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.
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!”
Yep, 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!