The Miami to Inverness drive the day before demanded rest for our tired bodies and so we woke up late. There were still plenty of food from Gavin's birthday party last night so we just heated some of the food in the microwave. Mayette and Mayet (coincidental twinning) came out to join us for breakfast. Ace will be in-charge of Gavin the whole day while Gloricel drives us to the Kennedy Space Center which once launched Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle. It will be a quick visit since we needed to hit other stops in Florida and hours were dwindling since starting late at 10am.
First we paid Gloricel's former home a visit. They moved out not too long ago and purchased the one we came to last night. And then tall, stately trees along the road didn't go unnoticed. We got off the car and started taking photographs.
Finally, we made it to NASA. We realized that if we went in, we'd be spending the whole day so we settled with pictures outside the visitor entrance. Not too long after, we headaed towards the famed Daytona Drive-In Church. The photographs online just looked mystical and odd. On regular services, cars drive into the property to park at the church front which bore the Portate Cross (slanted to refer to a carried cross). At the Friendship Hall, the church attendees get the chance to socialize with everyone over a Krispy Kreme donut before going back to the car to tune in for the broadcast at 88.5FM. After the service, all cars parade towards the exit. We came at a deserted hour and so we found none of the above descriptions in sight. On the other hand, we lobbied without competition at the parking area. Just as I finished taking the pictures and began heading towards the car, the girls were in the mood to play. I moved a meter closer and the car moved a meter away. I dashed to it and it sped further. Gloricel just drives you nuts. She's the same playful soul I know back in high school. It was hilarious.
The beach was just around the area, therefore, we decided to stop by. Daytona Beach is known for it's hard-packed sands making it possible for motorized vehicles to drive into the certain areas in the shore. It regularly hosts Daytona 500 where 200,000 fans gather for the season opening. We arrived at a crowded sea shore and everybody where minding their own business in bikinis and shorts and we went on with ours unperturbed. The girls took a spot at a nearby bay watchtower and got me trigger-happy with my camera.
The afternoon was getting late and Orlando, Florida is about 70 miles away. The scorching sun was getting us all lazy but we were motivated by the thought of dining at Boston Lobster Feast, their famous all-you-can-eat lobster restaurant. We arrived to find it fully-booked but we we didn't give up. While Glo and Mayet waited for admission, I and Mayette decided to walk around the area to see the eye of Orlando and Rippley's Believe it Or not, stopping also outside the Pirate's Cove. There is always amusement at every block and the town was so alive -- streets, brightly lit. We came back to the restaurant and found our friends digging in on a plateful of lobster. A joke cracked that got everyone boisterous enough to gain attention from customers. Eyes glared at us, some tried to mimic Gloricel infectious laugh, and others didn't look very happy at all. The laughter continued like screams inside Gloricel's car as Mayet sounded lobster-drunk saying loudly "I lobster you". It was crazy and fun. Everyone was generous of themselves and not holding back.
Finally, we were back at the house and Gloricel went straight to nurse Gab who vomited hours ago as reported by Ace. It was a little late so we just drank water and went to our respective nooks. I must have slept very soundly that night that the next thing I know was hearing the squeaking sound of door opening the next morning.
"Gab, Gab!", I said, while reaching out for Ace and Glo's baby after the mother and son woke me up the next day. I looked out the window and felt peaceful seeing the green grass carpeting the backyard. I must've done really well holding Gavin that he started leaning on me as if he knew me well. Then, I started enjoying the so-called feeling of borrowed paternal bliss. It was like that for quite a while until I took him outside the room and showed him his gifts. We opened some of them and showed them off to his parents while he drove his mini car around the living room. The neighborhood was very quiet and so did the house as if it knew we were leaving back to Chicago that day. Ace played the slideshow that showed pictures of him and the family while we watched closely. After we ate our breakfast, the doctor wrote me a prescription for a year-long supply of my hypertension medication (lol). We prayed and took some more pictures outside the house until the Filipino driver, contacted by Gloricel, gave us a ride to our last destination in Tampa, Florida.
Mayette met with her friend who chose Florida over Chicago for career and personal reasons a couple of years ago. We were welcomed into their home with fried chicken and Pizza. Soon after we were done, they fixed us a short trip to Tampa bay which was hands down marvelous! The white sand is real deal white and soft on the feet. It was surprisingly a little bit more appealing than Miami in my opinion. Sadly, we had to leave. Off we went chasing for the flight back. We came at the airport on time but not early enough to get through the lines and security inspection easily without dashing one stop to the other. We were literally running around since it was getting past boarding time. That was in my recollection the only instance I ran as I simultaneously unbuckled and dug for my wallet to surrender them for scanning. Mayette was doing a good job herself and finally we got on the plane, eyes on us, hyperventilating, sweats trickling down our faces, and man --- did I stink!
This ends my Florida trip. Dare to read the complete itinerary here:
Day 1. 418 Miles - Destination: Key West through Tamiami Trail
Day 2. 5 Miles - Around the Southernmost Point of USA (Key West, Florida)
Day 3. 654 Miles: Hello Everglades. I Heart ♥ Miami
Day 4: 375 Miles: The Rest of Florida