The weekend of June 26th we added a new member to our family – our beautiful Blue Merle Rough Collie, Rose! She is such a sweet, happy, and playful little pup and she made the 17 and a half hour drive each way in the span of 48 hours to pick her up worth it.
We left early the morning of Friday, July 25th and drove straight from our house in Virginia and down to Venice, Florida. We stopped for lunch in South Carolina at Duke’s BBQ, located right off of I-95, about 20 minutes from the border to Georgia. We definitely recommend checking out Duke’s if you’re heading down south and are craving BBQ from a local hot spot with some down-to-earth staff.
Duke’s was delicious and definitely different from our local BBQ joints. We did the all you can eat buffet and ate in a restaurant for the first time in MONTHS! Even with the extra precautions and the social distancing involved due to COVID, it was so nice to eat inside of a restaurant for the first time since the pandemic started.
The staff was incredibly friendly and definitely went above and beyond expectations. There was pulled pork available as the bbq protein with two different kinds of sauces – a spicy and a mild, along with an array of sides. The restaurant itself was small and charming, decorated with little knick knacks that added an authentic southern and homey style. We left stuffed and fully satisfied.
After an entire day of driving, we finally made it to Florida and entered the dust wall that was the Sahara Desert. It was crazy how on one side of us was a bright, blue sky and on the other was a dark cloud of dust. Half of our car was covered in a layer of dust, while the other half was mostly clean. The dust didn’t last for long, though. Shortly before 8:00pm, we entered the outskirts of Venice, Florida just in time for an enormous storm to hit and wash away all of the Sahara Desert dust.
The storm began with dark clouds rolling in and random, earth-shaking bursts of thunder, followed by sparks of lighting that would streak across the sky and illuminate everything around us for a brief second. Soon, the sky opened up and and rain poured down on us, making it incredibly hard to see. Everyone around us began to slow to a crawl as we navigated the silk roads. Not long after the rain began, we witnessed our first tornado. You heard that right, there was a tornado and it was almost right over top of us!
We watched as a small funnel began to form and swirl its way from the dark clouds and down toward the ground. The tornado didn’t last long, and soon twisted back toward the sky before fading away back into the clouds it had come from. Soon after, the clouds parted and the rain disappeared, just in time for us to pull into the parking lot of our hotel.
We grabbed our bags and checked into the hotel before walking across the street to Pinchers to grab some dinner and unwind with a few cocktails. We got an order of coconut shrimp, calamari, and scallops. Honestly, the food wasn’t that great. The coconut shrimp was the best of the entrees and wasn’t anything special. Both the scallops and calamari were slightly undercooked and neither were as flavorful as we were expecting. The cocktails, however, were pretty good since they were on special and who can say no to two for the price of one sangrias and margaritas or a huge bucket of rum punch?!
After dinner, we walked back to the hotel and crashed since we had another busy day ahead of us meeting and bringing home our sweet pup pup. The next morning we checked out of our hotel and headed 10 minutes down the road to meet Rose. Rose is four months old and a fluff ball of pure energy and adorableness. She is just what we needed.
A few hours after we met her, we had her loaded in the car and were back on the road toward home. Let me tell you, a 17 and a half hour car ride with a new puppy who gets car sick is interesting. Luckily, she only drooled heavily for the first 30 minutes to an hour. We bonded almost instantly and our hearts melted the second we met her.
Shortly after crossing the border into Georgia, we stopped off for dinner at Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Q just off of I-95. Willie Jewell’s was definitely our favorite restaurant stop on our entire road trip. We got brisket and smoked turkey. They had some picnic tables set up outside so we were able to sit outside and eat with Rose by our side. We were stuffed after our meal and still had plenty of leftovers.
We finally made it home at 7:20 on Sunday morning, exhausted but happy to be home with our newest addition to our family. Over the past couple of weeks since we brought her home, she is blended into our family perfectly and brought us so much joy. Though, our cats may not agree as full heartedly. She is SO obsessed with becoming friends with them and gets very excited each time she sees one of them and usually can’t contain herself and goes pouncing after them. One of our cats, Momo, will just sit there and meow in a high pitched tone non-stop until Rose runs off to her next mischievous adventure.
Rose is definitely enjoying all of the new people and animals she is meeting and we can’t wait for all of our next adventures with our newest travel buddy!