Jojo and Lo’s Real-time Diary ~ Our Trip to the Pickleball Central Shop at the PPA Florida Open
Thursday, March 9
5:30 am: I overslept! We are supposed to leave at 5:45 am for our 90-minute drive (as my husband likes to remind me “ride” - thanks to his driving) to Detroit Metro Airport. Thankfully, I pre-loaded all of the luggage so I can be out the door in 15 minutes! But oh no…I missed two calls from our friend Colleen who is supposed to travel with us to Daytona Beach! Her voicemail says that a deer hit her car (yep, not car hit a deer) on the way to my house—and that she’s okay, but her airbags deployed and she isn’t going to make it. Major bummer.
6:15 am: We call Colleen to find out how she is doing and try to convince her to catch a later flight. She says that she and her husband are still waiting for a tow truck 45 minutes after the accident. She doesn’t tell us that they are trapped in their car due to the airbags…she didn’t want to worry us, but we found out later. We are so sad Colleen can’t join us but grateful she is okay! We tell her we are going to FaceTime her constantly the next few days and pretend that she’s with us.
6:45 am: I just realized that I forgot to grab my cosmetic bag, as I was racing out the door. Thankfully, Jojo has a make-up bag the size of her 20 pound cat, Juneau.
11:00 am: Landed in Orlando…now off to get our rental car and a 90 minute drive to Daytona Beach. All of the hotels are completely sold out due to spring break. Thankfully, our good friend Cindy saved the day and booked us rooms with her Hilton points…thank you Cindy Lou! At the hotel, we are told that we can’t check-in until 3:00 pm, so we head to Riptides Bar & Grill for some seafood. Since we live in Michigan and are always vitamin D deficient, we request outdoor dining. That’s when we discover that it’s Biker Week in Daytona Beach! We are on the A1A strip and there is a constant stream of growling motorcycles. Vroom!
Cindy has Hilton Diamond Status 👊
4:00 pm: We are assigned rooms! Jojo gets a balcony room with a 180-degree ocean view, and the sound of waves crashing. I get a street-side room with motorcycles constantly revving their engines. No room changes are allowed, since the hotel is completely booked. Jojo is sweet and offers me her room, but I decline and tell myself I can survive anything for 3 days.
Lo's "Room with a View".
Jojo's ocean view room.
6:00 pm: We are heading to Wal-Mart to get a box fan (white noise) and cosmetics for me. This trip is off to a shaky start!
Friday, March 10
8:30 am: We are heading to the PPA Florida Grand Slam tourney at Pictona at Holly Hill! Jojo is bright-eyed, well-rested, and looks like she just had her hair and make-up done after a massage at the spa. I am not…but I’m presentable after a few drops of Visine, and functional after 3 cups of weak coffee. Who knew bikers have disco lights, subwoofers, and that they ride until 2:00 am? Pictona is amazing though! Forty-nine beautiful courts, pickleballs popping, and a pumped-up crowd. We arrive to the Pickleball Central tent and reunite with their crew, Maxwell and Robbie. Their co-worker Marcie is already on the courts killing it at 4.5 women’s dubs, and she will go on to win gold later that afternoon, so we barely see her that day. Our kiosk in the Pickleball Central Shop looks amazing and customers are drawn to our bright colors and fun designs, so sales are going great! We just met our new friend Lucy “Pickleball Goddess” who is so pretty and full of energy. She falls in love with our merch and wants to rep our brand, yay! The forecast is for lots of rain tonight, so we are going to secure our merchandise on high ground. It’s a great day at Pictona!
But first, let us take a selfie.
6:00 pm: We are freshened up and heading to Dalmare Italian Chophouse near our hotel for an incredible dinner of Shrimp Diavolo and Eggplant Parmesan. We run into Maxwell, Robbie, and Marcie who are there celebrating Marcie’s birthday, so we deliver key lime pie and serenade her with “Happy Birthday”.
