Feelings of excitement washed over me as we pulled out of the driveway, our SUV piled with skim boards, towels, sand castle equipment, and bags bursting at the seams. I figured in approximately ten hours, we would be at the tropical beach paradise of Destin, Florida. Little did I know that unexpected variables would be tossed into my time estimate.
Is it just bad luck when, after the first stop on the trip, our vehicle decides it does not want to make the nearly six-hundred mile trip and refuses to start? Luckily, we were meeting another family at this stop, so we had another car that could jump start ours. The kicker, the jumper cables we brought along were in the trunk at the very bottom of our massive heap of luggage. So there we are, at 6 o’clock in the morning in a Chick-fil-A parking lot, unloading all the luggage we had just loaded an hour earlier. Is anyone having fun yet?
After a frustrating 30-minute delay, we were finally on the highway, intent on arriving in Florida. The first hour of the trip went well. We made it past downtown Houston, my hometown, with no unexpected delays. Soon, we were in the wide open fields that occupy most of the space just east of Houston city limits. Again I had that familiar feeling of excitement, which had been dulled by our car’s attitude, starting to build back in my stomach. Vehicles must be able to sense this feeling. As we rolled through Beaumont, Texas, the car traveling with us began to leak an unknown substance all over the road, determined to keep our group from reaching Destin in any sort of timely manner. The leak turned out to be no real threat, it was just water from the air conditioner, but the time spent identifying the leak on the side of the road added to our total trip time.
With our vehicles finally subdued and willing to cooperate, we rolled through Louisiana and Mississippi with no disruption, except for the occasional bathroom and snack break. As we crossed the Alabama border, we cautiously allowed the giddiness that had been killed by the first two hours of our trip creep back into our stomachs. We should have known not to become too confident we’d arrive in Florida soon. As we approached Mobile, Alabama, we had to slam on our brakes to avoid crashing into the cars in front of us. Two hours would be added to our travel due to Mobile’s highway congestion.
We finally crossed over the Florida state line and soon arrived in Pensacola. We proceeded to take a wrong exit and ended up on some random barrier island with beautiful beaches and a small amount of beachgoers. Just as I allowed myself to think that taking the wrong exit wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, after all it allowed us to see a gorgeous part of Florida; my mind was quickly changed by a horrendous sight. No beach trip is complete until you see an old, fat guy parading around in a thong.
We eventually made our way off the island and somehow found the Destin West, the beautiful beach resort that made our miserable trip to Florida all worthwhile. The next week was filled with dolphin sightings, skim boarding, and floating around the resort’s lazy river, the perfect vacation. The trip to paradise, however, can be summarized in four words: Are we there yet?
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