A Travellerspoint blog

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Graving, Sightseeing, Lighthouses, and Family


View Costa Rica & Driving South on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

This was a trip which was originally scheduled in December 2016 as a visit to FSU in Tallahassee. Then our granddaughter decided to be married in May 2017, and we rescheduled the trip to coincide with her wedding in South Carolina. I tried to schedule the driving so that we drove less than 300 miles a day because as we get older, longer time in the car gets stressful.

Our schedule was
May 2 - Leave our home in Leonardtown and drive as far as Selma-Smithfield
May 3 - Drive to Augusta, Ga
May 4 - Drive to Tallahassee
May 5-6 Visit the Capitol Museum and Maclay Gardens
May 7 - Drive to NAS Mayport
May 8-9 Take photos of lighthouses, and visit Fernandina Beach and two more cemeteries
May 10 - Drive to Hinesville GA
May 11-13 - Rehearsal and wedding
May 14 - Head for home, stopping in Rocky Mount
May 15 - back home again

Our house


At the end of the trip is an accounting of our expenses. We spent an average of $275/day on Gas, Food, Lodging, Admissions , Tolls and Gifts

Posted by greatgrandmaR 09:41 Archived in USA Tagged florida north_carolina south_caroina Comments (0)

Pack, Prepare and Proceed

2 May 2017 - Leaving Leonardtown

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I got packed up on Friday April 28th

Bob has painted the laundry room a really BRIGHT shade of yellow which is hard on the eyes (he says it is the same as the bathroom, but it isn't), and has also built a shelf for folding laundry. He's also mowed the lawn, got gas in the car and made one last run to the dump. He threw some things in the suitcase this morning (and I think he packed the sunscreen in the big suitcase because it is not in his overnight bag), and did a last wash. He has taken two suitcases and the scooter and put them in the car.

The cats are roaming around - they know something is up. Or at least Bob says they do. Cindy was meowing a lot more than normal. She's the vocal one. Gravel Gertie is on the top (she's really feral and we can't touch her at all)

cat tree

cat tree

Cindy Block is the grey and white one on the next to the top shelf, Orange Crush - one of the males is next, and on the bottom is Crunch, the other male, who is a year older than the rest. Heidi Ho is the fifth cat and she isn't in this photo - she's a muted calico.. The cat sitter will come every day for an hour and brush and feed the cats, and clean their boxes.

We left on Tuesday, May 2nd. I turned off the modem and put my computer in my bag and went downstairs about 9:15 and we left the house at 9:30. Only one afterthought - I forgot to get my car keys so Bob went back after them.

Sponge Bob Square Pants overlooking a local farm

Sponge Bob Square Pants overlooking a local farm


Soon we were approaching Morgantown MD where the PEPCO power plant is located.

Sign for Aqualand Marina under the Nice bridge

Sign for Aqualand Marina under the Nice bridge

We were going over the NICE BRIDGE. I think that is a funny name for a bridge but of course it was named for someone whose last name was Nice.


Potomac from the Nice Bridge

Potomac from the Nice Bridge

Approaching the Virginia Shore

Approaching the Virginia Shore

We stopped a a cemetery in Bowling Green and took some photos (we do photo-documentation of cemeteries),

Greenlawn Cemetery

Greenlawn Cemetery

and I then thought we would eat in Ruther's Green as we got there about 11:45 - I saw a Wendy's was there which I know Bob likes, but it was behind a truck stop and Bob just didn't understand when I said how to get there (he doesn't hear very well as he is partly deaf). so he got on I-95 instead.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 10:30 Archived in USA Tagged leonardtown Comments (0)

Selma-Smithfield, NC

Tracking Down Restaurants

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Then I thought we would stop in Ashland at Wendy's but again he had trouble following the directions of the GPS. So he said - we will stop HERE, and it was Hardee's.

I thought I would try to be very good about eating, but I have lapsed several times. At Hardees I got a Baby back rib BBQ Thickburger,



and water to drink, and then I saw that they had apple pies and she said it was 2 for $1.00, so I got two. (Bad Rosalie) Bob got a regular hamburger meal (with fries and a drink) He said he should have looked at the menu better as there was a smaller hamburger on the menu that he could have had.

