Memphis, Tennessee to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

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NOTE:

The details below are a true record but the names of people have been changed to protect their identity.

The numbered points are only there to force the map Frankrating program to reflect the actual route taken and need not necessarily have anything to do with the text.

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DAY 1 - Friday, March 5 - Memphis, TN to Midway, FL

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0.0 8:00 Leave home ... I’m setting out for Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to meet up with Zelda.
1.3 8:07 - 8:15 McDonald’s for breakfast ($2.59).
2.3 8:19 Leaving from Hacks Cross I’m now on TN-385, the Nonconnah Parkway, and driving towards Collierville where I will pick up US-72. It is a dull, very cloudy day. Last night it rained a lot and there was even a tornado watch in effect! I am somewhat concerned about the weather.
5.8 Welcome to Collierville.
10.2 The freeway ends here.
10.5 Turning onto US-72 East. Some of the trees have blossom on them and leaves are starting to open and give an appearance of green.
12.7 Piperton ... lots and lots of blossom.
13.8 Entering Mississippi. Coming this way I did not see anything of Collierville. I don’t know if this is still Piperton after crossing the State Line, but there was a small gathering of homes and businesses.
14.8 Out in farm country, fields which are mowed for hay, cows grazing, even a goat farm and this between a lot of wooded areas.
15.6 Magnolia trees lining the highway.
After the freeway ended it became a two-way traffic road.
17.4 The highway is dividing again.
18.1 The exit for MS-302 into Olive Branch. It is quite a big intersection and that is where MS-302 begins and US-72 is a four-lane divided road and has been moving in a southeasterly direction.
19.3 Now it is turning to go due east.
19.8 Entering Mount Pleasant.
20.1 Passing an exit for Holly Springs. It is 35 miles to Walnut and 57 miles to Corinth. I have not been on this 35 miles before, but I have been on the section between Walnut and Corinth.
It is rolling, hilly country with lots of woods, pine forests as well as farming.
There are and have been some very nice homes along this route, also some lovely dams. One that I just saw was quite large and almost looked as if there was a park at the side of it.
It is too bad that it is such a dull day because it makes the entire countryside look very dreary, particularly since the trees are still leafless, though starting to burst into leaf ... everything is still pretty brown although some of the grass is starting to turn green.
32.2 A large herd of black cattle to my left - The Coldwater Cattle Company.
32.8 A sign for the National Bird Dog Museum.
35.2 Signs of the kudzu covering the trees.
36.8 A sign at a farm building: Sugar Farm.
38.7 Crossing the Wolf River and there are marshlands or wetlands beyond the banks of the river and bald cypress trees.
42.9 Small beech trees in the woods.
51.1 The hills seem to be bigger now, not quite as gently rolling.
53.0 9:05 Walnut Corporation Limited - Welcome to Walnut.
Wherever soil is showing through it is a deep reddish orange.
55.9 A red light at the junction with MS-15 to Ripley.
56.6 A light rain is beginning to fall.
57.6 Long strips of cultivated farmland divided by rows of trees and there are cattle grazing in many of them ... the rain didn’t last for long, but the sky is still very cloudy and to the north of the road is quite dark or black.
62.1 El. 436 feet as the road drops down into a valley where there is a bridge.
62.5 Crossing the bridge, El. 324 feet but I couldn’t see any river or creek.
63.0 Another bridge which I think was over a river, also some small cypress trees.
63.4 El. 318 feet and there is another bridge ahead at the edge of the valley I have been crossing and just as the road climbs up again.
64.2 The last bridge and now starting to climb up into the hills.
67.1 The countryside on the left marred by a dump yard for old cars sitting back in among the trees. Also there is another fine drizzle falling.
70.3 Passing a road north to Tuscumbia - this must be a different one from the Tuscumbia in Alabama.
70.7 Flat fields both sides of the road, almost looks as if it is a place where sod is grown.
72.8 Some very nice looking homes - the farms must be quite prosperous because they are fairly close together.
73.8 Passing an airport runway to the south.
75.8 The junction with MS-2, and
75.9 9:27 Welcome to Corinth ... the sign has two Grecian pillars ...57° in Corinth.
77.1 9:28 Crossing over US-45.
80.8 Daffodils in flower on an embankment - still within the Corinth area ... again the rain did not last.
89.8 More rain spots - I guess it is going to be one of those days raining on and off!
91.2 Welcome to Burnsville.
91.5 The top of a hill, El. 472 feet from where I can see a valley and ahead, in the distance, two or three layers of hills.
93.3 Start of the big bridge over the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, a canal which I have seen before when driving the Naches Trace. It is difficult trying to trace the Tombigbee River on the map, but it appears to join the Alabama River to become the Mobile River which flows into Mobile Bay. Hence the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway would connect the Tennessee River with the Gulf of Mexico through Mobile or via the Mississippi River beyond New Orleans. The US Corps of Engineers have been pretty busy in years gone by!
93.7 End of bridge - there is another big bridge out to my left, probably a rail way bridge.
98.2 Victorian Inn, in Iuka - very interesting and looks as if it would be a very nice place to stay.
9:49 One hundred miles - the first hundred miles under my belt in eleven minutes short of two hours.
101.2 Lots of pine trees, these being the predominant trees in the woods.
102.9 A weigh station which is actually open!
103.3 El. 492 feet and the GPS indicates that I am approaching a large body of water and the road appears to go over the southern tip of it.
105.1 El. 501 feet.
105.7 9:56 Welcome to Alabama and Tuscumbia is 24 miles.
106.7 El. 547 feet just as the road is going to dip down towards this waterway.
107.4 Starting to cross the water and it has a name - “Big Bear Creek”.
107.7 Over the water and climbing up the other side. From looking at the map the large body of water to the left is an arm of a much larger area of water, namely Pickwick Lake created by Pickwick Landing Dam across the Tennessee River. Big Bear Creek would have been a tributary of the Tennessee River.
110.3 10:00 Two hours - an average of 56 mph.
111.5 Exit for the Naches Trace Parkway.
117.3 A beautiful home up to my right, not huge or overbearing, just a very, very nice place, whilst to the left, it is almost a shanty town, maybe not quite that, but trailer homes ... and more nice homes to the right.
119.1 Florence is 18 miles and Tuscumbia 10 miles.
120.7 There is a large power plant to the left - there was a sign for Coldsteam Plant or something like that - it would be on the banks of the Tennessee River and at that point road work started. The east-bound lanes are being used for both east and west traffic as the west-bound lanes are completely torn up for the building of a new bridge.
122.0 End of two-way traffic.
122.3 There looks to be a huge landfill site. If that is what it is, it seems to be a dreadful place to have located it right by the river!
According to the GPS I am fairly close to the bend in the river now, but it is not visible from the road.
127.3 Crossing Bear Creek which also had a lot of water in it (neither Big Bear Creek nor Bear Creek show up on the map) ... fine drizzle again.
129.3 Coming into a more built up area as the road approaches Tuscumbia ... 64°.
Florence is on the other side of the Tennessee River. There another dam across the Tennessee River, the Wilson Dam, creates Wilson Lake and this appears to back up water all the way up river to the next dam, Wheeler Dam.
131.8 Decatur is 42 miles (where LP will be staying when he goes to the IP mill in Courtland).
134.1 It is raining in earnest now.
137.3 The road is traversing flatter country.
139.8 Water is lying in the lower areas of fields ... also fields where cotton has been grown - little puffs of cotton lying around or caught in bushes. Also there are no fences around the fields, so you know the fields are not used for cattle or sheep or goats ... it is still raining and, looking ahead, it looks as if it will continue to do so for some time.
142.7 Fields where cotton has been grown continue both sides of the road.
145.6 Crossing a fast flowing creek or river, possibly Tennessee Creek.
147.2 Town Creek City Limit and there are cotton fields right up to the edge of town and in the town.
148.8 Courtland is now 5 miles.
151.2 Entering Courtland and a road goes of to the right to Courtland and Courtland Historic District ... could be to the left because a road goes up over the top of where I am ... and it is still raining.
152.8 The rain is heavier, the clouds are hanging low over the land.
153.6 North Courtland City Limit.
153.8 At a red stop light, road left is to Wheeler Dam ... a big mill out to the left and I am wondering if it is the paper mill or not - it was when I asked LP later.
154.7 Courtland City Limit again.
155.0 It looks like flood waters because trees are standing in water.
158.1 10:46-10:52 Stopped for an Historic Marker for The Home of Annie Wheeler, after whom, it is obvious, the dam and resulting lake was named. Annie Wheeler was a nurse and served with troops three times on foreign soil, namely Cuba, the Philippines and in France ... the rain stopped long enough for me to take a picture of the marker! It started to rain again just as I was leaving.
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159.8 A sign for “Water over the road” - there wasn’t any, but there was water lying at the side of the road.
161.0 A big cotton gin to the right of the road.
Somewhere in Decatur I will be turning onto I-65 South.
Though still not heavy there is more traffic between Decatur and Courtland than it has been for the whole trip thus far.
164.8 A pool of water or a big pond with bald cypress trees growing in it.
166.9 Cattle grazing to the left, a landfill site to the right.
167.5 A large mill to the left.
168.7 Boeing Defense Systems, another big plant to the left. There also looks to be an oil refinery to the left in the distance. It seems to me that all this industry along the bank of the Tennessee River or Wheeler Lake is a contradiction to Wheeler National Wildlife Refuges, which can be found both near Courtland and after Decatur!
I haven’t seen a sign for Decatur yet, but seeing such an industrial park I must be on the outskirts of the city (pop. 53,929).
The road to the left indicates going into Solutia, the Decatur Plant.
171.5 11:07 Stopped at the moment with the junction of AL-67, a very busy intersection. There are also trucks loaded with logs.
172.3 Nicholls Aluminum Plant on the right.
172.4 Starting to cross water, a large body of water to my left and just the backwaters on my right.
172.7 End of the crossing.
173.2 11:09 Decatur City Limit.
173.4 Crossing another body of water, and it is much bigger to my right as well this time. I would say that Decatur is a very industrial center ... some big old buildings.
174.9 US-72 appears to end at the junction with US-31. Here I will be turning left and cross Wheeler Lake and soon after that I should be joining I-65.
I did not see any sign of the Hampton Inn where LP would be staying!
175.1 11:13 Start of huge bridge. Going north is the new bridge - you can tell by the style of the bridge and going south is the old type with the metal superstructure.
WOW! What an expanse of water.
175.4 At the top of the highest level of the bridge for boating or ships.
175.7 Still crossing the water but it is more like a causeway now.
176.6 End of crossing the water - 1½ miles to cross the water!
Actually US-72 is also US-31, and now I am approaching I-65.
179.6 11:18 Leaving US-72.
180.0 11:18 Junction with I-65. I am now driving south and the sky, although still cloudy, looks a little brighter.
181.3 Birmingham is 77 miles.
181.8 Entering Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.
182.6 Starting to cross a bridge over the Tennessee River - the first part of the bridge is more or less a backwater.
182.7 The road is starting to rise up over the main part of the river.
183.3 What an expanse of water and what a wonderful view from the apex of the bridge!
183.8 End of the bridge - 1.2 miles of bridge and leaving the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge. I guess that I am continually giving the mileage at both the start of and the end of bridges because I am so amazed first by the number of bridges but also by their length. It seems that building a road anywhere in this country entails much construction of bridges.
189.8 Going up into hills beyond the Tennessee River valley.
191.3 Buds on the trees are bursting open.
193.3 Road going through what I call a canyon of pine trees ... beyond that is some forest but also some cleared land ... drizzling again!
What a difference there is between this road and sleepy US-72! There are a lot more trucks and the road is often lined with billboards, which are an eyesore to the countryside.
201.3 The road going deeper into the hills.
202.1 Wow! A large cutting on the right made in three tiers. This was at a point where the highway went over another road.
204.4 There are a number of cuttings made for this highway to be built.
207.3 Cullman the next three exits, and once again there is a proliferation of billboards.
209.6 Around a corner and behold! - all the signs for Super 8, McDonald’s, etc., all up on very tall poles so they can be seen easily from the highway.
211.8 El. 859 feet - a high point before the road dips down into a valley and there are more hills ahead.
213.0 El. 695 feet.
219.6 Passed an exit for a Rest Area, but I can’t see where it is - can’t see any sign of it.
220.6 A small lake to my right with a gazebo on an island and a bridge out to the island - it looked very pretty and rather peaceful - too bad it is so close to the interstate!
222.1 El. 567 feet - the top of a big hill as the hillsides close in and the road is winding through them and at........
222.5 The hillside is being carved away for the building of a road, like a big cutting but only on one side.
228.4 Lots of kudzu over the trees, or at least that is what it looks like.
229.3 It is starting to drizzle again.
For some reason or other, the highway has become three lanes and I’m not sure just when that started - perhaps it is this way because of the number of trucks through here and it is so hilly.
233.7 Just crossing over the junction with US-31, north and south, and immediately the road goes up through another large cutting, rocks on both sides of the road.
241.3 A big lake in the bottom of the valley.
241.6 A magnificent home - a huge place on a hill overlooking the lake, also a lovely big barn with a red roof, well kept, white paling fence around it and around the house.
242.3 I can’t see the Warrior River, which I am crossing and which later joins the Tombigbee River.
The three lanes are still continuing and I am now about 17 miles out from Birmingham.
250.3 Lots of traffic building up, also a lot more houses, new developments on the outskirts of Birmingham.
This highway is called the Heroes Highway.
256.3 12:20 Birmingham City Limit, pop. 242,820.
A billboard: “Teens need positives. Don’t let pregnancy be one of them”.
258.7 Skyline of the large buildings in Downtown Birmingham.
I-20 and US-78 go through here (it is US-78 out of Memphis which goes through Holly Springs and Tupelo).
I can see signs of big industry.
261.1 Passing the downtown area to my left. It is a pretty big place, surrounded by hills - an interesting city in a very hilly area.
269.3 Another city ahead, Hoover I believe.
271.8 Crossed I-259.
272.8 70 mph resumes.
275.8 Highway down to two lanes and a sign for Oak Mountain State Park and that seems to ring a bell about something, but I’m not sure what!
276.9 Montgomery 74 miles.
282.3 It is drizzling again ... there is not a lot to see along the highway - lots of pine forests as well as deciduous trees. In parts where there is a break in the trees you can see a valley ... it’s very pretty.
At one point the median was forested with pine trees so you couldn’t see the opposing traffic and now it is just trees on both sides of the divided highway and not much to see. I have been watching for a Rest Area and there is one coming up.
308.3 A pine forest that has been logged
309.0 1:05 Leaving the highway.
309.0 1:06 - 1:29 Rest Area ... daffodils and forsythia blooming at the Rest Area, also camellia shrubs ablaze with color - beautiful pink.
309.1 1:30 Back on the highway and it has started to rain again.
310.5 A water tower - in the shape of and the color of a big peach.
311.6 It is now raining very heavily.
A sign for Peach Park and in the picture it has an ice cream cone with a peach sitting in it. I would assume this is a peach growing area!
316.9 Exit-205 for Peach Park Pit Barbecue.
I am continuing to see a lot of pine trees ... some hills have been cleared and other hills which have new pine forests planted on them.
From Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama, I-65 changes to a southwesterly direction into Mobile.
With the on-again, off-again rain and with it being so cloudy and dull I don’t think it is worth my stopping for pictures of the State Capitol as I go through Montgomery, so my decision is to just continue towards Florida. I think that I have to look for US-231 out of Montgomery to Dothan - I hope it is not too difficult to find.
341.4 1:56 It is 117 miles to Dothan and 2 hours and 17 minutes.
342.8 A huge church - Christian Academy Church on the right and now the road has increased to three lanes into Montgomery.
344.1 First sight of some tall buildings ... it is rather hazy on the horizon - cloud or fog. This road is now East US-82 as well as I-65.
346.1 Start of a long bridge over a swampy area, probably also a river, but I can’t see it.
346.4 End of the bridge, and, actual fact, looking at the GPS the road just went over the tail end of what looks to be a rather large lake to the right of the road.
347.1 Another long bridge over a flood plain area. It looks as if the road is between two rivers ... later when studying the map, there is only one river, the Alabama River which flows into Montgomery, does a hairpin bend and leaves the city. The highway is built between the river and crosses it at the hairpin bend.
347.8 End of the bridge ... the road is built up higher than the surrounding land and the tall building I first saw is now straight ahead of me,
347.8 Crossing several more bridges as the road enters Montgomery, which is the next six exits ... State Capitol visitors to follow the Downtown route.
351.9 2:05 Leaving I-65 at Exit-171 for I-85, which is to Atlanta, Georgia. This is where I-85 starts because Exit-171 on I-65 is also Exit-0 for I-85.
355.6 Lots of blossom on the trees at the side of the road.
2:10 It is 78°.
358.6 2:12 Exit-6 and I am turning onto US-231, East Boulevard. This is also US-80. The GPS certainly makes it a lot easier to find the streets that you want, showing you exactly where you have to turn.
There are a lot of traffic lights along East Boulevard - it is also a big shopping and restaurant area, Fresh Market, Olive Garden, Honda Dealer, just to name a few.
361.9 2:19 At a stop light waiting to do a turn off East Boulevard onto US-231 South, which is also US-82 East. It is a very long light and there is a tremendous amount of traffic.
2:22 The green light just came on for the turn.
364.8 Passing on my right a Truck Driver Training Center.
I guess that I will be coming along this same stretch of road when I’m coming home if I take US-82.
368.2 Lots of Spanish moss hanging from the trees, and also in this area, crossing a number of bridges over marshlands. The land seems to have flattened out a lot now and at.
376.7 There is a large cattle company, huge building and hundreds of head of cattle grazing ... and the grass is even fairly green. At the side of the road there are clumps of flowering daffodils.
377.7 Passing a couple of humble log houses to my right.
383.2 The gas light just came on.
 
