Leaving Florida

While visiting Florida, we spent days gathered with family, went out to eat, and swam in Laurie’s aunt and uncle’s pool. They were lazy, hazy days, but we really enjoyed them.

One particular meal that we ate out was at a place called Duff’s Smorgasbord! Laurie’s grandparent’s all time favorite place to eat out was Duff’s. They had a plethora of different dishes for everyone to pig out on!! Bill often calls it “putting the feed bag on.” Anyway, we did want to mention that although Duff’s Smorgasbord Franchise did go out of business, the wide selection of food they offered was done so at the miraculously, cheap price of $3.75 for adults back in 1985. Can we just tell you that the place was packed, the food was good, and the grandparents paid! You couldn’t ask for anything more than that!

But getting back to our travels, we left Sebring, Florida at 2:20 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, 1985 to travel to Panama City, Florida.  By driving at night we found that it eased our travel days considerably. We’d go to bed, get 3 – 5 hours of sleep (hey, remember, we were kids, and could function on that little bit of sleep), then drive throughout the night.

There were many advantages to traveling this way. First, we wouldn’t be traveling during the hottest part of the day in the middle of the deep south. Secondly, we found that not being able to drive much over 55 mph, it was easier to drive when the traffic was thin. Thirdly, we would usually arrive at our destination about mid-morning; therefore, allowing us the entire day to go sightseeing.

On our way to Panama City, we drove right through the Apalachicola National Forest. It had appeared to have recently had a bad fire in the area. We often drove through National Forests on our travels. We  routed ourselves so we could see the best scenery while traveling across the country.

This particular day we crossed into the Central Time Zone. We arrived at Panama City at approximately 10:30 a.m. We checked into the campsite, donned our bathing gear, grabbed our beach towels, and ran for the Gulf of Mexico. We had to hurry as the clouds looked mighty dark and gray. We got to swim in the Gulf for about 15 minutes, then we ran back to the campground just in time to prevent getting drenched or hit by lightening.

We started to realize in the summer Florida had daily thunder storms, and they were usually pretty strong ones. But 30 minutes later the sun came out, and it was a beautiful evening. Here’s a couple of old postcards that we kept all these years of Panama City Beach.

On July 7, 1985 we left Panama City, Florida at 3:30 a.m. to arrive in Lafayette, Louisiana after traveling 400 miles.  The old motor home seemed to be humming right along with no overheating problems, nor did the clutch give us any more scares!

We arrived in Lafayette, Louisiana to be faced with yet another storm.  Bill made the statement, “We’ll probably take this storm all the way to California with us.”  On our way to Louisiana we crossed the Mississippi River.

Photo from freefoto.com
Photo from freephoto.com

The next day we traveled from Lafayette, Louisiana to Beaumont, Texas in order to stay a few days with our dear sister-in-law.  Beaumont is a suburb of Houston, but it’s on the Galveston Bay!

Join us next time as we tell you about our brief visit in Beaumont (and the nasties we experienced swimming in Galveston Bay), then traveling on across the BIG state of Texas!  Yes, we drove across the entire state of Texas, but it wasn’t boring!  We visited a beautiful cavern, which we’ll document next time followed by arriving in New Mexico!

Do you all know what famous cave is in New Mexico?  Go ahead, guess!  We bet someone knows!

When we arrived in New Mexico the following conversation took place:

“Bill,It finally feels like we’re really starting our trip!”

“Yes, my dear Laurie, it does!”

Until next time!

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