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Florida Man Fantasy Camp: Alpert Family Vacation--Florida & Cruise July 27-Aug 10, 2019

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by Richard Alpert, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

    Jul 22, 2015
    The Island
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Our family summer vacation this year featured:
    *a road trip to Florida :biker:
    *a five-night cruise :cool: including stops in Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico (3rd cruise, 2nd for the minions)
    *three nights in a nice villa in Palm Coast, FL
    *and the drive home to Wisconsin :biker:

    Saturday, July 27-Sunday, July 28

    We left mid-morning and stopped for lunch at IHOP in Wisconsin Dells. “The Dells” is a popular vacation destination for many, but it was just the first of our stops on our two-week adventure.

    We made pretty good time :biker: to my bride’s relatives’ place near Peoria, IL. We settled in for the first of two nights there. Our hosts treated us to spaghetti and sub sandwiches and we visited well into the evening.

    On Sunday some more relatives came by to visit. The minions also swam in their neighborhood lake. Lunch at Steak n’ Shake in Pekin, IL and supper (pizza) from Domino’s bookmarked a great day of visiting with family.

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    Monday, July 29

    We left at about 7:00 A.M. and drove through rain pretty much the rest of IL. We stopped for lunch at Hardee’s in Paducah, KY. Supper was at Steak ‘n Shake in Dalton, GA. After an adventurous nighttime drive through downtown Atlanta, our stop for the night was the nice Comfort Suites in Byron, GA. We’ve stayed there on previous trips. Right off of I-75, clean, and a great hot breakfast!



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    Tuesday, July 30

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    We checked out and made a quick stop at the Uniform Outlet at the “Peach Shops” in Byron so my bride could invest in some new scrub tops. We had lunch at the Golden Corral in Tifton, GA. Here are plates 1 and 2. One fellow customer joked that I should take it easy on the pickles. :D

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    After hours on I-75 and the Florida Turnpike :biker: :faint: we arrived at Spring Hill Suites in Dania Beach/Ft. Lauderdale. A quick run to Walgreens and Burger King. The bride took a couple of the minions down to swim in the outdoor pool as I began to get the bags ready for our shuttle to the cruise port in the morning. I took the luggage that wasn’t cruising with us out to the car for storage. (Parking for the Alpertmoblie over the length of our cruise was included with our hotel package.)

    Wednesday, July 31

    Upon waking early, I considered walking the half-mile to K-mart but lightning was close and pretty sharp. I drove over to get some toothbrushes for the two family members who’d forgotten theirs in IL. We didn’t realize this until after we’d returned from Walgreens the night before.

    I’m not sure what I found more impressive: The Mt. Dew bottle that said “Wisconsin” or the fact that I found a K-Mart that was still in business!

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    We caught our shuttle to the port at about 10:30. Shuttle (booked ahead of time) was 10 bucks per person each way. If we’d known the port was so close we would’ve found just snagged a taxi or something.

    We were there very quickly. From drop-off to boarding on ship was about 35 minutes total. We suddenly found ourselves on the sun deck of Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas, catching rays :cool: and eating :feedme: lunch. We went down to check out our room and then walked around and enjoyed the sunshine and ice cream on the sun deck. Going back down to our level 2 room we found our luggage had been delivered. Unpacked and chilled until the muster drill. Folks were pretty good listeners so the drill was short and sweet.

    Lots of dancing and excitement as we pulled out of port and began our cruise.


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    Lots of swimming followed. We watched the movie “Wonder Park” while sitting poolside. Supper buffet and then we tried to swim again, but the pool was closed due to lightning.

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    Thursday, August 1

    This “day-at-sea” was filled with lots of swimming. We also watched the men’s belly flop contest and took in some of the intense hoops action at the back of the ship.


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    We watched two movies on the poolside screen that night. “Fighting With The Family” and “Captain Marvel.”

    Friday, August 2

    The minions and I were up early to eat, shoot hoops, and play some ping pong as the ship sailed into the port of Costa Maya, Mexico. After more swimming and breakfast #2 we woke up the bride and got ready to disembark the ship.

