Do you know how to eat a chocolate elephant?

answer:  One Bite At a Time! 

Everyone keeps asking me... "Why are you waiting till October to move to Key West?".  Well, along with Mr. Mooney still recovering from being paralyzed, planning a trip across country, alone, with a dog and all my worldly possessions is equal to planning a military coup or eating a chocolate elephant.  However,  given enough money, time and planning (with enough latitude for error), it can be accomplished. 



I'm driving a 22 ft. Penske truck with a car dolly carrying my Explorer.   I've driven across country numerous times,  but never by myself.  I've driven large trucks before, all over the country.  No problem.  I pulled a small trailer behind my Explorer numerous times, but I've never pulled a tow dolly.   

Truck + Dolly + Alone + Injured Puppy + 1600 miles = 
 A recipe for disaster!

So the plan looks something like this:  
Day 1 
San Antonio to Houston, TX, 197 Miles,  3 Hours and 20 minutes.  

Stay for the night and visit with adorable grand baby! I know your thinking 3 HOURS?  Well, there is a method to my madness.  (Operative Word: MADNESS). I think this will give me time to work out all the kinks in the drive and familiarize myself with the driving aspect of the truck and pulling the Explorer.  I'm sure by the the time I arrive in Houston I will be worn out anyway from the stress.

I'll be staying in downtown Houston, have a great street to park on and can keep an eye on my truck from the house.  Spend a nice day with my family, cuddle with my G-baby and get some much needed rest to head out early the following morning.

Day 2:  
Houston, TX to New Orleans, LA, 349 Miles, 5 Hours and 50 minutes

Now I know your thinking "What the HELL?"  Why isn't she driving longer?  There are 24 hours in a day...(duh).  The whole trip from San Antonio to Key West can be made in a little over one day if you drive straight through. 
Well, have you ever driven from Texas into Louisiana on IH-10?  I have many times.  It's not an easy drive.  You spend hours and hours and hours driving a two lane bridge over the Atchafalaya Swamp.  NOT AN EASY DRIVE.  Especially in a truck, pulling the Explorer and the pup!  There is no where to pull over if the dog is in distress.  I'll just have to keep on truckin' and the pup will have to deal with it.  

However, I do have a way to help relieve Mr. Mooney's suffering (and that's another blog post all together.

Besides,  I would love to wake up in New Orleans (my favorite city in the world) and head down to Cafe Du Monde for some beignets and cafe ole'.  

Besides, I have to go.  If I didn't that would be like going to San Antonio and not seeing the Alamo! 

Day 3:
New Orleans, LA - Tallahassee, FL - 385 Miles - 6 hours and 17 minutes

Ok,now I will be making some headway.  I'LL BE IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA!  I'll be driving through Gulf Port, MS, Mobile, Alabama and end up in Tallahassee.  I have to start out early enough NOT to be in Mobile at 5:00.  The rush hour traffic is awful!  (Actually considered to be the worst in the US!)  So, by the time I get to Tallahassee I will be ready for a nice long hot shower and a cold beer!

Day 4:
Tallahassee, FL - Sarasota, FL -326 Miles - 5 hours and 20 minutes

I plan on getting up early and hitting the road.  I've got one thing on my mind.  The silky white beaches of Sarasota!  I had originally planned to go to Tampa to see a friend and he moved to another city.  So I just decided to ease on down the road so I can see this: 

I've never been there, but I'm going now!  (If you have any suggestions where I can park my truck and access the beach on foot that would be great!)

Day 5: 
Sarasota, FL - Key West, FL , 375 Miles, 6 hours and 33 minutes

Finally, the last leg of the trip.  It's going to be a long one.  I'm going to be crossing the  Everglades and taking in the beauty of the swamp.  I find the swamps to be very relaxing and I want to enjoy the drive.

I don't know if I'm actually going to see any of the swamps as I chose to take I75 South instead of Alligator Alley.  I've been told that the Tamiami Trail is very hard driving and there is no where to stop.  So, the freeway it is...192 miles of it.

I'll be coming out right at Plantation, very close to Ft. Lauderdale, which I love, but I won't have time to stop.  I'll be jumping right on the Florida Turnpike and heading down to the Keys.  Roughly 175 miles later - I'll be in Key West!

Let's hope everything goes as planned.

Wish me luck!