We got back on the road. We were heading for Selma/Smithfield NC. This confused Bob because he thought Smithfield was in VA near Norfolk. But we did get to Selma about 3:30. I had checked in, in advance so they didn't even have to run the card. I picked room 101 which I thought would be near the lobby, but it was all the way at the end of the corridor (by the parking lot exit.)

Selma and Smithfield are adjoining towns which seem to be mostly discount malls - I noticed a couple of cigarette-vaping places. There is the Ava Gardner museum here, but I decided I really didn't want to pay $9 each to go there and see her clothes.

So we relaxed in the room until about 6 and then I walked out to the car in my stocking feet and put on my L.L.Bean shoes (which are slip-ons so easier than laced or velcro shoes). We went to a Marathon gas station - fuel was cheaper than in MD $2.19. We got 41.8 miles to the gallon.

I wanted to eat at a restaurant that wasn't fast food and Bob doesn't care for mexican - all the local non-fast food places appeared to be either pizza or Mexican. We tried Shoneys, but it had closed and was out of business. So we decided to eat at Denny's. But apparently we missed a turn and ended up down in Smithfield. Denny's kept getting farther away or we were making the wrong turns. Eventually, after almost getting back on I-95, we got to Denny's and it was open.


I got an omelet and hash browns and a biscuit from the over 55 menu, and Bob got a grilled chicken dinner which came with two sides. He asked for a garden salad and fries - the salad was huge.

Bob's salad

Bob's salad

He also had a milkshake. I had a sundae but I ate only half of it.

Tomorrow we head for Augusta GA

May 3rd

I went to bed early last night. Our daughter says that when she called it went right to voice mail, but I had my phone on most of the day. I didn't have the Leonardtown land line forwarded to this phone, and I checked and this phone does not forward to Leonardtown. So I don't know what the problem was. NOTE: I just got a call (from Hughesville) which said that I could have my student loans forgiven. So even if my friends and family can't call, the spammers can!!! (If you don't know - I never had any student loans and of course Bob went to the USNA so he didn't have any either, and even if we had them, I think now that we are 81 and 79 years old, they would have been resolved by now)

My sleep was fitful. Bob got up about 7:30 and he went to eat and brought me my breakfast (a banana, eggs and a sausage). He was having a problem swallowing and I don't think he ate much breakfast.


We were underway before 9:30 and were in Lumberton by 10:40


I didn't take many photos today and we didn't stop much. We got off I-95 and onto I-20 in Florence, and we stopped in Bishopville at a KFC for lunch.


They had a buffet, but we didn't try that. I had chicken livers

and Bob had a chicken breast which he was able to eat.


This was on all the tables

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:01 Archived in USA Tagged nc chicken_livers Comments (0)

Marching to Georgia

Hotel Mistake

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We were listening to NPR - as one station would get staticy we would switch to the next on. Yesterday we got into some religious station, where they were trying to get people to write the President and tell him to veto the budget bill if it funded Planned Parenthood, but today we stuck to NPR. They were discussing the suicide book/TV show 13 Reasons Why. They seemed to think that the guidance counselor dropped the ball, but I think HS guidance counselors are mainly there to help with seeing the people have enough credits to graduate and writing college recommendations. I don't think they are mental health professionals as a rule. I think the guidance people in middle school are more likely to be able to do that.

Then there was a man who thinks people are taking too many medications and need to use alternative therapies. I was with him until he advocated chiropractic. Therapeutic massage is good, but I think the basis for chiropractic is wrong and can lead to damage.

Tomorrow we are going from Augusta Georgia to Tallahassee. I looked at the maps and there is no way to get to Tallahassee from anywhere in Georgia on an interstate. You can get to Tallahassee from the east, you can get to Tallahassee from the west, you can get to Tallahassee from the south, but if you are approaching from the north, there is no direct highway to take. I told Bob this, and he said, well there ARE roads aren't there? We won't have to cross farmer's fields or anything.


We crossed into Georgia at 2:25, and managed (by correctly navigating a whole cloverleaf of interchanges) to get to the Gordon Highway Hampton Inn. Here there was a problem. They didn't have me in the system - no record of the reservation. It turned out that when I made the reservation the second time (on the phone) it was made at a different Hampton Inn in Augusta. My original reservation in Augusta was meant to put us a little way along the non-interstate road and I was going to visit some cemeteries on Fort Gordon. I decided not to do that but I still wanted to stay at this Hampton Inn. Since they had a room, we checked in there.


