Our Journey to Florida

I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. It was a very crazy month (hence the no posting) with lots happening.

We had to leave Missouri by Friday, February 25th, in order to arrive here in Sarasota by the 27th so that our niece could fly back to New England on the 28th. We were absolutely swamped the month of February sorting, packing, advertising, selling, and storing STUFF! It was crazy. The last weekend before we left, I was feeling so discouraged because some of the bigger items that I thought would sell quickly, hadn't even had inquiries. And then all of a sudden, POOF! It was all gone in 2 days - and at the prices we were asking. It was sad to see some things go out the door but at the same time there was this feeling of immense relief - not just that we wouldn't have to put it in storage but also, that our lives were that much more uncluttered!

Still, even though we got rid of tons of stuff, we filled 2 storage units - one 10 x 15 & one 10 x 10. We'll be back in that area the first few days of April to stock the RV and, hopefully, consolidate the 2 storage units into 1. We're hoping in the Fall to be back in that area again and have a yard sale at some friends' house to get rid of even more stuff. But I digress.....

We had planned on leaving MO on Thursday the 24th but we were so exhausted we were almost sick. And we got up that morning to heavy, pouring rain. We needed to take a few little items over to the storage unit, run some errands, then load the truck - all in that heavy rain. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. We looked at each other long and hard and then simultaneously said, "Nah". Instead we did our errands, went to the Golden Corral for a very late lunch, then checked in to the local Holiday Inn and vegged the rest of the day (we'd been sleeping on an air mattress at home for nearly 2 weeks cause we'd sold the bedroom set). It was wonderful and re-charged our batteries before we took off for Florida the next day.

Now I know I said we are trying to do everything frugally and there we went spending the night in a Holiday Inn. But.....it didn't cost us a dime! Mike still has some points left from when he traveled and stayed at Holiday Inns so we used a few for a free nights' stay. Well worth it!

Friday the 25th finally saw us take off for Florida. It was very cold and snowing lightly as we packed up the truck. Covered the back with a new tarp and off we went. I drove the truck for the first time on this trip. The dually tires gives it a little different 'feel' than what I'm used to but overall I didn't have any problems. We'll see what I have to say after driving while we're pulling the 5th wheel.

Everything looked cold and Wintery until we crossed the Oklahoma/Texas line. Literally. A few feet after crossing that line it was like we'd entered another world. Instantly, the grass and fields were bright green and you could tell the leaves were about to burst open on the trees. Lovely but totally weird.

We spent the night with friends of ours in Jefferson, TX, because I'd sold my embroidery machine and many of its supplies to a lady not far from there. So we were up early Saturday morning & on the road again to get that machine delivered and get a lot of miles under our belt before we stopped for the night east of Pensacola.

Have a funny story about me driving on Saturday. We were in Mississippi and I was driving when suddenly there were 2 police cars behind me with lights flashing and sirens blaring. I knew I hadn't been going over the speed limit and had been very careful about my placement in my lane (still getting used to big truck). This big, black, male police officer wearing a strand of neon orange beads (I'd never seen anything like that before) came walking up to my window and asked if I'm alright. Yes, I'm fine. Well, why was I going all over the road? Inside my head I was thinking, "I wasn't", but I answered him that I hadn't realized I was and that it must have been because I wasn't used to the truck yet. Hmmmm. Then he asked why we didn't have any license plates. I explained that we do have one on the front and that's all Missouri requires for a truck that size - and that's all they gave us. Hmmmmm. Then he wanted to know what was under the tarp in the truck bed and would I give permission for them to look. I told him sure, that it was just kitchen things like a mixer, dry goods, etc, as well as a bicycle and our suitcases. I explained that we were on our way to Florida to take care of DH's parents for a month because they're visiting down there but have dementia. Hmmmmm. (Lots of hmmmming going on by the policeman.) But he also seemed so surprised that I agreed to the looking so quickly.

Up to that point I hadn't realized there were 2 police cars and 4 policeman. The one I'd been talking to walked to the back of the truck where there were 2 other officers and told them to check the back of the truck but didn't think they would find any thing suspicious. Up came a female officer who asked me all the same things the first one had, then went and stared at the license plate on the front of the truck. Then a third officer came up and did the same thing. It started to get a bit ridiculous.

Finally, the first officer came back and sent us on our way. We honestly think they stopped us because we didn't have a plate on the back and they thought they were going to make a drug bust. Pays to keep your cool and be agreeable!

Arrived in Sarasota on Sunday, the 27th, at 5:30 in the afternoon. We were dead tired and it was *warm*. I don't care for *warm* and went to bed that night hoping it wasn't going to be hot all month! It took both of us a few days to get back on our feet after all the stress of the last month.

I know it was stressful for Mom & Dad (especially Dad) to have another 'changing of the guard' so to speak. But overall, things went well and Dad seemed very comfortable with us - even though he wasn't sure who we were. I knew from experience with my brother, who also has dementia, that an effective way to get them to trust you is to bring up things from the past. It seemed to work with Dad. It also helps if we don't try to tell him what he's trying to say and give him a chance to think. Sometimes it can take a long time for him to sit there and think it through but he appreciates us being patient.

Enough for now. Will talk about our 5th wheel search next time.

Til then,

Gloria - The Internet GADabout


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