The little things remembered (1982 vacation, part 6)

(Click here for parts one, two, three, four and five of my series reminiscing about our trip to Florida 30 years ago.)

Before wrapping up this series of posts (and I better wrap it up before February ends) with our return trip home, here's all the little memories I either forgot while writing or didn't have a spot for in a previous post:

-- As city dwellers in a flat state, our family hadn't experienced mountain driving until we got to Tennessee, when my mom was seriously freaked out by a runaway truck ramp. Even though she wasn't driving, she was thoroughly scared as we whooshed down the mountain. Today, I live 10 minutes away from a runaway truck ramp and wonder if it would be fun to take my Outback up it (no, I won't actually try that, it's probably not good for the car).

-- I played a lot of video games on this trip. The hotel we stayed at in Orlando had an arcade where I played Space Odyssey (like Scramble). The convenient store across the street had Space Wipeout, a Space Invaders knockoff. We went to Showbiz Pizza one night, where I played Donkey Kong (which was just becoming a monster success). At SeaWorld, I saw Haunted House, the first triple-level pinball machine.

-- We never quite got the smell of spoiled milk, spilled in Indiana on the trip down, out of the car the entire trip. Today, whenever I catch a whiff of milk-mildewed carpeting, it sparks happy memories of this trip.

-- I watched my first episode of "Entertainment Tonight" at the Rodeway Inn in Tampa, and I remember a segment on Quarterflash, who were hitting the big time with the song "Harden My Heart."

-- We went to a buffet restaurant called Duff's Smorgasbord in Tampa. The food was not good (the corn was pink), but that wasn't the worst of it. I saw a kid I swear looked like me, even pointing it out to my parents. Then, I realized, the kid was wearing earrings. Yes, it was a girl I had just self-identified with. My 11-year-old ego was quite embarrassed.

That's about it. All that's left is the ride home -- the very long ride back to Chicago.

Click here for the conclusion of this series of posts.


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