387.0 2:46 - 2:54 GAS - Pine Level, AL (an old pump) - $1.579/gal. 15.8 gals. $25.00
 
This gas station was one of the older ones and I had to go inside to pay - it also only gave the quantity of gas to one decimal place. I stopped there because the gas was a little cheaper than I had been seeing along the rest of the way.
387.7 Passing a rather pleasant Rest Area.
388.5 A myriad of daffodils lining the fence line along the road as well as the fence going back towards the house.
389.4 A Rest Area on the other side of the road ... this is not usual on US highways, only on interstates.
390.9 A very strong wind is buffeting the car.
I have noticed that prior to getting to the gas station and since then, I have passed several buildings which have been gas stations at one time! No pumps remain, but there are the concrete islands where the pumps used to sit. This leads me to think that this was a much more used highway at one time than it is now, or that people travel further and can get gas in the main centers. I don’t know of any other explanation.
396.6 Starting to pass a lot of barbecues and the one at.
396.8 Also used to be a gas station.
397.9 Passing an interesting Pioneer Village, all the old buildings being of logs, small houses with verandahs at the front of them. It would have been nice to stop to take a picture of them, but again, it is not worth taking pictures on such gray days because they just have no life in them.
399.3 Passing another abandoned gas station.
400.2 A live gas station! This is just as “Welcome to Troy”.
I am certainly feeling the difference in the temperature and being as tired as I am it doesn’t help.
403.5 Pioneer Museum of Alabama ... little log houses, a covered bridge, an old steam engine, a lot of interesting things to see.
404.4 3:10 The sun has just poked through the clouds momentarily.
Troy appears to be a big city and there is a university here also (pop. 13,935).
413.5 A field to my right, slightly terraced, not as much as the ones in Iowa or Nebraska, and the soil, pinkish-orange, is all tilled ready for planting.
Since Troy the speed limit has been only 55 mph, but, also since Troy, the road has not been divided ... it is four lanes with a center lane reserved for turning.
415.5 The start of a divided road again ... but it has not remained divided!.
419.8 The sun poking through the clouds again.
420.7 A big rooster made with bits of old chrome bumper bars to the left.
422.9 Large areas of pine forests both sides of the road and in between are cultivated fields or farmlands.
425.2 Driving down into a valley with hills on the other side ... there are some trees or creepers that have yellow flowers on them, high up.
426.2 A Historic Marker over the Pea River ... the marker was on the other side of the road which also has old bridges whereas on my side are the newer bridges.
431.9 Rain spots again - I had hoped that with the sun poking through the clouds occasionally that I would not be seeing any more rain!
433.5 A goat farm. There have been lots of signs for pecans and peanuts.
433.5 Another abandoned gas station.
434.2 And another one.
436.8 3:47 Welcome to Ozark, pop. 15,119.
440.0 In the center of Ozark and the traffic is very busy here.
441.5 Technical Aviation Campus and there are two planes, one on either side of the entrance.
I have also seen more police in this present area than I have seen all day.
Another police car ... all over the place!
445.3 Passing a very pleasant looking Rest Area and there was a sign that there was tourist information there as well, and there is an attendant on duty 24 hours.
445.6 There’s a sign: “Lights on when raining”.
I can see a number of patches of blue sky now and some white fluffy clouds.
Crossing the Choctowatchee River.
Just passed Mile 33, so I am thinking it must be about 33 miles to the interstate which should be I-10, or to the Alabama/Florida State Line.
451.3 Another abandoned gas station turned into a barbecue pit.
452.5 The sky is turning weird again, very black out to my left, which would be north-northeast ... some blue sky is still above me, but that could change very quickly.
455.5 4:07 Welcome to Dothan, the Dothan City Limit, pop.57,737.
459.3 Junction with US-84 ... at that point I also turned for ring route around Dothan.
459.5 On my right there is a bunch of barbecues set up in a mall parking lot.
464.3 4:25 At the corner where Business US-231 comes from the north through the center of town and I am turning off the ring route now and back onto US-231.
466.6 National Peanut Festival one mile ahead on the right ... a gorgeous white tree just covered in blossom ... signs for boiled and roasted peanuts.
470.5 Marianna only 25 miles and that is near US-90, whereas Panama City is 75 miles.
472.8 More Spanish moss draped over the trees.
476.0 The road is not quite as busy any more.
477.9 4:38 Alabama-Florida State Line and turning off the highway immediately for a Rest Area and Welcome Center.
478.0 4:39 - 4:53 Rest Area and Welcome Center ... a beautiful center with tall pillars, the word “WELCOME” across the front of it and surrounded by palm trees ... I was offered some fresh orange juice and I picked up a map and some brochures.
478.1 4:54 Back on the highway.
478.8 Cypress trees standing in water have Spanish moss draped over them.
479.9 Another “dead” gas station.
The yellow flowers I have been seeing are actually a creeper which climbs high into the trees, hence my not being sure if it were trees blooming or a creeper! Here there is a cyclone fence with the creeper growing on it and in flower.
480.9 Lots of cattle to my right, some cows with calves.
485.4 Cows in green fields both sides of road ... looking far ahead there are more cattle.
487.9 5:03 The sun has almost dropped below the cloud bank and may be shining for a little while before it dips below the horizon.
490.3 Starting to go through some pine forest now, older trees on the left and younger trees, about seven feet, on the right.
492.7 End of the divided road, that is going ahead, but I am staying with the divided road as it does a right angle turn. On the outskirts of Cottondale there is a turn off is for Graceville, 14 miles to the north. Cottondale City Limit, pop. 869, and I believe this is where I am looking to leave US-231. On studying the map more closely I see that I should have left US-231 and gone straight ahead on the two-lane road, FL-73 instead of making the right angle turn and I would have run into US-90 just outside Marianna!
Lots of Spanish moss on the trees ... camellia shrubs in flower.
493.9 5:10 Junction with US-90 and I will be turning east here.
494.1 Tallahassee 78 miles - I doubt that I will make it in daylight, so when it starts to get dark I may look for a motel along here.
There are also Japanese magnolias in flower and it looks to be a full moon in the close or close to one, which you can see but it is quite faint.
Whatever else it might be, this is certainly cattle country.
500.9 On the outskirts of Marianna.
501.0 Marianna City Limit, pop. 6,230.
501.3 Passing the junction with FL-73, the road along which I should have come!
Marianna has the highway going right through it ... some very grand old houses.
503.4 This looks like the center of town, an old historic district ... a Court House ... red buds in flower.
505.4 5:28 It will be getting dark before long so I wont be getting as far as Tallahassee.
506.1 More red buds in flower.
506.2 Big waterway to my left - a river or a lake - narrow and long ... it is so lovely to see the red buds scattered throughout the woods or the forest.
513.6 5:37 Entering Cypress and it is dusk now - can’t say it is dark, but can’t say it is light either - and the moon is starting to look somewhat brighter - looks to be full.
515.1 Field here and ahead are covered with strips of plastic - maybe seeds have been planted - market gardens of some kind and another extensive one.
515.8 5:40 Entering Grand Ridge.
517.4 Tallahassee 56 miles, Sneads 6 ... also there was a turn off there for a place called Two Egg (Two Egg is actually 8 miles north of Marianna).
521.3 Another abandoned gas station.
522.0 5:46 Entering Sneads.
523.6 A large fruit and vegetable market to the right.
524.9 5:50 It is becoming difficult to distinguish landmarks around the countryside now, although it still is not completely dark, but dark enough.
526.1 To my left, but unable to see it, is a large body of water showing up on the GPS.
526.7 Start of the Victory Bridge over the Apalachicola (not sure if this was the right name!) International Waterway.
527.4 5:52 Starting to cross the Apalachicola River and entering EST so now it is 6:52 ... and there is a dam, the Woodruff Dam, to my left.
527.6 I am entering Chattahoochie City Limit, pop. 3,287.
527.7 End of the bridge.
Driving through the main street everything is pretty dead and there doesn’t seem to be any sign of any motels - I thought that there would have been some in this area. Well! At least I don’t lose an hour tomorrow. Tallahassee still 41 miles!
533.6 I can tell that there is a very thick pine forest down to the edge of the shoulder.
7:00 It is pretty dark now ... I got a good run today. It is too bad there wasn’t a motel in that last town just after crossing the river!
541.7 7:09 Gretna City Limit ... now there ought to be a motel here for all those couples who come to Gretna to tie the knot! There are churches, but no motels!
Tallahassee is now 28 miles.
544.9 Jacksonville, 194 miles, is on the other side of Florida near the Atlantic Ocean.
546.6 7:15 Entering Quincy.
7:17 68° ... this is a much bigger town with a McDonald’s and Burger King, all sorts of other things - lots of food places, restaurants, but no motels. I just caught a glimpse of a clock tower so Quincy could be a county seat.
548.9 7:20 It is - here is Court House Square now - the courthouse is quite an impressive looking building ... It is amazing that there are no motels along here at all.
549.4 Pulled into a place called “Downtown Motel”.
There were two motels side by side but neither of them impressed me at all and that means that they must be really bad!
549.5 7:23 I’m continuing on. I don’t think it is much further before US-90 intersects with I-10 and there are bound to be some motels around there.
551.4 The road is now a four-lane divided road and the speed is 65 mph.
561.4 Passing under I-10 and there was a Howard Johnson just back there so I think I will turn around and go back to that.
561.8 Turned around.
562.0 7:38 Pulled into Howard Johnson’s in Midway, FL.
562.1 7:50 Pulled up in front of Room 113.

The day’s total - 562 miles
Trip Total - 562 miles

DAY 2 - Saturday, March 6 - Midway, FL to Naples, FL

2004_03_06.jpg

562.1 8:23 Leave from Howard Johnson’s, which is by Exit-192 off I-10. It is another cloudy and overcast day, so, again, not a day for photographs!
563.4 8:27 On I-10. I decided to take I-10 instead of US-90 into Tallahassee to save time.
566.6 8:29 Tallahassee City Limit, pop. 150,624.
US-27, which is the road I will be looking for after I have seen the State Capitol is at Exit-199.
569.8 8:32 Leaving I-10 at Exit-199, Monroe Street, which is also US-27, and driving south. There are a lot of motels. Since leaving the interstate the road has been going downhill into Downtown Tallahassee and at
572.8 It is 100 feet above sea level.
573.7 8:40 At the junction with Tennessee Street, which happens to be US-90.
574.2 The Appalachee Parkway which is US-27 and this is directly opposite the State Capitol. I will pass the Capitol and try to go around a block to look for somewhere to park.
575.3 8:47 - 9:25 Parked and walking in the vicinity of Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee.
Between where I am parked and where I turn onto US-27, there is a street that one block east has a 12% downgrade! From where the Capitol is and from where I turn there is also a steep grade downhill.
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575.4 9:27 Turning onto US-27.
Although the car has been shut off, the GPS is still taking my route from where I started out. so I am not too terribly happy about the GPS at the moment because I expected it to start off from where I am now.
580.9 Up to this point the speed has been 45 mph, but now it has increased to 55 mph. I am more or less out in the country now, some forests, some cleared grassy areas.
581.6 Speed limit 65 mph.
583.0 The sun is shining, but there is still a lot of cloud around.
584.1 Hawk flying overhead.
GPS is showing a large lake out to the left, but I can’t see it for trees.
586.4 There is nothing to see at present as trees line both sides of the road, fairly thickly forested.
587.7 To the left - some cleared acreage behind the trees, and a little further along a pine forest behind the trees edging the road.
589.4 There are magnolia trees throughout the forest, also a lot of pine trees.
590.4 To my left now the trees seem to have been thinned out somewhat.
591.0 A farm on the right, and opposite that there is quite a mansion.
591.4 Start of a paling fence, trees have been thinned and there is a patch of green where there are some horses grazing ... some trees have blossom on them and others are draped with Spanish moss.
592.5 A “dead” service station.
592.9 A few more houses to be seen along the road ... some modest homes, some very old ones and some trailer homes.
594.4 A lot of calves in a field, not newborns, because there are no cows there ... traffic so far has been minimal.
595.6 Entering Waukeenah.
595.8 “Dead” gas station - I think that is about the best way of describing these places!
596.8 A big red bud tree in flower.
597.4 The elevation is 127 feet.
212.1 Entering Capps.
598.6 The junction with US-19 North. US-19 South is also US-27 for a while. This road is given the name of the Florida Georgia Parkway.
601.9 The elevation is showing as 0 feet! ... the land is very flat and there is a lot of water lying around and yet there are long driveways going into houses hidden right back behind the trees.
602.4 A young pine forest to the left.
604.9 Entering Lamont ... some pretty old buildings here and some of them are abandoned or disused.
Besides the odd red bud there has also been that yellow flowering creeper.
614.1 Another “dead” gas station in the area of Iddo (not even shown on the map) - basically that is all there is in Iddo!
I am starting to see a few palms, low to the ground - I don’t know if they are the palmetto palms.
I have been crossing a number of rivers with names that I can’t pronounce and often can’t even see the water in them, although occasionally you see water lying around in the area.
617.9 There are a lot of trees with red coloring - I think it is the catkins which have opened from the buds before the leaves appear. I had seen some of this earlier but not as many as there are in this area.
At the junction with or soon after the junction with US-19 this road has been a flat, long, straight stretch.
621.0 Pulling into a Rest Area which is closed 7 PM to 7 AM.
621.0 10:13-10:15 Stopped in a Rest Area to enter the route into the GPS.
OK! It is now 336 miles to the Days Inn in Fort Myers, whereas when the GPS quit working when I turned off I-10 it was 402 miles.
621.2 Back on the highway.
622.8 Cypress trees in water.
622.9 “Dead” gas station. I don’t really think there is any need for me to keep on talking about these, but it is amazing there are so many of them!/td>
623.5 Some cleared land and farming. It looks as if there is quite a bit of farming in between the forested areas and the water that you see lying around.
The sun is hidden behind the clouds again.
626.6 10:21 Entering Perry City Limit, pop. 6,847 - another very old looking town.
628.5 10:23 A traffic light where US-27 is turning left and will go east to I-75; I will be staying on US-19 ... lots of motels and restaurants.
631.8 Still in Perry ... businesses, homes, museums and motels and restaurants still continuing.
632.2 10:29 Out of town now and crossing the Fenholloway River.
632.7 The first sign I have noticed for an evacuation route. Also, when I came into Perry, that was the end of that long stretch of straight flat road.
634.5 A young pine forest, the trees being about 3 to 4 feet tall. There are a lot of swamp lands back behind the trees along the road.
This road is also US-98 East. It joined US-19 at the same intersection in Perry that US-27 left. This, however, is also Alternate US-27!
652.5 An egret at the side of the road. This was immediately after passing a swampy area and before that there was a great large grassed area with a gateway with a cowboy on a horse indicating that there was a ranch there, so it is really weird - there is not very much variation in the elevation between grassy knolls or forested areas and swamp lands.
There is hardly any traffic, but sufficient that if you broke down there would be somebody passing by. That’s about it!
656.3 Land on the right is pretty much cleared - a few odd trees and palms still left.
657.3 10:51 Entering Tennille.
659.7 A long row of mail boxes indicating that there are many homes somewhere back off to the right behind the forest here.
660.5 A turtle, about 6 inch in diameter, in the middle of the road.
662.6 A couple of absolutely gorgeous red bud trees.
663.8 Another egret, this one back off the road to the left where there was some open water.
There is still a lot of cloud about but more patches of blue sky are showing through and the sun is shining on and off.
673.7 Turn off for Horseshoe Beach - I am entering a town and have seen a number of buildings, but haven’t seen any sign yet.
674.0 11:07 Cross City, City Limit.
674.3 11:08 Pulled off the road to look at the map to see what I do next! I stay on US-19 until I get to Alternate US-19. And, boy! Is it getting hot and quite muggy!
675.1 152 miles to St. Petersburg and according to the GPS 279 miles to Fort Myers (the other distance was a sign at the side of the road).
676.9 The Georgia-Pacific Lumber Mill.
678.1 The yellow flowering creeper is high up in the trees.
680.1 Irrigation sprinkler working at a property that has white paling fences all around it, maybe a big horse ranch.
681.8 There was a little open field with a lot of little mounds of beige dirt as if some small animals were living there - I don’t think they would be prairie dogs, but maybe a relative or such.
683.8 11:19 Entering Old Town.
684.2 Stopped at the turn off for Suwannee and there is a place right here at the side of the road selling boiled peanuts, also a barbecue with slab of ribs, barbecue rib dinner, barbecue chicken dinner, rib sandwich, chicken sandwich and side orders.
684.8 Pain spots - it is starting to rain!
686.3 A house built up on stilts to the left of the road, between the road and the Suwannee River, a rather large looking river and the road is running parallel and south of it.
687.5 Starting of the bridge over the Historic Suwannee River, and it appears to be flowing rather swiftly.
687.6 End of the bridge and entering Fanning Springs City Limit. I am still on Alternate US-27, US-98 and US-19.
688.6 Passing a Flea Market on the right.
There now appears to be all kinds of businesses and places along the entire route now.
694.3 A farm for Registered Quarter Horses.
695.2 11:32 Welcome to Chiefland ... and there is a stall with oranges and grapefruit. This looks a little more prosperous than some of the other towns I have driven through this morning.
696.6 Junction with US-129 and Alternate 27 leaves this highway. Now this is US-98 and US-19.
697.6 Passing the turn off for Cedar Key.
698.2 Many trucks loaded with logs from where they have been logging the forest - that was to the left of the road.
698.8 A great blue heron flew across the road.
699.9 A house to the right with a large azalia covered in blooms.
Out on the open road there is very little traffic, but going through the towns, they seem to be buzzing this Saturday morning with flea markets and garage sales - lots of people around in the towns - the towns are abuzz with people!
704.7 A lot of that yellow creeper at this point and continuing along the highway, some of it low down and some climbing high into the trees.
705.5 There is not as much now.
708.7 Otter Creek City Limit - basically just a gas station here.
709.0 Crossing Otter Creek and water lilies are in bloom on the water.
709.3 Another turn off to the right for Cedar Key.
This being a divided road certainly makes fir easy driving, especially when there isn’t a great deal to be seen.
711.8 Another splash of yellow color.
712.2 People sitting at the side of a creek called Flat Branch and they are fishing.
Sometimes the yellow creeper is just here and there and at other times is a big splash of color and currently there is even some on the trees in the median which almost block the view of the opposing traffic.
713.5 A roadside stall selling strawberries.
714.3 Noticing some tall palm trees back off the road in the woods.
716.1 A truckload of logs going in the opposite direction.
717.0 Cows grazing in a field where there are palm trees growing, and just before that there was a turn off to the left for a quarry and there was a large rock at the entrance.
I wonder what kind of palms these tall ones are.
I forgot to mention that the rain did not last for long.
723.0 12 Noon And I am continuing to travel south on US-19 ... When the sun breaks through the clouds it is very bright.
Between the towns still continuing to see much the same of everything, pine forests, wooded areas, farms, palms, yellow creeper, the red catkins - just a repetition of the same kind of scenery.
730.5 There is much more blue sky to be seen now, so maybe by the time I reach the coast on Alternate 19 I may have a lovely day!
732.0 Now there is quite a wind blowing, a rather strong wind.
732.8 Entering Inglis and there are palm trees in the median ... A sign at the side of the road: “Welcome to Withlacoochee Gulf Area, Inglis and Yankeetown”.
St. Petersburg is now 93 miles.
734.2 Crossing the Withlacoochee River, and there looks to be properties along the river with their own docks.
There’s a road rising up ahead of me! I wonder what that is over. It’ a big bridge.
735.2 Center of the bridge and it looks like a canal or maybe a waterway - there is no sign for it.
738.5 Entering Red Level (not on map).
739.5 A level railway crossing ... various stalls along the way for peanuts, garlic roasted, also fresh seafood.
742.3 Entering Crystal River.
743.3 Passing the Crystal River Mall with Sears and the usual stores that make up a mall. Besides Days Inn and Best Western there are also some of the old type motels ... 81° ... the first one I’ve seen.
744.8 12:24 Left the highway to get gas ... the gas light still had not come on and I could probably have done at least another 50 or so miles, but gas has been $1.79 and more and I decided that when I saw it cheaper I would fill up.
 
