We always wondered what it felt like to be a "snowbird"... leaving ahead of the ice and snow to go south for the winter. So, we tried it this January; closing the Inn for the month (really no one comes out this way when it is truly cold and icy, so we didn't feel bad about being closed). This is a recap of sorts of what we did during our month off (many of our former guests and friends had been asking, "what on earth will you do in Florida for an entire month??!!"). This is a small four-part chronicle of our adventure along with a couple of pics from my cell phone.
We left the Inn in the capable hands of our niece (thanks, Natalie!) packed up the car, and drove (yes, drove). Chris surprised Jeff with a special "over-the-road" playlist on her iPod that included "Holiday Road" by Lindsay Buckingham (made famous in the "Vacation" movies) and Jeff's all-time favorite "Joy to the World" by Three Dog Night. Racing down the highway ahead of the 4 degree temps descending upon Defiance, we made it to our first stop:
Chattanooga. This was a fun "tourist-type" stop for us. We stayed at the Chattanoogan Hotel (great place), ate at some really good restaurants, visited with our son, and took in some sights:
Rock City, the Incline Railway, and Ruby Falls.
After a fun time exploring the city, it was back on the road to Florida. Although we stopped for one night in Gainesville, we mostly slept and learned about the SunPass system for the Florida Toll Highways. Great to have a pass and drive through. But on to our first week's destination:
Jupiter, Florida -- St. Louis Cardinal Legend's Camp.
Jeff was scheduled to play in his second-ever camp along with his brother, Mike; and friend Charlie Urschler and his brother Jim. A surprise was to find three other people participating in the camp that we knew from St. Charles (Frank Romano, Bob Wright, and Mike Miller). It was a really fun time, and Jeff's team came in 3rd place out of 10 teams.
We stayed several days in West Palm Beach, going every morning to the Roger Dean Stadium complex. Chris even got a few pics with some players (above Brian Jordan). The highlight was getting to play in the stadium. Jeff's coach was Jose Oquendo, and teammates were Jason Simontacchi and Gary Bennett.