Florida/North Carolina Trip Log
Robert & Barbara's trip to Florida and North Carolina in the 2008 Toyota Prius, February 2010

Click on a picture for a larger view

February 10
We departed Madison about 8:30 am in the Prius and spent the night at Goosecreek Inn just south of Nashville. We took the more westerly route via I-57 and I-24 to stay clear of snow storms hitting the east coast.

February 11
Cotton By evening we were in cotton country, as indicated by the photo of unpicked cotton just over the fence at a rest area. One rest stop in Florida had the sign shown at right next to the parking lot. We found that from the northern Florida border to I-275 took 3 hours, and a total of 4 hrs. got us to the condo in North Redington FL for our visit with Barb's cousin Margot, her daughter Tavery and father Bill.

February 12 Sand art by Tavery
It was a gray day. Rain started before noon with strong winds. In the afternoon the rain stopped and Tavery and I went for a walk along the shore. We saw a couple of jellyfish on the sand. Tavery drew figures in the sand, adding seaweed for hair. The sun peaked out for a few seconds and I took advantage of it for a few photos.

February 14
Barb and I parked at the Pinellas Library and walked a bit along the shore south of there, returning to the condo in time for lunch. After lunch Barb participated in a Prairie Board meeing via Skype, Sandcastles by Robert & Tavery which I had installed on Margot's laptop. Gulf sunset In the late afternoon Tavery and I went down to the shore in back of the condo for castle making. Later Tavery went swimming in the pool. It was heated, but not enough for anyone else to be interested in joining her. It was the best evening of our Florida stay for sunset photos.

February 15
Margot, Tavery, Barb and I drove to the State Fair at Tampa. Our first stop was in the heritage village area, with old toys, a functioning old style post office, a general store, a church, and a sugar cane press. There was farm equipment, farm animals, including rabbits, row upon row of food stalls, a mechanical cow to milk, and rides. While Tavery was on a ride I saw samoyeds giving short rides to kids in a cart. The dog cart rides were over when the others got to the dog building, our last stop.

February 16
PierSuncoast Seabird Sanctuary In the morning I walked by myself up the shore to the pier. In the afternoon I drove with Barb and Tavery farther up the shore to the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, where Tavery showed us "Filbert", the bird (probably a Royal Tern) that grabbed the other end of stick whenever she put one through the screen. That evening we went to PJ's, with the walls covered with dollar bills, for supper.

February 17
Wednesday was zoo day. It was sunny but cool. Tavery got to use Margot's digital camera. The baby sting rays were again a highlight. We saw marine animals both above and below the water line. Other stops were at the merry-go-round, the petting zoo, and a bird house where Tavery was unsuccessful in getting parakeets to perch on her sleeve.

February 18
Barb and I left for the Herr-Hoyman's at Sylva NC, after monitoring the weather reports to make sure the snowy conditions to the east had cleared up. We arrived in time to have a late supper with Susan and Dirk.

February 19
After breakfast Dirk went to work and Barb and I drove with Susan in her Saturn SW up the hill to a parking lot at the foot of a trail up toward the hill top. The city maintains the hilltop land as a conservancy area to protect the town's watershed. Susan was concerned when the car died as she parked. She got it restarted and pointed downhill. It has been burning oil, and she looked for oil to add, but found only empty quart containers. We hiked up the trail beside a bubbling stream as far as the big split rock. It was the first such uphill hike for Barb since her back surgery last March, and she did not want to push it by going further. Susan got the car going when we returned to the parking lot and drove downhill to a church parking lot she did not want to risk driving it uphill from there to their house until oil had been added. We walked up to their house on the hillside, which overlooks the center of Sylva in the valley below, and had some lunch. Then I drove us in the Prius to the store to get oil. Once the oil was added to the Saturn and we were sure Susan had it running, we set out on our trip home.

We filled up with gas in Asheville NC and headed over the Appalachians via U.S. 25 (because I-40 has been closed since last fall by a rock slide). The more direct route through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (marked by the green line on our AAA Southeastern States map) is always closed this time of year. During the first 60 miles up and down the hills to the northwest on the way to Newport TN the Prius averaged 60.0 mpg. With stop and go traffic through Newport the average rose a bit higher, but we were soon back on the interstate system traveling at much high speeds, and of course the average dropped. We stopped at Batesville, between Cincinnati and Indianapolis, for the night.

February 20
The motel provided breakfast, including waffle batter for making your own waffles in a waffle maker, which we did. We arrived back in Madison in the afternoon.

Gasoline cost $2.459 to 2.699 per gallon.
The Prius averaged 50.56 mpg for the trip.

Family Recollections