745.0 12:25 - 12:36 GAS - Crystal Springs, FL - $1.699/gal. - 14.457 gals. - $24.56
 
Now since leaving that gas station there has been one other that had gas for $1.67 so you can’t win!
747.1 Airport to the left with a lot of small Cessna-type planes. Crystal Springs is one of the bigger towns with lots of businesses and the traffic is quite heavy.
Another place with $1.68/gal. gas and these are on my side of the road instead of the other where I went with a bit of juggling traffic wise!
751.2 12:45 Entering Homosassa Springs.
751.8 Stopped at a traffic light and on the other side of the incoming road from the right there is a large model of a manatee and there is a sign: “ Welcome to Homosassa Springs, Manatee Capital of the World”.
752.2 Passing a turn off to the right for Sugar Mill Ruins ... a roadside stand for garlic fried peanuts.
754.7 A huge flea market on the left.
758.0 Evacuation Route turns to the left here when US-98 leaves US-19. GPS has given up again - it says “Off route” and “Recalculating” but it never does that - it says it is 198 miles and I was supposed to turn off at that last turn and go over to I-75 - it just doesn’t like the route I prefer to travel!
There have been and are a lot of Wildlife Management Areas, mostly to the right which means between this road and the coast.
765.2 A sign: “Bears the next 7 miles” ... if only........
Sometimes in the median and sometimes at the edge of the road there are some very pretty pink flowers, quite a profusion of them, but I don’t know what they are as I drive past.
Every mile there is a reminder about the bears.
767.5 A dead armadillo at the side of the road, the first one I have seen.
768.5 Some landscaping in the median, sometimes ground cover, sometimes small shrubs and in some places small trees, possibly crepe myrtles.
I guess I panicked too soon about the cost of gas because I have just passed another gas station with $1.69.
770.3 A large body of water to the left with water lilies on it and on the right sand dunes, but there are still buildings and businesses on the sand dunes.
Just passed a business on the left called “Stoneyard” and in it are all different kinds of rocks and stones that people might buy for landscaping.
If this kind of weather keeps up I am sure glad I had the forethought to include some shorts when I was packing for this trip.
772.5 1:09 Entering Weeki Wachee.
773.0 Entering Spring Hill. I think it is safe to say that I am getting into a wealthier area - fancy gateways going into development areas with names of the development on each side of the entrance to them.
777.4 1:18 Stopped for a traffic light and I noticed there is a grocery store in the development to the left called Market Place - I believe that is the name of the place Marg took me to in Fort Worth last month.
780.5 1:23 St. Petersburg 48 miles.
The sky is pretty clear now with just a few odd clouds around, but mostly sunny.
US-19 seems to be a continuous main street for mile upon mile with all different kinds of businesses.
788.2 1:33 Did a U-turn because I saw a sign for a Big K.
789.0 1:34 - 1:50 Big K-Mart to buy some ibuprofen, also Mary’s birthday card.
789.2 1:52 Back on the highway and I did reset the GPS, but once again there is a road which goes over to I-75 which I am supposed to take! I don’t think so! Just give up!
Well, maybe it is going to allow me to go the way I want to go - doesn’t seem to have stalled like it kept doing.
Along with the continuous road of businesses the traffic has also become very thick and quite slow.
793.1 2:00 Entering Port Richey and somewhere soon after this Alternate 19 will turn off.
794.2 A glimpse down a side street to the right there is some water and boats in it and it probably goes out to the Gulf of Mexico as the road is now fairly close to the coast.
794.5 New Port Richey City Limit and crossing the Pithlacochee (too long a name to spell and isn’t on the map ?) River, and businesses jusy go on and on and on.
796.0 I am still looking for the turn onto Alt.19 ... gas is not as expensive down here as I thought it might be.
To my right boats in a waterway which goes out to the Gulf ... Sunoco gas $1.67.
799.9 80°.
Alt. 19 next signal - finally.
800.8 2:15 Turning off US-19 for Alt.19. When I turned off GPS read 152 miles still to Fort Myers, and now, of course, I am “Off Route” and supposedly recalculating, which is something that doesn’t seem to be happening any more! I think I put a hex on it!
802.2 I have forest on both sides of me. I have left that main drag but I’m sure it wont be long before there other things popping up! ... lots of marshy water to the left ... at least this is more interesting than passing business after business.
802.8 Shrimp Sale and this is just before crossing a bridge over a waterway ... looks like shrimp boats in th water ... there’s a building to my right “Captain Jack’s Sunset Grill” which is on the banks of the water.
802.9 Starting to cross the water ... lots of boats for sale ... now I recognize the mangrove swamps on the other side of the water to the left.
803.0 Over the water.
803.1 Stopped at a traffic light - Tarpon Springs Sponge Dock Historic Downtown Shopping District - traffic very heavy.
804.0 Five Norfolk pines.
804.4 I had to turn off the road because of construction and find an alternate way.
805.1 Turning around because this is not going to work going this way!
Brilliant red bougainvillea in flower, also shrimp plant.
805.8 Back at where I turned off ... in actual fact there was no need to do that because in actual fact they were allowing one lane through.
806.1 Golf course to my right.
806.9 Just passed a smoked rib place ... basically some of these are just the big commercial barbecues set up at the side of the road.
808.0 Water Reclamation Facility to my left and immediately after that some mansions, really magnificent homes surrounding a golf course.
808.2 Big Daddy Barbecue.
808.6 The Old Schoolhouse Lunch Box - a restaurant now. It’s a red building with windows, which obviously looks as if it was a school at one time.
809.5 Passing trailer city - both sides of the road.
810.0 A bicycle path to the right of the road - being used by pedestrians as well as cyclists, also someone in a wheelchair.
I came this way in the hope of seeing more of the water, but there is so much development that unless you are fortunate enough to have a place on the wayer I guess you don’t see it very much.
811.1 2:40 Stopped at a traffic light ... still waiting to find a place to have my lunch! It is all ready in the cooler and if I got it out, I could have eaten it going along, that is if I had known that there wasn’t any beach-side places to pull into.
811.3 An old vintage car going in the opposite direction.
812.1 A long ramp leading up to a walkway over the road ... there are steps also. This is right at “Welcome to Dunedin” ... another Norfolk pine along with some palm trees at someone’s house.
813.0 A waterway to the right with lots of boats in it ... one of those condo communities, also a trailer park, lining the road almost.
813.6 Another small waterway with boats in it and houses facing onto it ... there are actually a lot of Norfolk pines now.
814.8 Now I can see the bay and further around a lot of large buildings.
815.0 2:48 I have pulled off the road. Although the road shows on the map, that is GPS, it is a dirt road in the front of some magnificent homes on the left with their own docks on the right of me ... and I am not going to be able to find what I need, a seat by the water, but I will keep looking. I think this road is for the mailman more than anything else because all the mail boxes are along here. It is very pretty and not meant to be a tourist road. There are huge live oaks with Spanish moss on them.
815.5 2:52 Turned around and I am going to have to return to the highway - it is parking by permit only.
815.6 2:53 Back on Alt.19 ... Clearwater is 3 miles, St. Petersburg 24 miles.
815.9 The road now is actually right alongside the shoreline ... masses of color with azaleas which are blooming.
816.1 Cher International University on my left.
The water I can see here seems to be pretty well land locked - I know that is probably not the case but it sure looks it.
The road is lined with palm trees both sides.
816.7 Welcome to Clearwater. It is gorgeous when you get to be by the water which I have been up until this point.
817.2 Crossing a waterway and after that the road leaves the waterfront.
818.7 3:04 A hedge of hibiscus in flower, just a low hedge at the side of a building - also oleanders in flower ... I am making very slow progress at the moment ... plumbago in flower.
818.8 3:07 There’s a real bottleneck at that light that I just got through ... so many people are trying to turn, they block the lane for when the light changes, then nobody can move!
818.9 3:11 This is ridiculous - I have no idea what is going on!
819.2 3:13 Seem to be moving along now in an area of very large buildings and soon after passing these, the road widens to two lanes and there have been a lot of motels.
Stopped at another traffic light. and there’s a car from Ontario.
822.5 Traffic light at West Bay and I am doing a left turn with Alt.19 instead of going straight ahead to whatever ... banana palms ... 77° now and I can actually feel that the wind is a little cooler.
827.7 3:30 It is looking somewhat hazy ahead and the sky is no longer blue. This has been a crazy day and I know it is going to be one of those days that you can day, “Been there, done that!”.
828.7 3:34 Lots of traffic lights. St. Petersburg is 8 miles. It is so foggy ahead that you can’t see what the road signs are!
A tree covered in yellow blossom, no leaves - a mass of yellow.
830.1 The road is taking a big turn to the left and going over, I think, other roads. I am driving into the fog, I’ve turned on my lights.
831.2 Veterans Memorial Hospital and Park have a prime location.
831.5 Start of a bridge and there are people fishing from it.
831.7 End of bridge - can’t see anything from it. A few boats look like ghosts in the fog.
832.2 A long, very long, pedestrian overpass.
832.4 3:41 St. Petersburg City Limit.
834.0 3:45 I have only done 272 miles.
Lots of flowers - azaleas, bougainvillea, trumpet vine, hibiscus.
837.6 3:53 The junction with US-19 South - this is the end of Alt.19.
838.4 A Citgo gas station with gas at $1.67.
839.7 At the next traffic light, a Citgo service station - gas $1.73! There is no rhyme or reason to the gas pricing.
839.8 Bradenton, which is on the other side of the skyway, is 22 miles.
841.7 4:03 The last traffic light, I think, before the bridge.
841.8 Start of the ramp onto the skyway - it is a long ramp.
842.8 Driving alongside water now.
843.2 Junction with I-275 and at the same time starting to go up on the Dick Misener Bridge.
843.4 Crossing the water and, because it is so foggy, you can’t see a thing!
844.4 4:07 Stopped to pay toll ($1.00). After paying the toll there is a causeway, but still crossing the water.
There is a Rest Area where I will stop to get out my lunch. It’s after 4 o’clock.
845.6 Start of another bridge.
846.0 End of bridge and the start of another causeway.
846.3 4:11 Leaving the highway for the Rest Area.
847.0 4:12 - 4:16 Rest Area. This is a very nice Rest Area on the shore. There are a lot of those black-headed gulls, laughing gulls I think they are, on the building.
I have my lunch out and it would be nice to sit here whilst eating it, but I think I have decided to try to get as far as Fort Myers tonight rather than dilly-dally in an area that is so commercialized. I know fort Myers will be the same too, but after the time I have wasted today, I will much prefer to be further along than I am.
847.5 4:16 Back on I-275.
847.9 Passing the fishing pier, which has lots of cars and people on it. It is actually a double pier, one way down on one pier and back one way on the other pier.
848.6 Starting to rise up for another bridge.
849.3 Start of the big cables holding the bridge - you can’t see them because of the fog until you are right up to them. This is the one thing I was really looking forward to seeing and I can’t see it!
850.4 Back to almost sea level, but still crossing water and adjacent to me to the right is another fishing pier which is coming from the south to a north direction, also a double pier so people can make a U-turn to get off.
852.0 Spotted my first pelican.
852.3 Causeway.
853.0 Passing the exit for another Rest Area. This one is on the inside of the bay, but also where the cars would leave the road for that second fishing pier (Quebec car).
854.9 Palmetto and Bradenton south on US-19 and I am staying with I-275.
859.0 The exit to get onto 75 North to Tampa and it is a big circular ramp and I will be going underneath that one and will be joining up with I-75 from Tampa.
860.0 4:29 On I-75 South. Actually I think this is where both I-275 and US-19 end and the previous exit for Palmetto and Bradenton was the junction with US-41 and that would have been an interesting route for me to have taken - next time!
It looks as if I still have 98 miles in hour and thirty-five minutes to go.
863.4 Starting to cross the Manatee river.
864.1 End of the bridge, but there are some mangrove swamps either side. Having passed the turn off for the Ringling Circus Museum, I decided I would to skip that.
876.5 Pelican overhead.
889.2 Down to two lanes, that is two lanes each way ... not much to see - trees: pines and palms, a rise in the road every now and again where there is an exit and an underpass. I guess that I have passed the exit for Venice, I think it is, so I’m getting there. I think the next exit is 195 and that is for Laurel and for Venice.
The occasional mangrove swamp ... and you can’t even see the north-bound lanes.
895.8 Some cows grazing to my right.
898.5 The road has turned east, and checking the GPS it goes inland from the Gulf to go around another large inlet, namely Charlotte Harbor.
900.4 A lot of dead trees out to the left - could be from bush fires or could even be from a hurricane - I think ,ore likely bush fires because all the trunks look to be dark.
Since the exit numbers are diminishing and since I-75 goes to Miami I would say that I am only about 180 miles from Miami! I still have 53 miles to go to Fort Myers so that would leave about 130 miles, 200 miles maximum for tomorrow.
906.5 Road construction - the building of new bridges and we are off to the side of the road - it is simply over another road.
922.5 Just caught a glimpse of a big bridge ahead.
923.0 Start of the causeway.
923.3 Water to my right and I can see that there is another bridge over the water further to the west as well - that would be US-41.
923.6 Starting to cross the river (name not on map).
924.5 End of the bridge.
927.0 Cows grazing in fields both sides of the road - also such a lot of water around, it is hard to tell which are lakes, what are inlets, which are rivers, which swamps.
5:28 Wow! I have just finished munching on my lunch.
936.0 I think that I just saw a spoonbill by the water in the ditch at the side of the road fishing for something!
936.6 An egret, so, if you keep your eyes open, there are things to be seen.
937.8 I just saw another egret, in the median this time. When I say the median, it has lots of trees and palms in it you can barely see the opposing traffic.
I only have about 20 miles to go to Fort Myers, so, what should I say about today?
In some ways it has been frustrating; it has been an interesting day; I probably wouldn’t do it again; I am sorry that Alt.19 took so long because it would have been nice to have seen the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota; it would also have been nice if there had been no fog when crossing the skyway over Tampa Bay, the one thing I really wanted to see. Otherwise the whole area is devoted to too much tourism for my liking!
947.8 Start of the bridge over the Caloosahatchee River - lots of waterfront properties with their own docks and boats.
948.5 End of the bridge. GPS indicates I should get off at Exit-22, but that is old 22 - it has a new number and is now Exit-136.
954.1 5:46 Off the ramp at a stop light waiting to turn onto the road to the motel.
954.6 Welcome to Fort Myers, City of Palms.
955.5 Some cows to the left and the cattle egret that follow them around.
960.6 6:03 - 6:07 Days Inn in Fort Myers, but they were booked out and did not give me much hope of finding a place anywhere because of Spring Break!
Leaving Days Inn I turned north, but notice that it is US-41, the road I want to take tomorrow, so I will turn around and hopefully find something to the south rather than going any further north.
961.5 6:12 Turned around ... Citgo gas $1.81 now ... lots of restaurants, but no dinky little motels, just the big chain hotels. I think I will be more worried tonight about finding accommodation than I was last night! The sun is almost about to set and it will get dark fairly quickly and I have no idea of what I will do!
It doesn’t look very hopeful along here either.
970.7 6:29 Turned around to go back to a Best Western.
971.6 6:31 Stopped - nothing, so am leaving again.
Sanibel Boulevard the next one - I wonder if that goes out to Sanibel Island for which I have a lighthouse.
976.0 6:41 It is becoming dark and there is no sign of any motels!
There are hundreds of cars going in all directions, going south, going north, going east, going west - Goodness knows where they are all going, but the traffic is so heavy that at each stop light it takes ages before you can start off again.
 
993.0 7:13 - 7:20 GAS - Naples, FL - $1.789/gal. - 8.944 gals. - $16.00
 
I phoned LP after getting gas and he is going to get in touch with Zelda to see if there is any chance of finding the key. I will still continue to look for a motel.
Pulled into the Tamiami Motel just south of Naples and there was a vacancy.
997.0 7:37 Room 5 at Tamiami Motel - not the nicest of rooms, but I have stayed in worse! I called LP to let him know I had a place for the night. He had been able to contact Zelda and was able to tell me where the key was, so if I got to Fort Lauderdale in good time I could unload the car before going to the airport to meet Zelda.

The day’s total - 435 miles
Trip Total - 997 miles

DAY 3 - Sunday, March 7 - Naples to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL

