Breakfast at Denny’s

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Aug 12 ~ Day #94
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$9400
$54.00
$8466.43
$90.06
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
13148+112=13260
4451
000
69
17780

Current Location: Sunny Sands, Pierson, Florida

Today’s Total Expenses: $54.00

Accommodation: $34.00
Food: $20.00

Breakfast at Denny’s

We both had trouble sleeping this time and only got a couple of hours at the rest area. So, it was still about 3:00am or so and we were back on the road again.

We had plans to camp on August 12th, but 3:00am was way too early to arrive anywhere.

So, like I said, in a weak moment I said, “Hey, let’s go have breakfast at Denny’s. They’re open 24 hours and that should use up some time.”

So, that’s what we did. We got Madge (our Magellan GPS) to direct us to the nearest Denny’s and we had one of their larger breakfasts.

We didn’t need it, it was way too much food. We had stuff in the car that we could have had for breakfast and it wouldn’t have cost us anything.

Our breakfast ending up costing us, with the tip, $20.00! That could have been applied to a hotel room or campground where we could have used food we have already purchased and also got a much better night’s
sleep.

Like I said, spending a few hours last night at a rest area and then spending $20.00 at Denny’s was really a false economy. Hopefully I’ve learned from this mistake.

Sunny Sands, Pierson, Florida

We will be checking into our first timeshare tomorrow, August 13th, and decided to spend tonight at Sunny Sands, a family naturist resort, in Pierson, Florida.

We arrived way too early at Sunny Sands but were able to check in at 8:00am. We had a lovely camping spot and they also had a sparkling clear swimming pool that was most welcome after all the driving and heat we’d been through.

More Rain

During the afternoon there were a couple of rainstorms, but they cleared up quickly and we were hopeful that the tent would be dry by the morning when we needed to pack up.

Shooting Stars

We were back in the pool around 10:00pm to cool off before turning in for the night and found out that there was a meteor shower predicted for tonight.

Well, we did see one shooting star, but that was it and we waited for at least an hour or so. Still, it was pretty impressive as it streaked across the night sky.

Lots of Driving

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

Aug 09 ~ Day #91
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$9100
$56.43
$8208.09
$90.19
Miles by Road
Miles by Sea
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Miles
11585+575=12160
4451
000
69
16680

Current Location: On the road

Today’s Total Expenses: $56.43

Transportation: $48.00
Food: $8.43

Retracing Our Steps

As we head back to Florida we have found ourselves retracing some of our steps.

We passed Stony Brook Campground in Hanover, Maine, where we stayed on July 28th, while making our way to Atlantic Canada.

East Coast Heat Wave

The weather report for the east coast of the US was for a heat wave and, darn these weather people, they were actually right!

As we were passing through Springfield, Massachusetts at 5:30pm the temperature was 91 Deg F. Yikes!

Evident Pollution

I’m sure the heat wave added to the evident pollution, however, as soon as we started getting closer to the more heavily populated east coat areas you could actually see a blue haze over everything. And we’re breathing this crap!

Wendy’s Frosty

For some reason I developed a craving for a Wendy’s Frosty and we went in search of a Wendy’s Restaurant along our route.

Madge (our Magellan GPS) was just a little off on the location this time but we managed to find it anyway.

I’ve always liked the Frosty. You know, the chocolate malted dessert that’s thicker than a milkshake but not quite the consistency of soft serve? I was just tasting it.

So, my question is: “What the hell happened to the Frosty I was used to, and when?” The only choice used to be the size. A Frosty was a Frosty.

At this Wendy’s, in Connecticut, I was presented with all kinds of choices – chocolate or vanilla (What? There’s no such thing as a vanilla Frosty!) – Frosty float – Frosty with mix-ins. Obviously something has gone horribly wrong.

I got a chocolate Frosty and that’s exactly what it was – chocolate – NOT chocolate malted.

Geoff got a vanilla Frosty. Sorry, but, there just shouldn’t be any such thing.

What a major disappointment. There’s now no difference between a Frosty at Wendy’s and Soft serve at McDonald’s.

Wendy’s – WHAT HAPPENED?

Be a Responsible Pet Owner

In yet another cost-cutting measure we decided to push our mileage and grab a few hours of sleep at a rest area instead of either a hotel or camping.

