There’s no place to far to go, and one of my favorite destinations is to a familiar face.
I started my solo road trip journey northbound, leaving the pristine white-sand beaches of Florida en route to elevation and evergreen-Maryland.
Total distance: 1,300 miles.
Total drive time: 19 hours.
Fun fact: ALF and I are both foodies, the only difference is he has eight stomachs.
An important part of any road trip, aside from having your car in top shape to ride, is to find a great navigator; I suggest someone with humor to grace your shotgun seat. For my trip I appointed ALF. If you know me, you’ve probably heard me mention him at some point. Yes, he’s the alien with his own 80’s sitcom. So in went ALF and everything I could not donate or sell. With a full carload and a full tank of gas I set out one Saturday afternoon.
Stop numero uno: Orlando
Distance traveled: 163 miles.
We all have a pulse. Sending my love to my Orlando family, where part of my heart will always remain.
It’s always a great day when you can see good friend. I got to stay for one night with my girlfriend who I hadn’t seen in a least two years. I’m grateful for friends like her that I know I can count on; even if we don’t talk every week. We both did the Disney College Program after attending the same college. I was shocked to hear of the recent assault at Pulse and I send my prayers to the LGBT family.
“We All Have a Pulse” poem coming soon.
Stop numero dos: St. Augustine
Distance traveled: 282 miles.
I have never had better vision then I did during my visit, I felt I could see into the stratosphere.
I allow myself to sleep in until 8 a.m. and head out around 9 a.m. Midday I find myself on a shuttle boat to an old fort of St. Augustine, Fort Matanzas National Monument, built in 1742. Three park rangers greet my group; at the dock, on the boat and arriving at the little fort. Before you board you need a free ticketed pass from the visitor center. Boats leave approximately every 20-25 minutes.
Some background from one of the rangers, “Fort Matanzas used to be part of the outer defenses of the city, St. Augustine, which was a Spanish military base for hundreds of years. The Spanish empire was a huge operation by the mid-1500s. They were transporting more cargo around the world than anyone ever had before and a great deal of it was traveling from Cuba to Spain… Finally after losing a lot of money, Spain began to build a permanent base here in 1565.” In 1672 Spain invested in building Castillo de San Marcos, just 14 miles west, a nearly impenetrable fort with sloping walls. In 1742 Spain constructed Fort Matanzas with slave power from Cuba. Initially only a few hundred soldiers were stationed at Torre de Matanzas and their main purpose was to determine piracy and to prevent other European powers from settling on the coast. “From the top of the tower an observer could see almost 8 miles to the horizon.”
Stop numero tres: Charleston
Distance traveled: 576 miles
After arriving around 9 p.m. at the Not So Hostel, and walking around a few blocks to stretch my legs, I fall asleep within moments of hitting my top bunk. I enjoyed my stay at the Not So Hostel because there were paintings everywhere, from the Cuba room to the Kenya room and the common areas. Plus they had two kitchens. The next morning is an early morning with complimentary coffee/bread at the hostel, before I log about 8 miles wandering around.
Charleston is a place of cobblestones that greet nearly every doorway entrance. They have a City Hall market that began in 1788 by Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and is now over 4 city blocks long.
The town is fairytale like, and I recognize King and Mary St. where Noah and Allie from The Notebook dance after going to the movies. The bright row of houses in south Charleston reminds me of Burano, Italy with views nearly matching Chesapeake City, MD. The wide main streets with inviting shops on either side remind me of the fictional town of Storybrooke, Maine in The Once Upon a Time ABC series. I could definitely see myself staying and enjoying a place like this longer, but friends await at my next stop.
Stop numero cuatro: Charlotte
Distance traveled: 798 miles
Luke Segars directs the class of about 25 through basic coding, great review. DoughKnots, anyone?
What’s better than seeing one friend? Seeing three, and Charlotte is where I get to triple dip. If you are reading this and know the University of Delaware area then you already know the feeling of Charlotte, it’s got college town written all over it. While I didn’t snap pictures of the meals I ate, I did attend a MeetUp on basic coding hosted by The Iron Yard, a welcoming tech-focused team, with an emphasis on education. I recommend if you are in Charlotte area to check them out as they frequently host events. Between Wes, their Campus Director, and Luke, the instructor who has worked as a product manager for Google, you’ll be in good company.
Some places I visited:
El Sabor and Bakersfield for their tacos and adult beverages.
The Common Market, both locations, I prefer Wilmore’s South End location because you can relax to the max in their outdoor lounge.
Snug Harbor for the house party vibe and Zada Jane’s Corner Cafe for recovery.
Stop numero cinco: Washington, DC
Distance traveled: 1,220 miles
I arrive in the evening at my best friend’s place (since kindergarten!) and befriend her beloved pup. True friendship knows no time. The next day it’s time to explore all that the Smithsonian has to offer, including a highlight, The National Air and Space Museum.
On this trip I spend most of my time in the APOLLO exhibits. It’s crazy to think a pack of Skittles has lasted this long!
Stop numero seis: Home, Maryland
Miles traveled: 1,300 miles
The roads have become familiar, which means I’m that much closer to crab cakes. Now bring on the old bay!