Sunday, February 8, 2015

Travels with Sasha Day 17

February 5

I leave St. Augustine at 8:10 a.m. to begin the trek north. The temperature is 56 degrees and it’s raining. Only a right-hand turn is allowed and then it’s a scoot across three lanes to the left to do a U-turn, then I-95 is an immediate right. It’s a good thing I asked because my sense of direction is off. I thought north would be a left onto the interstate, not right. 

Traffic is heavy, but moves along in spite of the rain. I’m not going to be able to get photos with the windshield wipers going. I decide to take the I-295 beltway around the city of Jacksonville. That might not be a smart move as the traffic is stop and go, bumper to bumper, for half an hour.  A Patti Griffin CD keeps me from boredom and the singing helps the time go by. When was the last time I sang? It feels good. The beltway crosses Marion Creek and the St. John River on the N. Dames Point Bridge; a huge cable-stayed bridge like those that had so thrilled me on the 2013 trip. Up and up and over; aieeee! 

Forty five minutes later, I am back on I-95N. 

The St. Mary’s River is crossed at 9:30 a.m. and a quick stop is made at the Georgia VIC. I am sad leaving Florida. I wanted more bird pictures. I wanted to explore more. I get a little weepy. Stop! No regrets! I did what I did and loved it. There will have to be other times to come back and make new discoveries and revisit favorite places. The plan is to drive through this state and get into South Carolina before stopping for the night. I take a little stretch and am soon back on the interstate.  

The rain becomes lighter and more periodic. Many creeks and rivers are crossed and I hold the camera up to catch shots of the Brunswick and Turtle rivers. By now, I’m quite hungry as I didn’t have anything for breakfast. I stop at I-Hop in Brunswick for strawberry and banana pancakes. I can’t eat them all and I’m back on the road by 10:50 a.m. after getting gas for $2.09/gl for a total of $20.09. How’s that for numbers? 

The Savannah River is crossed into South Carolina at noon and at 1:45 p.m., I check into a Comfort Inn & Suites in Santee at Exit 98. The temperature is 61 degrees and I’ve driven 1,596.3 miles. At first, the desk clerk said I couldn’t check in until three, but then found a room that was ready. This woman is probably the least friendly person I’ve come in contact with on this entire trip. She didn’t make me feel welcome at all. If I wasn’t so achy, I’d continue to the next Comfort Inn. 

I settle in to a less than great room. There was a bit of a musty smell when I opened the door. It’s dark, drab, and depressing. The bathroom door slams shut and makes me feel I’m being locked in. It looks like it might have, at one time, been a hallway door before they went to card keys. There’s one easy chair squeezed into the corner between the bed and wall. There’s no way to watch TV from that corner and the large footstool that matches the chair wouldn’t fit beside the bed and the heater. The desk chair, when I push back, hits the bed. Do I sound crabby? I am. I’m tired, achy, and I am used to friendlier people down here. 

I get my work started for the week as I plan a lot of driving tomorrow to make Fredericksburg.




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