Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pray, Montana to Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Beginning of the Florida Adventure, the adventure begins before we leave Montana!

The past several days Greg and I have been preparing for and anxiously awaiting the start of our trip. We have thoroughly enjoyed our winter in Montana and we are excited for some adventures in what is probably the most opposite place to Montana as you can get. But Montana couldn't just let us go without reminding us what we were leaving behind.

We awoke at 3:45 AM with everything packed and ready to go, we just had to get dressed. We left around 4AM to a little light wet snow with a small amount of snow accumulated on the ground at our house. We assumed it wouldn't be terrible because we had seen some pretty bad snow this winter and this didn't look like much. As soon as we got out to HWY 89 we knew we were in for something. The snow started falling harder and harder. There were about 4 inches of slushy snow on the road with a blinding, blowing snowfall. The snow made our visibility about 100 feet ahead of the truck. Thank goodness no deer ventured out on the road in front of us this morning. Greg drove us in the truck with the vehicle in four wheel drive the entire way. This drive was unnerving for both of us and in order to make it to Bozeman we couldn't go quite as cautiously slow as we normally would have (we ended up driving about 35 the whole way) so we could have a chance to make it to the airport on time. This blizzard came after a week of warm breezy days in the mid forties to fifties. That warm spell left us utterly blindsided when the storm hit.

We had little hope for the conditions improving as we neared Livingston. We had made an appointment for a taxi at 5:15AM at a friend's house in Bozeman so that we didn't have to pay to park at the airport the whole trip. We weren't far west of Livingston and the time was approaching 5AM so we decided to call and cancel our taxi as we would have no time to drive to the pick up spot and then to the airport. I have to give props to Greater Valley Taxi for their laid back attitude. They didn't charge us for canceling and even gave us a road update from Belgrade. We were shocked to hear that there was NO snow on the road at the airport. Aside from the fact that we might be late we had wondered if any planes would even be taking off today. We couldn't believe there was no snow there when it looked so bad where we were. We laughed at the fact that the worst weather we have driven in all winter had to be the morning we actually had to get somewhere. Greg drove carefully and got us to the airport with a little bit of time to spare. Check in was easy and going through security was the easiest I've been through in the last three years. Thank goodness. Once we sat down at the gate we were able to breathe a little bit.

The rest of the day we spent in transit of (thankfully) uneventful flights. From Bozeman to Denver, Denver to Chicago and finally Chicago to Fort Lauderdale. We were relieved and excited to be here at last. After almost 13 hours of traveling we stepped out of the airport doors and were greeted by warm, thick, humid Florida air, palm trees and sunshine.
We quickly got to our shuttle van to our hotel and sat quietly the ride back, just taking in all of the sights, smells and sounds of this new place. One thing we immediately noticed was the erratic and fast behavior of the drivers here; i.e. someone passed us using an exit ramp driving 70. We will have to ride alert and very defensibly in this state. We got checked in and realized we were very hungry from traveling all day and we needed to eat soon, or we would just get grumpy! As luck would have it we had a pleasant walk down the street and picked up a hearty dinner at a Chinese take-out place “Chen's Garden.” It was excellent. I think Chinese food is pretty awesome comfort food and now we are full and happy. 

This is the huge full moon as it rose on Saturday

terrible photo of our bad roads this morning

1 comment:

Staci said...

glad you made it to FL safe and sound! looking forward to hearing about your warm weather adventures!!