2012 traveling is about to get started: leaving day after tomorrow for our driving adventure trip to Florida. The plan is for Mom to drive over here tomorrow (Tuesday) and we'll enjoy a fun dinner at Red Lobster tomorrow night to celebrate Ian's birthday. Then, we'll leave Wednesday morning in two vehicles and drive to Milwaukee where I'll be able to leave my car at Steve's. Thinking that we'll grab a cup of coffee with Steve and probably get back on the road by 11ish.
Then, it's 4 hours to Springfield -- putting us there mid-afternoon (taking lunch into account). I'm looking forward to seeing the Abraham Lincoln home and tomb. I think both are in my National Parks passport so I'll be able to get a couple more stamps. Additionally, I'm about to start reading 'Linoln' by Gore Vidal. I read it years ago and remember really enjoying it. I just finished 'Killing Lincoln' by Bill O'Reilly which is really a hot bestseller right now. I'm in the mood to see everything again now. Kind of wish I could make a trip to DC. [Sidebar: I saw a video on YouTube by a Park Ranger doing a brief description of the tour of Ford's Theatre. The place was refurbished and reopened in 2009 and there is a distinct difference. I remember being there with TCA years ago (work conference) to see "The Fantastiks" and we sat on straight-backed chairs, and were able to go up to the Presidential box. The door with the hole in it made by John Wilkes Booth so he could peek through at Lincoln was still on the box. The doors were open and there was a velvet rope across the doorway, but you could see everything. It appears that the door has now been moved down to the museum, and the chairs have all been replaced with theatre-style seats. I'm so glad I was able to see it before the refurbishment.]
My plan is to stay the night in Springfield (probably a Drury Inn since they permit dogs and I've heard nothing but good things about the hotel chain), and then on to Memphis. It's only about 6 hours from Springfield to Memphis (through St. Louis but I don't think we'll have time to go see the arch up close) so, again, we should get into town early enough to look around and maybe take a tour of Graceland. Yesterday (Sunday) was Elvis' birthday and I'm sure glad we weren't trying to get into Graceland yesterday. We'll probably stay in Memphis Thursday night (and get some yummy bar-b-que), and leave Friday morning for New Orleans. It's about 6 hours from Memphis to New Orleans and I have no real plans for New Orleans except a visit to Southern Candymakers and maybe one of Emeril's restaurants. After being in New Orleans Friday night, we'll head along the Gulf to Apalachicola for Saturday night, heading on to Cedar Key and Lakeland on Sunday, the 15th. Mom's rental starts on the 15th so the timing is perfect. That gives us Monday to find the grocery store, the Walgreens, a church, etc. and get some rest after the trip. Then, Tuesday morning, I'm flying from Orlando back to Milwaukee where I'll pick up my car and head home to pack for our cruise.
This is going to be a fun month!