I am so not slim, cute, or cool enough to be here. Fort Lauderdale is bustling with young people barely covered by their swim suits. You can tell this is another party town. Not like Clearwater - there were still plenty of families there. Lauderdale is like fly boy central ... I'm sure they party a LOT more here.
We left Sarasota around 9am, passing Ft. Meyers, Marco Island, the Everglades, and the Ralph Lauren outlet on the way. Too bad we're not going back the same route, I would have liked to spend a little time in all of those places. But we had a mission, and it was going to take us four hours to complete it.
We were just getting to Fort Lauderdale when my GPS started going crazy. I forgot to install the Miami maps!!! I discovered how dependant upon electronics I really am when this little fact dawned on me. Without the maps all the GPS knows is major roads. So while I saw the hotel waypoint 2 miles to my right, the GPS was telling me to go up I95 about 20 miles, then to make a uturn and come back down A1A to get there. Um, not. So we had to wing it. We got held up waiting on a draw bridge for a little while, which was actually fun. Casey had never seen one before.
The Geocaching we've done eventually paid off. We found the hotel! It just took a little longer than we had hoped. Unfortunately Danny was sitting in the parking lot expecting us to pull in at any second while we were finding our way. Ooops!
We would have liked to stay at the same hotel as the rest of the family, but the Ramada doesn't allow pets. So we hung out at their hotel for only an hour (there was a big party at the pool/beach), then we drove 4 miles down the street and checked into our room at the Sheraton.
[Danny, Teri, and Paige were returning from the Caribbean on Princess Cruise Lines (blog link to follow). They had just visited Princess Island, Grand Cayman, Jamaica (mon), and Cozumel. They're all very red and very sore, but still glowing from a great vacation. They brought me a rum cake from Cayman, and the exact same coffee mug that I had broken on our trip home from the islands last spring! Thanks, brotherman!]
When we got here it was windy, cloudy, and threatening rain, so we popped open a beer and plopped onto the beds in our room. All of us wanted to veg (nice change from the week before!) so we bought the movie Failure to Launch for $15 on PPV and stared at the boob tube for a couple of hours. (Cute chick flick, btw.)
After our movie ended we changed into our swim suits and headed down and across the road to the beach. Casey and Paige played for quite a while in the turbulent waves, while off in the distance Danny's cruise ship left for sea again ... I thought Teri was going to swim after it for a while there.
Once she realized the ship was gone forever, we headed back across "The Strip" (A1A) and let the girls swim in the pool for an hour or so. The grown ups sat at the abandoned pool bar, watched re-runs of Friends, and discussed our achievement of having quit smoking (three years for brother and wife, almost one for me!) Amazing how we all still love the smell of second-hand smoke ...
Our evening wound down with enough Chinese food to feed an army, another PPV movie (She's The Man) and an empty 12-pack of beer bottles. It's a full moon up there somewhere but we couldn't see it through the clouds.
I don't much like Ft. Lauderdale. The beaches are coarse and brown (not like the powdery Gulf side), and I'm over the whole party mentality. But I had a great day chilling out with the family. They vacation like I do ... so I think next year there's going to be an Anderson Family vacation.
I wonder if Danny agrees ... I guess we'll find out when he posts his blog about today! :)