Author Topic: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR  (Read 7387 times)

Offline morgs

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Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« on: July 08, 2015, 10:16:00 AM »
Planning

I hope that this tr will be helpful to others as I did not find much info on this when I was planning it. I know the general sentiment is that if you can spend 2 hours on a flight why would you spend 20+ hrs. driving- BUT firstly those hours were turned into a road trip broken up over a few days, and because there were some other things that went into this. Here it goes…

We joined my wife’s family this year in going down to Miami for Pesach. During the pre-Pesach planning I was naturally chosen to try and find a good deal on a rental car for the two weeks (basically impossible in MIA during that time of year) as I am known as the “Dan’s Deals guy” in the family ::). During one of my searches I came across the $9 a day one way FL-NY car rental deal that is offered at that time of year. Every April the car rental companies need to get some of their cars back up north for summer season (as more people vacation in NY in the summer and FL in the winter) so they offer you the price of one way rentals at $9 a day for regular cars and abt. $20 a day for a minivan (which is insanely cheap for FL standards (at that time of year a reg. rental for 2 weeks in a minivan could run about 11-1500 dollars!)). 

We decided that we’ll save my wife’s parents some money and take an extended road trip back from Miami to New Jersey after Yom Tov. The total for the minivan for the whole 2 weeks of Yom Tov and the week after was $500!! (Besides the fact that we were anyways pretty sick of flying-even if it was only another 3 hour flight-as we had already been on 5 flights in 2 weeks (coming from Israel and stopping for a visit in LA before going into NJ and then heading down to FL and were about to get back on another flight back to Israel!!)!

For our 2 year old we bought this-http://www.amazon.com/Star-Kids-Snack-PlayTravel/dp/B000KJBFC8- and attached it to his car seat and it actually worked really well! We also stocked up on lots of videos, coloring books, crayons and nosh before the trip. One very convenient thing was that we were in the new Chrysler town & country-which is really comfortable and has a lot of connection options like a standard plug so we could always keep our devices fully charged!

Our kid using the Snack n play travel table


(Note to self: Do not do this drive, or any long drive, again during a time when you cannot listen to music!!!!!!!!)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 10:27:29 AM by morgs »

Offline morgs

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2015, 10:19:20 AM »
Day 1-Sunday

The morning after Yom Tov we got up bright and early and loaded up all our stuff into our minivan and set out at about 10 AM due north. We made a quick stop at CVS for some road munchies and at Shemtov’s to pick up milkshakes, etc. for breakfast and pizza, etc. for lunch (which we kept hot in a hot/cold back that really kept the food hot even three hours later) and were on our way. We also had to make a quick stop at my wife’s grandparents to say good bye up in the Boca area. At about 12 pm we pulled out of Boca and began the real road trip.

Our first stop was at the Kennedy Space center visitor center in Cape Canaveral, Fl. We got there at about 2:30 (after eating lunch in the car on the road-after this trip I am now an expert at driving while dipping fries into ketchup and getting it to my mouth w/o it spilling all over my shirt) and went to will-call to pick up our tix that we had pre-booked. The admission was not cheap at $50+ per person but the experience was fantastic. They really fashioned the whole place to feel like a theme park-there are different areas, there is theme-park like music playing over the speakers, there are dresses up astronauts, etc. to take photos with-you get the picture.  Some of the noteworthy attractions: “Backlot tour”- a bus tour of the launch pads (you do not leave the bus, bit you get to see the hangers where they build the rockets, launch pads, transporters, etc.), Simulate a launch experience, Imax, Meet an astronaut- overall a very enjoyable day and worth the price IMO. (Note: you can spend an entire day here so plan appropriately-we came late and missed out on half the things).

Entrance to KSC Visitors Complex




Hangar where rockets are assembled


Vehicle used to transport rockets/space shuttles to launch pads (aka-the crawler)


One of the Apollos on display


Atlantis on display


Area called the rocket garden


We left the KSC at around 7:30 and headed West towards Orlando-it is about a 40 minute drive from KSC to Orlando. We stopped off for dinner at Lower East side Kosher restaurant-the food/service was great-nothing fancy, but basic and good (it was the night after Pesach so at least we knew it was fresh). As it is considered peak season, I was able to catch a Maariv in the shul that is located in the restaurant. 

