Happy Holidays! The Hibbets family wrapped up Christmas activities and visits to see family over the last few days and we were ready for some much needed vacation. We were heading south to Cocoa Beach for a few days in the Florida sunshine, then to Jacksonville to attend the Gator Bowl on News Years Eve.
Flights to Florida were a little pricey when we looked, MB and I decided that we could make our vacation a family road trip to safe some travel costs. We’ve never driven as a family further than Atlanta, Georgia—making this trip, the longest in the car for us and the kids together. What fun this could be!
Our vacation got off to somewhat of a rocky start. Caitlyn woke up with a sore throat, most likely strep. MB was scrambling to get a doctor’s appointment or a spot at urgent care for Coco to start antibiotic treatment. The appointments weren’t working in our favor to get on the road early and we were eager to start the drive south.
The Jeep was finally packed, surf boards on top, Coco had some medicine and cough drops, and both kids had device-free entertainment ready. (Yep, we went old school on them.) We hit the road just after noon and Google Maps was estimating a 9+ hour drive. I was on first driving shift and things were rolling smoothly along I-40. Then, as we made the turn onto I-95, things came to a complete stop, and shortly became a slow crawl. The first delay of the trip only lasted a few minutes.
We were in a heavy flow of traffic on I-95 South and decided to take a break and grab a late lunch in Florence, South Carolina. It was nice to get off the road for a while, but I was feeling it and decided to keep driving. There were two major accidents ahead of use, causing an estimated two-hour delay.
MB was able to navigate around the first one that saved us at least an hour in traffic. And by the time we got to the second accident outside of Charleston, South Carolina, the traffic cleared up. Driving through Georgia was nice, because it was three lanes for most of I-95 and traffic had improved significantly compared to the mess we dealt with in South Carolina.
The second pit stop of the trip was at the Florida welcome center where the family had a chance to stretch and get a bio break. As we got back on the road, MB and I switched driving duties. I was glad to power through most of the trip, but I’ll admit, some of the traffic was pretty intense.
Once we hit Florida, it was smooth sailing. We stopped in Jacksonville for a quick bite to eat and to refuel. Dinner was at Mod Pizza, it was nice to get out of the car for a while and get some grub. Everyone got a small pizza of there own and MB and I added a salad to our meals. I also enjoyed a local Nonchalant IPA from Aardwolf Brewing Company.
About two hours after dinner in Jacksonville, we were rolling into Cocoa Beach around midnight. Considering the traffic we hit and the pit stops we made, not a bad drive. Coco was a champ for being under the weather, she did a lot of sleeping. One of the fun parts of the trip is playing the license plate game, where we write down license plates from different states we saw on the road. We ended the trip with over 30 unique plates.
After the long drive, we quickly unpacked the Jeep and settled-in to our new home on the 7th floor of Sand Castles condo’s. The master bedroom and living room balcony have a nice view of the beach to the north. We can’t wait to see what the view looks like in the day time.