Wednesday, March 20, 2024


My Fellow Vagabonds, we are truly living in the New Age of Technology that will lift you up, take you down, make you feel smarter, make you feel completely uninformed and send you all the way to San Antonio without actually sending you there. 


If you follow this blog at all, you know that I adore travel. But traveling with family is actually one of the true joys of my life. A recent trip to Jacksonville Beach was an experience we will remember and laugh about forever. Traveling to the beach with family is always fun, interesting and can be extraordinarily funny. It can also bring things into the picture that you never dreamed could happen. Well, this quick three-day trip to Jacksonville Beach was all of that and more. My daughter in law, Tara, a true Vagabond when it comes to travel, reserved a stunning four bedroom, 2-1/2 bath home with a heated pool within walking distance to the beach. Everything directly on the beach was rented out or just too expensive due to the Players 2024 golf tournament in Jacksonville.

We loaded up two SUVs with enough luggage to take care of a small army for a month to anywhere.

In SUV No. 1
Hayes - Almost 7 / Smith - Just turned 1 / Lance - Dad / Tara - Mom
Cheddar - Always Active Dog - As Charles Schultz said - Happiness is a warm puppy! / Most of the one ton of luggage, toys and stuff required for any trip. Ha Ha!

In SUV 2
Susie - Ya Ya / Doyle - D - Yes, we're older! / The rest of the luggage, toys and stuff needed to insure complete happiness for all.

Susie, my one and only, and I headed to the place to stay for three nights to celebrate Spring Break with our crew. Lance, Tara, the kids and the dog would soon follow.

Stage 1

It's a fairly quick and easy drive to Jax Beach. About an hour from the AIRBNB, I received a simple text from Lance that turned our simple short trip into a very, very long trip! We just got a flat tire said the text! I called immediately. What happened, I asked. We hit something in the road he said, and this SUV does not have a spare. I said - the new world we live in is simply insane. Then he tried to apply a patch from the SUV's Repair Kit. Let's all laugh out loud! It didn't work. Where are you, I asked. Rest Area near Mile Post 265 he said! Then I said - OK, as soon as we get to the place, I will come get y'all. He said he was having the Acura towed to Jimmy's Firestone in Lee, Florida to have a new tire installed. Jimmy's told Lance to pick it up the next day. Stage 1 complete.

Stage 2-3-4-5-6

We arrived at our home for three days around 4:00 and unloaded everything. I hopped back into our SUV and headed north to pick up the crew. After about two hours, I see my people sitting at a table at the Rest Area - Mile Post 265. They looked really cold. They loaded up my SUV including the still growing black labrador in the back with a lot of stuff. Two hours later, we pulled into the Surf Luxe AIRBNB, unloaded and ordered dinner. After settling in, we enjoyed relaxing and watching the kids having fun - Stage 2,3 complete.

Then, the next morning, Lance and I drove back to Jimmy's Firestone. Lance picked up his Acura and we headed back for more fun - Stage 4-5 complete.

On Tuesday, we went to the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens without Cheddar, who was boarded for the day. The zoo is a perfect place to take kids. Kids love everything about any zoo. The rhinos, the elephants, the snakes, etc. I would highly recommend to anyone with kids to take them to the zoo. It's a lot of fun and much cheaper than Disney. It's also great for exercise. I walked three miles. Seeing all of those amazing animals at the zoo, I always wonder - Do they miss their home on the other side of the world? The photo shows my crew feeding a very cool giraffe. Everybody loved feeding this gentle tall animal.

On Wednesday, we loaded up our portion of stuff and headed home. We walked into the house, poured a big glass of Pinot Noir and ordered pizza! LOL! Stage 6 complete!

A final thought - We drove 998 total miles in less than four days. We could have driven all the way to San Antonio, Texas with all those miles used completing Stages 1-6! And that, as they say, is the unvarnished truth of a great trip, with a few side roads, turnarounds and U-turns with the people I love.

As the great writer Mark Twain said - " I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them."

Spring officially started March 19. You need to get busy and Go Go Go! Head out to parts unknown or places familiar. It will make you feel better, especially if you go with the ones you love.


And for a little music this week - I don't know how they do it, but take a listen and a look at some great old time movie stars dancing to one of the biggest funk-pop, soul, boogie songs ever recorded - UPTOWN FUNK written and performed by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson with a crowd of rappers & singers. Great actors and dancers such as Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelley even Frank Sinatra dance to perfection in some of the greatest movies ever made.

And just to show that the young'uns are gettin' it done, enjoy this great tune and video by Bruno Mars and his boys doing UPTOWN FUNK released in 2014!


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