Party Like It’s 1999!

May 27

Why? Because you never know what you’ll find when you’re looking for something else. In this case, the log of our 1999 road trip from Washington, D.C. (where we were living at the time) to Florida. The only reason for visiting Florida was for the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament being hosted in Tampa Bay that year. Then we discovered that Florida was also the home of Disney World. We had previously been advised that the two places one must visit in one’s lifetime were Disney World (or Disneyland) and the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. And so we were off. There was also the possibility this would be our last trip ever because Y2K was looming at the end of the year. I must warn you, however, this is the first of a two-part series . . .

FLORIDA TRIP – March 20 -31, 1999

Day 1: To Charleston, SC – 8 1/2 hours (525 miles)

Day 2: To Orlando, FL
Arrive St. Augustine – 4 1/2 hours (285 miles) – 1 hour stay
Arrive Kennedy Space Center – 3 hour stay
Arrive Orlando – 6 3/4 hours from St. Augustine (175 miles)

Day 3: Disney – Epcot, Norway dinner, fireworks

Day 4: Disney – Magic Kingdom

Day 5: Disney – Animal Kingdom

Day 6: Disney – MGM

Day 7: To New Port Richey – 2 1/2 hours (110 miles)
New Port Richey Beach

Day 8: Friday Final Four practice – drove Outer Banks from Clearwater to Ft. De Soto –
dinner @ Columbia in Ybor City (oldest restaurant in FL since 1905 (still going 2021))

Day 9: Around St. Petersburg

Day 10: Clearwater Beach – Dolphin boat

Day 11: Same as above

Day 12: To Fayetteville, NC – 13 1/4 hours (660 miles) – stops @ Jekyll Island & Hilton Head

Day 13: Arrive home – 5 hours (307 miles)

Total miles – 2507.9

Charleston

[To reconstruct a trip from 22 years ago with nothing more than where we were on each day is beyond difficult. I’m not sure how much Google research I’m willing to put in to identify all the photos contained herein. For example, I could not identify this church without Wikipedia, which told me Philip’s Church is an historic church at 142 Church Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Its National Historic Landmark description states: “Built in 1836 (spire completed in 1850), this stuccoed brick church features an imposing tower designed in the Wren-Gibbs tradition . . . ]

[I was subsequently released on my own recognizance, but I can no longer vote in the majority of states . . . ]

South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum. ~ James L. Petigru

South Carolina is not a state; it is a cult. ~  Pat Conroy

Charleston is one of the best built, handsomest, and most agreeable cities that I have ever seen. ~ Marquis de Lafayette

Walking the streets of Charleston in the late afternoons of August was like walking through gauze or inhaling damaged silk. ~ Pat Conroy

No city could be more beautiful than Charleston during the brief reign of azaleas, no city on earth. ~  Pat Conroy

During the settling of the American colonies, it was said that the Spaniards would first build a church, the Dutch would first build a fort and the English a tavern. Welcome to Charleston, an English colony founded in 1670. ~ Mark R. Jones

Charleston is not the center of the universe, but it should be. That is the persistent perception of many locals. ~ Mark R. Jones

I’m going back to dignity and grace. I’m going back to Charleston, where I belong. ~ Rhett Butler

[On my own recognizance . . . ]

It is a matter of common knowledge that the government of South Carolina is under domination of a small ring of cunning, conniving men. ~ Strom Thurmond

St. Augustine

[The Bridge of Lions is a double-leaf bascule bridge that spans the Intracoastal Waterway in St. Augustine, Florida, United States. A part of State Road A1A, it connects downtown St. Augustine to Anastasia Island across Matanzas Bay (Wikipedia).]

[The Old City Gates are a striking site toward the north end of St. George Street. The Old City Gates were at one time the only entrance into St. Augustine. The two ancient columns made of stone were built in 1808 as a line of defense for the city (trolleytours.com).]

A tourist is a fellow who drives thousands of miles so he can be photographed standing in front of his car. ~ Emile Ganest

It should be illegal to yell ‘Y2K’ in a crowded economy. ~ Larry Wall

How could this Y2K be a problem in a country where we have Intel and Microsoft? ~ Al Gore

[The Castillo de San Marcos (Spanish for “St. Mark’s Castle”) is the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States; it is located on the western shore of Matanzas Bay in the city of St. Augustine, Florida. The construction of the core of the current fortress was completed in 1695, though it would undergo many alterations and renovations over the centuries (Wikipedia).]

