Last Sunday we left the island for the first time in months and headed to Jacksonville, Florida. We were not, however, traveling for pleasure. Instead, we were heading to our closest Best Buy to get a new television.
Our old 46″ Samsung has served us well, bouncing along with us over thousands of miles of travel. Recently it started turning on and off, all on its own. After some internet research, we found out this is a common problem with the Samsungs and is very difficult to fix. We decided to get a new television before the old one died completely.
We looked at Best Buy online and found a good replacement television: a 49″ LED LG NanoCell Smart TV. We didn’t go bigger on purpose – no one makes 46″ televisions anymore. We bought it online and headed to the Best Buy Jacksonville North which is about an hour away.
We thought it would be a quick trip down and back and the truck was happy to be going a longer distance. But we didn’t know about the Covid-19 checkpoint going into Florida. Governor DeSantis set up two checkpoints in Florida – on I-95 and I-10 – where everyone except commercial drivers has to pull off the highway and answer some questions before continuing into Florida. I think his reasoning was to keep people with Coronovirus out, but he didn’t set them up until after thousands of students had already been in Florida for spring break. Horse was already out of the stable on that one.
The Covid-19 checkpoint put us in traffic moving at 5 mph just after we hit the border. Thirteen miles in we were directed to pull into a weigh station. When we reached the Department of Public Health worker, he asked us where we were traveling from. When we said Georgia, he waved us through. That was it. A 45 minute traffic jam on a major interstate for one question.
Later I found out that if you are from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Louisiana or California, they send you to another station where you have to fill out paperwork. They ask where you are staying in Florida and you have to agree to a 14 day self-isolation. And they actually follow-up to make sure you are doing the self-isolation. Definitely not the time to travel to Florida if you are from any of those states.
If we have to go to Jacksonville again, we will get off on US 17. For some reason, the only checkpoints are on the two interstates where they can do the most damage in terms of backups. I guess they figure if you are from out of state, you don’t know any of the non-interstate ways into the state.
We continued on to Jacksonville and did curbside pickup of our television. Then we headed back to Georgia. Our trip home took half the time of our trip to Jacksonville. We got home and set up the new television, which we have enjoyed watching the last week. Now, if we could just figure out how to use the “Magic Remote!”