Picking up the Volvo

So I started the whirlwind trip down to Orlando with a couple uneventful flights where my sister picked me up shortly after noon.

We went straight over to Jim’s sports bar “Flanagan’s” where Jim met us for an awesome lunch. Few beers and a buffalo chicken wrap and a couple wings, and a side salad, and thats it, really.

After picking Summer up from her school, we then went over to pick up the Ferrari at Jim’s shop. Just as promised, the silver 2001 Volvo S40, was in tip-top shape, fully fueled and ready to go. Lucky I am marrired as I will surely not be picking up any chicks with it, but an 9 year old car with 36,000 miles, how could I pass it up. 4,000 a year isn’t a bad average, especially when compared to the 34,000 Jean puts on her vehicles per year!

After a short swim at Teresa’s in the rain, and meeting Daisy, their new puppy, it was almost night. Some more delicious eats with Papa Tony’s pizza, finished off the belly for the night. The lightning fast day ended with a “Slumdog Millionaire” showing, what a great movie.


Departing at 7am, it truly was a whirlwind trip. I’d be in the state of Florida less than 24 hours.

Firing up the GPS right at 7:00am upon my departure, I had an arrival time of 10:35pm. Uggh, 15h:35m trip before stops. After immediately getting on Interstate 4 headed east for Daytona, a little KIA RIO passed me like I was standing still. I decided to ride some coat-tails to see where it would get me. After finally catching up and debating whether to stay with him, I kept pace staying about a 1/4 mile back, he averaged between 90-95 for almost the next hour and a half hitting a top speed of 106mph just before he got clocked around St Augustine. Sorry buddy, but thanks. This daring pavement recon helped me shave 40 minutes off my arrival time before even reaching Jacksonville. Dropping down to 75-80 after that was very difficult. My target remained 8-10mph over the speed limit for the remainder of the trip, riding more coat-tails whenever possible. Maybe ill-thought, but I felt this was a comfortable speed that would not deserve a ticket. Especially with the occasional fool traveling 35mph over the speed limit. After cruising through the city of Jacksonville where I lived for 5 years, I would reach the FL state line before I knew it, cutting 45 minutes off my ETA before leaving the state. It was exciting watching an arrival time tick down one minute every two minutes… like was fast-forwarding the trip somehow in time, and it definitely set the attitude for the remainder of the trip.

The state of Georgia would prove to be uneventful and go by before I knew I was in it thanks to an audio book recommended by Jim, Vince Flynn’s – Memorial Day. My first audiobook ever and honestly the last book I read/heard since the mid 90’s in college. My first fuel-up/brunch with he tank on E only took 8 gallons of a 16 gallon tank? so creative mileage tracking would be needed for the rest of the trip due to a faulty fuel gauge. If that’s the worst…..no problem. Total stop time so far, 10 minutes.

The South Carolina border came and passed at 11am without slowing me down a bit. Blew past Charlotte without a thought.

My second stop in North Carolina, 7h:20m into my voyage lasted a whole 7 minutes, bringing my total stop time to 17 minutes. If only I had one of those wide-mouth gatorade bottles, I would not have had to stop! My ETA accelerated up to 9:15p at this point. Making great time and still very excited looking forward to every turn of the road…….

And then Virginia…. Oh my God, move this state to Iowa or further West. On the bright side, I did not get a $455 ticket from this wonderful state as was incurred two years ago, and I was only 18mph over at that time. Whomever the idiotic, fool is who designed the exchange from 77N to 81 East, should be fired. A two-lane heavily traveled 77N is funneled into one lane which proved to be a 2mph, 20 minute set-back which would be the buzz-kill of the whole trip. No accident, no nothing, just terrible civil engineering causing the backup.  Our last vacation to Ocean Isle in June brought us through the same intersection for a half-hour traffic jam, again no accident. Slower speed limits and always state troopers, thank God that state was less than 70 miles of my voyage.

Why does West Virginia have to be such a long state. I reached Charleston, WV by 6:10pm, 11h:10m into my trip, amazingly, I was still feeling great, no sore butt and not dying of boredom. Nice alone time without Brandon babbling something. I would stop for my 3rd and final stop in Rockport, West Virginia exactly 12 hours into my trip. I would grab lightning-fast-food and gas in 10 minutes bringing my new, and end, total stop time to to 27 minutes. That’s about how much time it would normally take to get the whole family, gassed, bathroomed and fed on an average stop.  Incredibly easier traveling alone.

I would reach the Ohio border by 7:20pm, 12h:20m into my trip. Surely without the state of Virginia, it would have been some type of record. Just starting to get dark at this point, it wasn’t until southern Ohio, where I actually started thinking this was a very long trip. Especially since the speed limit drops to 60mph. Come on ODOT! I would also end up passing three police cars in Ohio whereas I passed two in all the other states combined.

I would arrive safe and sound on the compound at 9:40pm, 1,004 miles from driveway to driveway. Thank you God for a safe trip.

GPS TALLIES: (Orlando, FL to Streetsboro, OH)
Total time: 14hours, 40minutes
Total stopped time: 27minutes
Average Speed: 74.8 (no thank you, virginia)
Max Speed: 110mph* (southern ohio)

*Disclaimer: For law enforcement agencies, this blog entry and all posted speeds are entirely fictional.

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