There is only one problem in taking a winter vacation in Florida. You spend two weeks getting a deep, rich, golden tan— then they hand you the bill and you’re pale again. ~ Robert Orben

Two things Florida can teach the other 49 states: how to make good margarita and how to deal with the aftermath of a hurricane. ~ Tom Feeney

I like Florida. Everything is in the ’80s. The temperatures, the ages, and the IQs. ~ George Carlin

Kennedy Space Center

That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind. ~ Neil Armstrong

The Earth is the cradle of humanity, but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever. ~ Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

Space is for everybody. It’s not just for a few people in science or math, or for a select group of astronauts. That’s our new frontier out there, and it’s everybody’s business to know about space. ~ Christa McAuliffe

I know the sky is not the limit because there are footprints on the Moon — and I made some of them! ~ Buzz Aldrin

It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small. ~ Neil Armstrong

Anyone who sits on top of the largest hydrogen-oxygen fueled system in the world, knowing they’re going to light the bottom, and doesn’t get a little worried, does not fully understand the situation. ~ John Young

One of the basic rules of the universe is that nothing is perfect. Perfection simply doesn’t exist…..Without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist. ~ Stephen Hawking

When forced to summarize the general theory of relativity in one sentence: Time and space and gravitation have no separate existence from matter. ~ Albert Einstein

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. ~ Albert Einstein

For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring. ~ Carl Sagan

By denying scientific principles, one may maintain any paradox. ~ Galileo Galilei

My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all. ~ Stephen Hawking

[The Saturn V Rocket, one of Arthur C. Clarke’s 7 Wonders of the World, the most powerful machine ever built by man . . . ]

Looking up into the night sky is looking into infinity – distance is incomprehensible and therefore meaningless. ~ Douglas Adams

Disney World

[A tourist arrives at the Coronado Springs Villa and Gardens . . . ]

Walt Disney World is nearly 30,000 acres or 48 square miles. That is more than 80 times the size of Monaco. Grace Kelly would have been queen of a larger and wealthier kingdom if she’d married Uncle Walt instead of Prince Rainier. ~ Eve Zibart

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned sixty and that’s the law. ~ Jerry Seinfeld

It’s always sunny in the sunshine state. Except for at night. ~ Jarod Kintz

It’s Florida. Hair is just an extra sweater I’m force to wear. ~ Emma Gonzalez

A lot of people stop short. They don’t actually die but they say, “Right I’m old, and I’m going to retire,” and then they dwindle into nothing. They go off to Florida and become jolly boring. ~ Mark Wesley

A prosthetic leg with a Willie Nelson bumper sticker washed ashore on the beach, which meant it was Florida. Then it got weird. ~ Tm Dorsey

Epcot

They call Florida the “Sunshine State,” which is funny because in the twelve years I lived here, it was only sunny for like twenty minutes – when the eye of the hurricane passed over my house. ~ Seth Lyon

I love baseball. I’ll probably end up one of those old farts who go to spring training in Florida every year and drive from game to game all day. ~ Steve Earle

I love Florida. I love the beach. I love the sound of the crashing surfers against the rocks. ~ Emo Philips

We are not exposed to ice much in Florida. ~ Brittany Bowe

August in Florida is God’s way of reminding us who’s in charge. ~ Blaize Clement

There was, I think, never any reason to believe in any innate superiority of the male, except his superior muscle. ~ Bertrand Russell

[I believe this is where we noshed . . . ]

When the Mayan Calendar runs out there will be another day. Just like there was with Y2K. ~ Stanley Victor Paskavich

Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge! ~Robert Green Ingersoll

Of all the places in the world, she belongs in Florida. How dispiriting to learn this of herself. ~ Lauren Groff

He says Florida is slowly sinking, sinking into the ocean. He says the housing tracts are built on half facts and the rest half fiction. ~ Less Than Jake, The State Of Florida

The first rule of hurricane coverage is that every broadcast must begin with palm trees bending in the wind. ~  Carl Hiaasen

I couldn’t adjust to the racism in Florida. It was so blatant . . . I had never been so described as Florida described me. ~ Sidney Poitier

[One of these two is a crash test dummy . . . ]

[(The other is just a dummy . . . )]

Usually, the news out of Florida makes me feel like being black in Florida can be a terminal condition. ~ W. Kamau Bell

One thing about living in South Florida is that everywhere you go is violently air-conditioned. ~ Katie Cotugno

The Florida in my novels is not as seedy as the real Florida. It’s hard to stay ahead of the curve. Every time I write a scene that is the sickest thing I have ever dreamed up, it is surpassed by something that happens in real life. ~ Carl Hiaasen

Disney world is an armpit, compared to Montana!! ~  Carl Hiaasen

Magic Kingdom

The Y2K problem is not caused by technical limitations. We simply forgot to think of the problem. ~ Hasso Plattner

