Friday, July 22, 2011

Recharging the Batteries

Grumpy Little Orange. :0)

Last week sometime, I woke up and decided to take a vacation.  Oh, I had thought about it, but sometimes thinking leads to all sorts of rationalizations like affordability, time, etc.  And planning.  There are some who plan every detail, and there are some who wing it, and I wung it.  Much against anyone's better judgement, I began driving about 7:30 at night, heading for Florida... a mere 15 hours or so away!

Normally an overnight drive would send shudders down my spine, being safety conscious and all, but honestly, a part of me really wanted to watch the sun rise.  No idea why, but seeing dawn break is something we should all do now and then, especially with the shore nearby, and fun times ahead.

Happily, the journey went safely, and thus began a week of alternating adventure and relaxation, with a focus on new experience.  I'm a huge advocate of doing new things to recharge the batteries and stimulate the brain, whether trying new foods or seeing a new place, or both.

Success!  My first evening in Florida I was enjoying the sunset over a beautiful lake, and about to walk out onto a pier when I spotted something in the shallows beside me... what looked like a toy alligator.  While marvelling at how life-like it was, said alligator started moving towards me!  Now I've seen gators before, but none in the wild, none a few feet from me, and none so close to pedestrians and puppies all enjoying the park. And this guy actually moved towards me with no fear in its eyes!

Alligator looks mean!

Next I visited Mt. Dora for the first time, a nice little place on a lake that looks like a town in the Caribean. I watched the Independence Day fireworks, and planned on going back, but unfortunately wasn't able to find the time.

Day 3 found me in Disney World, a place that always stimulates the creative juices! And although I've been there before, I was easily able to find new things to do. Usually I stay in the park resorts, and take advantage of the free bussing to and from the parks, which is beyond priceless. This time I decided to schlup it and actually drive in and park, which involves a lot of traffic, parking two miles away, and then fighting for space on the trams where we then took the ferry across the lake and then stood in a ticket line for tickets and then hiked to the entrance and by then was too tired to move!  Then again, it was a hot and humid day, but next time, a resort stay is definitely called for.

Nice edible design on my dessert plate at Tony's in the Magic Kingdom

I had a chance at a truly unique experience, which was seeing the final space shuttle launch live!   My choice of this week for Florida was influenced by the launch, although I wasn't sure if I wanted to attempt to go to the launch site itself.  First off, I knew it would be crowded, and second, there are sometimes delays in these launches.  Unfortunately, time moved quickly, and where I was located was a great place to see the shuttle take off in the distance... usually.  After a very hot and humid few days, the night before I was in Downtown Disney in a true deluge of rain.  The morning of the launch found it still drizzling, and of course cloudy, so although I should have seen the launch, I couldn't.  It was just too overcast!  Well, some things you just can't control.

On the way home, not wanting to face that dreaded drive, I stopped for the night in Hilton Head, South Carolina, another place I always wanted to visit, and pretty much the last shore stop on the way home.  This not only split my drive up, but I spent a wonderful evening and morning on the beach, in the ocean, and at a gorgeous hotel.  It was muggy there as well, but Hilton Head Island is definitely on the 'Must Return To' list.

Storm brewing over the beach at Hilton Head

So, am I rested and rejuvenated after my impromptu Holiday??  Hell no.  I'm exhausted, and my To-do list is twice as long as before!

But you know what?  I'd do it again in a minute.  You don't forget a trip like that, and yeah, I'm sure to get a lot more out of it, once I've rested and had time to look back.  Maybe even some ideas for cartoons??

No maybes about it. :0)

Time to think about the next trip.    JOHN :0)

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