February 3rd, 2017: We left Florida.
Our trip officially started the day before—we ran around Bradenton trying to finalize the last minute details: bank deposits, haircuts and groceries! We were fresh off a visit to Fort Lauderdale & Miami, where Gregg & Olga (Gabriella’s dad and step-mom) just moved! We had plenty of boxes…but not much furniture (yet!)…
Early in the morning, we picked up the twelve foot truck. After running our errands, Gabriella had the easy job of organizing our large collection of sheet music, while Taylor secretly loaded the truck!
We had a nice dinner with Mel & Rex (Gabriella’s mom and step-dad), of course planning to go to bed early, as we had to start the drive at 4:30AM. As you can guess, we ended up going to bed around midnight…of course we were talking! After waving our final goodbyes, we still got on the road around 5AM.
Since Taylor’s parents, John & Cindi, live in California, we decided to try to give them a call around 5:30AM our time, 2:30AM their time. They answered! So we were able to talk to them as we made our way through central Florida.
Around 9:30AM, we made it into Southeast Georgia. What a beautiful part of the state—both of us have only been to Atlanta!
Our main mission on this first day was to make it to Greg’s (Taylor’s brother) restaurant, LoLA, in North Charleston, South Carolina, for lunch. He was extremely hospitable and graciously gave us some much needed food. We got a VIP tour of the restaurant, which used to be a food truck! It became so popular, they decided to open a permanent location. Now the original truck serves as the kitchen. We asked why they chose to open a Louisiana themed restaurant. The answer? There was already an Italian food truck in Charleston. Ha!
We were served gator bites (taken from the spine of an alligator), chicken gumbo and crawfish mac and cheese! Unfortunately, we didn’t venture into downtown Charleston because of traffic and we had a second destination—Wilmington, North Carolina!
About three hours later, we arrived in time for dinner. Gabriella’s cousins, Melissa and Nicholas, lovingly opened their home to us to stay for two nights. Melissa made us a homemade calzone and we spent a few hours (yes, hours) catching up. We hadn’t seen each other in about 15 years!
The next day, Melissa’s parents (Sheri and Bert), sister, Jessica, her husband Caleb, and their two kids joined us for the lunch and visiting in the afternoon. It was a house full of wonderful people!
The whole family is so strong in their faith, which greatly inspired us. We felt that they were placed in our lives at this particular moment.
In the early evening, Melissa, Nicholas and their three boys helped us find furniture for our new place. Melissa is a professional home stager, organizer and designer, so we knew she would be the one to help us find something special—and she came through! After driving all over Wilmington, we found a $40 pull out couch! They were also so giving and passed onto us an amazing table, chairs and a bench they weren’t using! After homemade chili, we watched old home videos and laughed at our younger selves. We also talked a lot about Melissa and Nicholas’ ventures into triathlons and the Ironman challenge! If you want to follow Melissa’s journey in her training, be sure to follow her blog: https://trilifejourney.wordpress.com/.
The next morning, we woke up at 2:30…it was miserable. But we pressed on! To New York we would go!
We filled up our gas twice along the way through North Carolina and Virginia, but didn’t fully stop until 10:30AM in Delaware! We were so determined. After filling our tank and stomachs with WaWa, we were ready for our new home!
Word of warning to anyone wanting to drive into New York. You will pay approximately $150 in tolls. Especially in a moving truck. That definitely threw a wrench in our plan. But it wouldn’t pull the grins off our faces!
We pulled onto Arden, taking up the entire width of the street. Cars were honking. People were shouting. But we had made it. With help from some amazing friends (David, Brian, Griffeth & Joanna!), we managed to get all of our boxes, tables, couch, KitchenAid (a must!) and selves into our new apartment. Now we could really make it a home.