Lisa Ricard Claro – Author

Romance is good for your heart!

Welcome to Florida!

Posted on Jul 12, 2017 by Lisa Ricard Claro   24 Comments | Posted in The Naked Truth

Have you ever had something negative occur, and the only thing keeping you from being miserable about it is that the Universe shows its sense of humor by tossing in something to make you smile? Here’s the scenario:

It was the day of our big move from Georgia to Florida. The hubster was driving his truck, heavily laden with ooh-gobs of stuff as well as both dogs and the cat. He was also pulling a trailer, packed to the max. I followed in my sensible sedan, also weighted down with stuff. (Yes, we downsized. No, you’d never know it. In spite of all we carried with us, there was yet more stuff coming to us after we found a new place. But that’s a different story.) And in case you’re wondering, I didn’t have the fur babies traveling with me because my a/c was acting up, and I wanted the furry kids to be comfy.

So anyway, off we went, dewy-eyed and ready for our Florida adventure!

As has been the case for 37 years, I would follow my man anywhere, and that day was no exception. He led the way, and I was happy in my car, trekking along behind him, no worries, Bon Jovi blasting.

Until we crossed the Florida state line.

Joe’s right-turn directional flashed and I followed him to the shoulder of the freeway. We came to a stop.

“My truck just died,” he said over the phone a moment later. “I think it’s having trouble with the load. Between what’s in the bed of the truck and the weight of the trailer, it’s being taxed. Plus it’s hot out.”

Uh-huh. About 90+ degrees and humid. Florida in June is no joke.

“Great. Welcome to Florida, huh?” I said.

“Apparently,” Joe said. “Look where we died.”

I glanced to the right, beyond the fence and overgrown field of tall weeds. There was a huge sign proclaiming WELCOME TO FLORIDA, and beyond that was the Florida Welcome Center, beckoning in the distance like the Land of Oz.

Yes, buttercup. We died right in front of the Florida Welcome Center. Close enough to see, too far away to trek to without a case of OFF and a machete. Proof that the Universe has a grand sense of humor.

A little while later the truck miraculously started up again, and we were underway none the worse for wear. We decided to stop for gas—maybe the truck would be happier if we kept the tank above half—and chose the next exit we saw.

We stopped. We filled up. We walked the dogs and piled back into our vehicles. And my engine wouldn’t start. Dead as a possum crossing the interstate.

My husband said a bunch of words that I can’t print here. There were some I’d never heard before. (And he says he’s not creative.)

We spent the next three hours pouring water into dog bowls and looking for shade for our animals while waiting for a tow truck and battling armies and armies of gnats. There were hundreds of thousands of gnats. The air was thick with them. In fact, I have never seen so many *&$%^#&* gnats! (Sorry. Apparently, I’m still bitter.)

After following the tow truck that hauled my poor, dead Flossie off to Middle-of-Flippin’-Nowhere, Florida—a full 30 minutes in the wrong direction, thank you—it was another two hours waiting for the car to be fixed which, thank goodness, the nice redneck gentlemen were able to do for us before the sun went down. The exposed beer bellies and butt cracks were just a special bonus they offered—you know, in case we weren’t enthralled enough already with the first day of our big move. (Putting aside their desperate need for fashion help, they really were nice, working after hours to get us on our way . . . I mean, we paid for the overtime, but still.)

Our drive to Sarasota, which should have taken 8 hours, took 17. That’s right, buttercup, 17 hours to make an 8 hour trip.

On the upside, after the debacle with Flossie’s usually reliable engine, the trip brought no more troubles. We were less concerned for ourselves than for our over-stressed fur babies, especially my sweet kitty, Luna, who was stuck in the cat carrier for the duration. The one time I found a safe place to let her out she ignored her litter box and stalked right back into the cat carrier, curled up in the back, and glared at me.

Never fear. My furry muse has forgiven us for dragging her across state lines. As I type this she is sprawled on the desktop, purring, her butt encroaching my keyboard. The dogs are sprawled in front of the desk. All three animals are too busy napping to notice the family of ibis that just passed by the window. Hakuna matata. All in all, life is good at the beach.


What travel experiences have you had? Have you ever traveled with pets? What is your most memorable travel experience?

Thanks for hanging out with me. Have a terrific Wednesday, and I’ll see you next week!

Romance is good for your heart! To purchase your copy of Love Built to Last, Love to Believe, or Love to Win in eBook or print just click the book cover on this blog’s sidebar. Autographed copies are available for purchase on my HOME page. 🙂  And audio versions are in the works!

24 Responses to "Welcome to Florida!"

  1. Comment by Pat Wahler
    July 12, 2017 at 10:31 am  

    What an introduction to your new life in Florida! I’m glad it wasn’t any worse. Heat isn’t anything to mess around with.