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997.0 7:53 Leave Tamiami Motel.
997.5 7:56 - 8:05 McDonald’s for breakfast ($3.07).
1,004.0 At a traffic stop passed by four motor cyclists, two men and two ladies, all with Nova Scotia license plates.
1,004.4 Miami 94 miles.
1,004.7 A nice roadside picnic spot with tables just as the road which is going in a southeasterly direction becomes two-way traffic.
When I found the Tamiami Motel last night I was not far off reaching the area where there would be no motels!
Ahead of me is fog.
1,006.6 The land to the left is being cleared, probably for development.
1,006.7 A large trailer park to the right.
1,007.0 Another large trailer park.
1,007.3 A whole development of new houses being built - that is all in a little triangular area between the road and a large green area showing up on the GPS, probably Collier-Seminole State Park.
1,009.3 A golf course to the left.
1,009.9 A golf course to the right - this ones is the Naples Golf Club South.
1,010.4 An anhinga in a tree ... kingfisher.
1,011.3 8:22 Turned around at Tomato Road.
The kingfisher is still sitting on the wire.
1,012.3 8:23 Turned around again ... there is a white bird as well as the anhinga in the tree - I saw the big lump of white by a nest and I thought that it might have been a bald eagle, but no, it is an ibis or an egret! And I am passing the kingfisher for the third time.
1,013.6 Another kingfisher, and another one ... lots of palms and pine trees, some Spanish moss.
1,014.5 Entering Indian Village.
1,014.9 Entrance to Collier-Seminole State Park.
1,015.8 A lovely picnic spot on the right, tables and seats under palm trees.
1,016.3 A place where you can take air boat tours, then just after that there are a lot of egrets standing in water. Also in a lot of cases where there is water there are mangroves.
1,017.9 The sun is trying to burn through the fog, but not very successfully.
1,020.4 Islands Resort Marina, Point of the Islands. There is a hotel and a development - The Cays also at Point of the Islands
Another anhinga sitting on the wires this time. Also there seem to be a number of egrets in various places - you can see their heads sticking up above the grasses.
1,023.1 Two more anhingas.
1,023.2 A great blue heron.
1,023.7 A white bird with yellow feet, has a long bill - I don’t know if it is in the heron family or not ... and a great blue heron ... and an egret ... all near the entrance to Big Cypress Boardwalk. There is also an anhinga on the wires above - just amazing wildlife, or at least bird life!
1,024.4 Six anhingas all lined up on the wires. They are all along this road, either on the wires, on poles and in trees.
1,025.3 More picnic tables.
When there is a break in the trees you can see mangroves and sometimes the sea of grass.
1,026.7 A anhinga diving down into the water and out to the right is just a sea of grass.
1,027.2 A lot of open water and all kinds of bird life - truly an abundance of bird life.
1,028.6 A sea of grass to the left and some hummocks where trees are growing ... great blue heron.
1,029.9 Everglades Air Boat Tours (private tours).
1,030.4 Another air boat place - Safari Air Boats.
1,030.8 8:46 - 8:50 Stopped for an Historical Marker about the Tamiami Trail.
2004_03_07a.jpg There is a gas station here and the gas is $2.04/gal. for
regular unleaded. Leaving from here I am driving across to
the Everglades Information Center. Unfortunately it is closed,
so I will just be continuing on my trip.
37,071183.0Home
1,030.9 8:51 Entering Big Cypress National Preserve and I have stopped for a picture already.
1,031.1 8:53 Leaving from taking picture of the Tamiami Trail sign.
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1,031.4 Lots of hummocks, many of them with palm trees. It is interesting how the palm trees stand up high above everything else in the surrounding area.
Day time speed limit is 60 mph, but the night speed is 45 mph!
1,035.6 A police car has just stopped someone going in the opposite direction. There are so many people who are speeding along here and I am a nuisance on the road because I’m here to enjoy the scenery, not to speed from one end to the other. If people are in that big of a hurry they should be traveling on I-75, not here.
1,036.6 Passing a campground.
1,037.3 Panther Crossing the next 3 miles.
1,037.8 9:01 - 9:02 Stopped to look at the map.
A leafless tree, black with anhingas.
1,040.0 Another campground just ahead - Burns lake Campground - closed.
1,040.2 A lot of people fishing in the stream which is to the left and parallel with the road.
Anhingas sitting with their wings spread out.
1,042.6 Rain spots hitting the windshield! And another great blue heron.
1,043.4 The sun is poking through.
1,044.0 A large air plant on a tree.
1,046.4 Lots of air plants and they are flowering.
1,047.4 Passing the entrance to Monument Lake Campground and there are lots of trailers and motor homes in there.
1,051.0 An area where there are more trees and they are lining the road - perhaps the road is crossing one of those hillocks.
1,051.8 After crossing an open area the road is back on one of those hillocks with lots of trees.
1,052.0 Over the hillock.
1,053.5 Passing a gallery, Cypress Gallery, - looks like a private art gallery.
1,055.4 The entrance to another campground ... great blue heron.
1,057.9 More fishermen ... I have also seen a number of vultures perched in the trees - I wonder if they are waiting for something to die!
1,059.5 More fishermen.
1,061.3 There is blue sky and sunshine, and white fluffy clouds, then below that is a darker rainy type of cloud under which I am passing at the moment.
1,061.9 Just passed another Indian Village. I have actually passed quite a number of them and probably back at 1,014.5 when I noted “Entering Indian Village” that was more than likely the first of such villages. These are buildings with “thatched” palm frond roofs - rather attractive. It seems that these are small settlements where the local Indians continue to live.
1,062.5 Here’s another one - Indian Village - there are quite a number of them - Another sign, this being for Trail Indian Church.
1,064.3 Another Indian Village.
1,064.4 Starting to see some bigger cypress trees and they have air plants on them, also Spanish moss.
1,068.0 Leaving Big Cypress National Preserve. The road was going southeast, but now it has turned eastward and to the right is Everglades National Park. There wasn’t a sign for the national park, but the map shows it as being south of the road.
1,070.2 Passing the entrance to the Miccosukee Indian Tribe.
1,071.1 Everglades Shark Valley Craft Center, Air Boat Tours and Restaurant.
1,071.5 Another Indian Village, this time on both sides of the road.
1,072.1 9:39 Turning off for Shark Valley Visitor Center, everglades National park - entry fee is $10.00.
1,073.0 9:43 - 11:00 Everglades National Park - Shark Valley.
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1,073.6 Back on the highway and there was another policeman with a stopped car - the speed limit before and after the park entrance was 45 mph, but now it is 55 mph again. The police cars are marked Miccosukee Police.
I don’t think my memory is serving me correctly in that i think the place was a lot different from what I remember when last here (1993 with LP). However, I did see a lot of birds and about three alligators.
1,075.5 A stork. Since leaving the park there has been a sea of grass to the north of the road. It looks funny to see an anhinga sitting on a wire with its wings outspread to dry and you can barely see the wire so it looks to be this bird with outspread wings silhouetted against the sky.
1,079.1 Another place offering air boat rides - seems to be a lot of those places.
1,079.6 An open canal along the road to the left of the road and there is a small levee on the other side.
People are in such a rush to get somewhere! Why don’t they use I-75?
I am wondering if this canal is used to control the water passing through the Everglades which has been diminished considerably because of the human demands for water here in Florida. It is such a shame to see the state of the Everglades as it is now.
Also the train that goes the 15 miles out to the Snake Valley viewing center is now $12.50 per person and I think that is way too much!
1,082.5 Everglades Safari Park Boat Rides on the right and there are loads of buses there.
1,084.7 A gate in the levee that would control the water coming in here.
1,085.4 Another air boat place on the right, and on the left there are a number of buildings, almost look like houses, but I think they are probably workers’ homes.
1,086.6 Coopertown, the original air boat tour.
1,087.1 Another control gate in the levee.
1,087.3 Starting to see some tall buildings on the horizon ... I’m sure this canal is all new since I was here last time! There appears to be a large gate at the end of the canal and there’s pipes all kind of workings.
1,090.4 I’m just passing it now ... some canal continues on after that, but it is soon into trees and the end of being in the open country ... starting to get into residential areas or will be soon ... there are still people fishing in the canal.
1,091.6 A multi-storey building and a sign on a tall post for bingo and gaming.
1,093.9 Single family homes being built on the right - a huge developments.
1,095.8 11:28- 11:31 I have pulled off the road to try to phone Zelda.
There is also an enormous amount of road construction as well in this area, providing roads for the new developments.
1,098.1 Passing under the Florida turnpike.
1,098.7 Passing Florida International University on south side of road.
1,102.2 Leaving Tamiami Trail for FL-826 north.
1,103.8 11:46 I am going to be leaving FL-826 north for FL-836 east.
I got off on 27th Street, the last exit before a toll plaza and I am driving through a pretty poor part of town, whatever town I’m in!
Turning for I-95 South. I think I’m going to join US-27 South and take that over to I-95.
1,111.5 11:57 I’m on .........Oh! There’s a toll plaza in ¾ of a mile - I can’t get away from these toll plazas.
1,112.3 Stopped in the line up to go through the toll gate - 75¢ - at least this will get me onto I-95 to Fort Lauderdale.
1,112.5 11:58 Through the toll.
1,113.8 12:02 I am now on I-95 North ... sets of seagulls in different flight positions on the noise barriers both sides of the highway ... the tallest trees on the horizon are all Norfolk pines.
1,141.0 12:29 Leaving the interstate at Exit-32, Commercial Boulevard.
1,144.0 12:43 Arrive at Zelda’s and Frank’s in Fort Lauderdale, 1,144 miles since leaving home.
I unpacked the car putting everything in the room which I assumed would be mine during my visit. I then wrote a letter to enclose with the card I was sending to Mary for her birthday.
4:10 Leave for the airport.
Commercial Boulevard is closed at the train tracks and I can’t get through to I-95 so I am on a detour for West Commercial.
1,147.5 4:27 The ramp for I-95 South and it actually goes up high over the north-bound lanes, then a long run down to join the south-bound lanes.
1,156.2 4:36 Joining into I-595 ... a trooper just caught somebody! It was funny to watch that policeman slither around in the traffic from one lane to another - he knew who he was after!
Leaving I-595 for US-1 to the airport.
1,160.0 4:43 - 5:48 Parked in Terminal 1 at Fort Lauderdale International Airport to meet Zelda and Frank when they fly in on Jet Blue.
1,175.0 6:15 Arrive at The Olive Garden for supper.
1,176.0 Home.

The day’s total - 179 miles
Trip Total - 1,176 miles

DAY 4 - Monday, March 8 - Pompano Beach and Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse

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1,176.0 Leave for the Post Office and the beach.
I mailed Mary’s card at the Post Office.
1,185.0 Parked near Pompano beach. There was no available parking at Lauderdale--by-the-Sea, so we drove north to Pompano where we spent an hour on the beach. Then we drove on to try to see Hillsboro Inlet lighthouse, but there is no access to that sentinel.
1,193.2 Publix supermarket to do some shopping for supper and for next day’s picnic.
1,195.7 Pick up Frank’s Aunt Ginger to bring her back for supper.
1,200.0 Home. Frank barbequed hamburgers for supper and I made a salad; for dessert we had Key lime pie ice cream.
Stopped for gas after driving Ginger home as I wanted a full tank before setting off for Key West.
 
1,202.0 2:46 - 2:54 GAS - Fort Lauderdale, FL - $1.739/gal. - 9.363 gals. - $16.28 (Frank paid)
 
1,211.0 Home

The day’s total - 35 miles
Trip Total - 1,211 miles

DAY 5 - Tuesday, March 9 - Day trip to Key West

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1,211.0 Leave for day trip to Key West.
1,212.5 9:03 Leave from Dunkin Donuts after getting coffee.
1,281.4 10:21 We are leaving US-1 for Card Sound Road to Key Largo. Parallel with this straight road is a waterway with mangroves growing in it.
1,292.4 10:34 The first curve in the road since leaving US-1 and we have come into a community with cottages and lots of boats, boathouses.
1,293.3 A $1.00 toll and there is a bridge ahead of us. There was also a sign about a crocodile crossing! This is just gorgeous.
1,293.9 The top of a high bridge crossing over to Key Largo.
1,294.3 “Crocodile National Wildlife Refuge”.
1,297.3 10:42 Turned onto Monroe Country Road 905. This is really wonderful because we are right out in the country without any development at all.
If you could hear Frank’s voice, he was saying, “Watch out for the crocodile!”.
1,305.9 Some habitation - not much!
When we went off route we still had 125 miles to go and at this point we are coming back onto US-1 and will continue on that route.
1,307.7 Joining into US-1. Back on route GPS now indicates that Key West is 105 miles.
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1,333.4 11:51 Leaving Hurricane Monument.
1,342.6 Just going onto Craig Key and that is after coming across one of the new bridges with the old bridge to the right where people are walking and from which people are fishing.
1,343.6 Channel 5 and there is a bridge over it.
1,344.6 The end of the bridge and entering Long Key.
1,350.0 The start of the bridge for Long Key Channel ... the color of the water is absolutely gorgeous - that beautiful turquoise or Sleaford blue we used to see in South Australia.
1,352.4 Going onto Conch Key as we leave the bridge.
1,354.2 Coming onto Duck Key.
1,369.1 A very long bridge and there is also one to the right which is the old highway - the old bridge has a couple of gaps in it, so it is not continuous all the way ... the bridge that we are on has just gone up to a high point at........
1,372.0 and that matches with a gap in the old bridge, so that boats could go through.
1,372.5 Down off the high part of the bridge and continuing on the level.
1,375.3 Another gap in the old bridge.
1,376.1 End of the bridge - this was the Seven Mile Bridge.
1,379.3 12:50 Leaving the highway to go into Bahia Honda State Park - there was a fee to enter the park and since we were only looking for somewhere to have our lunch we decided to go on
1,379.8 Start of another bridge and there is an old bridge to the left, not continuous but it has a lot of superstructure on it. It looks like a road on top of the old railway bridge.
1,381.0 We have just come off the bridge.
1,385.5 1:02 - 1:53 We stopped for tourist information at the Chamber of Commerce and since there were some picnic tables there in the shade we decided to have our lunch. We were actually in the shade of a bottlebrush tree.
Arriving in Key West we took the road to the left and followed the coast around on the south side until we found a parking spot just passed the Cuba marker.
1,419.0 2:55 - 5:02 Parked in Key West. We walked to the monument looking in the direction of Cuba, 90 miles across the sea,
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1992_04_27d.jpg

the walked to the lighthouse. On the way we passed the southernmost house in mainland USA, then noticed a placard on the next house, “the southernmost, southernmost house!”
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We climbed to the top of the lighthouse, then went through the museum which is housed in what was the keeper’s dwelling.
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There was a sign on the dwelling which read:


     “The frame structure was built in 1887, replacing the first quarters which was smaller in (?). This design was standard for light stations in the south and was used at several locations in Florida. The building was spacious and provided lodgings for Lighthouse, Coast Guard and Navy personnel until it was opened as a museum in 1966.”


On the way back to the car we walked past Hemingway’s home. Before leaving Key West we went in search of Mile 0 of highway US-1.
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1,421.3 5:28 Leaving from Mile 0.
1,426.2 5:59 Turned onto the main part of the road now.
1,431.1 An osprey in its nest on the top of a pole, one which looks as if it has been put there specifically for birds to build a nest.
1,446.3 6:27 The sun is just beginning to sink below the horizon, an ocean horizon and not one of mountains, which happens sometimes when I am out west.
1,452.3 A couple of sign:

“Speed kills Key Deer” and


“You are entering an endangered species location”
or something like that


There is a lot of beautiful pastel colors in the sky from the sunset, but it wont be much longer before it is dark.
1,462.5 I can see a gorgeous sunset sky behind me in the rear vision mirror, whilst ahead it is looking rather dark. It is very pretty - this is near where we are crossing the Seven Mile Bridge
 
1,527.0 GAS - Key Largo, FL - $1.699/gal. - 12.950 gals. - $22.00 (Zelda paid for the gas)
 
1,527.3 10:36 Leaving from The Fish House where we had our supper (very good).
1,531.5 10:43 This is the point at which we joined US-1 this morning.
1,552.1 This is the point where we left US-1 to take the Card Sound Road to Key Largo.
1,623.0 12:24 Home

The day’s total - 412 miles
Trip Total - 1,623 miles

DAY 6 - Wednesday, March 10 - Hillsboro Lighthouse

2004_03_10.jpg

A lazy morning all of us sitting around reading the newspaper (New York Times) - had a late breakfast! Because of questions I asked, Frank gave me a “lecture” on the US system of voting, but I don’t think that I am any the wiser! I wrote postcards to Imogene and Perry, and to Jo and San two couples in Lincoln so they could be mailed when we went out.
We drove (Zelda drove the car they had bought from Ginger) to Pompano Beach and around trying to get close to the Hillsboro Inlet lighthouse. We enquired at the entrance to the National Guard where we were told about public access to the beach was at the end of 16th Street and walking north from there would be the closest we would be able to get to the lighthouse.
So we crossed over the 14th Street bridge and back to 16th Street. From there Frank and I walked along the beach to the south bank of Hillsboro Inlet, a long walk, and I was able to get some pictures.
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Walking back was more difficult as the leg giving me so much trouble was now on higher ground!
We stopped at a Publix supermarket on the way home (I was not impressed with either of the Publix stores I had now been in - poor produce). Frank made chicken teriyaki for supper and I made a potato salad.
In the evening, along with other programs, we watched Larry King interviewing Morton on the Diana tapes.

The day’s total - 0 miles
Trip Total - 1,623 miles

DAY 7 - Thursday, March 11 - Key Biscayne

2004_03_11.jpg

1,623.0 Leave for trip to Key Biscayne.
1,660.4 Start of the bridge.
1,661.0 Start of the causeway.
1,662.5 Start of next bridge.
1,663.0 End of the bridge
1,665.3 Village of Key Biscayne.
1,667.0 Entrance to the State Park, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park ($5.00 entrance).
1,669.0 1:18 End of the road.
Cape Florida Lighthouse - http://www.key-biscayne.com/capeflorida/index.shtml
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1,669.1 1:46 - 3:20 Picnic lunch and walk along the waterfront. Standing on a landing by the water we could watch fish swimming by, a school of small fish, also some garfish. I noticed what looked to be some rafts with boat shelters and wondered what they were. A lady standing nearby told us they were the buildings of Stiltsville, a small community of homes out in the bay!
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1,688.0 4:20 - 4:50 Holocaust Memorial
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At the entrance to the Holocaust Memorial:


ANNE FRANK
THEN IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING I STILL BELIEVE THAT PEOPLE ARE REALLY GOOD AT HEART


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By the light at the end of the tunnel:


XXIII PSALM
YEA, THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VALLEY
OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I WILL FEAR
NO EVIL FOR THOU ART WITH ME


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By figures lying down:


ANNE FRANK
IDEAL’S DREAMS AND CHERISHED HOPES RISE WITHIN US ONLY TO MEET THE HORRIBLE TRUTH AND BE SHATTERED


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1,690.4 5:02 Along the Intra-coastal Waterway - yachts.
1,724.0 6:12 - 7:32 Sweet Tomatoes, a cafeteria style restaurant with a fantastic salad bar. When you entered the restaurant you immediately join the line for the salad bar, then at the end of that you pay for your meal and someone directs you to a table. After that you are free to go to the soup, pasta or dessert bars and you can eat as much as you want!
1,726.0 7:43 Arrive home. We watched Larry King and the ex-wife of Rock Hudson, also another program on the Diana tapes.

The day’s total - 103 miles
Trip Total - 1,726 miles

DAY 8 - Friday, March 12 - Lazy Day (locally)

Starting off with another lazy morning - coffee and sitting around reading the papers. I also spent some time doing a computer search about epilepsy surgery, something Zelda had seen on television, but neither of us could find anything.
3:30 We decided to go to the beach at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, but did not go in the water. We just sat there enjoying the sea breeze and watching people and birds.
We went to Publix on the way home to buy ingredients for tacos and I bought a good selection of fresh fruit (pineapple, grapes, strawberries, an apple, a peach, a nectarine, an orange and a mango) to make a fruit salad.
Frank prepared supper and I made the fruit salad.
After supper we drove north to Costco in Pompano, a big store, and I thought nicer than the one in Memphis.
When we returned we watched television.

The day’s total - 0 miles
Trip Total - 1,726 miles

DAY 9 - Saturday, March 13 - another local lazy day

Usual lazy morning! Mid afternoon we went to the beach and from there we drove up A1A until it was time to pick up Ginger who was supplying our supper - hors d’oeuvres: shrimp, salami, guacamole dip) and wonderful steaks which Frank cooked on the barbecue.
Zelda drove Ginger home and I went along for the ride whilst Frank cleaned up the dishes..

The day’s total - 0 miles
Trip Total - 1,726 miles

DAY 10 - Sunday, March 14

Weather was not so good today, overcast, but it did not affect our just hanging around reading and talking. Also my leg was continuing to bother me and I lay down for about an hour to rest it.
Later in the afternoon we went to the Bass Outdoor World for Zelda to buy shorts for her son, Tony.
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From here we walked around the corner to the Islamorada Fish Restaurant mainly to get a drink, but finished up having an early supper sitting on the deck overlooking a pond. I had grilled scallops and they were delicious. We were also given small loaves of great bread, sort of sweet with sugar granules sticking to the crust.
Drove home along A1A through Lauderdale, where the road is right along the beach rather than behind buildings hogging the waterfront! It was dark by the time we reached home. We sat around and watched TV.

The day’s total - 0 miles
Trip Total - 1,726 miles

DAY 11 - Monday, March 15

2004_03_15.jpg

Usual lazy morning!
12 noonapproximately when we left to drive to the Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale to see the National Geographic movie, Lewis and Clark - Great Journey West, at the Imax Theater at 12:45. By opting to stay for a second movie at 1:45 the tickets for the second one were half price, so we also saw Space Station 3D, narrated by Tom Cruise. For this one we were given special headsets which almost made you feel you were in the space station yourself!
Afterwards we stopped in the entrance to the museum to look at the Great Gravity Clock, a fascinating piece of engineering.
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From here we enjoyed a stroll along the Riverwalk, stopping to read all the interpretive signs about the plants. (See notes at end of the day).
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     Riverwalk

     Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk is a mile-long waterfront park with shops, restaurants, cultural and arts attractions. It's the home of the Museum of Discovery and Science/Blockbuster/IMAX Theater. The Esplanade, a newly planted area of native plants and trees just east of the Broward County Center for the Performing Arts, provides much-needed food and shelter for wildlife, and is an excellent example of xeriscaping, a landscaping technique that uses drought-tolerant native plants. Just to the east is the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society's historic village, "Old Fort Lauderdale." This complex includes the Society's research center and library, the circa 1905 Philemon Bryan House, the circa 1907 King-Cromartie House, the 1899 replica schoolhouse, the circa 1905 New River Inn, the Society's "Museum of History" and the first property in Broward County to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

     Stranahan House

     The historic Stranahan House was the home of Fort Lauderdale's first family, Frank and Ivy Stranahan, who operated a ferry and trading post here beginning in 1893. The house as it appears today was built in 1901.

      http://www.1000friendsofflorida.org/PUBS/BURT/DEFAULT.asp


Frank noticed that the railway bridge was down so we waited to watch the train cross the canal and the bridge go up for the boats to pass along the canal.
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We walked as far as Las Olas, a historic area of Fort Lauderdale.
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Here we had a very late lunch at the Ugly Tuna, a second floor outdoor restaurant with glider seats. We sat overlooking the canal and the boat traffic.
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We arrived back at the house just before dark, about 6:30. Lunch was so late that none of us were hungry for supper!