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    We walked through and out the port about four blocks or so to the Native Choice excursions office. My bride had booked our excursion online after hearing through the grapevine that these folks were pretty good. Our tour guide Lorenzo joined our packed van and we made our way to the Mayan ruins at Chacchoben.

    On the ride there these signs :hmmm: caught my :wink2: attention. Turns out they were just speed bump signs. :D



    Mexican cows!

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    At the Mayan ruins:

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    We then had a short van ride to a Mayan home experience and lunch.

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    Van back to port with plenty of time for my bride to shop.

    Supper at the buffet and then kicked back with some beverages and watched “Dumbo” as the minions swam.

    Saturday, August 3

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    Our ship arrived in Cozumel earlier than expected so after a quick breakfast aboard we were off the ship and in port.

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    We checked in to the meeting point for our shore excursion, the Cozumel downtown and beach experience. We hopped on a bus, led by our guide Adrian. We were dropped off downtown, shown a few things, and then given time to walk around, shop, etc.

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    We then hopped back on the bus and were bused out to Punta Morena on the other side of the island. We grabbed lunch and my bride had a nice massage.

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    We were serenaded by these gentlemen. We asked that they choose one of their favorites to play. Almost everyone else requested they play, "La Bamba."

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    Massage time for my bride!

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    A nice van ride back to port and plenty of time for some walking around and shopping.


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    Back on the ship. Lots of ice cream before, during, and after supper. Minions swim and we enjoyed another showing of “Captain Marvel.”

    Sunday, August 4

    A familiar theme to start our last day-at-sea: breakfast, hoops, and ping pong. Then swimming (minons) and shopping (bride). We had our only meal in the formal dining room at lunch time. I had the potato soup, lasagna, and ice cream. More swimming, ice cream, supper at the buffet, and more swimming. Then back to the room to pack our bags and set them out for the overnight bag collection.

    Monday, August 5

    Last breakfast aboard and then began the procedure of getting off the ship. A little bit of a line waiting to get through Border Protection. After getting out I took most of our bags with me on the shuttle ride back to the car (saved $40 by just riding back myself). I hopped in our car and was back to pick up the rest of the family outside the cruise terminal within a few minutes.

    Hopped on I-95 northbound. Stopped at Outback in Port St. Lucie. (Thank you, Kevin Harvick, for the free blooming onion.) We arrived at Hammock Beach in Palm Coast. We stayed in a nice 3-bedroom villa.

    Quick trip to Target for supplies, supper from McDonald’s (me) and Panda Express (bride and minions), and then back to eat and run a lot of laundry.

    My bride gave me a fortune cookie:


    Tuesday, August 6

    Went for a walk along A1A. Then, the minions and bride enjoyed the lazy river, waterslide, and pools. Grabbed lunch at Subway. Brought it back to eat. Walked out to the beach, but lightning chased us to the inside pool area for awhile.

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    Papa John’s pizza delivery for supper. :feedme: It wouldn’t be an Alpert TR without the full-frontal pizza porn:
    (Those are breadsticks and I'm happy to see you!)

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    Started some laundry, but I fell asleep watching the movie “Non-stop” on the television. :snore: :D

    Wednesday, August 7

    Today we visited St. Augustine. We enjoyed the half-hour drive up A1A. We parked at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and boarded the waiting Red Train Tours. We were greeted by driver/guide Smokey who waved us aboard during the light rain. My bride waved her phone to show him the Groupon, but he said not to worry about it and that we could pay later on along the tour route.

    We stayed on for the entire one and half hour tour. Smokey was an awesome guide, energetic and full of “Smokey extras,” tidbits of information along the way. (Later on we also had Daphne, Tiny Tim, Kelly, and Crazy Gary as guides.)

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    We had lunch at One Twenty Three Burger House. I had the Lincolnville Pulled Pork. Then a short walk to the chocolate shop for some samples and shopping.

