Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Driving cross (southern) country without A/C report

Driving cross (southern) country without A/C report

Aug 3rd, 2009, 08:03 PM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091

Sorry to hear that New Orleans is out, but it sounds like you had a great time in Austin. Glad to hear you got to see the bats - it's great watching them from Congress St. Bridge. Next time take a cruise and you'll see the bats from a different angle...

I've been to Inner Space Caverns twice. However, after going to Carlsbad Caverns I don't think I could ever return to Inner Space anymore.

I'm a space junkie as well and really enjoyed NASA. I especially enjoyed the tram tour - being able to see the NASA campus and then actually going into the Space Command Center was truly remarkable.

Enjoy the Panhandle - it's one of my favorite beach areas. I think most of the full service hotels are in the Sandestin area - I wouldn't know though because I'm fine with "homey" accommodations as long as I get my sun, surf, and seafood

When I visited Seaside, it appeared there were some "cottages" and other bed and breakfast type places that were very elegant and you may enjoy that. Seaside is a picturesque town with lots of shops and a beach that is paradise-like. Don't know about Appalachicola, perhaps others can give accommodation recommendations. I can second the motion to get some oysters there - they can't be beat along that stretch of the Gulf.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 09:04 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Enjoy the Panhandle - it's one of my favorite beach areas. I think most of the full service hotels are in the Sandestin area - I wouldn't know though because I'm fine with "homey" accommodations as long as I get my sun, surf, and seafood ,

Please don't misunderstand the following.

You have been nothing but helpful and gave us some great advice, but I'm slowly finding out that the Panhandle "luxury" beach is not exactly what we are looking for.

First allow me to explain. Up to last June, we lived on Siesta Key(Sarasota), just a stone throw away from one of the most beautiful beaches in this country. Since then we moved downtown and have the most beautiful view of Sarasota Bay with sunsets every night from our balcony, yet just few minutes from the beaches of Siesta and Lido Keys..

So "sun, surf and seafood" does not have the same meaning for us. What we were looking for, or perhaps hoping for, was something like the Ritz-Carlton Naples Beach. Luxury inside, around it, yet just few steps from a wonderful, beautiful beach. We just figured out that's not possible.

Thus we will probably just do an Inn on the beach or maybe rent a beach house.

I'm forever grateful for all your support and advice, so please don't misunderstand this post, but when I looked at the Sandestin and Seaside deals, I will have to say it's not for us.

"Homey" will do... just so we can relax . It has been a long drive.

Thanks again!

btw, poker room was good to me. Slots were not so good for SO...
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2009, 09:05 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
Up to last June

June 2008
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 03:50 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,849
'Homey' SeaGrove Beach is 1 mile from Seaside ( can bike to Sea Side) with the same beaches & more reasonable rates for condo/house rental.

Also, it's sounding more & more like Cape San Blas fills your ticket.
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 03:51 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,849
And, if you want ALMOST your own private beach, it's Turtle Inn.
olesouthernbelle is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 05:00 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 2,091

I agree that the Panhandle is not a 5 star beach experience. I hope that what they have won't offend your sensibilities Like I said, I'm not usually one to book 5 star hotels so I'm probably not the best one to recommend. I was a fish out of water making a recommendation there.

Personally, and don't take this the wrong way either, but I found out the hard way that I'm not really very comfortable at super ritzy accommodations and it's not because I can't afford them - it's because it's just not me. Even when I stayed at the Hotel Arts Barcelona, a 5 star 700E a night hotel (you can read my previous posts on my trip report for this a couple years ago), I was uncomfortable the whole time - not a way to enjoy the vacation, it's just the pretense of everyone trying to be perfect that made it an unrelaxing vacation. Perhaps you have some tips to enjoy a 5 star hotel better because to me it just didn't feel like a vacation.

Different strokes for different folks I guess. I'll sip a cocktail at the Driskill, but I'd never dream of staying there.

It's just I'm more of a Caribbean laid back Jimmy Buffett "cheeseburger in paradise" type guy than a "moules marinere on the French Riviera" type guy. I tried both so I know

In any case, I've rather enjoyed your trip reports. I had a Ford Mustang a while back in my youth and couldn't handle it (totalled it) but I do so love convertibles.
bkluvsNola is offline  
Aug 4th, 2009, 11:34 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
We made it to Apalachicola and after driving around some we decided just a 1 night stay. We chose the Gibson Inn. Very nice place, historic and it seems like we can enjoy a relaxing day in the area.

As I stated before, the only reason we were looking for a "luxury" experience while staying on the beach was because I lived almost 15 years on one of the most beautiful Florida beaches and now I live only minutes away. We have wonderful sunsets available daily from our balcony. So at the end, we don't need the beach experience but if it was something more upscale we would have considered it.

