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Diva70

Fantasy Cruise/Florida Trip Report Part IV

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OK, so we get to Budget in Cape Canaveral and get the car. I was supposed to have a compact. She gave me a minivan. Hmmm...looked at the paperwork and discovered she had pulled up the wrong reservation in the wrong "Lee" name, but had my correct address. She booked us at $75 a day for the minivan, not the $23 it was supposed to be. I corrected her on this and, since it was her fault, she gave me the minivan anyway. Cool. More hurricane conversation. I heard one of the staff people say "well, I live 6 blocks from the ocean and 2 blocks from the river, I hope it just tears my roof off so homeowner's will cover it, I can't get flood insurance". Yikes. We head down A1A to Indialantic. What a gorgeous drive that is! All those little beach towns along the way are terrific, and talk about an incredible view - rubbernecking the whole way. We stopped at a store to get another camera - I think we were on #6 or 7 by then. We got to Indialantic fairly quickly and went to look for our cottage. Found it - right on the boardwalk, right across the street from the ocean and as cute a house as can be!! We walked up the stairs to find our room. Check in wasn't until 3 but we were hoping we could get in early. There are only 5 rooms in the house and ours covered the entire back and front left side. We had our own large deck with a bbq and a jacuzzi, and overlooked the backyard pool. The door was glass and when I opened it up - WOW!! I was expecting gorgeous but this place took the cake. Mexican tiles throughout, a kitchen, huge king size bed with THE best mattress I've EVER tried, leather sofa and chair, and 2 sliding glass doors covering the entire wall facing the ocean, out to yet another deck. Sigh...I could SO live there. We figured they weren't quite done cleaning so just left our stuff in the car, went to the OceanView Diner down the street and had clam rolls (YUM) and headed for a grocery store. Got some stuff, drove around for a while checking things out, and headed back to the room. There was now a note left for me, Ms. Lee the St. Thomas Suite is ready, so we headed up there and dropped our food off, then went over to the ocean for a few. Came back and Jason found the dang maid cleaning out our fridge - with our new food and drinks - thinking that it was stuff from the other people who had left. Glad we caught her in time! We turned on the TV and started watching all the news about hurricane Charley. Jason starts getting REAL nervous and insisting we go to Orlando that night (our flight was to leave the next evening, Friday). I told him no way am I spending the night in the airport (and a dang good thing I did that after all!), tried to get him to calm down and relax. I figured no big deal, I'll call Alaska in the morning to double check on the flight. We played on the beach the rest of the day and night, watched for sea turtles, and took TONS more pictures. LOL.

 

The next morning we got up fairly early (around 6) and I figured I should probably call Alaska, as it now looked like Charley had changed direction somewhat and was heading our way. I called and *poof* the flight is cancelled. GREAT. She checked everyone to try and get us on somewhere else, no luck. When is the next flight we can get on? MONDAY NIGHT. Hmm...now what. We are at the end of our vacation with really no cash left, no hotel reservations for the rest of the time, and we are supposed to return the car to Orlando at 4:30. Uh huh. Panic time...took us hours to figure out what to do. A lot of our $$ was tied up on the credit card through deposits and such, so that was out. We tried to get Budget to let us pay for the additional days we would have to keep the car via Jason's boss's credit card, nope, they have to have the physical card to swipe. Sigh. We called Robert (our fabulous innkeeper) and told him of our situation. He felt we would be much safer there than trying to go into Orlando (and BOY was he right in the end) and told us to go ahead and stay that night there, but he might have to move us the next night to a different suite, and we could just mail him a check when we got back. Thank God, at least one thing went right. We had to wait until the folks back home were up (Florida is 3 hours ahead) and finally got Jason's dad, who wired us $$ and gave tons of good advice (he used to live in Okinawa in the Army and had been through a lot of weather!). We then had to find a Western Union stop and get the $$ (neither of us had ever done that before), then we got Budget to agree to let us keep the car until Monday night. WHEW. Money, a place to stay, and a car, now, if we can only avoid the hurricane...by the time we got back it had been upgraded to a category 4 and THAT is when I started to get a little nervous. We spent the entire day glued to the TV set and worrying about the glass doors. Robert came and we put all the patio furniture in the pool and he braced up his palm trees. We then heard that they were evacuating from Cocoa Beach up (about 12 miles N of us) which was a little scary. Then the rains and winds started...feeder bands, I think they're called, anyway, have never seen rain go sideways in sheets, just flying down the street. Palm trees bent over and stuff going everywhere. Luckily it passed without getting too close to us, but those other poor folks across Florida, we really felt for you guys and wished we could help in some way. We went down to the ocean after the storm and were amazed when Jason almost fell off the beach - the storm had dug a 5 foot drop out of the sand down. Incredible.

 

The next night we did get to spend in our suite but then had to move to another - just as pretty but not quite as big. We spent time just running around, going to dinner at Conchy Joe's in Melbourne, driving up and down the barrier island coast, stopping to take pictures of THE most gorgeous house ever (I'm really into houses, if you can't tell lol), and also spent time at Sebastian Inlet (got DUMPED on by rain, completely soaked) and the treasure museum. We saw a lot of manatees, dolphins, and sea turtles there. We even had to dodge a crab scrabbling across the highway. Here, we have squirrels. There, they have crabs, possum, armadillos, etc. LOL. We also went to the first national preserve in the United States - where immediately upon exiting the car we were ATTACKED by mosquitos. Never had so many bites occur in 2 minutes in my life! Dang! That last night we got up early to see if we could watch the sea turtles laying their eggs, but had missed them. There were the BIGGEST tracks I've ever seen in my life across the beach - like giant tires from a bulldozer or something.

 

Monday was our day to leave so we packed up and then headed to the beach for a while, had lunch at the diner again, and then headed out. Did a little more wandering and stopped at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. We then drove back up the coast, stopping at Satellite Beach and some other spots, then at Cocoa Beach to check out the dinosaur store. Didn't get a chance to get back in to Ron Jon's, unfortunately.

 

We then headed for Orlando. The destruction along the way was absolutely incredible. Giant metal signs bent completely over to the ground and debris everywhere. We got to the airport, dropped off the car, and went to check in. We were 3 hours early and a darn good thing we were, most of Alaska's machines were down and they had to do a lot by hand. We waited around for a while and then went to the gate. As we walked up I realized that our gate was in the part of the airport where the roof had ripped off. Most of the ceiling was exposed, and it started to rain. Never seen rain INSIDE the airport. LOL. Huge puddles everywhere and ceiling tiles falling like crazy. We had to wait over an hour as there was lightning and they couldn't bring the plane to the gate - but dodging ceiling tiles is okay. LOL. Finally got on and ended up getting home at about 1:30 a.m.

 

All-in-all, even with the craziness and stress, I have to say it was the BEST vacation we have ever had. Yes, it beats Vegas, even. :D LOVED Florida and are returning next year with the kids for a week, along with perhaps a short 3 day cruise. We also plan on moving to Indialantic when the last one graduates in 10 years. They are kind of irritated we're waiting til then. LOL. Can't wait til the next one! :)

 

~Holly

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