Jamie had a great freshman year in high school and Amber graduated in the spring and was getting ready to go away to college in the fall, so I decided to do something I have always wanted to do but was never financially able to, take the girls on vacation to Florida! It made it a lot easier for us because George had been working in Florida since mid January. The company he was working for paid for housing while they were down there and the 3 bedroom house with an in-ground pool was ours to use the last week in June.
So with a free place to stay and a rental car, the girls and I left O’Fallon, Mo. Saturday, June 21 for a 15 hour drive on our first family vacation!
In Georgia , just before Atlanta , we hit some traffic that put us behind schedule by about 1 hour. Just on the other side of Atlanta, I decided to get a hotel room for the night. We took off again in the early morning hours and I had figured we would arrive at around 10 am EST. The car I rented broke down, 3 hours later the tow truck & taxi finally arrived, we had to backtrack an hour back to Atlanta with a taxi driver who insisted he had “performed” on the TV show “True stories of the Highway Patrol” as an armed robber, (I was scared to death), we made it safely to the Atlanta airport to pick up a new rental car, it took them over an hour to get us a replacement that was several levels of comfort below the one we had originally rented, we got back on the road and finally arrived at our destination around 5:30 in the afternoon!!!
It was so wonderful to see George again! We had been able to visit each other several times since he had been down there but we were not accustomed to spending so much time apart. He worked for the week that the girls and I were vacationing and while he was working we visited both Busch Gardens in Tampa and Sea World in Orlando .
We had a blast! We would arrive at the theme parks when they opened in the morning and stay for 4 to 5 hours until it just became unbearably crowded & very hot. We would then make our way back to the house to rest in the air conditioning or cool off in the pool if it wasn’t raining.
The last full day there, George took the day off and we spent the day in Tarpon Springs , Florida . The girls got to see the ocean for the first time and then we went and did some shopping in town.
The town of Tarpon Springs is located near the gulf of Mexico on a little inlet where the fishing boats come to dock. It has a large Greek population and some delicious Greek foods. We ate lunch at one of the Greek restaurants, we all ended up ordering the gyros. YUM! We ended up having a wonderful vacation. Even though there was a lot of drama due to the rental car company, it was awesome to get away with my girls like I had always wanted to do. We made a lot of memories to look back on in the future.