s “Timber” or Taylor Swift’s “Trouble” before my road rage is set to simmer. Without any means of plugging my iPhone into the dash, I returned to basics and started scanning the radio for something perfect for an early morning on the open road. Can I tell you how stoked I was to kick off my trip with the original “Hawaii Five-O Theme”? Kudos to the local oldies station. Here’s a generous sampling of how I jammed my way home. Yes, there was terrible in car karaoke on my part, resulting in a nice sexy-raspy voice by the time I got home.

  • “Hawaii Five-O (Original) Theme”
  • “Hotel California” – The Eagles
  • “One Way Or Another” – Blondie
  • “Don’t Stop Believin'” – Journey
  • “You Make My Dreams” – Hall & Oats
  • “Happy” – Pharell Williams
  • “I’m Like a Bird” – Nelly Furtado
  • “Everyday Is a Winding Road” – Sheryl Crow”
  • White Walls” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. ScHoolboy Q & Hollis
  • “Cruise” – Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly
  • “Two Black Cadillacs” – Carrie Underwood
  • “Big Yellow Taxi” – Counting Crows & Vanessa Carlton
  • “Where Have You Been” (the Calvin Harris Extended Remix) – Rihanna
  • “Young Girls” – Bruno Mars
  • “Talk Dirty to Me” – Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chains
  • “Hasta Abajo” – Yandel
  • “Que Viva La Vida – Wisin
  • “Gold” – Britt Nicole
  • “Titanium” – David Guetta feat. Sia
  • “Burn” – Ellie Goulding
  • “Dark Horse” – Katy Perry feat. Juicy J
  • “Crazy” – Kardinal Offishall
  • “Comedown” – Bush
  • “The Impressions That I Get” – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • “The Phoenix” – Fall Out Boy
  • “Sleeping With a Friend” – Neon Trees
  • “Blow Me (One Last Kiss) – P!nk
  • “See You Tonight” – Scotty McCreery
  • “I Will Wait” – Mumford & Sons
  • “Wanted” – Hunter Hays
  • “The Heart of Dixie” – Danielle Bradbery
  • “Love Story” – Taylor Swift
  • “Story of My Life” – One Direction
  • “She’s So High” – Tal Bachman
  • “All of Me” – John Legend

I will say this much, despite my fear and loathing for Interstate Four, my heart skipped a beat when I saw the on ramp heading east. I believe I actually greeted it with a saucy, “Lucy, I’m Hoooooome” a la Ricky Ricardo. I plodded past the House of Mouse, the Mall at Millennia, Downtown Orlando, my beloved Winter Park & Altamonte Springs, and kept my foot to the pedal on the right until I came to the end of I-4.  Three hours and fifty-six minutes later, I was rolling into one of my favorite airports in the system: Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB). It was a ghost town due to all the cancellations, leaving only a skeleton staff to handle the handful of folks dropping off their rental cars. I dropped off my car, loaded up my little car, and headed home. There was a tight turn time once I got home as a girls’ night out showcasing wine and chocolate awaited me later that night!


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