My day started Wednesday with the news that I-4 had been closed east of Lakeland due to a massive 70 vehicle pile-up.
Knowing that I needed to go to Orlando airport created a huge problem. After studying all the options, none of which was good, trying to go the back roads to Orlando would not be good, there would be large back-ups, as everyone else would be doing that .
I finally decided to go straight across the state to Okeechobee, then enter the Florida Turnpike and proceed north to Orlando.
It is always a nice drive across Florida, mostly two lane roads with very little traffic , the landscape although it is flatter than Aunt Jemimah’s pancakes, is pleasant, mostly farming ,with small towns dotted across the landscape. The only concern is the occasional slow driver which can create a problem in passing.
I didn’t really comprehend how much longer a trip it would be , but as I Lake Okeechobee and turned north onto Hwy 441 , I realized that making the round trip without buying fuel would be impossible. Finding a gas station in these remote areas can also be a problem. Luckily, as I approached Fort Drum, one appeared on the left side of the road.
After making a bathroom ,and fuel stop , I proceeded to Orlando. Seeing the sign for the Florida Turnpike ,I eagerly awaited the turn off, little did I know it would be in YeeHaw Junction, a very small wide spot in the road. I was expecting Junior Samples to appear at any time!
Arriving at Orlando International airport, the normal parking problems were encountered, finally finding a spot on the top level, I hurriedly went inside as it was time for my clients to arrive.
Meeting my clients , who had just arrived from London, I informed them that we were in for a long ride home, as the interstate was closed and we needed to take an alternate route.
Deciding that there had to be a better way, I decided to try the back roads, as the traffic wouldn’t be quite as bad this time of day.
Having never gone this way, I was a little apprehensive as we started home, the weather had become dark, and it would be a windy,twisty route through Kissimmee on US 17.
I did quite well and turned onto what I thought was US 17, however it turned out to be the wrong road, there is a US17 and a Florida 17, tricked again by the highway department!!
After some anxious moments, I didn’t want the clients to know I was slightly confused, I found the real US 17,and proceed to Sarasota, arriving maybe a half an hour sooner than would have been possible traveling the long way down the Florida Turnpike.
It had been quite a day, and as I was returning to Orlando the next day,and the interstate was still closed, I would have the opportunity to view the landscape that I had missed the night before.