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Monday, March 30, 2015

31 Days of Adventure: Days 27 and 28 - A Show of Friendship and a Little Adventure

I've noticed a few distinct phases in adult life. One of the most painful is laying to rest loved one. I don't think we're ever completely ready for someone to pass, no matter how sick they may be or what pain they are enduring. This weekend, several of us from work traveled to support a friend as he laid his mother to rest. While we never met his mother, we know her son and realize that in the true spirit of friendship, we had to lay aside whatever other concerns we had in order to give the support and encouragement our presence would provide. It was in this setting and with a spirit of friendship that we left Atlanta on Friday afternoon. And what an adventure we had.

The first two hours were spent just trying to get out of Atlanta! 75 South on a Friday when Spring Breaks are still being taken...just two words: NIGHT MARE! It was stop and go, nearly bumper to bumper for quite a while. Just about an hour after we were able to maintain a pretty steady cruising speed, it was time to eat and we were just in Cordele at Golden Corral.   Despite my co-pilots incorrect GPS directions, we made it to Golden Corral. This was a natural choice since it offered a variety and we all have diverse eating preferences. After a dinner, which included one of the best salads I've had in a while, it was time to continue our trip. 

 We arrived in Jacksonville at around 11:30 Friday night located the church where the services would be held and began our search for a hotel room.

Yes! We flew by the seats of our collective pants and didn't book ahead of time. The first 5 or 6 places we reached out to? Booked! Booked! Booked! Who knew that Jacksonville was such a hopping place. When we asked why everything was booked, the response we received was normal traffic and maybe spring break. Just when we were about to give up a room was found.

Finally!  The Sheraton was approximately 20 minutes south of Jacksonville, so our travel coordinator asked that they hold the room for us and off we went. It was the last room available at that hotel. When we got there we were presented with a single king sized bed. At that point it didn't matter, we were road weary. I did begin to think that I should probably add an air mattress to go along with the blankets that I always have in the car. So we made due. The good points were: 2 of us are short, the room was a handicapped accessible room which provided some extra maneuvering room and we're pretty laid back ladies. So #1 candidate pulled up the chair and two hassocks and with the extra blankets provided, made a chase lounge. #2, the tall one slept on one side of the bed...Short #3 slept across the bottom of the bed with an extra blanket and short # 4 slept on the other side of the bed. We set up a bathroom schedule for the morning, that would allow everyone to have some undisturbed time and still be able to leave in enough time to get to the church on time. It was a perfect set up and everyone managed to get some sleep.

We hadn't told our friend that we were coming to the funeral and two additional folks from the office showed up as well. He said it really meant a lot to him and his aunt was happy to know that he had a support group in Atlanta. It was a very nice service that focused on celebrating his mother's life and was actually encouraging and uplifting despite the somber occasion. After visiting briefly with the family, we changed and began our trip back to Atlanta.

We decided to return via Savannah instead of I-75 which would allow me about a half hour of beach therapy and we were able to stop in Statesboro to visit one of our sons who attends college at Georgia Southern. On the way to Tybee Island, we passed exits on I-75 that I've mentally added to my "to visit" list for later in the year.

The beach although windy and a bit blustery, relaxed me and provided that 30 minutes of ocean therapy, that I need periodically. We took the chairs that are always in the car and sat out for a few minutes. Our next stop...Statesboro. What started off as a quick side trip to say hi to a son, ended a few hours later once we had eaten, rested, refueled and taken care of a bit of business.

Totally exhausted by the time we got to Macon, I turned the last leg of the trip over to my co-pilot to get us home. This took a bit longer than originally planned because since true to form, I-75 presented us with a traffic jam as we got close to Atlanta.

We finally made it back to our starting spot at about 1:00 am Sunday morning, the office parking lot, joking that we'd just take our blankets and sleep under our desks since we were so tired. All in all, despite complete exhaustion, strange sleeping arrangements, a chatty misdirecting GPS and a few side trips, we are thankful for travelling blessings which resulted in an uneventful and safe adventure while having the opportunity to support one of our own as he faced a life transition. It was a great way to spend a weekend and to my travelling mates....I'd roll with you again!

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