Tuesday, March 1, 2016

February 11, 2016 - Longwood, DeLand & Jacksonville, FL

We managed to be up at 7:30 am.  Leaving the dark shades open does help get us up early.  

After having coffee we left Jacksonville, FL for Longwood, FL to meet Ron and Luci Di Giovanna for lunch at 4 Rivers Smokehouse on S. State Street. We drove on I-95, but got off to get on Route 100 to meet Route 1 in Bunnell, FL.  While on Route 100 Ron texted to let us know that they were not able to make it at 11:30 am, maybe 12:15 pm. That was okay with us because we were running little late ourselves. According to GPS, it said that our arrival time was 11:45 am.

We arrived in Longwood, FL around 11:55 pm, went in 4 Rivers Smokehouse, got a booth for the four of us.  It is not a traditional dining style and you go in a line, make an order for what you want.  If your foods are readily available they put them on a tray and give it to you.  If the food you want is not available and needs to be cooked they will give you a number that you leave on a table for waiters to know where to find you.  

Trying to decide what to order for lunch
Ron and Luci arrived around 12:15 pm and warmly embraced us. It was so wonderful to see them again. Ron and Edith used to work for Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) under the Department of Agriculture in Alexandria, VA. The last time they saw each other was when Edith retired from FNS in 2002. So, that was over 13 years ago.  Ron now works for the Department of Transportation. Luci is a freelance interpreter.

Of course, we all chatted our hands away for a long while before we ordered our food.  Edith got 6 piece smoked chicken wings and Erwin got pulled pork sandwich with 2 sides: green beans and smoked corn.  Ron went with 3 sliders with his choice of 3 of 4 meats and Luci had chicken salad sandwich.  Of course, Edith forgot to take pictures of the entrees because she was so excited to see Ron and Luci and completely forgot about taking pictures.  

Ron and Luci like to go camping, so they asked us questions about full-time RVing and how we arrange routes and find campgrounds.  Edith showed Ron several apps that he can look up for information on campgrounds, etc.

We stayed until past 3 pm when we bid each other good-bye.  Of course, pictures were taken before we left.  We hope it won’t be too long before we see Ron and Luci again.  We mentioned to them that we were planning on going to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive and Luci really wanted to go, but they had other plan she and Ron needed to do before their dinner date tonight.

It took 10.5 miles from the restaurant to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, BUT BUT… It was CLOSED :-(  It opens Fridays-Sundays.  Oh bummer! It was a beautiful, but chilly day and would be perfect for wildlife photography.  Next time!!!  We turned around and got on Route 17 North to go home.  

The locked gate! :(
We started to get hungry by the time we got into DeLand, FL and Edith looked up in www.tripadvisor.com for recommendations on dining places. Edith was in mood for pizza, so she narrowed the search to look for pizzeria.  Angelina’s Pizza was ranked #  . It was an easy find, right off Route 17.

No, this is not our pizza.  On display when one walks in the restaurant
It was almost crowded, but we found an empty booth, ordered 14” Meaty Pizza (pepperoni, salami, sausage, ham and bacon).  It was DELISH!!! Edith was glad she picked out a good pizza place.  Edith wanted a box of baklava to go. $20 for pizza and dessert.  Little more than we wanted to spend, but that was ok because it was worth every bite.  We will remember to go there next time we camp at Blue Spring State Park in Orange City, FL, which is not too far from DeLand.

The dusk occurred when we left the restaurant and Edith took her turn driving back home.  Of course, we made a stop at a gas station on Route 100 in Palm Coast for Erwin to get his cup of coffee.  We did not get back home until after 8:30 pm.

In spite of the “wasted” 21 mile round trip to Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive every mile driven was worth driving to have a wonderful reunion with Ron and Luci.

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