Wednesday, January 25, 2006

There is No Place Like Home

We left Daytona today. Last night we slept with the window to our room wide open. There is no lullaby greater than that of the ocean waves crashing against the shore. I will miss that.

I woke up at 4:30 and could not get back to sleep. So I got up, got dressed, and went outside to watch the sunrise. Bob heard me and followed me out. He said I would have to wait at least another hour and a half to two hours. It started to rain while we were out there, so I moved to one of the tables with an umbrella and sat down to enjoy the sea. We could see the shrimp boats on the horizon and the white foam of the crashing waves but little else in the inky blackness. We grew cold so we went in to have some coffee and breakfast. I made toast for Bob and heated up my leftover omlet from the day before. Once we were finished eating, Bob decided he wanted to sleep a bit more and I went back outside.

Once outside, I could see people walking the dark beach and a lone fisherman not too far down the shore. I could see the sea gulls gathering around the fisherman, hoping to snag his catch before he could get it fully reeled in.

The sun was slow in coming and it seemed as though it would be night forever. Finally, the sky began to lighten and I decided to go for one last beach walk. Today I wore jeans and a sweatshirt in preparation for our trip back to MN. It worked though as the sea air can be chilly first thing in the morning. Though I LOVE the ocean, I’m not so hip to living near it as I once was. Everything gets coated in a salty mist and the air is so humid, it makes everything feel wet. I wasn’t a fan of that.

When I got back to the motel, Bob was on the veranda waiting for me. He was feeding the gulls the remainder of our bread and cereal while he waited. I met him on the veranda and we watched the ocean some more together, saying goodbye. We were both homesick and ready to return to MN, though we weren’t ready to return to winter and our landlocked state.

While Bob had some more coffee, I packed up the Cruiser and check us out of the motel. Overall, I have to say, we would stay at the Atlantic Ocean Palm Inn again. It wasn’t a 4 or 5 star place, but for a family run place, it was clean, well run, and when I complained of ants on our first full day, they were sprayed right away and we didn’t have a problem again. Two thumbs up.

It was 8am and we were on the road back to Orlando to drop off our rental car and check in for our flight. It was cloudy and somewhat rainy when we left Daytona, but the closer we got to Orlando, the sunnier it became. We got to the airport around 10 and found the drop-off point for our rental car. They scanned our mileage and gas gauge and charged us only what we were quoted. Whew. It turns out we ended up driving the Cruiser almost 800 miles in 10 days. I am glad they had unlimited mileage. It’s funny; I used to loathe the PT Cruiser. I thought it was a twee family van and just too cute for words. But after driving one for 10 days, I ended up really liking it. It was sporty, zippy, got good gas mileage and had lots of room for Bob’s manual wheelchair and our other stuff. I would buy one if given the opportunity and cash. I admit this much to my own humiliation.

Once we dropped off the car, we loaded up a cart and headed for the Sun Country counter. We got there and there was no one at the counter. So we waited. After about 10 minutes, other travelers began to line up behind us. After another 10 minutes, someone finally came to the counter to wait on us. They tagged our bags, printed our boarding passes, and sent us on our way.

We got to the inspection line and there seemed to be hundreds of people waiting. But with Bob being in a wheelchair, we have found we are usually ushered right through and ushered through quite speedily. It’s a nice perk in an otherwise horrible circumstance.

Once through inspection, we stopped at Burger King to have a bite and then headed for our gate. While there, I took out my laptop and was pleasantly surprised to see that I could get free wifi. Score! Thankfully, we only had to wait for an hour before boarding. I have to give Sun Country credit. Once pre-boarding began, they came and got Bob and wheeled him to the plane. They seated us in the very front row and then they took Bob’s chair to the bulkhead storage area.

The flight was fine…uneventful…which is what you want in a flight. It was also a pleasantly empty flight. Flying on a weekday is apparently better if you don’t want to be crowded. They served us two beverages, a warm cheeseburger, and a cookie. Another nice perk for flying Sun Country. I read four trashy magazines while Bob napped and then we were descending into Minneapolis. It was grey and looked cold and there was a wind advisory. There were unusually strong winds when we flew into Orlando on the start of our vacation and there were unusually strong winds at the end of our trip at home in Minneapolis. Weird.

When we got off the plane, a Sun Country staff member was there with Bob’s chair and she pushed him all the way to the baggage area. I have to say, this is the first time I have flown with them and I am impressed. Based on this experience, I look forward to flying with them again in the future.

We got our bags in short measure and then set to wait for our Metro Mobility ride. We had to wait a whole hour. I got out my laptop and saw that while the Minneapolis airport had wifi, they charged a one time $6.95 fee to use it. Bummer. I spent the time writing this journal entry in Word and updating my photos.

The Metro Mobility guy showed up on time (for once) and turned out to be a guy Bob grew up with in the “hood in North Minneapolis. Apparently, Bob had been good friends with this guy’s twin brother. They chatted all the way to our home and had a great time catching up.

Once we got home, we greeted our kitties and I set about unpacking. I did so in about an hour and hoped to spend the rest of the night just chilling in our apartment. Apparently, this was not to be. Our neighbor Becky was going to stop by to see us, so when I heard a knock on the door, I assumed it would be her, so I yelled out, “Be right there Becky!”. I opened the door only to find my friend from work standing there. She was one of our cat-sitters while we were gone and was stopping by to drop off our key. We were in the midst of a good “catch up” when someone else knocked on the door. I yelled out, “come in Becky!” only to have the door open and reveal a tall, dark, handsome policeman. This was somewhat disconcerting. He laughed and said, “It’s not Becky.” He then served me with a subpoena and checked my ID to see that I was who I said I was. Then he left. I opened the envelope only to be more confused. It seemed I was a witness for the State of MN against a guy whose name I didn’t recognize. It said I had to be available to testify on Wednesday, Feb 8th. Bob and I tried to think what this could be in reference to, but we could not come up with anything. I put the paperwork by the phone so I would remember to call the attorney in the morning.

While Peg and I were still talking, there was another knock on the door. It still wasn’t Becky. It was a father and son from our building asking for Bob. They wanted to chat with him about his fish and what they could be doing wrong with theirs as several have died in the past week. They chatted while Peg and I chatted and then they all left. Becky finally showed up about an hour later.

After all that activity and my early wake-up, I was exhausted so it was time to go to bed. It felt so good to be sleeping in our own bed. We had a great vacation. It was perfect. However, it is good to be home. Posted by Picasa

1 comment:

whyme63 said...

Believe me--stick to driving the PT in sunny climes. As the owner of one, I can tell you that they are not the greatest in cold, snowy, wind-blowy regions.