The wealth of south Florida, but even more important, the meaning and significance of south Florida lies in the black muck of the Everglades and the inevitable development of this country to be the great tropic agricultural center of the world. ~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Mrs. Bonneville never buckled her seat belt, even though it was required by state law; an ardent libertarian, she opposed government meddling in all matters of personal choice. ~  Carl Hiaasen (the Super is a fan)

There are no other Everglades in the world. They are, they have always been, one of the unique regions of the earth; remote, never wholly known. Nothing anywhere else is like them. ~ Marjory Stoneman Douglas

In Florida, to buy a gun, you do not need a permit, you do not need a gun license, and once you buy it, you do not need to register it. You do not need a permit to carry a concealed rifle or shotgun. You can buy as many guns as you want at one time. ~ Emma Gonzalez

I actually was there down in Florida when Prince did ‘Purple Rain’ in the rain. He was out there with the guitar goin’. It was absolutely awesome. ~ Joe Mauer

Florida isn’t so much a place where one goes to reinvent oneself, as it is a place where one goes if one no longer wished to be found. ~ Douglas Coupland

I learned very quickly there’s not a lot to do in South Florida when you can’t golf or fish. ~ Justin Thomas

He wondered if something was mentally wrong with him for being content with what he had. ~ Carl Hiaasen

Nobody said he was Alvin Einstein. ~  Carl Hiaasen

Florida Man is responsible for a large percentage of abnormal incidents that occur in Florida. Think of him as an alt-right Johnny Appleseed. No one knows his true identity, date of birth, what he looks like. That’s why headlines always say, “Florida Man.” ~ Darius in Atlanta

I think in the old days, the nexus of weirdness ran through southern California, and to a degree New York City. I think it’s changed so that every bizarre story in the country now has a Florida connection. I don’t know why except it must be some inversion of magnetic poles or something. ~ Carl Hiaasen

[Pink flamingos – why not?]

Animal Kingdom

If anything is more irresistible than Jesus, it’s Mickey. ~ Carl Hiaasen

[The Rainforest Cafe – a great place to meet elephants . . . ]

[And now for a tour of animals not from this hemisphere. To tour this place, likely even more than the other venues, one is advised to arrive as early as possible . . . ]

It’s not palm trees and neon signs in Florida; it’s strip malls, highways, hot sun beating down on you. ~ Patty Jenkins

Old people in Florida, they drive slow and they sit low. Right? That is their motto. The stage flag of Florida should be like a steering wheel with a hat and two knuckles on it. ~ Jerry Seinfeld

Sometimes I think I’ve figured out some order in the universe, but then I find myself in Florida. ~ Susan Orlean

The one thing I did learn at Florida State, I learned to talk trash, believe that. ~ Randy Moss

[We really were greeted with an early morning roar . . . ]

There are so many colorful characters in Florida. There’s a lot of money, development – not all of it good – and corruption. ~ John Grisham

Wade tried to imagine Florida before the advent of man, but couldn’t. The landscape seemed too thoroughly colonized – the trailers, factory outlets, and cocktail shacks of the world below. He decided that if human beings took over the moon, they’d probably just turn it into Florida. ~ Douglas Coupland

With swamps and alligators inland, and the gated communities and shopping malls in the traffic-clotted towns along the coasts, the state seems to Stern like a giant penal colony for America’s elderly, where the residents–like characters in a famous play–have all been blinded by the sun and do not realize they are actually in hell. ~ Scott Turow

You’re from Florida. There’s got to be more holes to hell in Florida than in any other state. ~ T. Kingfisher

Almost everything strange washes up near Miami. ~  Rick Riordan

The general intellectual level of South Florida is somewhere just above “functionally retarded”. ~ Tucker Max

Remember that Florida is a land of weirdos and bizarre happenings, and conduct yourselves accordingly. ~  Jeff Zentner

I hate hiking with convicts carrying machetes. ~  Susan Orlean

You could step on a gator and the next thing you know is ouch. ~  Nick Smith

While living in Florida I realized that I could never stay there, because it’s so damn hot. There’s only like three months when you don’t feel like you’re on the cusp of hell. ~  Jennifer L. Armentrout

The post-traumatic shock from living in Florida never goes away, yet part of me is forever attached to that eccentric, heat-infested swamp. ~  Jennifer Harrison

If insanity was a side effect of Botox, every Floridian over the age of forty would be nuts. Who says they’re not? ~ Margot Hunt

Natives of the Florida Keys often refer to themselves as Conchs, and for good reason: They have been drinking. ~  Dave Barry

Do you always carry a gun? It’s Florida, even Mickey Mouse probably carries a piece. ~  Brian Freeman

This is Florida, where they’re cool about putting people to death. ~  Patricia Enge

Under Florida’s “stand your ground” law, it is legal to shoot anybody for any reason as long as you are standing on the ground. ~  Dave Barry

Up Next: The eagerly anticipated Part II . . .

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