Dateline: Merritt Island, Fla.

I have yet to take a melatonin tablet, but sleep will be fast approaching.  So, I’ll try to type some thoughts about the long trip to Orlando that ended early this evening.  I left Columbus at 9:15 last night, and spent the next 22 hours on Greyhound, and actually arrived at Orlando 20 minutes early.

This is my first time in the Sunshine State.  Susie has been down here all summer with Steph and Steph’s partner Mike.  Susie will be coming back to Ohio with me on Sunday morning (another first: the first time I have been on an airplane in almost 30 years), and I’m spending a little R and R here in Merritt Island, on the Space Coast of Florida.

I am glad I made the trip down by bus, although the portions of the trip occurring in the nighttime hours were tedious, once I left Cincinnati.  It was odd for me for a bus trip to not terminate in Cincinnati, so when the rest stop ended, I had to remind myself that I was going further south.  I was not able to sleep very well as the bus went down Interstate 75 through Kentucky, although I did manage a few scattered hours once the bus crossed the Tennessee line.  All I had to eat on that leg of the trip was an overpriced bag of animal crackers, which I bought at the Greyhound station in Chattanooga.  (The same bus station also featured 20-ounce bottles of Coke products for $2.25.  I passed on that!)

My only change of buses was in Atlanta.  The bus station there is too small and too chaotic, which is surprising for a city that size.  However, with the help of the station manager, the driver of the Atlanta-to-Orlando leg of the trip quite efficiently loaded the passengers, and we made very good time all the way to Orlando.  (During a rest stop in Tifton, Ga., I had some fried chicken at Church’s, which was my only meal until Steph, Mike, Susie, and I had a big dinner at Kelsey’s Pizza Pasta Kitchen in Merritt Island.)

The brevity of this account is a far cry from the first travelogue I ever wrote.  I think the first “long” manuscript I ever wrote (long since lost) was when I was 11.  It was called “Two Trips to Richmond, Virginia,” and I described two trips I made with my parents to Richmond, when my uncle was seriously ill with the congestive heart failure that would eventually kill him.  I faithfully described every bathroom break, food stop, Mail Pouch barn, and trip to the hospital that I could remember.  The end product was 48 single-spaced typewritten pages.

I am no stranger to long bus rides, but this one took a lot more out of me than I thought it would.  Even taking a melatonin tablet on the bus didn’t help me sleep.  I didn’t read much, either, because it seemed that would require more mental energy than I could summon.  My mood perked up as the bus neared Orlando, and especially when Susie ran up to me and hugged me in the terminal.

Now that I’ve visited Florida, there are only 11 states I have yet to visit.  They are in the Pacific Northwest, the Deep South, and Alaska and Hawaii.

I went to Volunteers of America and bought a large suitcase for this trip, and then had to buy a larger knapsack than the one I usually carry–one that would fit this laptop, as well as books, my diary, camera, and other necessities of travel.  Even so, I looked overloaded, because I also had to carry the black over-the-shoulder bag containing my CPAP machine.  (On the way back from Kelsey’s, we did some grocery shopping at Publix, since I had to buy distilled water for the machine.)

I had difficulty loading Blogger’s page while I was on the bus, otherwise I may have attempted an entry in “real time.”  (I have a hard time picturing Jack Kerouac with a laptop during his travels.)

Now, as Samuel Pepys would say, “And so to bed.”

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