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FedEx Orange Bowl, January 2, 1999Cocowalk - Coconut Grove, FL - Check out where a bunch of us spent New Year's Eve!!

Fat Tuesday's - A really cool chain of restaurant/bars, I first visited the Tempe one but we found it in Coconut Grove too!!

Walt Disney World - Need I say more?

>> florida  "diary of a road trip"  here it is... the full story of the biggest road trip i ever took... ORANGE BOWL 99!Florida Gators

Syracuse Orangemen  This is the first part of my diary of our trip to the Orange Bowl in Miami from December 1998 - January 1999. To keep myself busy during the 26 hours we spent on the road, I kept track of all the quotes we made, and as long as I had a notebook (thanks to Greg) I kept notes on where we were, what people were doing, how many times people referred to Mark and his tractor, trip costs, and what was going through my head. Here is a condensed version of what I wrote down. (For a full list of quotes (there were a LOT of CB quotes) check the quotes page.)


December 29, 2:45 pm
Rahway, NJ

We've spent a few hours buying beer ($3.51 per case of Natty!!), donuts, bagels, etc. After checking to be sure all the CBs are working, all the supplies are packed, and all the bladders are empty, we pack into our 4 cars and get ready to leave Greg's house in Rahway, NJ. At last, I see a car pull out and we head to the nearest gas station to fill up before hitting the road.
Road costs so far: $1.00 for my bagel.

December 29, 2:51 pm
Rahway, NJ

Blinking stop signs rule!

"Are we there yet?" Jill asks over the CB. Mark's voice comes on wondering why we can't go by that really cool blinking stop sign. (If you have never  seen a New Jersey blinking stop sign, I highly recommend visiting one, it's fun for the whole family.) I try to answer him but soon realize I  have been talking on the wrong channel. This realization doesn't prove to be very helpful once I switch to the right channel I learn that my CB still isn't working. Luckily someone reads my mind and asks Mark about his tractor, saving me the effort.
Costs: $8.21 (gas). Tractor reference count: 1.

December 29, 3:16 pm
Route 1, NJ

Hey, the chicken's back!

We are driving on Jersey's Rt. 1 right now. Actually it can't really be called driving, more like parking. "This road just sucks," notes Louis. "Ask them  what's for dinner at Kristen's house." By now we have noticed that while I can be heard over the CB, it is like playing "telephone" trying to communicate. But I try anyway. "Hey guys, what's for dinner tonight?"
"What's that Ca?"
asks Joe. I try again, speaking very slowly and enunciating carefully.
"What's for DIN-ner at  KRISten's HOUSE tonight?"
"Yes, Kristen has big breasts Ca."
Never mind. Joe notes that I sound like a chicken the way my CB is skwawking. Whatever Kristen's family is planning on serving us, it will be waiting until all hours of the night the way this traffic is looking. "At least Jersey people don't drive tractors," Jill offers as a defense when Mark complains about her state's shitty road conditions. Eventually we get on route 287 and start looking for 78 West.

About 20 minutes later, we're listening to the Beatles. No one can hear me because the CB mic has stopped working completely. "My toy is broken!" I exclaim to the other cars, thinking they can't hear me.
"Who the fuck is that?"
"Hey, the chicken's back!!"

CONSTRUCTION AHEAD. FINES DOUBLED. "Fuckin' laws," mumbles Louis.  He wonders what a track ho is. "What's a track ho?" I ask the others. After a few repeats of my question Greg clears it up for us: "YOU're a crack whore, Ca."
$0.00. Tractor Count:  3.

December 29, 4:03 pm
Approaching NJ-PA  border

The CB has been quiet for a while and I have given up on trying to use it for any non-emergency purposes. The weather has turned pretty sucky, and we are lost in a mess of rain and fog. I can't see anything out the window and decide to try to read some of my magazines. We cross the PA border and a sign tells me we are 98 miles from Harrisburg. Some of the others start talking over the CB. Jon Lay is begging to be rescued from the Lilith Fair that is his car, with Jill and Mindy forcing him to listen to Faith Hill.  Seattle is supposedly "getting a lot of pleasure under the dash" from Joe.  Note to self: Stop writing down the time every 10 minutes.
Costs: $.90 in tolls (would have been $.50 but Louis dropped the change on the first try). Tractor Count: 7.

December 29, 4:34 pm

"Moo moo to you Ca." 78 miles to Harrisburg. Louis puts on Dave Matthews.  There is some really funny conversation about Mickey Mouse, tho 5 minutes after it ends, I can't read what I wrote in reference to it. Sorry. The "monkey song" comes on and Louis observes, "There's a lot of rulage on  this CD." I suddenly feel like I am in that "Ironic" video with Alannis Morisette in the car. I feel like I should throw something at myself in the front seat or stick my head out the window or something.