I called the other Hampton Inn and they said that they had a 24 hour reservation cancellation policy, but they would cancel my reservation just this once so I wouldn't have to pay for two. I think if they had sent me an email like the Hampton Inn in Selma-Smithfield had done, I might have noticed the discrepancy, but they didn't

Bob roused about 4:30 and asked where we were going to dinner. The front desk gave me a two page list of restaurants which included P.F. Changs (in the big local mall- which I wasn't that interested in going to a mall) and some places on the other side of Augusta. So I looked on the Internet and decided to try the Harbor Inn, which I thought would have stuff Bob liked to eat and it wouldn't be chicken. Also I thought we could get there making only right turns, without getting back on the expressway.


Harbor Inn turned out to be very interesting with a lighthouse out front and many murals on the walls


and live piano music (Bob tipped the piano player $2.00).


Bob got the shrimp, a baked potato, salad and bread. It was on the menu as STRIP - so he said to the waitress, "I thought maybe with this I would get a show".


I had swordfish, salad, sweet potato, and hush puppies.

I didn't eat all the hush puppies. Swordfish was a little dry.

They had two unlabeled squirt bottles on the table - one was cocktail sauce and the other was some kind of white mayo-mustard type sauce. I thought it might be tarter sauce, but it wasn't. There was also a large shaker which Bob thought might be Old Bay but I said - not a chance. It was cinnamon sugar. I am tired of drinking water so I got iced tea (unsweet) and Bob had hot tea. Then we managed to get back to the hotel making only right turns and not using the expressway. We also got gas and we got a little more than 50 mpg.


Tomorrow we go overland through farmer's fields and down the back roads to Tallahassee

May 4 -
We had breakfast with no problems

It was overcast when we started out, and soon the skies opened up and it was pouring rain. The GPS tried to take us over to Macon, and I would follow the AAA route which was also the route on my phone,

And while we weren't going through farmers fields, we were on un-numbered roads - that is not a US highway, not a state highway and not even a county road. Roads with names and no numbers.


It was raining really hard, and Bob was complaining about people who didn't have their headlights on and therefore you couldn't see their taillights either.

Eventually I said we HAD to stop and eat, so at 12:40 at Captain D's Seafood in Cordele.


It was still raining but not as hard. Bob said I should run to the restaurant, but I can only hobble. He said he had not brought an umbrella, although I seem to remember asking him about that.

I asked the lady at the counter what was the smallest meal I could get. She told me that would be a child's meal, so that's what I got. (one piece of fish, cole slaw and broccoli)

Bob had a regular meal (2 pieces catfish, fries, cole slaw and 2 hush puppies). I ate his hush puppies because he doesn't like them.


I took a selfie of myself while I was waiting for Bob to get finished in the restroom. We both used the restroom and then got back on the road. I called my daughter on the phone to let her know where we were.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 08:49 Comments (0)

Taking Tallahassee

Mexican Food and Maclay Gardens

The rain was more or less stopped by the time we finished lunch So we soldiered on - we were actually on an interstate at that point but we got off at Tifton, and followed US 319 down to Tallahassee.

We got to the hotel about 4 (without stopping for gas like Bob wanted to do) and our daughter met us in the lobby and helped us get checked in.


I'm not a fan of this hotel. To begin with, the beds are so tall that I have a really hard time getting onto them. The things that we take for granted at a Hampton Inn - simple things which make your stay nicer - this hotel does not have. No suitcase racks to put your suitcase on to unpack. No mirrors except in the bathroom, so you have to go in there to see if your hair needs to be combed. And the bathroom has the sink separate from the toilet and shower/tub but there isn't a waste basket in the toilet section - only by the sink. And also of course, no free breakfast, There is a "Bistro" but the prices are outlandish.


