Tag Archives: Winter

Snowbird Trip To Florida – 2 Nights On I-75 To Awesome Winter Warmth

What is a Snowbird trip to Florida? You’re a Snowbird if you’re retired and spend your winters in the south and your summers in a northern Michigan cottage or cabin. It’s a ritual like college kids and their annual Spring Break trip to Florida Beaches. Of course, a snowbird’s favorite activity is enjoying a morning coffee by the pool while your pals up north dig out from the previous lake-effect blizzard.

Lido Beach Sarasota at Sunset

We enjoy spending the winter in the south. The skies are clear and blue, the temperatures are rising, and the sun is always shining. We’re looking forward to our winter migration to Florida.

Problems With Traffic and Finding a Good Hotel On Interstate 75

The most challenging moment is when we travel between our summer and winter residences. It’s migration season, so our vehicle is completely packed. Due to supply chain concerns, truck traffic on our interstate system has increased. We’ve begun utilizing smartphone applications like Waze to monitor our routes and propose other routes around accidents for our road journey to Florida.

Furthermore, finding a quality place to stay and a meal on our trip to Florida can be challenging. In Pensacola, we had a bad encounter with a chain franchise hotel. We discovered that just because a hotel has a well-known brand name does not guarantee that it is a high-quality establishment. It is not worth your effort to comb through the reviews.

We discovered a solution with an ideal travel route and a reliable location to stay each evening on our road trip to Florida that takes us to our southern paradise swiftly and affordably.

Consider Traveling Over the Weekend

We’ve started traveling on weekends for a straightforward reason: less truck traffic. One study found that the worst time to travel is during the week. The biggest day for traffic is Thursday, followed by Tuesday and Wednesday.

Weekend travel at night, on the other hand, has some of the worst accident statistics. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving substantially contributes to fatal vehicle accidents on weekends, particularly at night (NHTSA). As a result, our most crucial aim on our road trip to Florida is to get off the road by 4 p.m.

Why Do We Stay at Drury Hotels?

A buddy recommended Drury Inns and Suites to us. They returned to Michigan and stayed at a Drury in Knoxville, Tennesee. They claimed it was immaculate, the personnel was kind, and they provided an evening snack buffet with a cooked breakfast in the morning as part of the stay charge. We were understandably fascinated and decided to check it out on our next trip north.

Drury Is Not A Franchise Or A Chain

Unlike other hotel chains, Drury Inns & Suites is a privately held hospitality company. It is neither a franchising business, a massive holding firm, or a hotel organization with dozens of distinct names. Each hotel is managed directly by Drury.

The Drury brothers began their careers in construction. They learned the trade well, and it is now paying off. What began as a tiny family business in 1973 is still entirely family-owned and run today.

Drury Hotels has expanded to over 150 hotels in 25 states during the last almost 50 years. The firm is still operated by a third-generation family member. I was shocked to find that most Drury Inn workers had met the President and CEO, Chuck Drury. That is hands-on management at its best, and it speaks good for the organization.

Drury Hotels are Long-Lasting

Drury Hotel

We’ve stayed at the majority of Drury Inns and Suites with similar floor plans. A big open foyer with a glass-enclosed elevator is available. A giant indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub are located on the first level, providing welcome relaxation to fatigued road-weary muscles. It was also an excellent spot for youngsters to release steam and energy after a long day of traveling.

The hospitality room is immediately off the main lobby, and fresh coffee is offered 24 hours a day. There’s also a small business center for when you need a fast print-out for the day’s meetings and a fitness equipment room with a TV to catch up on the news while you get your steps in.

Drury’s Hot Breakfast and Free Kickback at 5:30 p.m.

When you step inside the hotel’s breakfast room, you can think you’re still dreaming. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs, oatmeal, fresh fruit, potatoes, sausage, pastries, coffee, and fresh fruit—all hot, fresh, and, most importantly, free. What better way to start each day of your Florida road trip?

Drury’s concludes your day’s travels with a treat called the 5:30 Kickback. Every night, indulge in a rotating selection of dinnertime nibbles, cold beverages, beer, wine, mixed cocktails, and more. We ate a delicious green salad, BBQ sliders, baked beans, and mixed veggies with an ice-cold draft beer for free because we traveled on the weekend.

Lobby at Drury Hotel in Nashville

I discovered that the team cooking breakfast and the 5:30 Kickback evening had worked for Drury Hotels for over ten years. That is unusual to say after two years of widespread resignation, particularly in the restaurant and hotel industries.

Drury’s Accepts Pets

Drury Room

Finding a good hotel that admits dogs is a welcomed feature while traveling. Drury Inn & Suites does, which we enjoy. We have a tiny dog and have been looking for a place to stay with him for years. That was sometimes the sole criterion we had in our quest. As a result, we had to stay in some less-than-ideal locations.

Pets (dogs and cats) are permitted at all Drury Hotels, subject to state and municipal rules. Although service animals are welcome in any area frequented by their owners and are free of charge at all Drury Hotels, state rules for assistance animals apply. For rooms with pets, all Drury and Pear Tree Inn by Drury hotels will impose a daily pet fee of $40 per night + VAT (which may only include dogs and cats).

Travel Itinerary – Detroit To Sarasota, Florida

Drury Inns

Our three-day road trip to Sarasota From Detroit, Takes I-75 all the way. We found that we can save up to 15% at Drury Hotels along the way with promo code WARM. This includes Drury’s famous free hot breakfast, complimentary 5:30 Kickback® with dinnertime snacks and beverages, and free Wi-Fi. See Drury’s Headsouth Offer for more information and details. Here is the itinerary for the route we took. 

