Monday 19th April 1999
Everyone slept in a little later today, but still Abby and Matthew couldn’t get the hang of sharing their sheets and there were many arguments during the night. After breakfast we decided to go and visit the Gulf coast of Florida, after firstly visiting one of the many factory outlet stores, Nike. Visiting this type of store was to become a regular pastime during the next couple of weeks.
Interstate Highway I4
After buying a few bits we headed off west onto the I4, an Interstate Highway stretching from the east to west coasts of Florida. It is a dual sometimes three carriageway which at times was dead straight for miles and miles. At this point I then realised that the car we were driving had cruise control, so I set it at 65mph and sat back and drove to Tampa, some 70 miles west.
Following a very basic map we then aimed for Clearwater on the very west of Florida and found the beach. Our first impression was how white the sand was! We stayed here for a couple of hours, writing out our post cards and paddling in the warm Gulf coast sea before driving back to Orlando.
We tried to locate our friends Jenny and Nigel’s hotel and leave them a message, but when we arrived the lobby attendant couldn’t find them on the system. We abandoned this attempt and went to have a dinner at a diner called ‘Sizzlers’. This was our first restaurant meal and so were a little unsure of what to order. After selecting our choices we were shown to our table by a waitress Mia, and given plates for the salad buffet. The choice was amazing! Hot and cold food to be visited as many times as you can manage. Abby thought it was great. Then Mia brought us our dinners! The waitress service was excellent and she continually checked that everything was OK and that our drinks were topped up.
We left the restaurant a little later fully stuffed.
We went back to our hotel and again went to bed exhausted.
NB. During the night it became apparent that Matthew talks in his sleep which whilst at home isn’t a problem, when everyone is in the same room together can be disturbing to the rest of us. Never mind at least Abby and Matthew weren’t arguing!