At maybe 3:30 a.m. Dudley drove us back onto I-12 and we tooled by a couple other places I had stayed during my BP gig. In Slidell we reconnected with I-10 and followed it all the way to I-75 south. The storm clouds building in the east made the sunrise all the more beautiful. The terrain was rolling except where we rode a causeway across Escambia Bay just north of Pensacola. Somewhere along the way I got the treat of pulling into my first weigh station as a rider. Woo hoo. Uneventful.
The trek south on I-75 was very familiar because of several trips south to visit my daughter when she lived in Orlando. I took over the driving duties at Wildwood, just north of the Florida Turnpike. We actually got on the turnpike and I got us down to Highway 60 without taking out any toll booths. Yea!
We exited the turnpike south of Orlando and headed east to I-95 where we would head south to Fort Pierce where there was – you guessed it – a Love’s. It was still light out although the skies were threatening and it was getting darker just because of the heavy cloud cover to the west. I was going to hike down to a Wal-Mart with Dudley who needed to buy some shirts and socks. A block into the walk, he pointed waaay down to I-95 and said it was again that far up the feeder road. I decided I wanted to eat sooner than that, plus it was hot and muggy and we had just taken a shower, so I ducked into a pollo (Spanish for chicken) place that happened to be located right there, and let Dudley make the trek on his own. He said he did this all the time and would be fine.
The pollo place was not Mexican food, like I thought, but Central American, and the only thing I will say about it (in addition to the fact that they did a nice job with the chicken, nicely spiced and moist) was they had the most unique condiment bar I had ever seen. It had chopped onions prepared four ways. The mixture I selected was a creamed onion with a little chopped tomato that I spooned onto my fried plantains. Not sure if that was the proper combination, but it tasted good to me.
While I was eating the skies opened up. Hope Dudley was doing okay. During a lull in the storm I hustled home to the truck and then wandered up into the Arby’s connected to the Love’s and sat watching the storm out the front window. Very electrical and the rain came down in sheets.
Dudley did make it back with his new, slightly moist clothing and we settled in for the night.