It is on the verge of snowing. Okay it is snowing now. I am a little nervous for a few minutes considering the state of our driver, but he convinces me he is fine. I am glad it is nice and cold in the car so I can cuddle up in my fleece. I consider taking a nap but the conversations on the CB are way too entertaining, and I figure it will be better to be tired later at night so I might actually sleep before tomorrow.
No money spent, no tractor references.

the whole gang poses in Maryland There's a page missing here... here is what I can remember...Basically, while being entertained by the fact that the station we were listening to in Maryland announced itself as "WGAY" (seriously,  those are the actual call letters of a real station), we found Kristen's house, had pizza and ice cream, and left around 9:30...Upon leaving, the cars were switched as follows: Brendon, Jill, and Mark; Mindy, Jon, and Greg; and to Seattle's dismay, he was alone with Joe and Kristen. Me, Mike and Louis stayed in our car but we did hook up a new CB. Mark asked about the beer we had in the trunk and we noted that we shouldn't talk about opening up our beer over the CB because you never know who might be listening. We started referring to it as "natural ice cream" in a pathetic attempt at a secret code. Since we explained the code to Mark over the CB, we figured that kind of defeated the purpose and went back to calling it beer. We started plotting how we could get the beer out of the trunk while on the road, and I managed to fold down the back seat and locate the beer with my flashlight. We didn't end up drinking it at that point but we were impressed with our resourcefulness.

December 29, 9:50 pm
Entering Virginia

My mission to videotape the "Welcome to..." signs of all the states we pass through has officially become unsuccessful as I miss the "Welcome to Virginia" sign. Joe calls for a "Music check!" Responses include a mix tape of soft rock, one of G's mixes, and our car's choice of Billy Joel's Greatest Hits. Jill's car only has AM radio, and she suggests we should start reciting nursery rhymes:
Jill: "There once was a man named Greg, who enjoyed an occasional keg..."
Seattle: "Then he became a traitor and ditched and went in another car." At least he's not bitter.

Finally we have pulled onto Interstate 95 South. Someone starts telling riddles. There is one where a guy is dead of a gunshot with the window open behind him where the gist of it is that a pencil was holding the window open, another with a guy on stilts or something, something about a clown. Everyone asks dumb unrelated questions and we are all cracking ourselves up. A few things end in "then again, he does own a tractor." 70 miles from North Carolina, some country song comes on and I ask, "Isn't there some country song about a tractor? You know, where you play it backwards and Mark gets his tractor back?"

Finally, our song comes on: Will Smith's "Miami." We excitedly announce the station to the other cars so we can all tune in and sing along. "Ah  shut up, you FM-having motherfuckers," jokes Mark from the  non-radio-equipped car. Mark challenges Greg's car to a race: "AM vs. the DJ Car." Someone throws cigarettes out their window and Mark blames it on "the midget" that has been following Louis. We threaten to join the race and kick everyone's butts. "Bring on the Saturn!" they reply. Joe randomly comes on the CB with a muddled: "G I AM YOUR  FATHER."
0. Tractor count: 17.

December 30, 12:07 am
I-95,  Virginia

We have officially driven overnight now. It is the next to last day of 1998 and we are headed south on Interstate 95 somewhere in Virginia. We have been driving for about 10 hours now but somehow I am still pretty comfortable,  free of boredom, and awake. Louis has been driving the whole time despite my offers to take over. I don't really care one way or the other so I stay stretched out across the back seat. As we are switching through Virginia's radio stations, I hear Gladys Knight and convince Louis to switch back to "Midnight Train to Georgia," a song I happen to love. Of course, a minute into the song the reception turns fuzzy. Luckily, I start picking up an interesting conversation over the CB. Some truck driver is talking about the toothless hooker he picked up. "She took out 'er teeth, an' want'd  t' gimme a blow job!" Our car erupts into laughter as we listen to the rest of the trucker's anecdotes.  it proves to be a highly educational and cultural experience.

