The Long Way Home

Strange Vacation
April 21, 2015, 6:50 AM
Filed under: Florida | Tags: , , , ,
Florida livin'.

Florida livin’

It is mind-numbing and surreal, driving 16 hours from home. We take one suitcase, one bag of cameras and film, a snack-filled cooler. We make a playlist (mostly Steely Dan this time, which Jeff calls his “prescription from Dr. Wu”). We play road games, the alphabet one being a favorite (“Name a band that starts with _”). There is lots of excitement in the beginning of the  drive – adventure awaits! – then time rolls on, and we’re hungry. Tired, cranky, we bicker over directions. There are breaks at scenic highway overlooks and creepy little mom-and-pops selling crushed Twinkies. State by state we shed layers of clothing to accommodate the heat. We are confused, we are lost, we laugh at the dumbest things. When we reach Ocala, I roll down the window and cup my hand to feel the outside humidity. It’s one of the few places where I’ve watched it rain on only one side of the road – dark clouds competing with the sun.

the rain divide


Journey’s End
April 20, 2015, 6:48 AM
Filed under: Florida | Tags: , , , ,
Cross Creek, Florida

Cross Creek, Florida

Today starts Polaroid Week and I thought I’d share photos from our recent Florida road trip: two per day for the next five days. I took these two along US 301, the Mother Road of the South. This was the first time in our history of traveling there that our GPS went wonky; we drove in seeming circles, our navigation system winding us off highways through the beaten tracks. Lightening shot through the skies, illuminating the rolling green land where horses grazed under canopies of Spanish moss. There was that fresh-cut grass smell permeating the car as I rolled down the windows, and a sound I haven’t heard since summer: the hum of crickets.

US 301, Ocala.

US 301, Ocala.

July 29, 2010, 8:07 PM
Filed under: Florida | Tags: , , , , ,

My mother wanted us to bring back seashells for her from Florida, but I didn’t have the heart to tell her we were over 100 miles from a beach. I’m not a beachy kind of girl anyhow – give me a stark, wintery New England beach in December any day over a place where I risk getting baked to a crisp. 

Lucky for us, there are Orange Souvenir Centers everywhere in central Florida – even one shaped liked the giant fruit so representative of the Sunshine State. It’s this compulsion of mine when we’re on the road anywhere that we must take a break at a truck stop to watch all the strange people passing through; and I have to stop at kitschy souvenir shops to see if painted plates and snow globes are still hot business (they are). 

We settled for the alligator head instead — it’s more our style. 



floridian gems


star motel


the 13-foot gator has seen better days


deathwish kitty of Micanopy



We bought one of these, but I'm sure that doesn't surprise you.

Tony’s Artistic Taxidermy Museum
July 22, 2010, 7:10 PM
Filed under: Florida | Tags: , , , , ,

We spotted it across Route 301 on our way to Ocala: FREE TAXIDERMY MUSEUM. I jotted it down in my trusty notebook (yes, I keep lists of places we see of interest along the way, compulsive organizer that I am) and tried like hell to find this place via Google. No worries – we just drove back the way we arrived a few days later.

mama alligator and baby

Housed in a former motel, Tony’s is more of a gallery than a museum since all mounted pieces are for potential sale. We were expecting Norman Bates-creepy, but the yard was surprisingly lush and inviting, with pink flowers and long green grass. We walked to the side of the building and pushed open the door. It was dark inside, but we could see the outline of elephant tusks protruding from the back wall. A tiny bell tinkled and a woman with a red beehive flicked on some lights for us. “Look around, spend as much time as you like,” she said and left us alone with the once-wild beasts. 

albino snake

a dik dik


mr. zebra

the museum

our souvenir: a Tony's business card

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