We had originally planned on two games in each MLB stadium, but eschewed that on this first leg in favor of trying to get minor league games in at both Fort Myers, FL and Durham, NC (in addition to one game in each MLB stadium). We bailed on the Fort Myers game the weather was poor, but we really wanted to get to see a game in Durham.
The Durham Bulls were the subject of the movie Bull Durham (a favorite of ours). The movie is hilarious and Keke and I were anxious to relax in the stands and quote movie lines all game.
To get to Durham in time for the game, we needed to make some headway right after our Marlins game. We ended up making it about 4 hours (by our driving anyway) north of Miami to Daytona Beach on that Saturday night. Daytona is not the cheapest spot to stay (this time of year anyway), and we really just needed a spot to sleep.
We ended up at the Hawaii Motel, for about $85 for the night. It was the cheapest hotel with decent ratings that we could find. The decor was dated, but it seemed clean enough. Keke loved it because it had a vintage vibe. I particularly liked the no smoking sign that was propped up on an ashtray. In the end it was good enough for a seven hour stay.
The next day was going to be a grind on the road. Durham was leaving town for a bit after that evenings game, so we had to get there. This drive would take us out of Florida, through parts of Georgia and South Carolina, and into North Carolina largely via I-95, a road we’d never been on, on Easter Sunday.
We expected about an eight or nine hour drive, but that didn’t happen. The drive itself was decent enough as we approached Savannah, GA. Keke wanted to stop there and explore just a little bit, and we were searching for a Red Box for Soren. We ended up stuck in traffic and staying a bit longer than we had anticipated. Regardless of the delay, we were able to drive down a street with a center grassy promenade and watch all these gorgeous southerners out and about in their finery on Easter Sunday. The southern charm was overflowing.
After we left, we quickly ran into traffic on I-95 going north. This traffic seemed to be for no real reason as it would bunch up for a while, then it would free up and we so no apparent cause. It quickly became apparent that we may be a bit late for the game. Then it became apparent that we’d be really late for the game. Then it became apparent that we may not make the game at all.
We finally arrived at the stadium, snagging the best parking spot ever (right in next to the front gate), only to walk on to the promenade as the announcer announced the last out. We were able to go in and snap a few pictures of the field, but we were dejected. No Nuke LaLoosh, No Crash Davis, no lollygaggers – bummer.
It ended up taking us 11 hours today on top of the four yesterday, all completely out of the way unless we made this game. It was very disheartening. That said, we really enjoyed Savannah, and we got to spend all day together, and we took a detour off of I-95 that took us through the site of the Civil War battle of Aversaboro. This route was Hwy 82, and there were signs all along showing where things happened. It also happened to be a very pretty, rural drive.
We eventually got to our overnight stop at the La Quinta in Cary, NC. This was a perfect hotel; clean, up-to-date decor, large rooms, safe area, comfy bed, etc. We decided to have some comfort food by getting pizza, and eventually called it a night, very happy to be cozy, fed, and together after a long and frustrating day on the road.