The day’s total - 0 miles
Trip Total - 1,726 miles


NOTES
RARE, THREATENED OR ENDANGERED SPECIES
Worldwide about 20 types of animals and plants become extinct each week. The 3,500 known species of vascular plants existing in Florida are categorized
Endangered 69
Threatened 55
Rare 44
Extinct Unknown
Not listed 3,332
13 of Florida’s rare, threatened or endangered species are planted here, including Florida Cherry Palm & Lignum Vitael.
WILDLIFE ATTRACTING SPECIES
While all native plants and animals depend on each other these particular plants are especially favored by wildlife. The bright reddish purple berries of the Beauty Berry attract birds, while small mammals find the fruit of the Gopher Apple within easy reach. The Firebush’s red flowers attract butterflies.
NATIVE PLANT STUDY AREA
ECONOMICALLY IMPORTANT SPECIES
The Tequesta Indians of South Florida found uses for all the plants around them. They taught the pioneers many of their uses. Coontie roots provided starch for baking. Wild cotton provided fiber for clothes and Saw Palmetto berries were used for a cola-like drink.
TEMPERATE AND TROPICAL SPECIES
South Florida is at the boundary between the tropical and temperate zone. Many plants of the tropics, like the Geiger Tree - native to South Florida, the Caribbean, and tropical South America - reach the northern limit of their range here. The Sweetbay Magnolia, found from Florida to Massachusetts and Texas is one of the temperate plant species at its southern limit here.

DAY 12 - Tuesday, March 16

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Today we left the house about 10:30 - 10:45 and drove to the parking garage opposite the Museum of Discovery and Science (cheap - $3.00 for all day parking). We walked through a garden of native trees and shrubs on our way to the Las Olas River Walk.
Near the River House, Stop 20, we boarded a Route A Water Bus, $5.00 each for day passes, which allow you to get on and off the Water Bus at any of the stops.
http://www.watertaxi.com/FLLMap.Asp.htm Web site for water bus maps
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It was lovely traveling along the canals seeing all the gorgeous homes and many large yachts.
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We just sat back, relaxing, as the Water Bus made its way to Stop 1, Charley’s Crab House near Oakland Park, the most northern stop on the route. On the way north, between Sunrise Boulevard and NE 19th Street and to the east of the Intracoastal Waterway, I was somewhat surprised to see a section of undeveloped land. At the same time I thought that I saw an iguana sunning itself on the concrete at the water’s edge. On the return trip I learned that I was not mistaken in seeing an iguana.
I also learned that the undeveloped land is the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Birch was a Chicago attorney who came to Florida in 1893 looking for a quiet place to build a home. He purchased oceanfront property for about a dollar an acre. Eventually he owned a three-and-a-half mile stretch (180 acres) along the beach. In 1940, when Birch was 90 years old he built his last home here, calling it Terramar, meaning “land to sea.” He wanted his paradise preserved and not fall into the hands of developers. Birch donated his estate for use as a public park with a couple of provisos, one being that it could never be developed and two, there could be no commercial activity in the park. Should his wishes not be carried out the property was to revert to his benefactors. Well, some company brought in a small railway and charged people for rides around the park. This led to a court case and the railway was removed.
We came back to Stop 7, where we disembarked to change to the Route B Water Bus, which went out and under the big 17th Street bridge.
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From this location we were able to see the big ship, Queen Mary 2 which was berthed at Port Everglades.
We left the Water Bus at Stop 18, the Las Olas Waterfront and from here we walked back to the parking garage via an old part of town where we stopped for a drink at a sidewalk restaurant.
I took this picture of an interesting mural 2004_03_16o.jpg
Back at the car we drove to 17th Street looking for a viewpoint to see the Queen Mary 2. We found a park under the bridge and could see the ship, but it was not a good view.
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We then tried to get into Port Everglades but were turned back by police security. Finally Zelda parked the car and, with the help of another security man, we walked down the side of the Broward County Convention Center.
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I saw the fish sculpture which is at the front of the Convention Center and which was featured on the Fort Lauderdale street map. It was a beautiful sculpture and I would like to return to see it again, except at a different time of day. It was difficult to photograph the tablet explaining the sculpture but the following is what was inscribed there.


Diana Mandli
     MAGNIFICENT ASCENT

Capture for one moment - if you have the time to dream -
A slice of ocean, a hidden world teeming
With vibrance and enchantment, with creatures great and small,
Cascading in suspension
Paused, so that you might dream, and so cherish them.



Sculptor KENT ULLBERG
     Sailfish in Three Stages of Ascending

      Dedicated to the Florida marine environment, this fountain represents a section through an ocean wave.

      On the water’s surface, the Sailfish is shown in a conceptual stop action jump in three stages. Starting with the fish’s dorsal fin, or “sail,” the simulated action culminates with the regal, world-famous fish leaping clear.

      On all sides of the fountain, other members of the underwater community emerge from the waves. On the east side, a school of Ballyhoo and Mullet burst out, escaping the sailfish and a pair of predatory King Mackerel, a pod of Bottle-nosed Dolphins on the north side represent Florida’s marine mammals, and the endangered Ridley Sea Turtles appear on the south wall.

      Created in bronze, this composition has taken three years from conception to completion.

      It’s main element, the leaping Sailfish, is 31 feet high and weighs 10,000 pounds


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We took the elevator to the top of the parking garage from where we got the best possible view of the ship. Whilst there we saw another ship preparing for departure, all the passengers with their life jackets on receiving life saving drill on the deck. This was still going on as the ship left its berth and proceeded out of the harbor.
 
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We drove back along US-1 to a Mexican restaurant, La Bamba, where marguerites are half price on Tuesdays. We all ordered the same thing from the menu, Chicken fajitas - excellent - but too much food for one meal so we all asked for boxes to take home. We arrived home around 8:30 PM.

The day’s total - 0 miles
Trip Total - 1,726 miles

DAY 13 - Wednesday, March 17 - Boynton Beach

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Today is St. Patrick’s Day and I was thinking that thirty five years ago today LP and I were in New York City for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade which we watched from near St. Patrick’s Cathedral! My! How the years pass!
Today I am driving north to Boynton Beach. I have punched in the address on the GPS.
1,726.0 10:35 Leave to have lunch with Leanne, whom I knew in Lincoln through the International Women’s Club, and who now lives in Boynton Beach. I was “Off Route” very quickly as the GPS had routed me across to the Florida Turnpike, a toll road, rather than taking me north on I-95 (free). Since entering I-95 the GPS has been directing me to exit at every intersection where it would be possible to get to the turnpike!
1,732.5 Exit-39 is the Lighthouse Point and for Coral Springs, east to Lighthouse Point, where the Hillsboro Inlet lighthouse is, and west to Coral Springs, where Costco is located.
1,734.1 A noise barrier at the side of the road has the seagulls in it like there is further south, also a sailing boat. These designs add interest to an otherwise dull concrete wall!
1,735.7 Passing Exit-42A for Hillsboro Boulevard.
1,736.1 Finally, I think that the GPS has resigned to taking me on I-95. I will be leaving the interstate at Exit-57 for Boynton Beach Boulevard.
1,751.5 11:03 Leaving I-95, Exit-57. From here I will be turning west on Boynton Beach Boulevard.
1,754.0 A fenced-in community to the left with a solid white fence and behind that lots of oleanders in flower in quite a variety of colors.
1,754.4 Passing the entrance gate which had the name of Lime Tree on it.
1,754.6 End of the white fence.
1,754.8 Then a hedge and another community, “Green Tree Villas”.
1,756.5 Turned onto Jog Road North.
1,757.3 Crossing a canal - there are still canals of water all over the place here and there was one place called “Villas of Boynton Waters” or something like that.
1,757.9 Turned onto Gateway Boulevard and on the left is a wall of palm trees and you can’t see a thing through them, and on the right is a hedge and a fence, various kinds of trees and you can catch a glimpse of the roofs of houses.
1,758.9 Turning to the right onto Hagan Ranch Road.
1,759.1 Crossed over another canal.
1,759.2 Turning left on Estates Boulevard and I have turned into a gated community, which is where Leanne’s house is located.
It did not take me long to get to her place so I will drive around for a bit and come back nearer noon when we arranged to meet.
1,759.2 11:19 Turning around.
1,759.3 Turning back onto Hagan Ranch Road. From this road you really can’t see anything for the hedges on both sides with the homes all in various gated communities and many along canals.
1,760.5 A pelican flying overhead.
Whenever you get a view of the waterways it really is quite beautiful.
1,760.6 Now I am in a more open area and there is a waterway to the left with grass on each side of it and waterways to the right intermittent with homes backing onto them
1,761.1 11:20 Turned onto Hypoluxo Road, going east.
1,761.8 Back at Jog Road.
1,763.0 Large nurseries both sides of the road - beautiful tropical plants ... stopped at Haven Hill Road where I have decided to do an about turn.
1,763.3 11:26 Hypoluxo becomes a dead-end road just after crossing Hagan Ranch Road.
11:32 I am turning around ... I might as well do some exploring and go back south to Gateway, I believe, and perhaps take that west and see where that gets me!
1,766.7 11:35 Turning onto Hagan Ranch Road ... a sign by the water: Resident fishing only.
There are roundabouts along Hagan Ranch Road at the major intersections - interesting.
1,768.9 11:40 Gateway Boulevard roundabout, but going west it enters a gated community, so I wasn’t able to turn off there.
1,769.8 A bottlebrush tree in flower.
1,770.1 11:42 Back at Boynton Beach Road.
1,770.7 11:43 Going underneath the Florida Turnpike.
1,771.1 A nursery on the right hand side and maybe on the left, too.
1,771.8 Out in the country - a lot of construction along the road, but the land is undeveloped, but looks as if it is about to be developed - currently occupied by ranches.
1,772.8 11:47 Junction with US-441, north and south. I have crossed over US-441 and
1,772.9 am going to make a U-turn.
1,773.0 11:48 Waiting at the light for US-441.
1,775.1 11:52 Passing under the Turnpike.
1,775.7 11:53 Back at Hagan Ranch Road and waiting for the light to turn green.
1,777.3 11:57 Turning onto Estates Boulevard and at...........
1,777.3 Pulling up at the Gatehouse - I had to produce photo ID.
1,777.4 12 noon Leaving the gatehouse and turning onto Dorchester.
1,778.0 12:01 Arrive.
We left to go to a restaurant which Leanne thought was on the water.
1,785.8 Crossing over I-95 as we go out for lunch.
The first restaurant turned out not to be on the water, so Leanne suggested we go on south to Delray Beach.
1,794.0 Busch’s Seafood, 840 East Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
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Returning to Leanne’s she suggested we visit a nature trail which was not too far from where she lived.
1,809.0 3:26 - 4:02 Wakodahatchie Wetlands.
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1,816.0 4:19 - 4:25 Back at Leanne’s - we phoned Marsha, but only got her answering machine!
After leaving Leanne’s I went south on Hagan Ranch Road to Gateway, from there to Jog and south to Boynton Beach west to get onto the Turnpike. I think I could have come down Hagan Ranch Road.
1,820.5 4:38 Going under the Turnpike.
1,820.7 4:38 Stopped to pay toll.
1,821.4 It looks like sugar cane growing in the fields to the right.
1,825.9 4:44 Exit-81, Atlantic Avenue which goes east to Delray Beach - I’ve decided to leave the Turnpike. According to GPS it is 41 miles to go and 49 minutes, if I was to continue on the Turnpike. I decided to go to A1A or to I-95 but turned south on Jog Road when Atlantic appeared to be turning north!
1,832.2 Ibises at the side of the road. Mind you, there is water there as well.
1,834.3 Stopped at a traffic light to turn onto Glades Road East and this is right at the Boca Raton City Limit. There are six lanes of traffic coming up from Boca Raton two to do a left turn onto Jog Road, and I guess one to go south, one to go on Jog Road north. From this intersection it is actually Powerline Road going south and Jog Road north as well as Jog Road. Also on the other side of the intersection it is leaving Boca Raton City Limit.
1,835.8 5:10 Leaving Glades Road for the interstate.
1,836.3 On the interstate at interchange 45. There is so much traffic on the interstate that it is pretty well clogged and stopping and going a lot.
Exit-33 for Cypress Creek Road.
1,847.6 5:37 Left I-95. I am taking Cypress Creek Road to 18th Street and will soon be home after that.
1,850.0 5:44 “Home”, i.e. back at Zelda’s and Frank’s.
1,851.1 Publix.
 
1,852.0 2:54 GAS - Fort Lauderdale, FL - $1.779/gal. - 14.613 gals. - $26.00
 
1,852.4 Liquor Store.
1,853.0 Home.

The day’s total - 127 miles
Trip Total - 1,853 miles

DAY 14 - Thursday, March 18 - Birch Park

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It is 106 years today since my mother was born. I am in Fort Lauderdale at Zelda’s and Frank’s and we are going to Birch park.
1,853.0 11:25 Leave.
1,859.1 11:49 Entering the park ... a one-way loop road leads from the entrance north through the center of the park, then south along the Intracoastal Waterway. We stopped by the interpretive signs about the manatee and whilst here Zelda was on the phone for a considerable length of time with Tony regarding business.
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I wandered around, taking some pictures and confirmed that the Australian pines in the park are actually in the she-oak family, though they seemed to be a larger variety than the ones I remembered back in Australia. The cones were the same as those found around she-oaks and not pine cones.
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1,860.0 1:58 Leaving from a picnic lunch overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.
1,860.5 2:03 - 2:19 Walk south along waterfront looking for iguanas, but did not see any!
1,860.9 2:23 - 4:46 Stopped in the beach parking lot. We walked across to and spent a brief time in Birch’s house
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and from there we walked through the tunnel under A1A to reach the beach.
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I am amazed that this prime piece of real estate remains like an oasis in the midst of multi-million dollar buildings!
1,868.0 5:13 Home. I got my things ready for leaving next morning and packed the car except for a few last minute things.
In the evening we went to Shirttail Charlie’s for dinner by the water, that is over-looking the Intracoastal Waterway. It was very pretty at night. and a very nice way to conclude my stay in Fort Lauderdale with Zelda and Frank.