I'm not all about luxury but this was a special trip and the decision to stay in nicer places was part of the deal. I too can be very happy in a little shack on a beautiful beach anywhere if that was the intend.

Anyway, the drive here, at least the last part was much different from most of our driving on I-10. The secondary highways are the way to go, but unfortunately you need a great deal more time when doing a cross country drive.

We will be doing our final drive tomorrow with a quick stop at the Hard Rock Hotel/Casino in Tampa to have lunch with our friend. She works there. She made us promise to stop and have lunch on her. We should be home sometime tomorrow afternoon.

I will gather my thoughts about our drive, the places we have seen, the unhappy moments, the fun moments and post the final report either tomorrow evening or Thursday.

Thanks to everybody for great suggestions. We used some and not all but perhaps if others read this thread they can get some valuable information that fits their needs better in a similar situation.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 04:11 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885
We made it home.

A total of 2642 miles. The car performed flawlessly.


Here are some thoughts about the trip:

It was rough without A/C. There were moments were tensions rose due to that fact. We both got cranky on occasion. I don't recommend doing the same drive at this time of the year without A/C. Yet in some special way, the drive was fun. Hard to explain but as tired and hot as we were on occasion we looked forward to the next segment. The car was so much fun to drive we both would get excited in the early mornings on a drive day.

Texas - San Antonio, Austin and Houston. What a blast. The cities were first for both of us. Each one was very different yet very much fun. We wished we had more than 1 night in Houston. It's a wonderful city and we should have spent more time there. San Antonio was just perfect. Everything we thought it would be. Austin was just pure adult fun..... Love the music venues. Texans are some of the most friendly folks in the world. We met some wonderful, fun, people. Plan on going back for some long weekends in all 3 cities.

Panhandle - Apalachicola. It wasn't what we were looking for this time but it is a beautiful part of Florida. We made ourselves a promise to go back with some friends for long weekend. Rent a 3-4 bedroom beach house and just have a fun time.

We stayed at Gibson Inn. Very nice and friendly place. We had lunch at The Owl and dinner at the Veranda. Can't go wrong with either place. Ended up at the Gibson Inn bar for the last call.

The last drive was the most difficult. There was a very heavy storm passing through just when we were close to Tampa. It was a good thing we planned on stopping at the Hard Rock for a lunch with a friend. The final 60 miles to Sarasota included some rain but not as bad as the last 20 miles into Tampa. We pulled into the garage ~2pm. I dropped off my SO and all the luggage and drove straight to a car shop just few blocks away. The owner is a friend so he knew that I would need an oil change as soon as I got back. He had the oil filter ordered and delivered few days ago. He was very impressed with the quality of the restoration. Yesterday I called ahead and arranged a mobile detailer to be available in the late afternoon to wash and detail the beautiful little car. During the oil change I called the detailer and asked if it was possible for him to meet me in an hour or so in our condo garage. No problem. He did an outstanding job. By the early evening the car was looking just as perfect as it did when we took possession of it about 10 days earlier.

That's about it. Wonderful trip across our beautiful country, but there were times we both wished we had A/C.

Once again, thanks to all for the suggestions and support.

It's good to be home! (with the little green beauty sitting in the garage.... )
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 04:30 AM
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,221
Glad you made it and thanks for great report. Was more enjoyable reading the "as we go" commentary.

Austin, SA, and Houston are indeed very different from each other - glad you enjoyed yourselves.

[We'd be happy to take some of those storms you're having]
dfr4848 is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 04:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 112
Thanks for the good read. I was truly looking forward to the end of your report. As someone once told me, most long distance accidents usually happen with 5 miles of your home. Glad to hear that you made it as far as you did before you got hit with one of the wild storms we have been having this summer. Take care of your baby as she gave you a trip of a life time.
bdawk is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 04:51 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,981
Thanks for the report, glad you're home safe.
cd is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 05:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,038
AA, congrats on the new toy. I'm more of a muscle car fan, but jealous just the same. Beats the hell out of a coach seat from Phoenix to Tampa don't it??

I've just come across this thread and am looking forward to going back and reading all the posts at a later time. I am across the state from you and I do enjoy the gulf side very much when I can get over there.
SamH is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 05:26 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 12,885

Not a muscle car per se but it does have 6 hard working cylinders under the hood. For a small car like this the engine is an overkill.

Anytime you decide to visit the Sarasota area, let me know. I'll take you for a spin.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Aug 6th, 2009, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 7,840
Another one here that went 'omg!' when reading you had no a/c and knowing what the temps were going to be for you!

You went to some fun spots -- Austin being my favorite. The music. The food. The people. The fun energy. I hope you get back there again. (And, try the Four Seasons!)

Texans are some of the most friendly folks in the world. We met some wonderful, fun, people.

Yes, they are!

Enjoyed reading your cross-country report.

Enjoy your new toy!
BeachGirl247 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:41 AM.