Alligator Alley, beach, Bonita Springs, Enterprise, Everblades, Everglades, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, Germain Arena, hockey, Latrobe, local beer, Mellow Mushroom, Miami, Naples, NARCh, nationals, roller hockey, Seminole, Spirit Airlines, travel
I’ve decided to start posting my last trip now because I’m falling too far behind on my last trips and don’t want to keep adding to the problem…
I drove home the night before this Thursday so I could fly Spirit directly (and cheaply) to Fort Lauderdale from the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport. In the morning, I packed up my hockey gear. It was 2011 when I first traveled to NARCh in Fort Meyers to play the Finals with Team X. We earned bronze, and this time I’ve been invited back to play with the reformed team under the name the Honey Badgers. I threw my stuff in the truck and was at the airport in Latrobe in about 10 minutes, then almost missed my flight in fighting over bag fees. Spirit is not an airline for having any bags at all, especially not sports equipment. After paying even more fees, I boarded and was in Florida in a little over 2 hours.
Last minute truck reservations in the winter in Alaska isn’t so hard to do. Apparently, renting a standard isn’t either in Europe – especially in Ireland – I guess because a lot of tourists are incompetent and now very adventurous. Florida in the summertime, however, isn’t exactly a smart idea…which I found out when I finished talking to a family who attended(/-s) my small private school and I saw that every rental place was sold out. My mom helped me save some data by making a quick reservation at the sketchiest Enterprise I’d ever seen. I took a cab up to N Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard and jumped in a Chevy Cruze. I hate paying underage fees, but I like the freedom of having a car. If nothing else, it’s a place to sleep if you get stuck one night.
After driving through Louisville a couple of weeks ago, I was really dying for some Mellow Mushroom. I had a delicious pizza with fresh basil and mozzarella along with a small flight of four Floridian and Georgian draughts. I had a coconut ale from Miami which was probably one of the best-tasting beers I’ve ever had. After this relaxing lunch/dinner in the air-conditioning, I ventured back out into the heat and humidity and headed back towards Miami to catch Alligator Alley. The only stop for gas that was open was the Seminole Reservation. I also made a stop at one of the Everglades conservation rest stops and photographed some animals – but no alligators were in view.
By the time I saw signs for Naples, the sun was sinking so I headed straight to Bonita Springs to take some pictures of the sunset sky. I still had some time before our 10:30pm practice, so I headed back towards the Germain Arena (where the Everblades play) and ate at Ford’s Garage at Miromar Outlets, within sight of the rinks. I had a salad and some more local samples, then got to the rink just in time to suit up.
Practice was long and late. Afterwards, I drove one of the younger girls home and went back to my coaches’ house with their one daughter/my teammate. She then led me to her brother’s house, 4 houses down the road, where they had set up a room for me to stay. We all went to bed immediately that night in preparation for our first round robin game early the next morning.