The day’s total - 15 miles
Trip Total - 1,868 miles

DAY 15 - Friday, March 19 - Lauderdale-By-The-Sea to St. Augustine

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1,868.0 8:15 Leave from Zelda’s and Frank’s to drive to St. Augustine.
I am on my way, but have not yet decided where I will return to the coast, but will drive north on I-95 for a while.
The traffic lights here in Fort Lauderdale, as well as in Miami, are very long lights, and I am finding that having to keep my foot on the brake for such long periods is really tough on my leg. I will be glad when I find out what is wrong and whether something can be done about it.
1,869.6 Start of the ramp up to I-95.
1,870.1 8:23 Joining I-95 North. It is fairly heavy with traffic, but not quite as heavy as the traffic going south.
1,873.3 The traffic going north seems worse now and is worse than the south-bound traffic.
1,880.8 The traffic has eased up somewhat and speed can be maintained without stopping and starting.
1,885.3 8:45 I have been on the road for half an hour now.
1,886.3 Entering Delray Beach.
1,893.5 8:54 Left the interstate at Boynton Beach Boulevard which is also FL-804, and which I will take east to the coast.
1,894.7 8:58 Junction with the Federal Highway or US-1.
1,895.3 I turned off US-1 at Martin King Boulevard and I am going to try to get on A1A.
1,895.5 That didn’t work so I will return to US-1 ... oh! I can see on my map why that didn’t work.
1,895.8 9:02 Back on US-1. The Intracoastal Waterway is the barrier preventing me from reaching A1A, so I need to find a bridge crossing.
1,897.1 Entering the town of Hypoluxo.
1,899.2 Turned off US-1and onto FL-812 and there is a bridge over the waterway now - it is called East Ocean Avenue.
1,900.0 9:08 At the corner turning onto A1A, which is lined with five to six-storey apartment buildings ... beautiful landscaping right to the road’s edge on both sides ... lots of flowering plants making for lots of color ... cut grass ... small hedges ... a very beautiful area.
1,900.7 Entering Palm Beach.
1,900.8 To the left of the road is the Intracoastal Waterway, but there are palm trees and hedges along the water’s edge and you get glimpses of the water ... there is a walkway with lots of elderly people taking morning walks ... apartment buildings to the right between the road and the ocean. It is gorgeous here.
1,902.4 After crossing a street which came across the bridge, A1A is lined with buildings on both sides and the magnificent gardens continue.
1,902.8 Back again on the waterfront of the Intracoastal Waterway with buildings on the right hand side only.
1,903.0 Now there are buildings on the left also.
1,903.1 A huge semicircular building about five storeys high with balconies going the full semicircle.
1,903.3 Driving through a golf course, that is the road goes through the middle of the golf course - Town of Palm Beach Golf Course.
1,904.0 Ocean Park on the right between the road and the ocean.
The flowering plants consist of oleanders, hibiscus and a tremendous amount of use is made of impatience for big blocks of color.
1,904.4 The road taking a turn east before going north again along the ocean front.
1,904.5 Driving along the ocean.
1,904.8 What look to be private homes, large, very large homes with interesting architecture - beautiful looking places and they do look out over the road to the ocean, or they can look over the Intracoastal waterway, and more than likely have boat docks at the back of them.
1,905.7 Leaving the oceanfront and turning west again before continuing north at .........
1,905.8 and now there are buildings on both sides of the road - this piece of land is a little wider than it was earlier. The road allowance is narrower and trees overhang the road and a lot of the homes have large mirrors by their driveways so they can see if there is any traffic when they are about to drive or back out.
1,906.6 Junction with US-98 where one could cross the Intracoastal Waterway to go to US-1, I-95 or the Turnpike, but I will stay on A1A.
Some of the entrances to some of these homes are unbelievable - tiles, tiled roofs, gates, arches, interesting chimneys - just fascinating.
1,907.2 Briefly back by the ocean.
1,907.3 Turning away from the water to continue on A1A and now I have very high hedges on both sides which block the view, some of bougainvillea all in flower, others, twelve high and manicured ... I just saw some morning glory ... it’s like driving through a canyon of hedges!
I think that I could have stayed by the ocean when A1A goes through the historic downtown center of Palm Beach. So I am going to turn back by the ocean now.
1,908.8 9:26 I’m going to turn back to the ocean now.
1,909.0 Back at the beach.
1,909.3 However, there are foundations being laid for a place on the right between the road and the beach and the road is going to turn in away from the beach, so I am going to have to return to A1A.
1,909.4 Going back to A1A.
1,909.6 9:30 Turning back onto A1A - A huge church on the corner.
1,909.7 A rather historic looking building as turned the corner and went past it - there is a historic marker for it, but there is nowhere to park, as is the case at many of the markers
“The Breakers” - a really huge building with towers, lovely grounds - must be a hotel,
Four avenues of palm trees, the road, one-way, between two, then a green median and the one-way road in the opposite direction between the other two rows of palms.
The reason for the turn is that, if you continue north along the peninsula, there is no bridge over the next inlet.
1,910.5 Starting to cross the Intracoastal Waterway.
1,910.8 End of crossing the water. Road construction started immediately after crossing the bridge and US-1 is on a detour. A1A and US-1 are the same road for a while. After this I think I should stay on US-1 and make some progress forward!
1,911.7 I’m stopped at a traffic light - am still in the area of construction and on the US-1 detour. The detour is through a grungy part of town, which looks kind of down after all the magnificent homes and buildings closer to the water.
1,912.6 Sign: End of Road Work, but there is no sign as to where the detour is supposed to go now!
1,913.2 Passing through a historic district, single family homes, most of them quite attractive and well kept, and now at Broadway Avenue a traffic light, and I think I am back on US-1 again.
1,913.3 9:43 Off the detour and turned onto US-1 ... I have decided to go back to I-95 for a while and at ........
1,913.8 9:44 Stopped at a traffic light and am now turning to go to I-95.
1,915.0 9:48 - 9:52 Pulled off the road at a McDonald’s on 45th Street while I have a look at the map!
1,916.2 Start of the ramp for the interstate at interchange 74.
1,916.7 9:56 On I-95.
1,922.2 A lot more construction, particularly on the road going towards the coast. Florida’s population is exploding!
Well! There is nothing to see along this route - green cut grass in the wide median and trees beyond the cut grass at the side of the road beyond the shoulder. Occasionally the road crosses a canal. Otherwise there is nothing to see!
1,933.6 Suddenly there are some citrus groves, probably orange trees.
1,933.9 A lot of beehives stacked up along a canal, probably used for pollinating the trees. It looks as if the groves may go on for miles.
1,934.6 It is interesting how the trees are pruned - they look like long rows of hedges, one after the other - I suppose this is done to make it easier to pick the fruit. Yes, miles of orange groves
1,938.4 “End of Interstate 95 Service Patrol”.
And the orange groves continue.
1,945.3 10:20 Exit-102, the exit for Palm City and I am leaving I-95 once more, and I am hoping to get onto a road that goes straight north rather than winding in a northwesterly direction as I-95 does.
There is another freeway to my left, but so far I have not seen any entrances onto it yet. I am on a two-way traffic road, then there is a fence to my left then the other freeway, but I don’t know when I will be able to get onto it!
1,948.5 Junction with CR-714. Ha! Ha! Ha! The road I thought that I was going to get onto is actually the Turnpike! So I will be going out to I-95 again. I think I will turn around and find US-1 because I-95 is a long way away!
1,949.3 10:26 Turned around.
1,949.7 Back at the entrance for the Turnpike and turning onto CR-714.
1,949.8 10:27 Welcome to Palm City.
1,952.7 Starting to cross St. Lucie River South Fork.
1,953.1 Off the bridge.
1,953.4 Passing an interesting cemetery where there are big slabs of rock above the ground. I’m still on CR-714 when I should actually have turned onto FL-76 - it would have been a little shorter to US-1, but this will still get me there.
1,954.4 10:37 Junction with US-1.
1,956.5 Starting to rise up on a bridge, a high bridge, over a wide expanse of water, the St. Lucie Inlet. In the distance to my right forward there are some tall buildings, which must be on the coast.
1,957.3 A marina to my right.
1,957.5 Starting to descend.
1,957.6 End of the bridge.
US-1 in Florida is bad news! It just goes from one town to the next, pretty well built up all the way and 45 mph, so I will have to return to the interstate at some point so I can make some headway!
1,971.1 Entering Fort Pierce City Limit.
1,972.3 11:10 Traffic stopped at a railway crossing as a train goes by.
Turning onto FL-70 to try to return to I-95 otherwise I will never get to St. Augustine in time!
1,973.4 When I left this morning the odometer was showing 1,868.0 miles so I have done 105.4 miles in almost three hours!
1,973.5 11:14 Turning.
1,975.4 Okeechobee is 33 miles.
1,977.4 Start of the ramp onto I-95.
1,977.8 11:23 Entered I-95 at Exit-130.
1,982. Back amongst orange groves, mile upon mile of them ... traffic is still pretty heavy.
1,987.5 11:31 Daytona Beach is still 123 miles.
1,989.5 Entering Indian River County - this is where some of the wonderful grapefruit comes from.
1,991.1 Passing a landfill site and there are a large number of vultures flying overhead.
1,998.3 Burned trees to the left of the road - it looks as if there has been a bushfire.
2,009.6 Crossing a large canal.
2,015.8 11:53 Looking at the GPS there appears to be a large area of canals and waterways and there is a sign at the side of the road: “A Town Being Built For You.” Maybe they will all be waterfront homes!
Also to the left I can see a lot of dead trees from bushfires.
2,017.6 11:55 Leaving the interstate for a Rest Area.
2,018.0 11:56-12:08 Rest Area. I took time whilst here to enter the address of the Days Inn in St. Augustine where I has a reservation and from there it was going to be just over 2 hours and 20 minutes and, I think, 130 miles.
Maybe after I am north of Daytona, I will consider leaving the interstate and going out to the coast.
171.3 Tall posts in place ready for dropping in sound barrier and beyond that is a large trailer park.
2,023.9 Jacksonville is only 174 miles from here.
2,024.1 Crossing another large canal.
Passing a truck with a most ridiculously wide load, level on the left hand side of the truck and sticking out about 3 feet on the right hand side - very unbalanced!
2,037.4 For some reason the traffic has slowed to 55 mph - there are surveyors working in the middle, but outside of that I can’t see any reason for the slow down from 70 mph.
2,041.9 Goodness knows what all the construction is out to the left - buildings, roads.
2,042.3 Jacksonville 156.
Acre upon acre upon acre to the left of construction.
2,062.0 12:45 Passing Exit-212 for FL-407 to the Kennedy Space Center and my destination is now 104 miles in 1 hour and 41 minutes.
2,065.9 12:48 Exit-215 for Titusville, also another exit for the Kennedy Space Center.
2,070.4 12:52 Exit-220 for Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
2,074.1 A big billboard at the side of the road: “Thank the Lord for George and Jeb Bush”
A sign at the side of the road: Lights and wipers on during rain. I can understand a reminder about having lights on, but wipers!
2,079.9 I am continuing to see signs for Indian River Fruit and it was a long way back when I first mentioned entering Indian River County and am still seeing signs for fruit.
2,081.5 A lot of trunks, still standing, of ,many dead trees both sides of the road.
2,085.4 Can’t see anything for trees both sides of the road - the trees are so thick now, in the median as well, you can’t even see the south-bound traffic - there are palms, pines, deciduous trees, some vines draping over the trees - I have no idea what they are other than the palms and pines!
2,089.4 A State Trooper at the side of the road, just as I came around a bend and the car that was going to whiz by me decided to pull in behind!
2,105.8 A sign: Daytona Area Beaches the next 6 exits, and there is a sign for Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, but I can’t stop at any of these - I need to get to St. Augustine. It is 11 miles out to the lighthouse if I had got off at that exit, Exit-256.
2,112.1 Exit-260 - the junction with I-4 to Orlando.
2,112.9 I can see the big grandstand at what is probably the Daytona car racing track.
2,114.2 Road work the next 16 miles.
2,120.1 Crossing a large river, the Tomoka River.
2,123.3 Men working on the road and the traffic is moving along at about 30 mph at the moment. The median is lined with large pipes which are going to be put underground.
2,130.9 It looks as if the road work is finished and the speed has increased to 70 mph.
A billboard for a Russell Stover chocolate outlet at the next exit, Exit-284 for Palm Coast, also for Flagler Beach.
2,135.6 1:48 Passing Exit-284.
2,145.9 Lots of dead trees with large birdnests in them and osprey or hawks sitting in them.
I have been and am seeing a lot of cars from Ontario.
2,150.3 2:00 Leaving I-95 at Exit-298 (GPS - Exit-92) for US-1, a four-lane divided road to St. Augustine - 17 miles.
Huge fruit stands after leaving the freeway, selling 3 lbs. pecans for $1.25, bags of oranges for $1.00 - a beautiful display.
2,151.0 An unusual sight - a vulture right down on the ground. They are usually circling around overhead!
2,154.4 A young pine forest to the right. The ditch along the side of the road is full of water.
2,155.4 A young pine forest to the left, but also the trunks of dead trees scattered throughout the forest.
2,155.9 Young pine forests both sides of the road. There is still water in the ditch and bulrushes growing.
2,157.4 A traffic light at the junction with FL-206, and crossing the intersection St. Augustine is 10 miles, Jacksonville 48 miles
Big azalea shrubs in flower - lots of houses have then in their gardens.
2,162.9 I have passed St. Augustine Shores and now the road is lined with businesses.
2,163.5 Stopped for a traffic light and I can see more traffic lights ahead. I still have 5.3 miles to my destination.
2,165.3 St. Augustine is still 3 miles and I’m stopped for another traffic light.
2,166.7 2:22 Welcome To St. Augustine Founded 1565.
2,169.0 2:28 Arrive at Days Inn.
2,169.1 2:42 Checked in and outside my room, #177.
3:20 I am leaving for the lighthouse.
The traffic is absolutely horrendous and I’m not sure what road I am on at the moment - there are some very old buildings in this historic town - probably better to be walking around rather than driving.
I believe that I am on King Street.
2,172.4 3:40 I can now see The Bridge of Lions.
2,174.0 3:45 Arrived at the lighthouse and was lucky enough to get a close parking space. I went on the first shuttle into St. Augustine for the dinner. I sat at a table with a couple from Flint, Michigan, who had flown down just for the weekend, and with another couple who lived nearby in Jacksonville.
After dinner a shuttle took us back to the lighthouse where champagne and cake was served in the grassed area between the lighthouse and the keeper’s quarters


     Keeper’s Quarters

     The frame structure was built in 1887, replacing the first quarters which was smaller. This design was standard for light stations in the south and was used at several locations in Florida. The building was spacious and provided lodgingd for Lighthouse Coast Guard and Navy personnel until it was opened as a museum in 1966


now a museum. I picked up the two lighthouses which I had ordered in advance, the St. Augustine Lighthouse, the special Regional Event piece, and The Three Sisters, Massachusetts, event special and I had them signed.
2,175.9 Start of The Bridge of Lions over the Intracoastal Waterway - this is on my way back from the lighthouse.
2,176.2 End of the bridge.
2,178.0 9:31 Back at Days Inn - end of the day.

The day’s total - 310 miles
Trip Total - 2,178 miles

DAY 16 - Saturday, March 20 - St. Augustine

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2,178.0 9:00 Leave the motel and decided to get gas right away.
 
2,179.0 GAS - St. Augustine, FL - $1.699/gal. - 14.126 gals. - $24.00
 
2,179.4 Driving back past Days Inn - I thought that I would return to the motel so I can plan what I will do from here. This morning I will ignore The Bridge of Lions detour!
2,180.0 Passing the turnoff for A1A North, the road I will be taking when I leave tomorrow. I was able to find a parking spot along the waterfront so I could walk through some of the old city streets.
2,182.0 9:22 - 10:06 Walk around the old streets of St. Augustine.
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After leaving the waterfront I am driving through the downtown area with its narrow streets so I can be on the right road to go across the bridge.
2,182.7 10:16 Waiting to get across The Bridge of Lions.
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The drawbridge was up to allow boats to go through. The bridge has banners flying from all the lamp posts - the banners have black and white stripes in the top left hand corner and going down to the right and superimposed over that is the red top of the St. Augustine lighthouse.
10:17 The bridge has gone down and the barriers are just going up.
10:19 Starting to cross the bridge.
2,183.0 10:20 End of the bridge. Daytona is 54 miles, St. Augustine Beach 5 miles.
2,185.0 10:26 - 4:14 St. Augustine Lighthouse.
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The day was spent visiting with other lighthouse collectors, checking out the gift shop and lining up to get lighthouses signed by Bill Yonger, his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Kim. I actually waited in line for two hours with the lighthouses I had brought from home.
I also walked through the park to the pier to look for the foundations of the old original lighthouse.
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Whilst there I bought my lunch from a vendor outside the Lighthouse Restaurant, barbecue ribs, beans and potato salad, which was very good. I sat in the park to eat my lunch before returning to the lighthouse.
Browsing in the gift shop I decided on buying two more lighthouses, namely the Cape Florida one which I had seen with Zelda and Frank when we went to Key Biscayne, and the Mackinac, Michigan lighthouse. I then stood in line again to get these signed. This was quite a long wait because the signing was interrupted when it was time for the drawing for all the prizes. I did not win anything.
When the lighthouse event finished I decided I would take a drive to St. Augustine Beach before returning to the motel. My leg is really giving me a lot of pain and I think I thought that I had made a big error over my lighthouses because I left the two event pieces at the motel Saturday and could not remember having them signed and they had not been pre-signed! Before leaving the lighthouse I asked Kim if I could make some arrangements to send them to El Cajon could they be signed for me! Back at the motel I discovered that they were signed so realized that I had them signed Friday evening, and yet I have no recollection about it!
2,188.0 4:24 - 4:59 St. Augustine Beach. As a senior (over 60) I did not have to pay to walk on the fishing pier. It would also have been free if I had wanted to fish! It was 50¢ for anyone over 6 for sightseeing, $1.00 for anyone up to 12 years for fishing, and for 12 and over $2.00 for fishing, a maximum of two rods per person. I enjoyed walking out to the end where I saw some pelicans and watched people fishing.
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After leaving the beach and returning to St. Augustine, I drove through some of the residential areas before getting back as far as the lighthouse - lots of Spanish moss on live oak trees, lots of azaleas blooming, secluded areas and at the moment am driving along a gravel street, all very, very pretty. There was someone practicing with their fishing pole in one of these streets and as I drove past she was holding the rod with the line going up into the trees and she calls out to me, “I caught a tree!”.
2,190.4 5:06 St. Augustine City Limit ... also as I drive along this stretch of road, A1A, on my way back into town the lighthouse is directly in front of me, but wont be for long because just after the turnoff for the lighthouse, A1A goes around a corner.
2,191.8 5:08 Stopped in traffic, a big lineup waiting to get across the bridge even though I am nowhere near the bridge yet!
2,192.6 5:13 Finally, on the bridge.
2,193.0 5:18 - 5:54 Castillo San Marcos National Monument. I was too late to tour this over three hundred year old structure, but I did walk all the way around it.
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I was fascinated by the building material used and am somewhat surprised that it has withstood the ravages of time. However, I don’t think it will last as long as the castles in Europe!
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After leaving from Castillo San Marcos I drove north and east on A1A to Vilano Beach and back before returning to the motel.
2,194.2 6:00 Turning off San Marcos onto May Street, A1A, and this is where I will be going tomorrow morning when I leave.
2,194.6 I am driving on a causeway over marshlands.
2,195.0 I have turned around to go back to look at a historic marker.
2,195.2 Turning off the highway - it was a marker about the bridge over which I will be driving to cross the Intracoastal Waterway.
2,195.2 6:05 Leaving after taking a picture to return to the highway.
2,195.3 Back on A1A.
2,195.6 Start of the bridge ... I can see the lighthouse from here ... and there is a pelican flying right at the edge of the bridge.
2,195.9 The crest of the bridge and from here you can look out to the Atlantic Ocean.
There are motels and homes over this side, Vilano Beach.
2,196.4 At a T-junction and I’m going to turn south to Vilano Beach Town Center first.
2,196.9 End of the road - Vilano Beach Public Pier.
2,197.0 Dead end where there are some beautiful private homes, not big mansions, but very nice homes.
2,197.4 Back where I turned down to go to the beach and I am passing a pretty swank Hampton Inn.
So much for Vilano!
2,197.7 I am back at the stop sign and I am going to return to St, Augustine now.
2,197.9 Start of the bridge ... there’s a dock below me with a lot of pelicans and a few other birds as well.
2,198.7 End of the bridge.
2,198.9 Entering St. Augustine City Limit.
2,199.3 In among the houses, single family homes, with lovely trees and gardens.
2,199.9 Another grand Hampton Inn, this one in St. Augustine.
2,200.2 Turning onto Picolata Street.
2,200.0 6:20 Back at Days Inn Room 177 - end of the day.