Day One – Detroit to Knoxville, Tennesee

  • 513 miles – 8.5-hour drive
  • Lunch stop in charming Covington, Kentucky. For EV drivers, there are numerous ChargePoint and Telsa Supercharge stations in the area.
  • Stay in Drury Inn & Suites Knoxville West

Day Two – Knoxville, Tennesee, to Valdosta, Georgia

  • 442 miles – 6.5-hour drive
  • Lunch Stop in near Macon, Georgia. There are numerous ChargePoint stations in the area.
  • Stay at Drury Inn & Suites Valdosta

Day Three – Valdosta, Georgia, to Sarasota, Florida

  • 283 miles – 4-hour drive
  • Arrive in town in time for a late lunch.

Travel With Your Plug-In Electric Vehicle

Traveling with an Electric Vehicle (EV) or a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle requires a little more planning to optimize your travel time. Most all-electric vehicles have a range of about 300 miles on a full charge, so a mid-day charge-up is included in our itinerary. In addition, it is an excellent excuse for taking a leisurely lunch. 

Our 2022 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid has a range of 525 miles. However, it only goes for the first 40 miles on all electric before the engine is engaged. So we don’t have to recharge during the day during our trip to Florida, but we want to look for a charging station at or near our final stop of the day. 

Final Thoughts  On A Snowbird’s Road Trip To Florida

They say half the fun of traveling is getting there. However, with increased truck traffic and higher fuel and food costs, it’s great to know that the hassle of deciding where to stay is a no-brainer. Drury locations along the north-south major interstate routes for our trip to Florida offer alot of flexibility in route selection, offering a way to have the cheapest trip to Florida and limiting daily time on the road. 

The Michigan Coyote Is On the Move and Ready For Love

If you hear what sounds like a little dog howling in the middle of the night, it’s most likely a female Michigan coyote yearning for love. You may have heard coyote cries in the previous month since coyotes are in the midst of the mating season, which starts in mid-January and runs through March. Those midnight sounds are coyote love songs, and they’ve arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Coyote breeding season occurs typically in late February and early March, with a gestation length ranging from 58 to 63 days. During this time of year, male coyotes might become more hostile. When coyotes approach a neighborhood or farm, they endanger your dog cats and may loot the bird feeder. During mating season, this danger increases.

Michigan Coyote Behavor

Coyote on the move – Photo by Elizabeth Reyes-Fournier

Coyotes in Michigan are mainly carnivorous, its diet consists primarily of deer, rabbits, hares, rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates, though it may also eat fruits and vegetables on occasion. Its characteristic vocalization is a cry made by lone individuals.

Families establish in the middle of winter when females are in season. When a female coyote is ready to mate, she often attracts males by scent marking and howling. A single female in heat might attract numerous potential men who will pursue her for up to a month. Once the female coyotes have selected a mate, the pair can be in a couple for two to three months before mating. Even in locations with high coyote numbers and enough food, the Michigan coyote remains rigorously monogamous.

Coyote Habitat

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, coyotes are found in almost any habitat in Michigan, including urban and suburban areas. People accidentally establish suitable habitats for adaptive species such as coyotes, foxes, rabbits, squirrels, deer, geese, and turkeys, allowing these creatures to spread outside typical natural habitat borders. If your cottage or cabin is near a Michigan state game area, chances are you have seen or heard a Michigan Coyote nearby.

While coyotes are an essential component of our ecology, some residents may find them bothersome.

“If there’s an unwelcome coyote in the area, look for possible attractants that might make the area appealing,” said Holly Vaughn, wildlife outreach and engagement manager with the DNR.

“Is there a nearby patch of woods or natural area that provides shelter? Are there food sources, such as bird feeders that attract small mammals or an abundance of rabbits?” Vaughn said. “Where possible, modify or remove the things attracting coyotes or the small mammals they prey on.”

Changes might be as easy as removing bird feeders and keeping garbage cans indoors until trash collection day. You may also use “hazing” strategies to keep coyotes’ innate dread of humans. These actions limit the chances that coyotes or other animals may become used to finding accessible food supplies.

“You want to make it an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience for the coyote to be near people,” said Vaughn. “Coyotes that become accustomed to being around people may become bolder as their fear lessens. So it’s good to remind them that people should be avoided.”

Hazing Methods to Deter Michigan Coyotes

Coyote in the Snow – Photo by Brigitte is happy … about coffee time :))

Hazing means removing an animal from an area or discouraging an undesired habit or activity by using deterrents. For example, hazing can help coyotes retain their fear of humans and keep them away from backyards and play areas.

Use various hazing strategies to avoid coyotes becoming used to repetitious or single stimulus gadgets, noises, and movements.

  • Intimidate the coyote by yelling and flailing your arms as you approach it.
  • Make Noise – Using your voice, whistles, air horns, bells, “shaker” cans filled with pebbles or coins, pots, lids, or pie pans smashed together
  • Throw a stick, a tiny rock, a can, a tennis ball, or a rubber ball.
  • Water pistols with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray, or bear repellent

Other Methods to Remove Michigan Coyotes From Your Land

If you’ve tried these methods and coyotes are still hanging around your property, or if you’re concerned about their presence, contact a nuisance wildlife control company for assistance. The DNR allows these firms to remove some species, including coyotes, from private land.

If hunting is permitted in your location, the coyote hunting season is open statewide year-round, with no bag limit. Check local laws and review the statewide hunting and trapping regulations for coyotes in the current Fur Harvester Digest at Trapping and Fur Harvesting.

Learn more about coyotes and how to handle conflicts with wildlife at Managing Michigan Wildlife.