December 30, 12:42 am
Entering North  Carolina

I don't get my camera shooting in time to catch the "Welcome to North Carolina" sign. We pull into a North Carolina gas station. The clerk is very  friendly and I am glad to finally hear some of that southern drawl. I hurry to the ladies' room, pleasantly surprised that so far, I have not been the one to make everyone stop for a pee break. I had been really worried about it before we left, especially when one of the guys said before leaving Greg's house, "I don't want to have to stop every 4 or 5 hours..." Anyway, we all stock up on munchies and a few people change into pajamas. I don't bother - my baggy jeans will be good enough for me. I pick up a Snickers bar, some Combos, and apple juice. Once we get back on 95, I decide to try to sleep, since being the only non-driver who is awake is getting pretty boring, I am getting tired of trying to read my magazines by flashlight, and I figure that if I don't get my sleep before the sun comes up I will be a mess by the time we hit Florida. I am glad to have my big puffy coat as it makes a great pillow. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I actually fall deeply asleep during a car ride.
Costs:  $7.00 gas, $1.50 munchies. Tractor count: 19.

December 30, 3:04 am
North Carolina

I am starting to become conscious as I faintly hear someone singing the first line of a Dr. Dirty song desperate for someone to answer with the next verse. "Eat bite fuck suck gobble nibble chew..." echoes through my dreams as I realize where I am and what is going on with this CB lyric contest. I try to go back to sleep but no one is answering and the line is repeated a few times. I sit up, grab the mic, answer, "Nipple bosom hair pie finger fuck screw!" and go back to sleep.

After about 25 minutes I am awakened by the bright lights of another gas station just north of the South Carolina border. A few cars get gas but we are still good. We pull into the hotel next to the gas station where the bathrooms are located. I don't need a bathroom until I see the "rest room" sign and suddenly have the urge. The girls and I get out and run as the cold air hits us, but when we get to the door, we learn that  the "LOBBY IS CLOSED - NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS." Houston, we have a problem.  12 hours on the road and it has taken this long for a pee emergency, not bad.
Costs: Extreme Bladder Discomfort. Tractor count: 27, though around here we could probably find actual tractors within walking distance.

December 30, 4:10 am
I-95, South  Carolina

We entered South Carolina at 3:37 am. I have never really been in South Carolina before. There's not much to see from I-95. I haven't really been able to get back to sleep so I have been reading Cosmo, which I have been sharing with the other females via CB. We are up to the Cosmo Quiz when Joe decides he wants to participate. Tonight's topic: "Is Joe a Diva?"  Trying to figure out what the word "diva" means, Joe finally remembers: "Oh yeah, they sleep with more than one women." We determine that we are all divas, including Joe.
Costs: Joe's dignity. Tractor count: 27 (not including any references that may have been made while I was asleep).

December 30, 4:53 am
South Carolina

We roll on into a South Carolina gas station. "Mr. Bojangles" is playing very loudly in the food mart. We consult with the clerk to try to get an idea of how much driving we have ahead of us. I estimate that we will be in Miami around 3 or 4 pm. Everyone looks and feels like ass. I am surprised that I actually feel pretty much okay, tho I could really use a shower and a toothbrush. I regret not having put on pajamas as I realize that I have now been wearing these clothes for about 17 hours. It is just after 5 am when we leave the gas station, and I am extremely wired. Can't keep my eyes open, but somehow, too exhausted to sleep.
Costs: $6.50 gas. Tractor Count: 27  (we've been going easy on Mark).

December 30, 6:18 am
South Carolina

Still driving through the South Carolina darkness (this state seems endless), we start a new game called "Guess what time the sun will come up?" I guess 6:42 but fall back asleep before I find out if I won. I figure I will sleep until 9 or 10 and then have some breakfast and be up for the day. (Nice try.) It occurs to me that by the time we reach Miami, I will have traveled every stretch of I-95 from Maine to the end of Florida at some point in my life. I can't wait to try to accomplish a similar feat with any road that will take me to the west coast. Actually right now the only thing I can't wait to do is sleep.
Costs: sleep. Tractor Count: sleep.

December 30, 7:25 am
Waffle House, Georgia

We're now somewhere in Georgia. I can't believe I only slept for an hour. That sucks. The "Titanic" theme song is on and I am not sure why no one is turning it off.  The sun has brushed some purple and pink around the horizon and it is getting pretty bright outside. I notice some of the tall trees I recognize from my visits to Florida, though I haven't spotted any palm trees yet.  After passing about a zillion "Waffle House" exits, we finally stop for breakfast. I can hear the "Deliverance" music as we walk in. The walnut waffles are delicious, especially since I haven't eaten since finishing my bag of Combos somewhere in North Carolina. A nice glass of orange juice wakes me up a bit more, as do the entertaining interactions with our waitress. Louis finally decides he wants me to drive. Mike drove for about two hours, and Louis has somehow driven the rest of the way without sleeping. There is some confusion as to what gas station we are all  meeting at to fill up, but after a few U-turns, we get back together and back onto I-95. As we leave, Brendan tries to pull ahead as the lead car  but Joe exclaims, "You can't lead, you're a NIB!" Louis will maintain the travel diary while I am behind the wheel...
Costs:  $4.50 gas, $4.00 waffles.


