We left Ft. Pierce on Thursday morning to drive up to Atlanta to pick up Skip’s daughter Jen and husband Bill at the airport Friday afternoon.  It was about 500 miles spread over 2 days.   We stopped in Valdosta, GA for the night.  The first order of business was to change from shorts and sandals to warmer clothes!  Next, dinner at the Cracker Barrel to fill up on hearty southern food–a tradition of ours when we travel to Georgia. 

Bill and Jen


Atlanta traffic was just as bad as Skip remembered when he lived there.  The highways have about 8 lanes on each side and people drive crazy fast.  Bill and Jen arrived on time and met up with us after finding Krystal burgers at the airport (something they miss out in Denver.)  We finally made it to Ellijay, GA around 6pm after negotiating the Friday evening rush hour traffic and dodging the deer on the road up the mountain.  Skip’s sister Nancy and husband Don welcomed us with a roaring fire and delicious dinner.   We enjoyed visiting with them and hearing Bill and Jen tell their story about a close encounter with a grizzly bear while backpacking in the Alaska wilderness last summer.  I still can’t believe that Bill kicked a grizzly bear and lived to tell the tale! 

I want to go back to FloridaSnow in Ellijay, GA


We awoke to snow falling on Saturday morning.  Yes, it was only a dusting and I’ve seen lots of snow before but I took a lot of pictures anyway.  We picked up Skip’s mother in Chattanooga and took her to lunch at the Cracker Barrel for some more yummy southern cooking.  We got back to the assisted living home just in time for the start of her 90th birthday party.  All of the family were there along with her close friends.  She also invited all of the residents at the home too.  It was quite a crowd!  We all enjoyed cake and punch while Ginny and Michael played guitar/banjo and sang.  We were so happy to be there to help celebrate such an auspicious occasion.  It was great to see Mom have such a good time with her family and friends.  I hope she found room for all of the lovely gifts! 

Ginny, Nancy and Skip with their Mom -- looking good at 90!


 We spent another evening at Nancy’s before heading back to Atlanta on Sunday morning.  It was too cold to walk around so we took a mini driving tour of the areas where Jen and Bill used to live.  For lunch, we visited The Varsity–the world’s largest drive-in.  (Can you tell there’s a food theme to this trip??)  Well, now I can say I’ve been there.  The food was what you would expect from a drive-in–chilli dogs with greasy fries.  Bill and Jen knew just what to order.  She liked the Frosty Orange drink and he went right for the chocolate milk! 

The Varsity grub


Jen likes FO - Frosty Orange
Bill likes PC (Pure Chocolate)

We were sad to see them off at the airport.  They were heading home to winter weather in Denver while we were anxious to get back to palm trees!  After an evening stop just north of Gainesville, FL we arrived ‘home’ on Monday afternoon.  First thing–get out the shorts and sandals! 

Both of us had to rest up on Tuesday after all that driving.  I went out after lunch and bought food for our winter in the Bahamas.  Skip got out all of our storage boxes so I could stash the food.  I still have a shopping list–where am I going to put all of this stuff??!! 

Today we took Bailey to the vet in West Palm to get a health certificate for entry into the Bahamas.  He’s good to go!!  It was too hot to work on the boat so we had a nice lunch at the marina restaurant and relaxed for the afternoon.  The rest of the week will be spent doing last minute chores before turning the car in on Saturday.  Our friends Mike and Angie (Lady of Lorien) are still in St. Augustine and plan to leave on Sunday.  We’ll meet up with them and Joe (Onward) early next week to cross to the Bahamas as long as the weather is good.  I’ll probably have another blog post before leaving…