We sat in the room with our family


until our daughter's friend and our grandson's girlfriend got here from Miami and then we went over to a Mexican place called El Patron. We walked over - I went on the scooter. I wore my sweater

It was very noisy. We ate out on the patio. and it we had a good time - even though it was noisy we were able to talk.
daughter and son-in-law

daughter and son-in-law

But the service was abysmal - they didn't have enough menus.
(Sharing a menu)

We had two rounds of chips before they got our drink orders. I had a virgin Pina Colada

Then it was a long time before the appetizers that our daughter ordered came. And another long wait for the food. We got over there about 8:15, and we didn't get our actual food until after 9. Fortunately they gave Bob his food first because he is not accustomed to eating that late. But everyone was served and they hadn't brought me anything. The others complained that their food was cold. The hot dishes which were usually too hot to touch were only warm. They did eventually bring me some food.

I think I can say without fear of contradiction that the food part of the evening was not a success.

My back started to hurt and we left about 9:45. Bob walked and I scootered back to the hotel. It was a very rough sidewalk. I found out on the way back that Bob had not packed a sweater. He was walking like an old man and he said he was cold and the weather had gotten much cooler since the rain.

May 5

Perhaps because of the Mexican food, Bob and I both had to be close to the bathroom on the morning of the 5th.

I had a shower and another deficiency of this hotel has been revealed - the bathtub is very slippery and there is only one grab bar. I wanted to wash my hair and it was hard for me - normally if I can use a hand held shower I don't need an actual handicapped room, but this was a fixed shower head and when I leaned back to get my hair wet it made me dizzy and so I stopped tilting my head back and got soap in my eyes.

We didn't leave the room until close to noon - skipping breakfast entirely. We stopped at Burger King and when I ordered a cheeseburger the lady at the register said that there was a bundle rate - two cheeseburgers, a fry and a small drink for $3.29 plus tax, So that was what we got. I got a glass of water,
Burger King water cup

Burger King water cup

and a cheeseburger and Bob had the small drink, a cheeseburger and the fries.

And then we got gas - I had looked on the internet to see which gas stations were the cheapest ($2.32/gal). We got 42 mpg.

I decided to go to Maclay gardens which, based on their website which said that wheelchairs were available, I thought would be accessible for the scooter. The bloom season is January to April and I knew we were a bit out of that time frame and the house would not be open,
IMG_9143.jpgNational Register of Historic Places sign

National Register of Historic Places sign

but I thought it might be an interesting place to go. So with the phone giving us directions, we went to the gardens. The admission was $6.00 and the very cheerful lady at the booth gave us a brochure and directions.


The dark curved line on the map is the brick pathway

We went down to the parking area and Bob got the scooter out. I was comfortable with my sweater, but Bob is cold. He expected unremitting heat, and it has been really cool and windy since we got to Florida.
Bob ahead of me on the path

Bob ahead of me on the path

I did the brick (very jolty) path but the side areas - the little walled garden

and the gazebo on the lake -

Gazebo on the lake

Gazebo on the lake

all had steps. I took some photos. There were only a few flowers still in bloom.

Last Magnolia flower

Last Magnolia flower

I thought maybe I could go around by road instead of back up the jolty brick path, because I saw a road past this gate, but it wasn't possible

Other places I could not go

The gardens were beautiful, even without many flowers - lots of Spanish moss and beautiful old trees
Spanish moss on a Pine Tree

Spanish moss on a Pine Tree


automatic watering system

Bob suggested that we photograph some cemeteries so I picked two near the Maclay gardens - Lake Hall and Lake Hall Community Cemeteries.
Lake Hall was first. We got to the place where the map said we should turn (Roslie Street) and due to yesterday's rain, it was a muddy hole with deep tire tracks.
Entrance to Lake Hall Cemetery

Entrance to Lake Hall Cemetery

We decided not to go there. So next we tried Lake Hall Community Cemetery We went down the residential street and at the end we came to a driveway marked Private Property - No Trespassing. We would have had to trespass to get to the cemetery so we didn't go to that one either.

Then we went to Publix because this hotel does not have a free breakfast, to buy some breakfast stuff and lunch stuff. Bob said was I coming in? (as opposed to waiting in the car the way I usually do) and I did intend to go in and pick stuff out to buy because Bob doesn't really know what I like to eat as well as I know what he likes. I got a roast beef sandwich and a salad, some bananas, some bagels and some cream cheese, and Bob got some cereal and cookies. Cost $28.00

We got back to the room, and didn't eat what we bought for dinner because our daughter gave us a nice veg/fruit tray, and we ate all those
veggies for dinner. Plus a couple of the cookies that Bob bought.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 09:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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