Grilled Chicken sandwhich


The reason we chose to stay in Orlando (although it was slightly out of our way) was because I had a couple free night cert. and points to use up and I tried to fit them in as long as it was not crazy out of the way. We also decided that since the cert. do not necessarily allow such upscale hotels we would try to stay in the newest hotels possible. That being said, we decided to spend the night in the Springhill Suites (category 5) in the Kissimmee area of Orlando which had just opened 5 weeks before we got there 8). The hotel was about a seven minute drive away from the restaurant and was really nice (it was brand new!).

Room at Springhill Suites Orlando Kissimmee


Desk area


Offline A3

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2015, 10:22:17 AM »
Cool.

Ps. fix the amazon link with no '-' at the end.

Ive done that drive twice in a week and a half, when we were moving. When i was driving the car, I did not stop, it took about 19 hours (myself)
When i did with the truck it took 2 days, I did rest over night.

P.S I think on suck long drive there would be a heter to listen to some sort of music ;) . If there isnt a heter... there should be.

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 11:47:36 AM »
Yup, did the round trip (I did all the driving). That was before the kiddies though. +1 on the Kennedy space center, everyone thought I was a geek for planning a stop there, but it turned out to be really cool.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2015, 12:04:49 PM »
Cool TR so far! Thanks for bringing it to us!

Didn't know KSC was so cool! Will have to consider it one day (after Disney, of course). :-p
Even though the hotel is new, the furnishings seem a bit old, like that crib. Weird.

Offline yakrot

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2015, 12:27:44 PM »
Great trip report. As you know I also drove up to ny after pesach and decided to keep second half of sfira in order to listen to music (just saying)

Offline morgs

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2015, 01:13:42 PM »
Yup, did the round trip (I did all the driving). That was before the kiddies though. +1 on the Kennedy space center, everyone thought I was a geek for planning a stop there, but it turned out to be really cool.
Did all the driving too from beginning to end-only one time during the trip did I regret it (in a later post...)

Offline morgs

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2015, 01:14:35 PM »
Cool TR so far! Thanks for bringing it to us!

Didn't know KSC was so cool! Will have to consider it one day (after Disney, of course). :-p
Even though the hotel is new, the furnishings seem a bit old, like that crib. Weird.
We also thought the crib was out of place a bit-maybe they bought old used cribs off a different hotel, etc ???

Offline morgs

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2015, 01:17:00 PM »
Great trip report. As you know I also drove up to ny after pesach and decided to keep second half of sfira in order to listen to music (just saying)
I asked a shaila to a very well known posek and he said that you cannot pick and choose halves at will-R' Moshe says that you can switch only for a very very good reason like a wedding, etc (and, no having a kid in the car was not considered a good enough reason :P)-not arguing with you-I am sure you asked your own shaila before you did that ;)

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2015, 01:21:02 PM »
I asked a shaila to a very well known posek and he said that you cannot pick and choose halves at will-R' Moshe says that you can switch only for a very very good reason like a wedding, etc (and, no having a kid in the car was not considered a good enough reason )-not arguing with you-I am sure you asked your own shaila before you did that ;)

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2015, 01:21:16 PM »
Monday-Day 2

After a restful night we checked out of the hotel at about 10 AM and were back in our van due Northeast. We planned on stopping at Jerusalem Pizza in Ormond Beach, FL (which is just a bit north of Daytona Beach), picking up lunch for later in the day, and heading over to our first stop-Fort Matanzas. Ft. Matanzas was built back in the 1500’s and is located on an island out in middle of the ocean. The National Park Service provides a free ferry service to take visitors back and forth and the entire tour is free.

