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Orlando Day Trip | May 10, 2010

So, last week, Wednesday, May 5th, on the last day of Terrycation 2010 (thanks to Doug, Gwen and Holly for financing the trip), I went to Orlando on a day trip.

I got up at the usual time that I do when going to work, and caught the usual bus. Maria, the bus driver, commented that she missed me a few days the previous week, and I explained that I’d been on vacation since Thursday and was, in fact, not going to work, but going to Orlando for a day (and had to get off at the Saxon Park-and-Ride instead of riding all the way into DeLand.)

Got to the park-and-ride about 6:50am. The Lynx Link 200 (Orlando-Deltona run) showed up about 6:57am, and we boarded. That cost me $3.50 for a one way trip into Orlando.

This is the seats on the Link 200 – way plusher than your usual bus seats, both on Votran (the Volusia County bus service) or Lynx (Seminole/Orange and parts of other counties).

There were six people, including myself who boarded at Deltona. It was a quiet ride; everyone was listening to their mp3 players or reading newspapers.

Less than ten minutes later, we crossed the St John’s river into Seminole county. We got off I-4 at the Heathrow exit and stopped at the Colonial Center business complex, where four women boarded. They were a bit talkative, but it was still a quieter run than the Votran buses are, even first thing in the morning.

About 7:24am, the bus got back on I-4, having taken a side road to the next exit down, the Lake Mary exit. And from there, we did a straight shot down I-4 to downtown Orlando. I got off the bus on Orange Aventue by the Orange County Courthouse (one of the ones I’d been in for my driving violations, over the years.)

From there, I walked two blocks to the Lynx Central Station, and caught the “Lymmo” – the free bus service that runs the downtown Orlando circuit. During the business hours, one comes along about every 5 minutes. Weeknights after 5pm, it’s about every 10 minutes, every 15 on the weekends. Pretty convenient.

Took the Lymmo to get over to Lake Eola; once there, had to walk to the opposite side so I could get to Panera and grab a sausage, egg and cheese on jalapeno and cheddar bagel, with a frozen mango drink. Mmmm, Panera is made of yum.

At my breakfast while gazing out across the lake. Took this shot here.

Lake Eola is known for its waterfowl, and this swan (and the two geese in the background) were hanging out near me. The swan was very insistent that I was not going to get a good picture of him (her?) and I took almost 20 shots before I got the following – it was like he finally said, “Fine, take the damn photo and leave me be!”

After eating, I got up to leave, but the two geese came over and all but accosted me; I can only presume that it was because I didn’t share my food with them. They were quite vociferous and animated in their frustration, but by the time I dug out my camera again, they waddled off to bother someone else. I really wish I’d gotten a video, it was rather entertaining.

I walked the rest of the circuit around the lake – it’s really gotten worn down, but they were doing work there. About half of the perimeter of the lake was fenced off and landscaping was being done. The fountain wasn’t running, either. I did see the ‘bandshell’ where we saw Othello at the Shakespeare in the Park festival back in the early/mid 90s.

After leaving the park, I caught the Lymmo back to the Lynx station, and took Link 102 to Winter Park Village. There, I wandered around and looked at some stores, then hit Borders for a frozen caramel coffee and lots of tormenting myself by looking at books that I couldn’t remotely afford to buy. Read some magazines, but then got a little pukey feeling, so went for a walk in the warmer outdoors. Walked the entire open-air mall, and then came back to the center area, where I found a bench to sit on in the shade across from the movie theatre.

After sitting and reading a bit, felt much better, and decided to take in the movie Kick-Ass. That started about 12:45pm, so I still had time to hang out a bit on my bench before I bought my ticket.

The movie was totally entertaining (see my previous movie review post) and I was quite pleased in my decision to see it. I then hurried (by now it was almost 3pm and I wanted to be on the 4pm bus back to downtown Orlando) to Cheesecake Factory for lunch.

There I got the Factory Burger (on sourdough baguette), fries and a tropical tea for lunch, with a slice of dulce de leche cheesecake and a lemon drop martini for dessert.

Pure heaven. 🙂

Caught the bus and made it back to downtown Orlando by 4:25pm. Had plenty of time to use the restroom and meander back to Orange Ave so I could catch the Link 200 back to Deltona. Now, all day, I’d been watching the skies because there was a 40% chance of showers. It had rained while I was in the movie, but now the sky was looking very promising of some rain. In fact, it spat drops of rain several times during the wait for the bus… but we (there were two ladies and I waiting for the Link 200) lucked out, in that the moment we boarded, sat down and the bus pulled into traffic, a downpour began.

The ride back was pretty uneventful (I had my mp3 player and book and was still just feeling mellow after a great day and a fantastic lunch/dessert), and I got back to Deltona approximately 5:50pm. Maria came through on the route 23, picked me up, and I got off at Saxon and Tivoli and walked the approx 1.25 miles home.

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