Africa 2023:
Day 74 - Ft. Lauderdale

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Africa 2023: [Pre-Cruise] [Day 1 - Ft. Lauderdale] [Day 2-8 - At Sea] [Day 9 - Funchal] [Day 10 - Arrecife] [Day 11 - Agadir] [Day 12 - Casablanca] [Day 13-14 - At Sea] [Day 15 - Tunisia] [Day 16 - At Sea] [Day 17 - Crete] [Day 18 - At Sea] [Day 19 - Cyprus] [Day 20 - At Sea] [Day 21 - Suez Canal] [Day 22 - Safaga] [Day 23-26 - At Sea] [Day 27 - Salalah] [Day 28-31 - At Sea] [Day 32-33 - Seychelles] [Day 34-35 - At Sea] [Day 36-37 - Zanzibar] [Day 38 - At Sea] [Day 39 - Mayotte] [Day 40 - Madagascar] [Day 41-42 - At Sea] [Day 43 - Mozambique] [Day 44 - Durban] [Day 45-46 - At Sea] [Day 47-48 - Cape Town] [Day 49 - At Sea] [Day 50 - Luderitz] [Day 51 - Walvis Bay] [Day 52-53 - At Sea] [Day 54 - Angola] [Day 55-57 - At Sea] [Day 58 - Ghana] [Day 59 - Côte d'Ivoire] [Day 60-61 - At Sea] [Day 62 - The Gambia] [Day 63 - Senegal] [Day 64 - At Sea] [Day 65 - Cape Verde] [Day 66-70 - At Sea] [Day 71 - Puerto Rico] [Day 72-73 - At Sea] [Day 74 - Ft. Lauderdale]

Friday, December 22, 2023: We approached Port Everglades in the pre-dawn darkness.
What a great place to live if you love ships.
The Holland America Rotterdam followed us into port.
We were at our berth right around 6:30 AM.
Our final breakfast was a single chocolate mini-croissant and our last two shipboard Diet Cokes.
The ship's course track was now a closed loop.
In the next berth, we could see Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas and Holland America's Rotterdam.
Meanwhile, the Celebrity Beyond was making its way into the port.
It was hard to say goodbye to the only houseplant we've had in the last twenty years.
We took a few minutes to put the room back to the way we'd found it when we first got here all the way back in October, and then said our final farewells.
At 6:45 AM, we were in line with our luggage outside the Rolling Stone Lounge on deck two, waiting for the ship to be cleared and disembarkation to begin.
A mere 35 minutes later, the line started moving and passengers were scanned off the ship for the final time.
It took less than five minutes to get through the terminal, and then we were hopping into a waiting taxi outside the terminal, ...
... and just fifteen minutes after that, we were at the airport picking up our rental car.
We drove straight to a McDonald's for second breakfast, ...
... and the largest Diet Cokes allowed by law.
As we sped north on the Florida Turnpike, Tom was pretty certain that he saw a gator in marsh along the side of the highway. It might have been an all-terrain tire, but maybe not.
Near Orlando, we stopped for lunch at Pollo Tropical.
Tom got black beans, white rice, ropa vieja, and sliced onions, ...
... and Debbie got chicken, fried plantains, corn, and a roll.
Oh, and quatro leches for dessert. That's one more than tres leches, and it is that delicious.
Back on the highway, we encountered a massive slowdown. When we got to the source of the slowdown, we saw a burned-out RV on the southbound-side of the road. Once we were past the accident, we got back up to 70 MPH, ...
... and drove for twelve minutes before we got to the end of the traffic backup on the other side of the road. Those poor people had no idea what was ahead.
After five hours of driving, we were finally out of Florida and into Georgia.
Check out this beautiful Coca-Cola building. The wall looked like condensation on an ice-cold can, ...
... and the lobby looked like the top of a bottle.
Google Maps alerted us to another slowdown as we neared Atlanta, so we got off the highway, grabbed dinner at Zaxby's, and then took back roads to avoid the trouble spot. It was around 7:30 PM when we drove through downtown Atlanta and saw the NCR building right off I-75.
We stopped for the night at the Best Western Plus in Dalton, Georgia. Less than an hour after we arrived, we were in bed and falling asleep.

Saturday, December 23, 2023: We were up before 5:00 AM, packed and out of the hotel fifteen minutes later, and getting breakfast at McDonald's by 5:15 AM.
A short time later, we were in Tennessee, ...
... and two and a half hours later we were in Kentucky.
We'd been craving donuts since the sun came up, so we stopped at Farmwald's Restaurant and Dutch Bakery near Cave City, Kentucky.
 They didn't look like much, but they were very, very delicious.
As we reached the outskirts of Indianapolis, we took a brief detour to Jill and Jared's house. We had missed them very much while we were gone, so we were thrilled to get a chance to catch up with them however briefly. Jared gave us a preview of his not-quite-completed Rivendell set.
By 1:00 PM, we were finally home. 78 days. 26 ports. 19 countries. Almost 25,000 miles. And a totally reasonable amount of mail waiting for us. Totally. 

** THE END **


Africa 2023: [Pre-Cruise] [Day 1 - Ft. Lauderdale] [Day 2-8 - At Sea] [Day 9 - Funchal] [Day 10 - Arrecife] [Day 11 - Agadir] [Day 12 - Casablanca] [Day 13-14 - At Sea] [Day 15 - Tunisia] [Day 16 - At Sea] [Day 17 - Crete] [Day 18 - At Sea] [Day 19 - Cyprus] [Day 20 - At Sea] [Day 21 - Suez Canal] [Day 22 - Safaga] [Day 23-26 - At Sea] [Day 27 - Salalah] [Day 28-31 - At Sea] [Day 32-33 - Seychelles] [Day 34-35 - At Sea] [Day 36-37 - Zanzibar] [Day 38 - At Sea] [Day 39 - Mayotte] [Day 40 - Madagascar] [Day 41-42 - At Sea] [Day 43 - Mozambique] [Day 44 - Durban] [Day 45-46 - At Sea] [Day 47-48 - Cape Town] [Day 49 - At Sea] [Day 50 - Luderitz] [Day 51 - Walvis Bay] [Day 52-53 - At Sea] [Day 54 - Angola] [Day 55-57 - At Sea] [Day 58 - Ghana] [Day 59 - Côte d'Ivoire] [Day 60-61 - At Sea] [Day 62 - The Gambia] [Day 63 - Senegal] [Day 64 - At Sea] [Day 65 - Cape Verde] [Day 66-70 - At Sea] [Day 71 - Puerto Rico] [Day 72-73 - At Sea] [Day 74 - Ft. Lauderdale]

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