The First Road Trip From Chicago Tennessee To Florida
Road trip to Florida
It was a fine spring of April morning last year when my husband and I decided to take a road trip to Florida. It was my first road trip to Florida and was so excited about it. We have been preparing and looking forward for the trip earlier that year. The year before that we took a road trip to Kansas where some relatives live. Of Course Florida is much further away so we made sure to prepare everything we need for travel.
We had to pack things early, made a list of all the things that we actually need and things for emergency situation. During a road trip it is essential to bring with you some things for emergency because you never know what will happen so it's better to be prepared. These are some of the things that we brought with us:
- car tools, extra tire and car cleaners
- medicines and First Aid kit
- gallons of distilled water
- ready to eat can goods, nuts and chocolate
- 2 coffee mugs, paper plates, bowls,cups and plastic spoons and forks
- personal things like sunglasses, pen, cameras, paper, tissue paper, beauty kit etc.
- personal IDs and all important contact numbers and account numbers.
- iPod, if no iPod some kind of music player.
- clothing, extra shoes
- Light jacket, blanket sand pillows - in case stranded
From Chicago we pass through the State of Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and finally Florida. The major road we took is 55, 65, 75, 1 or 23, A1, and 4 as far as I can remember. We drove approximately 1200 miles up to Tampa Florida. We left Saturday morning and our target was to drive at least 7 to 8 hours per day before retiring to a hotel. We also had to take a rest, go to bathroom or get some snack every 2 hours or so along the way stopping twice in Indiana and once in Kentucky and once in Tennessee. We managed to drive a little bit more before dark and we decided to stop at Chattanooga Tennessee for the night which is very close to Georgia. I was tempted to see the attractions at Chattanooga the following day because there were some interesting places to see but I decided not to because we were in a hurry to get to our destination Florida.
But now I'm thinking it would have been much better if we stay and look around for the best attractions in that State or town even for a few hours. So no time is wasted that way. You're already there; you drive miles and miles, so why not take the opportunity to see the best in that place while you are there. That should be part of your planned trip by listing and researching the best attractions closest to the route you are taking, that way it is easier for you to turn towards the tourist spot and comeback to the highway very easily.
We were using a Garmin Nuvi 360 GPS which we bought few years back and now needs a map upgrade. GPS is undoubtedly great and very useful when traveling but you could also miss your turn when driving at 60 to 70 miles per hour speed. So we also have our road map ready. First we study the map and try to memorize the important points and turns. The GPS is our guide and map as the backup. We missed turn once or twice and the main reason was the confusion of the 500 feet or 300 feet that we mistook it as meters.
So we stayed at Chattanooga for the night; thankfully the weather was great, no rain or storm of any kind just blue sky. It was so good to go out and feel the smell of spring during that April month. The next day Sunday morning after coffee and breakfast we headed for Georgia. I remember these beautiful mountainous regions along Tennessee and Georgia. We took a short cut from Georgia to Jacksonville hoping to see other places instead of the highway but the short cut turned to be painfully long. Sometimes we have to drive at 35 to 40 miles per hour. I think the number of that road is 1 or 23. We decided to spend the night in Jacksonville Florida.
The third day of our travel we drove around St. Augustine for a while and then we took A1A road to Daytona Beach. We took a few stops along the way just to see the Atlantic Ocean view. Daytona area has so many big Hotels resorts lining the beach and I miss the chance to take photographs in that area. After driving around we finally proceed to Orlando Florida; still early in the afternoon so we drive around and bought sandwiches for dinner. There was that big flea market at International drive and lots of souvenirs to choose from.
The next day Tuesday we decided to see Disneyworld Magic Kingdom; boy was I too old for that? Not really. I saw people much older than me having fun just like me although the place is designed for young people. We spend another night in Orlando and the next day Wednesday we went to Tampa Florida. After driving around we settle for the night and the next morning Thursday we visited the Bausch Gardens in Tampa Florida. On the same day we went to nearby Silver Springs and stayed the night there. The whole of Friday we visited old Silver Spring. We ride the boat, walk around the park. This place has a more laid back feel compared to the previous parks we visited.
Saturday we started heading back home, took I-75 and along the way we had to buy lots of pecan nuts. There was a really bad wind and rain in Georgia because of the storm going on in the neighboring Oklahoma. During that heavy downpour we had nowhere to stop, so we kept on driving until we reach the rest area. We spend one night in Tennessee; the weather in Tennessee wasn't good as well.
The next day Sunday the weather was getting worse and the sky was dark. I was hoping to see a brighter weather ahead but when we reach Indiana it was worse; patchy rain and bad traffic. We finally arrive home the night of Sunday after 8 days vacation. In my first road trip vacation from Chicago to Florida I realize that road trip is not only about the destination you are planned to go but also the view and the things you experience along the way.
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