A lot of the rest areas on the major US highways are very nice and even have nighttime security.

Apparently, at this rest area some jerk had just dropped off a kitty and then took off.

I think it was about 4 or 5 months old and had obviously been socialized as it was not afraid of people at all.

How could anyone do that?

Please be a responsible pet owner!

Geoff’s Note
Under different circumstances we would have taken the kitten with us but all we could do was hope that security or someone from the cleaning crew would take it to the local shelter.

Lets just hope the bastards that did this rot in hell.

St. Regis Campground, New York

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 27 ~ Day #78
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$7800
$82.67
$7420.19
$95.13
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
9449+337=9786
3856 [4437]
000
69
14292

Current Location: St. Regis Campground

Today’s Total Expenses: $82.67

Transportation: $45.00
Accommodation: $20.00
Food: $17.04

Tim Horton’s Doughnut Shops in the US!

We have started noticing the presence of a lot of Tim Horton’s Doughnut Shops in the northern US states. Tim Horton’s is a Canadian chain started many, many years ago by the hockey player – you guessed it – Tim Horton!

You just can’t beat the doughnuts and coffee at Tim Horton’s.

Go Timmy’s!!!

It’s Summer and Hotels are EXPENSIVE!

During today’s drive we thought we might want to stay at a hotel if we could find a reasonable one.

We used Madge (our Magellan GPS) to show us the hotels that were along the way.

Not only were the prices high but most of the hotels we called were fully booked.

Yep, it must be summer.

St. Regis Campground

We had Madge (our Magellan GPS) find us a campground along the route as we figured that would be the only reasonably priced option for us for tonight.

We stopped at St. Regis Campground in Northern New York and it was reasonable – $20.00 – and gave us a chance to dry out our tent as we had had to pack it up wet.

Dinner was a bit of a challenge because, even though this campground had water and electricity available, there were no picnic tables.

So, Geoff set up the Coleman stove on the ground and we did the best we could.

Canned Chinese Food

Apparently I still haven’t learned about buying canned Chinese food. It always looks so good on the can and sounds delicious, but I’ve done this often enough to know that the results are not good.

However, we had bought two cans of Chinese food and I decided to cook one of them tonight. The results were predictable – disappointing.

Note to self: NEVER, NEVER buy canned Chinese food again.

Watching Movies on our Mac

Along the way, when there is nothing else to do in the evenings, we have started to watch movies on our Mac and that’s what we did tonight before drifting off to sleep.

Marquette to Flint, Michigan

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 19 ~ Day #70
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$7000
$140.76
$7213.16
$103.04
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
8594+409=9003
3856 [4437]
000
69
13509

Current Location: Flint, Michigan

Today’s Total Expenses: $140.76

Transportation: 53.50 ($50.00 gas + $3.50 Mackinac Bridge)
Accommodation: $39.95
Food: $47.31
Entertainment: $0.00

Car Trouble

After loading up the car and checking out of the hotel in Marquette, Michigan, we discovered that our car would not start.

Geoff popped the hood and noticed that one of the wires attached to the distributor cap was corroded right through.

Auto Club to the Rescue

We called the Auto Club to send someone out to get us back on the road. Although it took a lot longer than they had said for someone to arrive, the person they sent out, from Goodwin’s Auto Repair in Skandia, Michigan, was both knowledgeable and helpful.

He managed to get our car running on 5 cylinders and we followed him to a local garage. Unfortunately, the local garage didn’t have time to fix our car.

The guy that was helping us was really surprised as he said it would be a fairly quick job, but he didn’t abandon us. He said we could either drive to his shop in Skandia (about 10-15 miles away) or follow him to an auto parts store and he could repair the car himself right in their parking lot.

We opted for the latter and followed him to the auto parts store. Good to his word, he got the parts required and repaired our car right there in the parking lot. Amazing!

Although the service call didn’t cost us anything because of our Auto Club membership, the repair was a totally unexpected expense of $153.28. That was to replace the distributor cap and all the wires.

Late Start – Great Lunch

Because of the car trouble we couldn’t get away at a reasonable hour, so we opted to return to Wahlstrom’s Restaurant for lunch.

Today’s special was a turkey dinner with all the trimmings. A bit much for lunch, but since we had skipped breakfast we went ahead and had a big lunch.