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    Then back on the train. We hopped off on Aviles Street and visited Peace Pie. We picked up yummy :licklips: ice cream sandwiches with pie filling.

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    Then back on the train to spend a few minutes at Castillo de San Marcos. We walked to our car as Ripley’s was quite close.

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    Upon our return to the villa we found the weather more cooperative to get down to the beach and then some more time at the lazy river and pools.

    We bummed around for a bit. Got gas and picked up some subs. We also worked on the leftover pizza.

    The bride picked up a Redbox movie, “The Intruder” with Dennis Quaid, to enjoy as we (I) worked on the laundry.

    Thursday, August 8

    I was up early to see :hmmm: the Atlas V rocket launch and learn :hmmm: from the morning weather and traffic talent!

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    Woke up the minions and packed up the Alpertmobile.

    After a quick stop to return the Redbox movie and get ice at Publix we were heading north.

    We stopped for lunch at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen in Valdosta, GA. Had Wisconsin cheese bites as an appetizer, of course! The 3-cheese grilled cheese and potato soup were very :feedme: tasty and filling.

    Supper was take-out from Arby’s in Murfreesboro, TN. Just a vanilla shake and a pizza slider as I was still pretty good from the big lunch.

    The stop for the night was Comfort Suites in Clarksville, TN. Located next to a cool little cemetery.

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    Friday, August 9

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    I was up way before the bride and minions so I went for a walk over to the Wal-mart next to the motel. Lots of truckers and folks in campers were at the end of the parking lot getting ready to get back on the interstate. Breakfast at the motel and trip back over to Wal-mart with the minions for some candy. Checked out the motel’s new fitness center before loading up the Alpertmobile to resume our journey north.


    Lunch was at Cracker Barrel in Marion, IL. I had the grilled chicken tenders with hash browns, fries, and way too many biscuits. :feedme: :faint:

    We spent the last night of our trip at my bride’s relatives’ place near Peoria. We had fun :thumbsup: visiting over a supper of hot dogs and sweet corn.

    Saturday, August 10

    Hugs and goodbyes to our hosts before leaving at 10:00 A.M.. Lunch at Arby’s in Beloit, WI and rather messy Subway (to go) from Barron, WI before arriving home just before 7:00 P.M..

    We had a fantastic trip! We met some wonderful people and made some awesome memories. I know I’ve dropped a lot of restaurant and motel names here. We had great experiences at all of those locations!

    Thank you very much for taking the time to read this trip report!
    I appreciate it! :D

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  2. deansrobinson

    deansrobinson VIP Whale

    Jan 27, 2016
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    See, quality reporting at a fair price! Glad you had a good time. Listen, next time you're coolin' your jets on the peninsula, gimme a holler. If you're within drivn' range, we should put forth the effort to shake hands. Again, glad you had a great time. Oh, and St. Augustine is back on the agenda for later this year. :cool:
    • Love Love x 2
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  3. ShepherdDon

    ShepherdDon Tourist

    Mar 19, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Can't imagine that you were tired and went to sleep during a movie.

    Sounds like a great trip.

    • Like Like x 1

    LV2GAMBLE Certified LOW Roller

    Oct 20, 2012
    Land of 10,000 Lakes
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Sounds like a nice family trip. Thanks for taking us along.
    Sooooo Far Away; Las Vegas Bike Fest
    Might Slip Away a Few Days for a SOLO Trip.....SSSSHHHHHH
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Astribling

    Astribling Alice In Casinoland

    Oct 3, 2017
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    What a wonderful family trip! Sounds like a great time was had by all! My daughter has been to the Dells and really enjoyed it!

    I especially liked seeing all the cruise pics. I'm booked on the RC Oasis in February and all the cruise TRs have me chomping on the bit.

