Adventures in retirement: Always be prepared!

My husband and I took off on a last minute road trip—nothing major, just two or three days. Instead of going to our favorite laid-back place, Cedar Key, we opted to head to south Florida instead.

Back in the days when we were young and stupid (perhaps I should say young and adventurous), we never made hotel reservations. We simply took off and took our chances. Case in point, when we went on our honeymoon, we flew standby (because we both worked for an airline) to Italy, took a train into the city, because we wanted to stay close to the Colosseum. Thinking nothing of the fact it was midnight,  my husband found us hotel, and not a bad one at that. images

As we aged, we became a bit less adventurous and chose to book our rooms in advance—except for this trip. We weren’t sure where we would end up on our first night, so my husband suggested we do things the old way. BIG mistake! Apparently we hit on the tourist season and either there were no rooms, or the cost was far more than we cared to spend. After several calls, we found a place and grabbed. We could see the hotel from our car and took what we thought was the turnoff leading to the place. Another BIG mistake.

The turnoff took us not to the hotel, but to a section of the Interstate known as Alligator Alley, which is a toll road. We explained our situation to the woman manning the booth, paid our $3.00 and asked if we could turn around. She told us we could when we reached the first exit—20 miles down the road. Needless to say, this did not make us happy, but to make matters worse, we only had 70 miles worth of gas in our tank.

We did contemplate using one of those U-turns designated for “official” cars only, but figured we’d end up being flagged by a policeman and fined. When we finally managed to find our way to the hotel, we were down to our last gallon of gas. At that point we were so worn out, we checked in and decided we’d gas up in the morning. To add insult to injury, our no smoking room practically knocked me on my butt with the cigarette smell the moment we stepped inside. Thankfully I brought some air freshener with us. Since there were no more rooms we were pretty well stuck.

We’re planning on visiting The Everglades tomorrow, and I’m praying my husband will find us a hotel before we leave. I’m not sure I can take another day like today.

Stay tuned for our continuing adventure.

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