The day’s total - 22 miles
Trip Total - 2,200 miles

DAY 17 - Sunday, March 21 - St. Augustine to Memphis

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2,200.0 7:10 Checked out and leaving Days Inn with the intention of going north into Georgia before turning west towards Memphis. I want to go north along a part of A1A which I have not previously traveled.
2,202.3 7:18 - 7:27 Old City Gate and Mill, Orange and George Streets ... I wanted to stop here before leaving town as I had missed seeing the Old City Gate yesterday.
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One of the things that is so fascinating around here is the rock which has been used. It consists of compacted sea shells and looks as if it would be very unstable.
2,202.4 I have turned around to take A1A over the bridge ... there were a number of ibis across the road pecking at the grass.
2,203.3 7:30 Turning off San Marcos onto A1A - actually I am turning with A1A! And until I get across the bridge and turn north I will have the sun right in my eyes!
2,204.3 7:32 The start of the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway.
2,205.1 End of the bridge.
2,205.2 7:33 At the T-junction and turning north. The houses to the right look out over the ocean, for the most part single storey houses, whilst the houses or apartments on the left tend to be two storeys looking out over the top of the single storey places. They are all built on sand dines.
2,206.2 For a while the road is right against the ocean with boardwalks going over the sand dunes.
2,206.5 Road back between houses and ahead are two pedestrian overpasses from two communities of villas onto the beach - the Villas of Vilano.
2,208.5 Entering South Ponte Vedra Beach, and there is a row of gorgeous places to the right and all sorts of apartments to the left.
2,209.6 A house on the left has a screened-in pool.
2,210.8 Sign: Unlawful to Pick Sea Oats ... I don’t know what those are.
2,211.7 Whilst there are still houses on the right there are only sand dunes on the left, but the dunes are covered in greenery, palms and other trees, so you can barely see the sand.
2,212.9 Entrance to a State park, the Guana River State Park, that is to the left and is more than likely on the Intracoastal Waterway - actually looking at the GPS it looks to be a long lake (but is also the Intracoastal Waterway).
There are houses all along this long strip of land between the ocean and the lake and they are not just cottages.
2,216.2 Entering Guana River State Park and the houses have stopped.
2,217.9 A cardinal sitting on a shrub at the side of the road.
2,219.2 Six Mile Landing - boat ramp for boats going into the lake.
2,219.6 Beach parking.
2,220.4 Must be the end of the park because houses have started again - large homes with security gates, both sides of the road. Actually the ones on the left have long driveways going in through trees whilst the ones on the right have the security gates.
Old Ponte Vedra Beach is a community, again with gates.
The road has been a long straight road the entire way since turning onto it from the bridge and now at ..........
2,222.6 it is turning inland away from the coast ... supermarkets, , Walgreens -Sawgrass I think might be the name of it - business buildings.
2,226.6 Houses along canals ... fountains ... Ponte Vedra East, so it is all still part of Ponte Vedra - Ponte Vedra Beach, so Sawgrass and Ponte Vedra Valley are names of different areas.
2,229.3 Junction with FL-202 and I am still in the 45 mph area ... a professional park.
2,230.0 Speed down to 35 mph.
2,230.6 And now I am in Ponte Vedra. This now looks to be an older settlement. Also I am not very far away from the beach again and there are a number of apartment buildings, maybe up to 12 storeys or more
2,232.0 A sign for: Jacksonville Beach.
2,232.5 Junction with US-90 West, the eastern terminus of this highway, the western terminus being in Van Horn, Texas.
2,232.6 Jacksonville Beach City Hall, just passed.
2,233.9 Welcome to Neptune Beach.
2,235.1 The junction with FL-10 and at this point I have to take a left turn because the road doesn’t go any further - a red light - Starbucks Coffee straight ahead - again a lot of businesses, mortgage places, markets, bakeries, all sorts of things, Walgreens, restaurants.
2,235.1 8:13 Turning. Mayport is now 6 miles and Jacksonville 18 miles.
2,235.8 Speed increased to 45 mph ... A1A North needs to be in the right lane.
2,236.4 A big overpass as I turn off FL-10 to Jacksonville on A1A. There was a sign for the St. Johns River Ferry, but I could not see how much it was going to be! It looks as if there may be businesses and home all the way out to Mayport
2,238.7 Another turnoff to go to Mayport whilst the road straight ahead goes to the Naval Station.
2,239.9 I think I have left the houses behind now.
2,240.3 Crossing a waterway and in the distance to the west I think I can see the cables for the big bridge in Jacksonville. Since crossing that waterway I have come to a large expanse of water and there is a large ship going up the river and the road is running along the bank of the river.
Besides ships there are lots of fishing vessels, a casino, seafood markets.
2,242.1 A house decked in rope and with statues of many different kinds of birds.
2,242.3 Driving directly onto the ferry.
2,242.1 8:27 On the ferry. My arrival at the ferry terminal coincided with cars driving onto the ferry so I had no time to look around nor see the lighthouse here - cost: $2.75.
8:30 Leaving and pelicans are flying overhead as the ferry sets out to cross the St. Johns River. From the ferry A1A will continue north on the east side of the Intracoastal Waterway.
I did catch a glimpse of the Mayport lighthouse. The St. Johns river is quite broad and a very large bridge would be required to cross it, especially since it would have to be high enough for ocean going vessels to pass under it.
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8:36 That’s a pretty short ride. The ferry has arrived on the north side of the river
8:37 Driving off the ferry.
2,242.5 8:39 - 8:41 Stopped to try to take a picture looking back to the lighthouse.
2,242.6 Amelia Island 10 miles.
2,243.7 Crossing a river which is connected to the St. Johns River - in through marshlands.
2,244.1 Road construction at each end of a large bridge over the Fort George River.
2,244.5 Start of the bridge - straight ahead of me it looks as if I am facing out to the Atlantic Ocean. There is a sandbar on the other side of the river.
2,245.0 End of the bridge ... ship at sea ... fishermen along the shoreline ... lots of surf ... sandbars jutting out into the water ... no parking anywhere along the road.
2,245.8 End of road work ... the sand in the dunes to the right of the road are fairly white ... two cyclists, one going each way ... can’t see the water any more for the sand dunes and the trees ans shrubs growing in them.
2,247.6 However, there is a turnoff here for Little Talbot Island State Park which is probably along the waterfront.
2,247.9 There are big pine trees, tall palms.
2,248.1 Marshlands with reeds and egrets.
2,248.3 More marshlands, with lots of water, and all kinds of birds in among the grasses.
2,248.7 Back into trees again, which also consist of the live oaks and those, more than the pine trees, often have Spanish moss hanging from them.
2,250.0 Another cyclist going south. There is also a creeper that grows up over the trees and I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually kills the trees, but it is not big-leafed like the kudzu. There is cut grass from the shoulder back to the tree line on both sides.
2,252.3 More marshlands.
2,252.7 Start of the bridge over Nassau Sound, a very wide crossing again and looking out to the right I am looking out to sea; to the left is a much older bridge, probably not in use for cars any more, but there are a lot of people along the bridge fishing.
What an amazing area!
2,253.7 8:56 End of the bridge and driving onto Amelia Island. There are some large houses further up river to my left.
2,254.6 8:57 Turned around to go back to Amelia Island State Park in the hope of possibly finding the lighthouse!
2,255.2 8:58 Turning into the park. Well there is no lighthouse here and I had to pay $1.00 to get in, so that is a dollar down the drain!
2,255.8 9:03 Back on the highway and continuing north on A1A.
2,256.4 9:04 Back to the point where I turned around.
2,256.6 Good grief! Big multi-storey buildings - apartments - Amelia and Seaside Resorts, also a golf course.
2,257.4 Another pedestrian overpass.
2,258.1 Entering a beautifully landscaped area - azaleas, begonias in flower, all kinds of plants, gorgeous looking. and going round a landscaped roundabout.
2,258.3 Another roundabout.
2,258.4 A sign to I-95. Expensive gated communities.
2,259.6 A mass of azaleas in flower. The buildings, homes, apartments, whatever they are on my left, are all facing out on a river.
2,261.6 The turnoff for I-95, but I am going back towards the beach.
2,262.2 Fernandina Beach City Limit. The road is through sand dunes with houses both sides, and between the houses are a number of boardwalks over the dunes to the beach. As well as houses there are multi-storey buildings of apartments or condos.
I think that I might as well give up on the lighthouse because i am not going to be able to see it.
2,265.1 9:18 Turned around.
2,265.6 9:19 Turning onto Sadler Road at a roundabout.
2,265.7 Passing Best Western Inn at Amelia Island on Nassau County Road 108, so that is “Goodbye” to the ocean until I get to Pensacola in the middle of next month (this was to have been with LP on a business trip but was canceled).
Gas up here is $1.69, cheaper than in the more densely populated areas!
2,266.9 9:22 Junction of Sadler Road with A1A, so I did get off route somewhere!
2,267.4 9:22 - 9:24 Pulling into a parking lot while I check out the map, because now that I have left the ocean I need to make sure that I am on the right road. I think I am going in the right direction ...... I still am not sure I am heading in the right direction! So, if I waste a bit of time, I waste a bit of time!
This has been an old resort area - some very old looking homes, rather attractive.
2,269.6 9:30 I’ve turned around and it is obvious that I have to go back until I find FL-200 West. I am driving currently in Fernandina - there is a port here, an historic district, so it is a very old area.
2,269.9 9:31 A stop light at Atlantic Avenue and I am seeing signs for A1A, also FL-200 West, also Evacuation Route is straight ahead so there is no outlet from this area. Fernandina is on the southern side of St. Marys Entrance and east of the Intracoastal Waterway.
2,272.2 9:34 Back at Sadler Road where I turned north on this road.
2,273.2 Passing the turnoff for the road along which I would have come if I had followed the route to I-95 (see 2,261.6).
2,273.8 Start of the bridge over Amelia River (also the Intracoastal Waterway) and leaving Amelia Island ... the waterways in this part of the country are just amazing.
2,274.4 End of the bridge.
2,274.9 Lots of flowers in the median - look a bit like Sweet William flowers - just beautiful. Most of these bridges are fairly high, because, not being drawbridges, they need to be high enough for boats to pass below them.
After crossing Amelia River the road became a four-lane divided highway, but there are traffic lights at the intersections.
2,279.4 Passing a lot of deciduous trees, some which are leafing out and are a pretty green and others which are getting the reddish-pink catkins on them.
2,279.8 Crossing a river way. I still have pain in my leg but it is not as bad as when I first set out.
2,281.6 9:45 The junction with US-17 and I am turning onto that off FL-200 in the town of Yulee. US-17 will take me to I-95 further north than if I stayed on A1A ... Brunswick, Georgia, is 57 miles and somewhere near there I will be turning onto US-82.
A sign for: “Family Practice Center” ... that just struck me as being funny!
I am out of the town now and driving on a two-lane road in a northwesterly direction among trees, for the most part pine trees but there are others as well, including live oaks.
2,284.1 Pine forest both sides of the road.
2,284.2 A home in the woods with wisteria in flower, also a red bud tree. The pain is coming back again. Junction with I-95 just ahead.
2,288.5 Turning onto the ramp (Exit-380). Besides palms in the median there are also crepe myrtles.
2,289.1 9:54 On I-95.
2,290.6 Waterways and marshlands both sides of the road ... Brunswick is 32 miles.
2,291.0 The start of a bridge over a waterway - the St. Marys River, which appears to originate in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness Area and forms the State Line between Florida and Georgia from there to the St. Marys Entrance at Fernandina.
2,291.3 End of the bridge and entering Georgia.
2,291.9 9:56 Leaving the highway for the Georgia Welcome Center.
2,293.0 9:58 - 10:06 Rest Area and Georgia Welcome Center. From here it is a very long ramp to return to the interstate.
2,293.6 10:08 Back on the interstate ... billboards and trees are about the only things to see!
Unleaded gas $1.55.
2,299.3 Crossing Crooked River which has reeds or grasses on each side of it in the marshland area. The interstate is 3 lanes each way with a minimum speed of 40 mph and maximum 70 mph.
2,307.6 Start of the bridge over the Satilla River.
2,307.9 End of the bridge and again there are the flat grassy marshes either side of the river. I had forgotten about these extensive marshes which I first saw when Stu and I took our trip to Florida in April 1992. (See 1992 April)
2,309.9 Signs on the road, one on each shoulder: Smoke and Fog ahead.
Beyond the trees along the road are swamp lands, certainly out to the right and maybe some to the left, but there have also been some pine forests. You just catch a glimpse every now and then of what is beyond the barrier of trees.
The bad pain has gone away again.
2,313.7 Crossing the bridge over White Creek, pretty wide for a creek.
2,313.9 The bridge ends.
2,316.7 Pine forests both sides of the road ... pain back again! The police are out, maybe to catch Canadians! There are enough of them, Canadians, down here!
2,319.4 One here with a stopped car, and there is one going in the opposite direction.
2,320.7 Crossing Little Satilla River, and again there is a vast expanse of grassland or marshes.
2,320.9 The end of the bridge. I will be leaving the highway at Exit 29 for US-82.

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2,322.0 10:31 Left I-95 at Exit-29.
2,322.5 I now believe that I am on US-82 West, a highway which ends in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and most of which I will have driven after completing this current trip.
Lots of houses have wisteria in flower and azaleas. At the moment there are a number of houses both sides of the road ... two trees in blossom by a church ... but I suspect this road will pass through quite a lot of countryside ... some Canada geese in someone’s yard ... the road has started out as a four-lane divided highway, but I don’t think that lasts all the way across.
I have just given the GPS a job, namely to calculate how far I am from home and how long it would take me!
2,327.3 10:38 It’s 783 miles and 12 hours to home!
2,334.0 Red buds in flower in the forest, also on the other side of the road that creeper covered in yellow flowers.
2,336.2 Gas $1.59.
2,336.5 Entering Waynesville.
2,337.9 Gas $1.57.
2,338.0 A beautiful red bud tree. US-82 is also an evacuation route away from the coast.
2,342.3 Crossing a river.
2,342.5 Start of crossing the Satilla River.
2,342.7 End of crossing the river and there is a river at the side of the road ... there is also water in the ditch. The reddish-pink leaves or catkins that are on some of the trees are very pretty.
2,343.5 Crossing another waterway ... this one looks more marshy.
2,344.2 Lulaton and just ahead a sign for a Turkey Shoot ... wisteria in flower, blossom trees.
2,344.6 A fruit stall with oranges and grapefruit.
2,345.0 Passing a truck pulling a large caravan then a trailer with a boat on it!
2,348.1 Cypress and pine mulch - all bagged up probably to go to nurseries.
2,348.9 Nahunta (County Seat) City Limit ... am also starting to see some magnolia trees.
2,349.7 A traffic light ... gas $1.56 ... and a lot of wisteria.
2,350.5 Dogwood trees in flower ... wisteria looks as if it grows very freely - you see it draped over all different kinds of places.
2,354.7 Passing through pine forests, one where the trees have been cut down, another where young trees are growing.
2,355.6 There is a fire tower ... there is a large dogwood tree covered in blossom at the base of the fire tower.
2,357.5 An open field where hay has been cut.
2,357.8 End of the divided road.
2,358.1 Entering Hoboken City Limit.
2,358.4 My GPS has just done a recalculation and now I have 734 miles to go -11 hours and 45 minutes - I’m still not sure what route that will be on!
2,359.2 Trees draped with Spanish moss, wisteria over everything, more blossom trees - it is springtime and everything is just coming to life.
Finally the GPS is going to take me on US-82 for quite some distance.
2,360.2 US-82 is four-lane divided again ... wisteria, dogwood, azaleas and other trees that were in blossom, all giving much color to the landscape.
2,363.9 Lots of water in the ditch again.
2,364.6 Back into pine forests and turnoff for Okefenokee Swamp. I had intended going in there, but if I am going to make it home tonight I need to keep on track!
Waycross is now 9 miles ... I’m not sure when it happened, but the median has gone and we have slowed down.
2,371.1 The turnoff for US-1 South.
2,371.7 Entering Waycross (County Seat) City Limit ... coming up the junction with US-1 and US-23 ...
2,372.1 US-1 north goes straight ahead ... the dogwoods and wisteria look very lovely side by side ... a big two-storey house which has had a nasty fire in it - all burned out.
I can see on the GPS now that I am supposed to follow US-82 until I get to I-75.
2,375.4 Passing the entrance to Waycross College - beautiful grounds - you can hardly see the college for the pine forest which has all the underbrush cleared out.
2,376.2 Divided highway starts again, a policeman sitting in the median right at that point!
2,377.6 Passing what looks to be an army or air force scrap heap - bits of old planes and various other things ... there were even old looking tents!
2,379.6 Another turnoff for US-1 North. It is now 65 miles to the junction with I-75.
2,381. Flat cultivated fields with a big sprinkler system.
2,383.0 A house completely surrounded with dogwood trees in blossom and a tall pine tree with wisteria in bloom right up to the top of it.
2,383.4 A field of purple flowers with a few yellow ones scattered in it - I don’t know what it would be but it is a vivid splash of color.
Acres and acres of pine forest ... the land seems to be getting more hilly now, but just gently rolling hills.
2,390.6 Another cultivated field and over to the right a large pond or dam and cattle grazing on green grass ... dogwood trees totally decked out in white and looking absolutely magnificent.
2,393.4 Entering Millwood, unincorporated ... end of the median down the middle.
2,394.3 Start of the median and road divided again ... “Speeds are checked by detection devices”.
2,398.1 Entering Axson, unincorporated, and there is no reduction of speed nor the median taken away here, but there are quite a number of houses stretched out along the road on the left hand side ... to the right there is a swamp area.
2,399.6 A number of sheds, long narrow ones, to the right with large fans working in them - either for pigs or chickens! After that the road is back into pine forests again, acres and acres.
2,404.8 11:55 Entering Pearson (County Sear) City Limit.
2,407.9 More long sheds.
2,408.9 Entering Kirkland, unincorporated.
12 noon It is 11 hours to home - 682 miles, but that is on a route other than US-82, because as soon as I get to Tifton, the GPS is expecting me to take I-75!
2,416.0 A cultivated field but it doesn’t look as if anything has been planted yet ... whenever there is a break in the forest there seems to be a home and farming.
2,417.7 Passing the Public Library which is located in the old railway station, a rather attractive looking building.
2,418.6 Another mass of wisteria going high up in the trees.
2,419.7 Deep pink flowers in the median - I don’t know what they are because I can’t tell just driving past - and continuing for some distance.
2,421.3 Some small bald cypress trees in water.
2,421.5 Crossing the Willacoocgee River.
2,421.7 Crossing another piece of water.
2,422.4 A pond covered in water lilies and a blue heron standing in the middle of it.
2,423.1 A small vineyard to the left.
2,424.3 A long field to the left covered in purplish-pink flowers, followed by pine forest.
2,425.5 Green fields with irrigation system at the side.
2,427.4 A turnoff for pecans ... I thought that I had seen some pecan trees, but wasn’t sure so with this sign I now know that pecans grow in this area.
2,427.5 Crossing the Alapaha River.
2,428.9 Alapaha City Limit.
2,435.2 Dixon Gin Company, and again I hadn’t been sure, but I thought I had seen cotton fields back further - all those cultivated fields.
2,435.5 12:25 Enigma City Limit ... also at that point there was a sign up for “Moonshine jelly”.
2,436.3 Gas $1.52.
2,437.1 A driveway flanked by Bradford pears both sides, but their blossom has already finished and have their leaves.
2,438.5 An old cotton gin on the right.
2,438.8 Entering Tift County and the town of Tifton is just ahead.
2,439.6 Brookfield, unincorporated.
2,440.2 654 miles to go, 10 hours 25 minutes ... GPS is turning me off this highway shortly so I just wanted to note this information!
Still seeing dogwood and red bud trees and wisteria, but I haven’t been seeing as many azaleas - crataegus Mexicana and spirea in someone’s garden.
2,445.2 649 miles to go and 10 hours, 19 minutes.
2,447.0 12:37 Entering Tifton (County Seat) City Limit, and I have 647 miles to go.
2,448.0 645 miles/10 hours 15 minutes at the junction with I-75.
Tifton, pop. 15,060 - there are all kinds of restaurants, gas stations, motels ... and now I am “Off Route” ... it is 79°.
2,450.5 A cardinal just flew across the road.
2,453.0 Lots of open fields.
2,453.3 A white railing fence, stables and a number of horses - “Windy Hill Stables”.
2,454.1 Lots of open fields interspersed with pine forests.
Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway.
Entering Ty Ty City Limit.
2,458.5 A house on the right decorated ready for Easter with bunnies and eggs, quite large ones.
A field of yellow off to my left, a bit like mustard yellow or rape seed.
Sprinklers working to my right.
2,460.1 There looks to be some wheat crops almost ripe enough for harvesting.
2,463.3 Melons Incorporated of Georgia - I don’t know if this means melons grow here?
I am continuing to see a lot of wisteria.
2,464.6 A blue heron in a lily-covered piece of water.
2,465.9 An eyesore to the left - old car and truck dump.
2,466.2 Pecan trees.
2,466.6 Turnoff for Peanut Growers.
2,467.1 Cotton gin to the right.
2,467.4 Welcome to Sylvester (County Seat), Peanut Capital of the World ... a Piggly Wiggly store.
2,468.1 77°.
A lovely building with a clock tower, so I assume this is the courthouse for the county.
2,476.5 Forsythia in flower and dogwoods, both the creamy colored ones and pure white.
2,478.7 Wisteria has gone wild and it looks like about half an acre covered with it.
2,481.0 US-82 splits, Business 82 - 7 miles into Albany or the one I am on to Columbus! I will just be bypassing Albany, pop. 76,939.
2,482.0 A large green field to my right ... and another to my left.
2,483.5 GPS now has me going 676 miles! Turning off here shortly to go north/northeast.
2,484.4 1:19 Entering Albany (County Seat) City Limit.
2,487.0 US-82 has become more of a freeway with controlled entrances and exits. As well as being US-82 West, this road currently is also US-19 North.
2,488.7 Start of a bridge across the Flint River and ends at 2,488.8, but continues as a causeway and crosses another section of river at 2,489.0.
2,494.7 Junction with the business route US-82 through Albany ... Columbus is 88 miles and Dawson 18 miles.
Jimmy Carter National Historic Site is just ahead.
2,497.0 A double avenue of magnolia trees to the left.
2,497.7 End of the magnolias ... lots of pretty nice country all through here.
2,502.2 Sign for Mark’s Melon Patch - sounds like a place growing melons - he also has pecans ... a great expanse of cultivated land, sprinklers working ... also peanuts, jams and jellies.
2,503.3 Passing Mark’s Melon Patch.
2,504.0 Entering Sasser.
2,506.8 Crossing the Chickasawhatchee River. The soil which is now showing through the grasses is of a reddish coloring, a really deep red.
2,509.2 Small airfield out to the left with numerous small planes parked on the tarmac.
2,510.4 Entering Dawson City Limit (County Seat - courthouse has a clock tower).
2,512.0 1:48 US-82 West leaves the highway I was on and I have just turned onto a two-lane road ... more Bradford pears where the blossom has finish and they now have their leaves ... some trees that look like an old pecan grove ... some nice estate houses along the route ... still seeing masses of wisteria.
2,515.3 Shoot! It looks like there has been a nasty accident! The traffic is all backed up! I think there are about three ambulances and I don’t know how many police cars, people all over the place ... car off the road, totally wrecked. I couldn’t see how bad it was, but the ambulance attendants and firemen were all around the wrecked car ... it looked pretty grim!
This is still called the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway.
2,518.1 A grove of pecan trees.
2,518.4 The road dipping down to go into a valley ... and just after that a beautiful red bud tree in flower.
2,518.9 Crossing a creek with bald cypress in it - name too long and too unusual for me to comprehend and for me to pronounce or spell! - Ickawatchee or whatever!
2,521.0 The road dipping down again into a valley over a branch of that creek, the the road climbed again.
2,521.0 Irises in bloom at a house with numerous dogwood trees, and next to that was another house with lots of dogwood trees.
2,524.5 Small, old and lonely cemetery surrounded by agricultural land.
2,526.5 The orange-red soil and the deep green fields with lovely homes, silos - just a beautiful sight.
2,527.2 A dead armadillo at the side of the road - that’s the first one I’ve seen on this trip.
2,528.5 The road starting to dip down again for another creek ... at the point when the road starts to dip it is about the same height as the top of the trees.
2,529.0 Going up again after crossing the creek.
2,532.2 2:11 Stopped at a traffic light at the junction with US-27, a four-lane divided highway.
2,532.7 Welcome to Cuthbert (County Seat) City Limit, established 1831.
2,533.1 The water tower is right in the center of the road ... town also has a lovely clock tower courthouse ... there are some lovely homes, churches, college building ... tulips in flower - a very nice town ... nice brick buildings ... some big plantation type houses with pillars at the front of them.
2,534.1 Just passed two plantation houses ... have continued to see red buds, wisteria, dogwood. I think the wisteria is probably the most impressive because it climbs high up trees and then you see all these clusters of blooms hanging down.
2,535.5 From here my route is heading to Eufaula, Alabama, which is now only 26 miles. The red buds and dogwoods are now not only in people’s gardens, but also scattered through the woods. There is also that yellow flowering creeper going high up in the trees, too.
2,541.2 Entering Springvale, unincorporated - some very old wooden houses here, but also a few houses where people are living.
2,545.5 The countryside seems to be more hilly now - may be ice on the bridge!
2,547.3 Crossing quite a wide bridge over a creek.
2,550.9 GPS is still indicating that I have 650 miles to go - 10 hours and 33 minutes! But this is because I am supposed to take some road to the Interstate! Or, at least, to Columbus, and I am not having anything to do with that!
2,553.5 A pretty row of bushes, white spirea and yellow forsythia alternating ... and somebody just passed me on a double line! And I am already going 5 miles over the speed limit!
2,554.5 Starting to go downhill and the GPS is showing quite a wide piece of water that I will be crossing.
2,555.5 Crossing a creek and Welcome to Georgetown (County Seat), then the road went uphill again,
2,557.8 Start of the Ernest Vandiver Causeway across Lake Walter F. George (Lake Eufaula), the result of the Walter F. George Dam across the Chattahoochee River downstream at Fort Gaines. Studying the map it is difficult to find the headwaters of the Chattahoochee River, but it flows through Atlanta from the northeast, and it appears to flow into Lake Seminole near the town of Chattahoochee in Florida, a town through which I drove the first day of my trip. The Flint River which I crossed earlier today when driving through Albany also flows into Lake Seminole. It is from this lake that the Apalachicola River flows to The Gulf.
There are crepe myrtles on each side of the causeway as it crosses the lake.
2,559.0 Crossing the Chattahoochee River and Intracoastal Waterway - I find this surprising!
2,559.1 2:41 The other end of the bridge and entering Alabama. This is also where I leave the Eastern Time Zone, so the time is now an hour earlier.
2,559.8 Traffic light at the junction with US-431 North and South, and US-82 is turning north on this road. Eufaula looks like a very old town, but there was no sign about when it was established.
2,559.8 The gas light has just come on.
Eufaula holds a pilgrimage and there looks to be some lovely ante bellum houses, a whole street of them where I am driving at the moment - magnificent homes ... just noticed something about a date connected with Eufaula - 1857!
2,560.9 Starting to cross Lake Eufaula tributary ... since turning off on US-82 the road is going through wooded hills.
2,566.9 A field with a number of donkeys in it.
2,567.3 People fishing in a dam ... I have absolutely no idea how far it is to home because each time I have the GPS do a recalculation, it tries to send me back and currently is saying I have 644 miles to go, and I just don’t believe that! I just hit the recalculate button and it is down to 633 miles now!
I think I might be into kudzu country now - there are vines covering whole trees and covering the ground, just everywhere, and I haven’t seen any wisteria since crossing into Alabama, maybe a few red buds, but very little else.
2,573.2 Coming onto a flat piece of open, cultivated land and with big irrigation sprinkler system, a garden lawn-type with pipes interspersed throughout the field.
This stretch of road is pretty quiet, hardly any traffic whatsoever, so it doesn’t matter that it is just a two-lane road! And what traffic there is all seems to be going in the opposite direction.
There are some historical markers along this road, but I’m not stopping for them today ... the last one was for a church and a school,
2,580.0 A lake out to the left, to the right a hill which has been cleared, and just before the lake an area where logging was being done.
2,581.5 Some red buds in the woods, also a bit of that creeper with the yellow flowers.
2,582.0 The road is raised up above the surrounding land, some of which has water over it.
2,584.0 Passing the road into Midway Plantation - it doesn’t say what it is a plantation of.
When you zoom out on the GPS, this road doesn’t even show.
2,586.3 Midway Town Limit.
2,588.2 2:16 Pulled off the road to go back into Midway, because I want to get something to eat!
 