    Thanks for sharing!
    I Love Christmas + I Love Vegas - Combine Them, Yes Please!
    I Love Christmas + I Love Vegas - Combine Them, Yes Please!
    • Love Love x 1
  6. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

    Jul 22, 2015
    The Island
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    You have a deal, @deansrobinson! :D

    Thank you for reading! :beer:

    Thank you, Don!
    Liam Neeson movies have that effect on me! :snore: :D

    You're welcome, @LV2GAMBLE!
    Thank you! :wave:
    • Love Love x 1
  7. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

    Jul 22, 2015
    The Island
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thank you, @Astribling!
    I hope you have a fantastic cruise!
    • Love Love x 1
  8. 93 Octane

    93 Octane Chief bottle washer

    Aug 20, 2016
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    You and the wife are superheroes taking the minions on a 2.5 week vacation, kudos to you both!
    Fantastic TR! But I have one question----does your family like ice cream?:popcorn:
    • Funny Funny x 4
  9. rooster42000

    rooster42000 Patriots #1

    Aug 8, 2012
    Miramar , Florida
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Wonderful trip, nice pics :nworthy: :nworthy: :peace: :clap:
    • Like Like x 1
  10. amk121

    amk121 VIP Whale

    Jun 19, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    What a wonderful family trip! Thank you for sharing it with us!
    • Love Love x 1
  11. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

    Aug 24, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Fantastic report, @Richard Alpert ! You guys know how to vacation - I don’t know where you find the energy to do all the stuff you do.

    And while I can’t condone Papa John’s as food porn, I’m more than a little impressed with the amount of ice cream you guys managed to squeeze into the trip. :feedme::nworthy:

    Glad you and the family had a great trip. Thanks for taking the rest of us along and for all the great pics. :thumbsup:
    • Like Like x 1
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  12. VegasSam

    VegasSam Low-Roller

    Jul 22, 2016
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Really enjoyed your report and all the photos, I had a great time but I'm tired now and have to rest!
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Geogran

    Geogran VIP Whale

    May 1, 2014
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Another completely different family trip yet so many food favorites blended in to give it that Albert touch!
    Loved reading it Richard, and your road trip seemed like a breeze, your minions sound like great travelers and pool dwellers, just like our grandsons!

    Speaking of cruises, we’re set to cruise in two weeks on RC’s Harmony of the Seas but the old folks plan to eat, sleep, and hang out on the balcony catching up on some reading. Oh and a few ping pong grudge matches with our friends. :whistle:
    • Love Love x 2
  14. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

    Apr 26, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    These Richard Alpert family trips has memories that are priceless and will be treasured forever. You and your bride are wonderful parents, sir.

    Thank you for sharing your trip with us. There was a lot to see and do! And ice cream! Lots and lots of ice cream to fuel your activities and adventures!

    Your high energy level throughout the trip only shows how much you love and want your family to enjoy every moment of the trip. A tribute to a loving, dedicated father. Well done, Mr. Alpert.

    Take a well deserved rest, and until then I'll look forward to another Richard Alpert Family Trip Report!
    • Love Love x 2
  15. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Jan 21, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20190802_124914(2).jpg "Topes!" Those bastards are BRUTAL in Mexico!

    Another fun family adventure! Thanks for taking us along!
    • Like Like x 1
  16. JosieCat

    JosieCat VIP Whale

    Dec 10, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Really nice report. Thanks for all the pics! Sounds like a wonderful vacation!
    • Love Love x 1
  17. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

    Sep 11, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Who doesn't fly into Las Vegas on New Year's Day?
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Gino

    Gino "The King of Inappropriate."

    Oct 25, 2009
    Tampa, FL.
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    I concur with Dean Robinson...if you make it close by next time you're in the weirdest state in the union, lets meet..

    Great TR, glad you had a good time.
    Reno to Las Vegas...and other places in between..
    • Love Love x 1
  19. NYNYGirl

    NYNYGirl VIP Whale

    Jun 21, 2007
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Awesome pics and report! Thanks for sharing.
    • Love Love x 1
  20. WHU66

    WHU66 High-Roller

    Sep 11, 2014
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report, glad you, Mrs A and of course the Minions had a lovely family trip - memories as a family are so important and last longer than any physical belongings. Good stuff!
    First of 2 in 2020
    Vow renewal
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