Happy Birthday Marcie!
7:30 pm: It’s a downpour outside so we are sitting on Jojo’s covered balcony, having a glass of wine and as promised…FaceTiming Colleen. I’m reluctant to leave the serenity of Jojo’s balcony, but it’s getting late, and we are so tired!
1:00 am: I guess I shouldn’t have assumed the rain would stop the bikers. It’s going to be another light night of sleep, as I lie here typing this blog and playing Words With Friends. Jelly of Jojo’s digs right now.
Saturday, March 11
7:30 am: The sun is shining and Jojo’s taking a walk on the beach before we head to Pictona.
The crowds come out to watch the pros on Saturdays and Sundays, so there are lots of shoppers at the Pickleball Central Tent when we arrive. While chatting with customers, I’m keeping an eye out for pros to offer them a tee and request a pic. Jojo feels awkward when I do this, but the pros are always so nice and it’s so fun to meet them! Ben Johns loves the Prism Pickle Crew Tee we gave to him, and Jorja Johnson looks adorbs in our Military Green Tri-Rocker Tank!
Oh, hey there Ben.
Lo, Jojo, and Jorja Johnson.
5:00 pm: Sales boomed all afternoon, so we are wrapping up the day to play pickleball with Marcie, Maxwell and Robbie. Did I mention that they are all really high level pickleball players? Jojo and I are doing our best to give them long points and we think we did okay! After fun pickleball, our plan is to pick up a quick bite on the way to our hotel and eat while chilling on the beach. But, we just made a wrong turn—a happy happenstance for us because we just found a place called The Crepevine. Their dinner crepes are incredible, and we decide to splurge on a dessert crepe loaded with Nutella, strawberries, bananas and whipped cream, drizzled with peanut butter and chocolate sauce. We will never regret eating this crepe! This is starting to sound like a food blog.
Pickle with Maxwell, Lo, Jojo, Marcie, and Robbie.
Nutella + peanut butter + chocolate + strawberries + banana = insanely good crepe!
Sunday, March 12
10:00 am: We are getting a late start because I have a call with a client, and Jojo needs to buy some gifts from Daytona Beach for her daughter, Ella. In our absence, I get a call from Marcie who tells me that pro pickleball player, Sarah Ansboury is visiting our tent and loves our Prism Pickle Tee! Thankfully, Marcie is taking a reel of Sarah and her business partner Kim wearing our tees and is creating an amazing promo for jojo+lo! We will be posting this reel so if you want to take a peek, go to our Instagram!
11:00 am: We are at the tourney now and before we leave, Pickleball Central has arranged with the PPA for us to do a couple of tee-shirt tosses during the Championship Sunday matches! I think it is a blast to throw out tee-shirts to the crowd (Jojo hates being on-stage and is mortified), and we are scheduled to do it during the Anna Leigh Waters/Ben Johns vs. Catherine Parenteau/Tyson McMuffin Gold Medal Mixed Doubles match! Afterwards, Jojo agrees that it was really fun! We are packing up our merchandise now and running a little late. We hope we can make our flight!
Can somebody say…"T-shirt Toss"!!!
5:00 pm: We are on the way to the airport and just learned that our flight is delayed an hour…thank God because we wouldn’t have made our flight!
6:00 pm: Schlepping in the Orlando Airport…and it looks like we will make our flight, but we are starving and the wait at every restaurant is 30 minutes! There are hungry little Mickey Mice everywhere!
6:45 pm: It’s a new jojo+lo record…it’s 6:45 pm and and we haven’t had one bite of food all day! We are commemorating our fast with a burger from The Outback.
You can't live a full life on an empty stomach!
12:30 am: Finally home in snowy Michigan. We packed so much into 3 1/2 days that it feels like we were gone for at least a week. In bed and all is quiet. I’ll miss everything about Daytona Beach…except the motorcycles. Zzzzzzz