Leaving Marquette at 1:00pm – Or So We Thought

By 1:00pm we thought we were finally on our way again. No such luck.

We noticed that the “Check Engine” light was on and assumed that had something to do with the car trouble we just had.

Fortunately we had the name and address of the repair shop from the receipt for the repair. We had Madge (our Magellan GPS) take us there so they could have a look.

Sure enough the error code that triggered the “Check Engine” light was for a misfire caused by the broken wire.

The guy that fixed the car quickly reset the code for us.

It was now 2:00pm and we hadn’t put many miles on the car at all.

Mackinac Bridge

Even with the late start, we did manage to cross the Mackinac Bridge (where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron) and put 409 miles behind us.

Because we had driven so far we opted for a hotel – The Home Town Inn in Flint, Michigan – for the night.

High Food Costs Today

We did WAY TOO MUCH eating out today and that was certainly reflected in our food costs for today.

Starting with the big lunch at $18.94 (not bad considering that also included the tip), stopping for pie in a tourist area cost us another $12.17 (and we didn’t need this at all), picking up some ice tea when we stopped for gas added another $2.00 and then we stopped for dinner as well and spent $14.20 (not a lot for dinner, but money that we didn’t need to spend). That meant a food expense of $47.31 for the day without the purchase of ANY groceries that could be used to offset costs on upcoming days.

Giving in to the ease of eating out can really add up. And, you know what, the food generally isn’t all that good anyway. We can usually make something better ourselves for way less money.

We’re going to have to watch these kinds of expenses along the trip. Especially when we get hit with unexpected expenses, like the car repair.

Minnesota to Wisconsin to Michigan

Our transportation, accommodation, food and entertainment cost so far

July 18 ~ Day #69
Budget to date
Spent today
Total to date
Daily average
Total
$6900
$129.01
$7072.40
$102.49
Miles by Road
Nautical Miles
Miles by Air
Miles by Train
Total Statute Miles
8257+337=8594
3856 [4437]
000
69
13100

Current Location: Marquette, Minnesota

Today’s Total Expenses: $129.10

Transportation: $42.59
Accommodation: $59.95
Food: $26.56 ($22.38 restaurant, $4.18 groceries)

Heading Towards Southern Ontario

Today we continued on our way to my Dad’s in Grimsby, Ontario, not far from Niagara Falls.

As usual we let Madge, our Magellan GPS, lead the way – well, sort of.

Initially she had planned to take us across the border into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie. We didn’t want to cross there for a couple of reasons. First, we have driven that route many, many times. Second, we wanted to remain in the US because both the gas and accommodations are cheaper in the States and we had already decided that we were staying in a hotel for at least one night. I’m sorry, but Canadian hotels are just too expensive.

So, we gave Madge different instructions that would insure that we cross the border at Port Huron, keeping us in the US longer.

Minnesota to Wisconsin to Michigan

The route, therefore, took us from Minnesota, through a small section of Wisconsin and into Michigan.

In places the drive along the southern shore of Lake Superior was spectacular.

Marquette, Michigan

We arrived in Marquette, Michigan early in the evning and decided it was time to stop for the night.

Marquette Motor Lodge

We stopped at the Marquette Motor Lodge hoping that a small, family-run motel would be our least expensive option.

I believe that it was but it was still more than we had hoped to pay. But, being that it is now summer and Marquette is a tourist area, the best rate we could get was $59.95 taxes in. It was a queen-size bed and clean. A bonus was the terrific restaurant right next door.

Wahlstrom’s Restaurant

If you are ever in Marquette, Michigan you simply MUST stop at Wahlstrom’s Restaurant. Their daily special and homemade pies are simply out of this world!

For dinner I ordered a 1/4 chicken dinner and Geoff ordered a 1/2 chicken dinner – these were two of the daily dinner specials.

The dinners came with mashed potatoes (even these were special – red potatoes mashed with the skins on, a hint of onion and very creamy), steamed veggies (real veggies, too – carrots, broccoli and cauliflower – and still brightly colored and crisp), stuffing and gravy. Everything was simply delicious.

Total cost for such an amazing meal? Less than $20 for the both of us including the tip!

Although their pies looked absolutely amazing we simply didn’t have room for dessert. We were stuffed!

Now we just need to let dinner settle before we call it a night.