Last Saturday we sadly said goodbye to Orlando at 4:30 a.m., and began the long drive home (actually, the long drive to Ryan’s parents’ house, because driving all the way home from Orlando in one day would have been a disaster!). We did have a few stops planned along the way, though. We started by driving up the Space Coast. In some ways, it was like time had frozen there since the 1960s. We passed by so many cute motels that were just like I had imagined from the days of the space race. And they all had great vintage road signs…but it was too dark to get good pictures of them!
Anyway, the sun did come up eventually…just in time for us to drive through Daytona Beach, which was where we supposed to say in the first place, and see the sun rise over the ocean:
We drove a little farther up the coast, and stopped to stretch our legs at St. Augustine Beach. We weren’t there for long, but we got to take a nice walk, collect seashells, and dip our toes in the water. It was so exciting to see the Atlantic Ocean again!
We then drove into St. Augustine (the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States), right over the Bridge of Lions:
And stopped to take a walk around Castillo de San Marcos, which is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States.
We then turned toward Jacksonville, where we stopped at the Wawa again…I have to admit, for a gas station, they make great sandwiches!
After driving through a different part of the state than on our way in, and looking for both bears and alligators (and not seeing either), we said goodbye to Florida:
And made the interminable drive back across Georgia. Even I was happy to finally see Tennessee, even if it did mean going back through the Smoky Mountains:
And so our second Markel Family summer vacation came to an end. I’ll be taking a closer look at the fun places we visited in the coming days, though, so the vacation fun isn’t over yet!