Monday, July 11, 2016
Florida Highway Oddities
I took a long, slightly winding drive through the center of the state yesterday, from Tampa to Jacksonville. It was a terrific day for a road trip, and I put my iTunes on and had a great time, driving through Leesburg and Eustis and Umatilla and the wonderfully named Floral City, and stopping here and there to take pictures.
As has been pointed out many times by many people, Florida is a weird state.
Above is the so-called Concrete Man of Citrus County. I remember seeing him about thirty years ago, standing by the side of U.S. 41 near Inverness, holding a fishing pole aloft and maybe a fish, too. Since then he's been moved and somehow lost his arms, not to mention his fishing pole.
Also in Citrus County, a huge missile. Or something.
A few hours later, in Umatilla -- where I saw this picturesque mysterious business (above) -- I stopped for lunch at McDonald's. That's not normally my idea of a good lunch spot, but I wanted something fast and with palatable coffee. (My second and final cup for the day, given my new stomach-friendly regimen.)
I sat next to two older ladies in their church clothes, talking in a slow southern drawl about their friend Betty Alice. Apparently they'd thought Betty Alice had died -- or "passed," as they said -- but it turns out she didn't. Amen!
Floridians are dreamers. This road is called "Stardust Boulevard." You can see the road on the right, there -- those two grassy ruts going back into the woods.
I was thinking that I hadn't seen many political signs. But then I saw this one: "Vote Trump. Stop Little Marco, Lying Ted, and Mitt's Establishment."
No signs for Hillary.
But there is a man running for Sheriff in Putnam County named Gator DeLoach.
I finally joined I-95 outside St. Augustine, near the farming towns of Hastings and Spuds, and got to Jacksonville about 4 p.m. My mom apparently didn't get my e-mail that I was coming, so she was surprised to see me!