    The most I’ve ever traveled with critters is taking my dog on a two-hour trip to the river – with the air conditioner set on “maximum”. 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 12, 2017 at 11:00 am  

      You’re right, Pat—not wise to mess with this heat! We’re careful when we walk the dogs, too, because the pavement is so hot. We do our best to keep them on the grass, but they don’t always want to comply.

  2. Comment by Susan Bonifant
    July 12, 2017 at 10:39 am  

    Wow, what a trip, and what a good attitude about the unexpected. You’ll have a whole new respect for uneventful trips after this!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 12, 2017 at 11:00 am  

      You’re not kidding, Susan! I’ll be more grateful than ever for smooth sailing.

  3. Comment by ButtonsMom2003
    July 12, 2017 at 10:41 am  

    Oh, my! I have stories but I’m on the way out the door. You tell the best tales – I just hope, for your sake, that you embellished it a bit. 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 12, 2017 at 11:01 am  

      Nope! No embellishing, believe it or not. The truth is stranger than fiction sometimes.

      • Comment by ButtonsMom2003
        July 12, 2017 at 3:13 pm  

        The best pet travel story is from when I was a kid. We were on a longish camping trip and part of it was in Canada. When we came back to the U.S. we almost had to leave our dog, Sparky, behind.

        Turns out she was asleep in the back seat with my sister and me when we crossed into Canada but was wide awake and moving around when we came back. I no longer remember all of the details but we didn’t have the proper paperwork with us for her. Somehow my mom and dad managed to convince the authorities to let us bring Sparky back into the U.S. I don’t remember anything else about that trip but that part was memorable.

        Buttons is a wonderful traveler. He mostly sleeps on my lap until we go through a drive-thru for food – then he goes nuts because he wants whatever we’re having. 🙂

        • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
          July 14, 2017 at 8:58 am  

          Ohmigosh! It would be impossible to leave a pet behind! That would’ve been awful for your family and for Sparky. I’m so glad the people in charge had a heart.

          Of course Buttons wants to have what you’re having. He knows he’s “people” too. 🙂

  4. Comment by Antionette Blake
    July 12, 2017 at 10:47 am  

    Fortunately, all of our trips have been uneventful, however, glad that you made it safely to Florida.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 12, 2017 at 11:02 am  

      Thanks, Antionette. Me too! And the silver lining was that we did most of our driving after the sun went down, so it was a lot cooler and there were fewer cars on the road.

  5. Comment by Sioux Roslawski
    July 12, 2017 at 11:00 am  

    Butt cracks and bare beer-bellies. What more could you want?

    My worst road trip was from St. Louis to Houston. I wasn’t traveling with a dog or cat but I WAS traveling with a bipolar friend. And her medicine didn’t always “work.”

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 12, 2017 at 11:03 am  

      Haha…that sounds like the basis for a good book, Sioux.

  6. Comment by Rob
    July 12, 2017 at 12:42 pm  

    Gnats. We used to call them flying teeth. Crack kills.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 14, 2017 at 8:54 am  


  7. Comment by Sue Lyon-Myrick
    July 12, 2017 at 12:57 pm  

    Well it was bound to get better from there! Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 14, 2017 at 8:55 am  

      Thanks for reading!

  8. Comment by Danielle Smith
    July 12, 2017 at 2:51 pm  

    What a welcome to your new home state! Sounds like you handled it with grace and a sense of humor!

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 14, 2017 at 8:56 am  

      The sense of humor came after the fact, I’m afraid. lol

  9. Comment by Cathy C. Hall
    July 12, 2017 at 3:35 pm  

    Oh the trips I’ve had. Oh the words I’ve heard (and said). Some of us are just lucky travelers like that, huh, Lisa? 🙂

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 14, 2017 at 8:59 am  

      Well, now, sometimes only certain words are up to the task, you know? lol

  10. Comment by Beth Havey
    July 12, 2017 at 5:17 pm  

    Glad you made it safely despite all the stops and starts. I have never traveled with a pet, except to the vet’s and she hated that. You are a brave woman on many counts. We drove a loaded car from Iowa to CA. but the moving van did the rest. Enjoy your new home.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 14, 2017 at 9:02 am  

      Thanks, Beth. This was the first time we didn’t use a moving van for an interstate move. The bulk of our stuff was in Pods which were delivered to our new residence later, and we hauled the “overflow” with us, as well as things we didn’t want to load into the Pods, like jewelry or specific furniture items we didn’t want to risk. It was a hassle I don’t want to repeat any time soon! Fortunately, we’re happy where we’ve landed. 🙂

  11. Comment by Linda O'Connell
    July 15, 2017 at 8:48 am  

    You certainly had some travel experiences, which I expect you can incorporate into your next book. My worst trip was in the backseat of a mustang hatch back with a newborn on my lap. My ex husband’s army sargent drove at 90-100 mph from Alaska to St. Louis in record time, less than three days.

    • Comment by Lisa Ricard Claro
      July 20, 2017 at 8:41 am  

      Oh, gosh, Linda. Sounds like you kissed the ground when you arrived!

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: