The Ride (FL Trip post 1)


Friday was pretty hectic but luckily I had the day off. Thursday night we had met some friends at Waldo Pizza and afterwords found a tire flat on the van. Heath had gotten new tires on it the day before so we were not pleased with Firestone. So Friday morning we aired up the tire and I drove it over to Firestone. They told me it would take 15 minutes. I went for a jog on the trolly trail to get ready for the run this weekend. I returned about 30 minutes later and they had not looked at it yet. I did some reading and eventually they looked at it found a faulty sensor and replaced it.

The tires have some sensor thing that tells the van when to turn on the low pressure light and ours was making the tire leak. I got the keys back and drove over to Aldi and loaded up on supplies for the trip. As I drove out the light came on saying low pressure so I headed back to Firestone. I did some more reading and they took another look and found the sensor needed to be calibrated. Finally I headed home feeling a bit nervous about the van.

Spoiler Alert: We have had no problems since and driven something like 3,000 miles.

Heath had been working and we both got home about the same time. We quickly ate some lunch and then got busy packing and working on the list of stuff that needed to be done. We had hoped for a few hours of naptime but once everything was ready for our trip we had about 30 minutes left to shower and lay down.

After our brief rest we went to pick up Grant and the girls from school and got on the road a little before 4pm.

I started out driving and got us to Columbia before we stopped at a Playplace for dinner and kid exercise. After dinner we cashed in some Wendy’s coupons and got everyone a frosty. Heath got a coffee and took the wheel.


The rest of us got ready for bed.


I think right at 9:00pm I put down my book and fell asleep hard. I was out until Heath woke me up when it was time to switch. I had gotten a good 5 hrs of sleep and felt great. I drove until 10:30am Eastern Time and had no problem at all. Once everyone was up we had fruit and poptarts and then stopped in Gainsville, FL at Devil’s Millhopper sinkhole.


It was hot and humid out and we were ready to explore after a bathroom break of course.


We hiked a trail a ways into the woods.


We came to a bunch of wooden stairs and took them something like 125 feet down into the hole.



It was 500 feet across and a bit underwhelming inside. We did manage to kill some time not in the car and stretch our legs plus we made up some great stories about the moss growing on the trees.


On the way to the state park we saw a BBQ place and we were pretty hungry so stopped there.


The prices were great and the food was okay. The kids loved sitting at the table inside the racecar.



We ate a bunch and then headed to University of Florida to check out a museum. By this point we were all ready for naps but the museum was too cool to skip (and it was free).





We left and got back in the car. The kids took naps and played games and we drove the last 4 hours to Ft. Meyers Beach.


As we got close to the island we watched the sunset from the bridge.


It was dark when we got to the house but we could still see the ocean right out the back of the house. We unpacked the van and moved into our room.

We shared a house w/ my aunt and uncle, their 5 kids and several significant others. Our room had a big bed for Heath and I and bunkbeds for the big kids, an area for Lily’s pack and play and a 1/2 bathroom.

Once we had enough unpacked for the night we could not help going outside and dipping our toes in the ocean. The van said it was still 80F. It was in the 20s back home.


Of course the kids got pretty wet before we got them back in the house. We visited with the family some but honestly by that point I was sleepy enough to be in zombie mode.

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