When we left Orlando in the morning the sun was shining bright and it was a beautiful day-but being in Florida-which all changed pretty quickly and by the time we got to Ormond Beach the sky was black and we were in the middle of a serious downpour! I decided to call the office at Ft. Matanzas to see if they were still running the ferry service and behold they had cancelled it for the rest of the day :'(. With that out, we decided to pick up our lunch and then decide what to do from there. I had previously called in our order for a small pie, a fries and lasagna so that I would not have to waste time waiting for the food. I came into the Pizza shop (which is located in their grocery store) and was greeted by an authentic Italian pizza maker, complete with Italian accent and all (he got seriously insulted when I asked for ketchup on the way out and I had to promise it was only for the fries and not the pizza and still beg for forgiveness before he reluctantly handed me our food ;D!). He told me that he was out of Lasagna noodles so he prepared us manicotti instead. The pizza was possibly from the most authentic and delicious pizza we have ever had and the manicotti was seriously amazing!!

Amazing authentic pizza


CLOSED!!


We gave one more shot at Ft, Matanzas and called them again (even though the weather was even worse now) to see if any of the later crossings were rescheduled but alas they were not. So, we decided to move onto our next stop which was visiting the city of St. Augustine-officially one of the oldest cities in the US. When we arrived it was still drizzling outside but we had ponchos and a rain cover for our stroller so we parked on the street and headed out. Shortly after the weather actually turned nice and we were left with a nice warm afternoon and sunny skies. There are many things to do in the city of St Augustine but we stuck to the main tourist drag where there are lots of quirky shops, cafes, and a few attractions. Among them was the oldest wooden schoolhouse (still intact) in the USA which we checked out for a few dollars. At the end of the main road right on the water is a huge fort known as Castillo De San Marcos built in the 1500’s which we visited and was pretty interesting. There are stairs so you can climb to the top of the fort walls where the old cannons are and the views from up there were pretty amazing. (No clue, though, why every time we took a pic up there using our rebel ts3 it came out dark-paging SF!!!! :-[ :-[).

Braving the rain in St Augustine


Oldest wooden schoolhouse in US






Bathroom (aka-meditation room)


View from the top of the fort




We stayed there until late afternoon and then headed on to Jacksonville, FL. We got into Jacksonville a bit late so we missed out on all the attractions there but we made a quick stop at the Winn Dixie there which has a huge kosher section. We stocked up on some deli, bread, nosh, etc. for that night’s dinner and back to the car it was!

We continued north and crossed into Georgia at about sunset time and an hour later we arrived at hour second night’s stop-Jekyll Island, Georgia. Jekyll Island is a huge strip of land that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean and is accessible by a huge bridge. The whole area is considered a state park and you need to pay a toll before entering, but it was not much IIRC. For the second night, again focusing on new hotels, we chose the Holiday Inn Resort Jekyll Island which had just opened 3 weeks before we got there using an IHG anniversary free night. The place was BRAND NEW and amazing 8) 8)!! The resort was right on the beach and all the rooms overlook the water with balconies. Funny to say this about a HI, but I had one of the best hotel sleeps I have ever had there.

The obligatory road trip pic


Toll at entrance to Jekyll Island


Holiday Inn Resort Jekyll Island


View from room


(Notice how new the palm trees are)


Offline tzifanya54

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #11 on: July 08, 2015, 02:33:52 PM »
I asked a shaila to a very well known posek and he said that you cannot pick and choose halves at will-R' Moshe says that you can switch only for a very very good reason like a wedding, etc (and, no having a kid in the car was not considered a good enough reason :P)-not arguing with you-I am sure you asked your own shaila before you did that ;)
Funny he said that, the Mishnah brurah hilchos sefiras h'omer clearly says that one can switch at will. The only exception would be a clearly defined minhag hamakom for one of the halves.

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #12 on: July 08, 2015, 02:35:15 PM »
Did all the driving too from beginning to end-only one time during the trip did I regret it (in a later post...)
When booze was served? ;D ;D ;D

Offline morgs

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #13 on: July 08, 2015, 02:47:19 PM »
When booze was served? ;D ;D ;D
No-on the final day after having driven 9 hours straight-I guess it was a similar feeling though ;D

Offline tzifanya54

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Re: Roadtrip TR (w/ pics): Miami Beach to EWR
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2015, 02:52:32 PM »
No-on the final day after having driven 9 hours straight-I guess it was a similar feeling though ;D
Yup, I know the feeling. When I did it I drive about 5 hrs from Miami to Jacksonville on motzai shabbos. Sunday morning I drove from Jacksonville to New Jersey straight. From Baltimore and on I was half asleep!