GNABRT Day 1 – Hardly working meets working hard

GNABRT map - day 1Stop number one on the Great North American Baseball Road Trip is in Jacksonville, Florida where I visited with two old working compadres from my previous life in Corporate America.

These two gents, while giving me a heaping dose of friendly tsuris, have been great at keeping in touch with me in the six years since my leaving the old company.

We spent some time catching up and talking about a lot of things, though the GNABRT tended to monopolize the conversation.  Joined by another stalwart worker, we sojourned off to Bono’s (no relation to you-know-who) for an excellent (and free) BBQ lunch.

After that, I spent some time at the Cummer Museum at their gardens and viewing some of the impressive art within their too-soon closing halls.  A relatively painless zip over to one of the gent’s home for the proffered overnight stay and then back we go on the road to stop number two – Daphne, Alabama.

Some informative details follow…

The City:  Jacksonville, Florida – A pretty city on the northeast coast of Florida, where the St. Johns river meets the Atlantic Ocean.  First occupied by Timucuan Indians, it was settled by, in order, the French, Spanish, British and Spanish again.  Clearly it was a popular destination long before any tourism department had been created.

The town actually got its name for Andrew Jackson, a man whose accomplishments were many, including becoming president, but not including actually ever setting foot in the town in Florida named after him.

My history:  Plenty.  With my former company having three areas of importance based in the city, I traveled up here many times prior to my GNABRT beginning.

Also the home of the World’s Largest Cocktail Party, otherwise known as the annual college football battle between the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs.  I attended one of these games during my four-year stay in Gainesville (home of the Fighting Gators).

And, in an odd coincidence, my Dad once flew up for major shoulder surgery in Jacksonville because that’s where the “best guy for the job” was located at the time.  I flew up for a business meeting and stayed overnight to drive him and my Stepmom home.

Miscellany of Day 1:

– I wanted to try to do the whole five-hour run from Boca to Jax without stopping.  I thought I could handle that.  About halfway in (literally, just over two and a half hours), I figured I better hit the rest stop.  Here follows my key learnings:

– Age has some sinister effects on certain types of endurance

– It is a really good idea to jettison the pride and acknowledge those effects

– Life (and driving) is much more pleasant and relaxing after rest stops

– I also discovered that not enough people understand the value of cruise control on the highways

– The actual driving was not hard at all.  No squirming or discomfort.  Tomorrow’s ride will add another two hours, so I’m interested to see how seven-plus will impact me.

– I may have overpacked/overbought on the snacks and drinks.  I never even got through a whole can of Coke and only had a snack-size Payday bar in the five-hour journey.

– It occurred to me that as a driving snack, those Cheetos are probably a bad choice.  I guess I’ll leave them for late nights in the hotel and stick with Doritos in the car.

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