2,589.0 2:18 - 2:25 GAS - Midway, AL - $1.699/gal. - 15.892 gals. - $27.00
 
While I was stopped at the gas station a big truckload of logs just came out of a side road. As I was leaving I put the GPS to work and now I am 590 miles from home with 9½ hours to go!
I hope that I learned a lesson when I got gas in that I had put the car keys in my pocket because I had accidentally hit the lock button, locking myself out of the car and I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have the keys in my pocket!
2,595.9 A boarded up gas station and restaurant, Country Cooking - I saw a dead gas station further back - the road is four-lane divided at that point, but it seems to be a little-used road, so the facilities have just been closing.
The median is very wide and the west-bound lanes are the old road whereas the east-bound is new and it has been leveled somewhat,
Water tower ahead to my left.
Welcome to Historic Union Springs (County Seat) - probably has something to do with the Civil War ... some more wisteria.
12.2 Union Springs City Limit.
Welcome to USA - Union Springs Alabama.
2,601.9 End of divided road.
2,602.8 Junction with US-29 South and US-82 follows that ... historic churches, big old homes.
2,603.1 US-29 North turns off and US-82 continues west.
2,603.9 A high point in the road and you can see over the tree tops for a long way.
2,604.0 More wisteria.
2,609.0 A vulture on the ground to the left - they are big ugly birds for sure, but they have a purpose in life!.
2,613.3 Simsville, but so far I haven’t seen anything - maybe it is just a name on the map - not even that! Passing Sims Seed Company and there are a few houses, a church.
2,616.5 A sign for Hector.
2,618.0 A few Bradford pears along a driveway going up to a house and a few of them still had some blossom on them.
2,618.2 Shipton.
2,620.0 3.00 GPS says I still have 9 hours to go! This route passes through a lot of lovely countryside - farming, ranching, woods, lakes.
2,621.1 Half a dozen big vultures down on the ground - looked like they were by a baby calf or something.
2,622.4 Some dogwood in flower in the woods.
2,622.9 Entering Montgomery County and the little town of Downing.
2,624.5 Another forest which has been logged.
2,625.2 Trees with mistletoe in them ... the soil on the shoulders of this road is orange ... the road has been paved and the lines are all in ... sign: Fines double when workers present ... speed 45 mph.
2,629.5 Lots of green grass, lovely homes, private lakes with gazebos on them, cattle grazing - just a very nice area.
2,631.2 3:13 Junction with US-231 ... four-lane divided road - 65 mph now.
2,632.5 To the right a mansion of a house overlooking their own private lake ... the countryside seems to be more open.
2,633.1 Out to my left a lot of cattle ... green grass everywhere ... now there is piles of traffic!
2,634.8 Turtles in a pond to the right.
2,636.1 Pine Lake Motel, a rather pretty looking motel on the right, just a single storey, but quite long.
I believe that I am on the outskirts of Montgomery now, so I need to keep alert for US-82 which I want to stay on until I get to Mississippi.
2,641.0 GPS is registering 541 miles to home and 8 hours 37 minutes.
2,643.6 I guess that I am on the outskirts of Montgomery, Alabama’s State Capital.
2,644.5 3:27 Stopped at a red light and I will be turning left turn onto US-80 which is also US-82 Tuscaloosa - 104 miles. This road is currently US-80, US-82, US-331 and AL-21.
Turning off that road US-82 joins the interstate, that is I-65 and I am going up the ramp now.
2,650.3 3:38 On I-65, which goes north to Birmingham ... the road is in very poor repair.
2,653.9 Start of the bridge across the Alabama River.
2,654.0 Over the water, but still on the bridge.
2,654.3 End of the bridge ... US-82 is still with I-65 ... according to the GPS I am back on route again with 525 miles or 8 hours and 20 minutes.
2,660.6 3:48 Leaving I-65 at Exit 179 for US-82 West.
2,661.1 520 miles and now I am OFF ROUTE again!
2,661.2 Prattville City Limit (County Seat).
2,664.2 3:53 Junction with US-31, which is the route I think that I should have come! However, it was probably faster the way the traffic was directed!
Tuscaloosa is now 91 miles so it was further going the way I went.. The road has become two lanes again and there is somewhat more traffic on it.
2,668.4 Four-lane divided highway again.
2,670.0 Back to two-way traffic.
2,676.2 There are quite a lot of homes along this route, but I don’t know what people would do for a living..
2,680.6 For a two-lane highway this road is fairly busy at present, with a number of semi trailers going in the opposite direction.
2,681.0 A high point in the road with a view northwest for a number of miles over the top of the trees
2,681.4 The road is dropping down into a valley.
2,685.6 519 miles to go! - 8 hours, 24 minutes - it has me taking a zig-zag road off US-82 back to I-65!
2,686.6 The region is quite hilly.
I am passing CR-37 along which I am supposed to return to the Interstate!
2,689.1 Ding! OFF ROUTE again!
2,690.6 Passing an old fruit stand that looks as if it has not been used for years and a “dead” service station! Traveling on US-82 Alabama doesn’t appear to have many towns outside the major centers, but then I am only talking about one road.
2,698.1 A young pine forest, with trees about 18 inches tall ... this seems to be a route of defunct gas stations and streams or rivers without names because there are quite a number of bridges where there have been no names.
2,701.6 Maplesville City Limit ... and a great blue heron flying overhead ... a Rest Area ahead ... fancy that! Maplesville is to the north.
2,703.3 Passing the Rest Area - interesting that there would be one here on this road which doesn’t have many towns along it, although I guess there has been quite a bit of traffic.
2,704.6 I still appear to have 517 miles to go ...(I have no idea where the time line is and I don’t know if I will be doing a lot less than that - I have no idea!) Now I know!
It just jumped from 517 miles to 281 with 4 hours, 57 minutes to go! Finally!
So, let’s say it is 5:40 with 5 Hours to go, that would be 10:40 - home at 399 miles!
2,711.0 A house which still has it’s Christmas decorations out, Santa in a sleigh being pulled by three reindeer.
2,719.9 Cattle grazing in a valley to the right.
2,720.8 Some Bradford pears in leaf, but still with a bit of blossom on them, in a cemetery to the right.
2,721.8 A speed zone ahead, the first one I have had for a long time - I’m not sure what that town was ... looking at the map it could have been Centerville.
2,724.4 There was quite a big intersection.
2,725.1 A big circle to get onto US-82 West.
136.0 Passed Cahaba River and Tuscaloosa is 36 miles - four-lane, divided highway, 65 mph. This is a new road and according to the GPS I am OFF ROUTE! Looking at the GPS there looks to be some big rivers to cross. The road is going through hilly country,
2,736.9 A retaining wall on the right hand side and there is graffiti all over it - I don’t understand the mentality of people who have to do that!
The river which I am approaching has many tributaries to it.
2,738.6 Entering Tuscaloosa County. When I get gas I will need to clean my window because it is very smeary and difficult to see through - I’m not saying much about the countryside because the sun is glaring in my eyes and I need to concentrate on the driving.
2,746.4 End of a bridge over something - no sign to tell what it was, and that was supposed to be one of the big waterways I could see on my map.
2,747.6 The road is running parallel with a stream - it is in hills and there is another one to the left as well, but the one to the right looks to be quite swampy.
Today is Mary’s birthday.
2,749.7 A beautiful red bud in someone’s garden - lovely shape and proportions.
2,754.6 5:23 Tuscaloosa City Limit.
2,756.1 5:25 Junction with US-11 North and South. This is in Tuscaloosa - Skyline Boulevard.
It was 234 miles when I left the recommended route and I am not sure where it was going to take me. I have stayed with US-82 West and I am OFF ROUTE.
It looks as if I might actually be crossing a river this time.
2,760.1 Start of the bridge ... there is a lot of water in it - don’t know what it is - again there is no name.
2,760.3 End of the bridge.
Am pulling off the road to get gas and the GPS is stuck at 234 miles.
 
2,761.0 5:34 - 5:45 GAS - Tuscaloosa, AL + rest stop - $1.639/gal. - 7.930 gals. - $13.00
 
2,761.1 5:46 Back on the highway.
2,761.7 229 miles - 4 hours and 2 minutes, so I will be home at approximately 230 miles and about 9:50 PM.
The sun will be setting soon, so I think I will stop at McDonald’s for a hamburger and by that time the sun could have set and will not be shining right in my eyes! Now I have 4 hours to go to get home!
2,763.7 5:52 - 6:58 McDonald’s ($3.93), so the sun could set and would not be shining in my eyes! There is a Publix store behind McDonald’s.
The sun is now down, partially behind the horizon so I wont have to worry about that any more. It is a bed time of night as there are still a number of people who have not turned on their lights.
2,770.9 End of divided highway and speed reduced to 55 mph.
2,772.0 Some work under way for increasing the road to a four-lane divided road.
2,773.1 Divided again, but still 55 mph.
2,775.7 Two-way traffic again ... road built up crossing a lot of swampland.
2,777.0 Divided again.
2,778.5 Two-way traffic.
2,783.7 6:20 Finished my hamburger and chips, and you might as well say that it is dark now - still a lot of light, pinkish color, in the western sky, but not enough to be able to distinguish anything.
There are a lot of trucks on the road, traveling west to east ... I’m glad they are not going in my direction.
2,792.0 6:29 200 miles to go.
2,793.9 6:33 Start of the divided road again ... and it is becoming quite dark now and the color in the western sky is deeper than it was a while ago.
2,800.8 End of the divided road.
2,811.0 Divided road again.
2,811.2 6:49 Entering Mississippi, that is crossing the Alabama/Mississippi State line.
2,813.0 The speed limit is now 70 mph.
2,816.1 6:53 Columbus the next 5 exits.
2,823.5 Crossing a river - probably the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.
Now that it is completely dark, I am driving under a star-studded sky. I will be leaving US-82 at US-45 North to Tupelo as this is the shortest way home and I suspect that the piece of US-82 between US-45 and I-55 may never be driven! There is no real reason to cover that piece of road.
2,835.3 7:09 Exit US-45 to Tupelo.
2,835.6 7:10 On US-45 ... Tupelo is 56 miles. I was cold when I was getting gas in Tuscaloosa but at the moment I am feeling quite warm. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that I am starting to feel tired! It is now exactly 13 hours since I left from Days Inn in St. Augustine!
7:14 I still have 151 miles to go in about 2 hours and 38 minutes.
2,841.8 7:15 Entering West Point.
2,842.0 End of the divided highway.
2,845.9 Leaving West Point and start of divided highway and Tupelo is now 47 miles.
2,864.8 Entering Egypt.
One thing about the highway when it is divided is that the oncoming traffic is far enough away that the lights don’t glare in your eyes.
It looks as if the GPS has got stuck at 126 miles because it says that I am not on the digitized road - I guess that “they” built a new road since this software was developed!
2,884.2 It is now only 109 miles instead of 126 - an hour and 49 minutes.
2,887.3 7:58 Tupelo, the next 5 exits ... (I will have to do some research and finds out when I crossed the time line, that is left Eastern time for Central time.
2,890.8 8:01 Leaving the highway to try to find a telephone.
2,891.6 8:03 - 8:06 Phoned LP from a gas station in Tupelo.
2,892.3 8:09 Back on US-45 North.
2,895.0 8:12 Leaving Us-45 North for US-78 West to Memphis.
2,895.2 8:12 Joining into US-78 to Memphis.
2,896.0 1 hour and 39 minutes - 98 miles ... it looks as if the GPS is taking me to Shelby Drive then back to where I have to go! Hence I will probably get home sooner than that! Memphis is 86 miles so I don’t think it will be that far.
The sign by the road says it is 83 to Memphis and GPS says it’s 92 miles to home.
2,916.6 New Albany the next 4 exits.
There is a lot of testing being done for yellow and white lines, going across the road, strip after strip, just as coming into Albany ... the same thing was on the highway just as leaving Tupelo as well.
2,919.4 Crossing the Tallahatchie River - I crossed this river in February when I drove down through Mississippi on my way to Tucson.
2,941.9 Crossing the Tippah River - of course, you can’t see anything - just know you are on a bridge going over the river!
2,952.1 8:59 Passing Exit 30 for Oxford and for Holly Springs ... supposedly 46 miles from home and 46 minutes! I think I am going to be home about 15 minutes under 12 hours since leaving the Georgia Welcome Center just across the State Line from Florida.
2,974.2 Crossing the Coldwater River.
2,975.2 Olive Branch the next 4 exits.
2,975.5 Exit-6 for Hacks Cross Road is in 1 mile ... and the GPS says it is 20 miles to my destination and, I think, 25 minutes.
2,976.7 9:19 19 miles, 24 minutes ... leaving US-78 for Hacks Cross Road and now I am OFF ROUTE!
2,977.4 Recalculation: 9.7 miles so has knocked off about 9 miles! Will be there in 17 minutes.
2,979.4 The junction with MS-302.
2,981.8 9:27 Entering Tennessee ... still a lot of construction work being done at the Holmes Road intersection.
2,985.6 At the corner of Winchester and Hacks Cross Road - 1.7 and 6 minutes to go, but I’m OFF ROUTE when I turn onto Winchester!
2,987.0 9:36 Arrived home, 12½ hours since leaving the Visitor Center at the Georgia/Florida State Line. LP did most of the unpacking of the car. I was very tired!

The day’s total - 787 miles
Trip Total - 2,987 miles



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