Archive for June 3, 2010

Day 4

June 3, 2010 8 comments

Location: Tampa, FL

Miles Driven: 315.5

Cumulative Miles Driven: 1277.5

Never saw a sign like this before…

Be on the lookout for bear crossings near St. George's Island

All right, 1,000 miles in the books!  These first thousand miles have been an amazing experience…let’s hope it keeps going for the several thousand miles remaining.

So this morning I awoke shortly after 7am and continued along Highway 98 with the plan to get to my friend Maria’s apartment in Tampa.  Specifically, I needed to cover about 230 miles on one highway.  Now that was a haul.  A rare treat is when I actually had to turn the car in some direction.  But there were certainly some scenic stretches along the route; driving so close to the Gulf was particularly enjoyable.

A view of Hwy 98

Encountered my first tolls of this trip on this leg of the journey on FL route 589.  They were cheap, but there were several of them.  I remember from a work recruiting trip to FL back in November that there were lots of tolls.  I have a large bag of coins near the front seat for such occasions. It seems the Northeast and FL are big on tolls, but my bag of coins should last me well through both regions.

After a couple pit stops and a nap, made it to Tampa shortly before 3pm.  Since Maria wouldn’t be getting out of work til after 4, I figured I’d find a local park to get a workout in.  Stopped at the Citrus Park (I think it was called), but it was a little shady looking.  Lots of unused baseball fields, some worn down accommodations, and not a soul in sight.  Like a baseball ghost town. Anyway, was perfect for me and I had a grassy area to myself to exercise.

Met Maria at her apartment not long after, and she was an amazing host from the first second I stepped in the door.  Maria fed me some fresh fruit and water, let me use her shower to clean up, and showed me to the guestroom.  She has a really nice apartment – feels more like a house than an apartment, in fact.  We had plans to meet up with some friends for dinner, but had some time beforehand to sit and chat.  I hadn’t seen Maria since Christmas back in NY. She’s originally from my hometown, we worked in Owego, NY at the same time, and also belonged to the same rotational program (OLDP) at Lockheed.

Went to the Courtside Grill to meet up with Dan and Rich, two guys I got to know in November during that recruiting trip to Orlando.  Both are from NY, Rich is a current OLDP participant like Maria, and Dan graduated from the same rotational program a few years back.  Also, Dan went to the same high school as Maria so the three of us have many mutual friends.

Maria, Rich, Me, and Dan

Rich and Dan are two guys who really helped me out during a hectic period when we were in Orlando for recruiting last year.  Now it was time to relax, tell some stories, share some laughs, and see what’s up ahead for everyone.  After dinner came back to Maria’s to relax. Maria kindly let me use her washer and dryer and also gave me some gatorade, so when I load the car up in the AM I’ll be fully stocked on clean clothes and refreshments. Watched a little TV, and for the first time I saw the show “Man vs. Food” (I guess I’m slow to the uptake on this one).  Many people have suggested I try similar things the host does in conquering giant meals at various restaurants across the country.  In this episode, he had to eat this layered ice cream thing that looked as big as a human torso, and then later, in Hawaii, he was challenged to eat four pounds of pancakes in one sitting. Ughhh.  I think he finished off the ice cream, but was unable to eat all of those pancakes.  Fortunately, I’m trying to keep things frugal on this trip so I will probably not be going after the same challenges the host of “Man vs. Food” does, and perhaps I’ll save myself a heart attack or two in the process.

Tomorrow will be a nice break from driving as I only have about 85 miles to go to my next destination – Orlando.  In Orlando, I’ll meet up with my brother’s friend Andrew (he is a performer at Disneyland), see some of the park (never been there before), and meet up with some friends who live in that area.

Thanks again to Maria for hosting this vagabond.


P.S. Thanks for all the well-wishes and support from the readers out there.  Today was a record day in the brief history of this website – 216 hits.  Incredible.  I’m glad people are finding it interesting…hopefully I can maintain that interest through the end of the summer.

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