Leave Waffle House


Lou declares (again) his hatred of Jersey


We enter Florida


Mark has WGAY sex w/Lon (again)

December 30, 12:10 pm
Northern Florida

I am highly amused by the notes Louis has added to my journal. We are leaving a 711 in Florida, where I finally was able to change, splash some water on my face, and brush my teeth. I drove for about 4 hours, during which we finally hit southern weather (and palm trees as far as the eye can see!!) and I made it official by driving with sunglasses on and the window open. I am getting pretty psyched for a few days of tanning and wearing shorts and T-shirts. Now Lou is driving again. We have an altercation with the first Gator-decorated car we have passed so far. (No, it wasn't really an altercation, just a friendly rivalry.) I rip out a piece of paper and draw a big "GO SU" with a picture of Otto to keep in the window in case  any other Gator fans start with us.
Costs: This is the only Orange-fan-decorating activity that will be free on this trip. Tractor Count: No one has mentioned tractors in over 9 hours.

December 30, 1:08 pm
Port St. Lucie,  FL

We see a cop car behind us. We decide we are safe because I have my bunny ears and I'm not afraid to use them in the event we are pulled over. (We won't have to worry about that until our trip to Disneyworld but that's another story...) A discussion on loyalty to sports teams ends with Louis' quote, "Shut up with yer Yankee crap." (He's a fellow Mets fan.)  The soundtrack: Aerosmith. We pass the exit for Port St. Lucie, which I remember isn't far from my grandparents' house in West Palm Beach, so I figure we are about 2 hours from Miami. A sign confirms that we are 46 miles from West Palm.

Apparantly the lack of sleep is getting to some people:
"Look, that tree looks like a giraffe!"
"Yeah, if you're halucinating or on crack."
We pass another SU car and exchange supportive waves.  At least we aren't alone in Gator territory...
No costs, still no tractor references.

December 30, 2:05 pm
Palm Beach area,  FL

We're somewhere near West Palm. Some cheesy song with a bunch of kids singing in Spanish is playing and we dub them the "Jackson Cinco." A cop has pulled someone over on the side of the road and we start a chorus of "Bad boys bad boys, whatcha gonna do?" A jeep with emergency lights on the roof and "EMERGENCY WILDLIFE SERVICES" written on the side passes us. A few of us comment on the need for the wildlife police vehicle. "I think he caught a zebra speeding the other day," says Seattle. Some Gator fans pass us in a Winnie and I flash the Otto sign at them.
Costs: $0.00. Tractor Count: Finally another tractor reference, bringing the total thus far to 28.

December 30, 2:15 pm
Deerfield, FL

We pull into some shopping area in Deerfield, Florida, to decide what to do about lodging. I have a room reserved at the Miami Travelodge but there has been some talk of finding another hotel out of fear that a hotel in downtown Miami might not be the safest of all options. Unfortunately I learn that it is too late to cancel my reservation. Still, we send out a search party to look for hotels nearby since we are within an hour of Miami. We party in the parking lot, blasting our car radios and playing frisbee in the sun while the search party is gone. After missing for over an hour, they return with news of no rooms available for under $100. Travelodge it is. We decide to try for a second room on my reservation, and at 3:45 we start our last bit of travel.

We reach Miami just before 5 pm. After pretending to be impressed by the front desk clerk's supposed knowledge of my hometown, I manage to convince him not only to give us a second room, but to rearrange a bunch of reservations so that we can have rooms with a connecting door. I also walk away with 8 coupons for free drinks at the hotel bar, which works out to 4 drinks for each of the two of us over 21. Party time! We manage to sneak all our beer into the rooms and convert a bathtub into a giant cooler.
Cost: In the end it worked out to $47 per person for the hotel rooms (12 people in 2 rooms). Tractor Count: Grand total = 32  references to Mark owning a tractor during our 26 hours of travel to Miami. (Don't worry Mark, they're just jealous.)

Welcome to Miami...Bienvenidos a Miami... That is the story of the first part of the Miami trip. But the fun is only beginning...check back soon for part II, where we will try to track down our band friends, party on South Beach, celebrate New Year's Coconut-Grove style, and have a great time losing at the Orange Bowl...and part III, where some of us will continue the vacation at DisneyWorld...Also, view my online scrapbook for this trip!

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