Florida

“They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot SPOT
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

“They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot”

Driving south, as we approached the Florida border the rhythm of the traffic changed.  This sometimes happens when one goes from one state to the next.  Florida highway traffic is unruly — fast and slow and everything in between, the fastest ones weaving in and out of us slowpokes inching along just over the speed limit.

I think several factors go into this behavior.  For one thing, there are lots of visitors and people who live here only part time.  They bring their driving habits from other parts of the country, different regional habits all mixed together.  And with so many visitors, there are plenty of people who are unfamiliar with the roads — where the road narrows, where the turns are, etc.

But I think more than that is that most of Florida has been built in the last 50 years, during a time when the car was central.  Large neighborhoods of houses have been built with no commercial development or parks, meaning that to do almost anything you have to get in your car and drive somewhere.  Spending so much time in your car isolates you and makes you impatient to be at your destination.

Or so it seems to me.

We charged three times on the way south, each time at a mall.  We drove into Sarasota for pictures.  The county building is beautiful.  It was nice to see some older buildings.  So much is new here and much of that seems insubstantial, like it’s a movie set.

Sarasota.jpg

We then went into a neighborhood outside Punta Gorda.  We have been collecting pictures of ourselves at each of the 92 locations in Johnny Cash’s version of “I’ve Been Everywhere.”  Tocopilla Street in Punta Gorda was the 92nd on this quest.  (Tocopilla is in Chile.  We’re not driving to Chile, so we got a street sign instead.)  It felt good to get that last picture, to complete the set.

Tocopilla.jpg

We stayed a few days with friends in Fort Myers.  I’ve known Dan and Steve for more than 30 years.  They’ve been wonderful friends through all the changes in my life.  It was wonderful to spend time with them again.

Beach.jpg

One morning they took us to Six Mile Cypress Slough, a nature preserve with some of the vegetation and critters that were here before people paved the place — cypress and alligators and herons and turtles and orchids and snakes and much more.  It was really nice to walk along the boardwalk through the slough.  We went in the morning, before it got too hot.

Swamp water.jpg

Slough Lake.jpg

Ibis.jpg

Slough.jpg

We ate supper together at a nearby retirement community.  It was very nice, but it made me appreciate Rose Villa even more.  The place was too strait-laced and large for our tastes.  We went out for breakfast the next morning.  The parking lot was full at the first place we went, and the streets are configured such that there is no on-street parking.  We went to another place just down the road.  On the back wall inside was a large “God Bless America” over a picture of Jesus with children and under a collage that included a picture of former President George W. Bush.  The food was OK and we were treated well, but we did feel out of place.

We went by the beach but the no-see-ums were out in force, so we didn’t stay.  (We’re not really beach people anyway.)  The next day we played around in the pool and did a little laundry.

Often we’ve been the only car at the charging stations, but today we’ve seen more Teslas at the charging stations.

4GETGAS.jpg

Driving north, we hit a little rain.  We’ve been lucky with the weather so far, but it looks like we’re in for some rain as we head north.  Tomorrow we head into Georgia and go through Atlanta again.  (Oh goody.)

Thursday, April 14, 2016

One thought on “Florida

  1. I think it is so cool that you are collecting all the places in Johnny Cash’s song. What a great hook to hang your travels on!

    Like

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