Monday, March 15, 2010


Fried green tomatoes, crab cakes, and cheese grits. Knowing that yesterday was our last in Summerdale, Alabama, we fit in one more dinner at the Tin Top Restaurant to taste three of the “100 Things to Eat” before we left Alabama: fried green tomatoes, cheese grits, and Royal Red shrimp.  We exercised more restraint than usual, sharing an appetizer of Royal Red shrimp, then splitting an entree of crab cakes with fried green tomatoes and cheese grits.  Another outstanding Alabama meal!

Up early this morning, we walked loops in the park for our daily exercise, recorded our electric meter reading, paid up in the office, and took off for Panama City Beach, 170 miles east.  We’re meeting JoAnn and Doug there, and planned our route to minimize traffic congestion – instead of traveling the scenic route, Hwy 98, along the coast, we opted for I-10 most of the way east, with a jog down south to bring us back to the coast route near our RV park.

Making great time on I-10, happily oblivious of what's in store. As always, we stopped at the state Welcome Center when we crossed the Florida state line.  We chatted with a host, received a map and the usual plastic bag of travel information and advertisements.  No mention of any unusual traffic shenanigans up ahead on I-10.  We ate lunch, hit the road and sped eastward.

About twenty miles on down the road, a moveable advisory sign said “I-10 East Closed Ahead”.  As we zipped past it at 60 mph, I repeated the message to Odel and said “What do you think that means?”

Now, I KNOW what the words said, and I know the meaning of those words – but could such an innocuous sign really mean “All interstate highway traffic is about to come to a screeching halt and you won’t have a clue what is going on?” and “Boy, are you going to wish someone had warned you about this!”

TrafficYep, that is what it meant.  We spent at least an hour traveling 5 miles from the back of the massive traffic jam to the exit where all traffic detoured off the interstate, NORTH (no southbound road at this exit) to Hwy 90, a nice two-lane road that hits all the little local towns, with their signals and cross traffic.  The first thing many cars did at the first service station was pull off the road to the pumps – and probably the restrooms! 

We sailed on down to the next town, where we spent another half an hour crawling through “downtown” with all the cars, RV’s and semis that normally would have been zooming along the interstate.  As I write, we are about 1/4 mile from I-10, moving an average speed of less than a walk.  So near… and so far!  We left the interstate at exit 45; we’re entering at exit 56.  Hmmmmm… about two hours to make 11 miles. 

You never know what you’ll get on a travel day!


  1. Hi: I caught on to your blog thru Gypsy's blog and have been reading and enjoying it for a while. I don't do a blog, myself, and don't comment very often either, but your blog today struck a chord. For background, we did the full-time thing in our 5th wheel until last summer when we bought a condo near our daughter and grandkids. However we still "part-time" which brings me to our road adventure last week. Returning from Florida we stopped in Savannah and then started north through Asheville, NC, planning to go thru Knoxville and Cincinnati. As we approached Asheville the big moveable advisory said "I-40 west closed from north of Asheville to NC state line--follow detour signs". There may have been one sign previously, but it wasn't big and it was just one. By the time the sign appeared near Asheville, there were no alternative routes, especially towing the 5th wheel. The detour took us to Bristol, TN and then would go back southwest to Knoxville. The detour was well over 100 miles as close as we could figure. Turns out there was a rock slide on I-40 at the end of October and it is still being cleared and the side of the mountain is being secured! It seemed to us that there could be notice of this a little further out so alternative routes could be scouted. It is even more incredible that no one at the welcome center in Florida mentioned the closing of I-10. Hope you EVENTUALLY got to Panama City Beach. Dione

  2. hi.... i was surfing around online today looking for blogs about people living and traveling around in RV's. I came across yours.

    I am working at putting a resource site up for RVing and would love to repost some of your blog there if that's ok with you. I'd also like to add a link to your blog from it.

    The site is I'm trying to build up stories, resources all with the aim to provide people inspiration so they take the plunge and live the dream!

    If you feel you'd like to participate, you can email me at, or just reply to the comment and i should get that.


  3. So sorry to hear about your driving headaches. Aren't you glad you are not on a time restraint?

  4. argghhh we hate detours too! Sometimes it's good to just pull off, drag out the maps, (or consult the GPS) and find a whole new route before you get backed up for miles upon miles.

    One time we got caught in a big traffic jam from an accident. We were in the motorhome, so we pulled into a wayside park, popped a pizza in the oven, turned on the tv and watched all the cars crawling along for hours on end. About four hours later we could start up and head out once the traffic was moving along normally.

    Karen and Steve

  5. My husband and I are traveling that way on Monday, March 22. Any idea what the delay was? Or if there is still a detour?