Sunday, August 13, 2017

Florida ~ It's Out There

Florida is so many places at once, long empty roads lined with oaks, cities, beaches, ponds, lakes and lots of all of that. But I think empty landscapes, dotted with cows and horses, make up more of Florida than is usually thought. Wandering around the two and four lane roads, with little traffic and lots of Mom and Pop businesses, a visitor could wonder if one was in Florida at all and be right if guessing yes.

I've been staying with Francie until we both head out to western destinations, she to Nevada, me to California. She picked me up at the I-said-I'd-never-do-that-again bus station in Ocala and we headed north to see Kirk and Pam near the obliquely named spot in the road Sopchoppy, the Worm Gruntin' Capital of the World

Porch time with Pam and Kirk (and kitties)

Wikipedia says this about the name: The town's name is a corruption of "Lockchoppe", derived from the Muskogee lokchapi (lokcha (acorn) / api (stem)), which was the old name of the nearby river.[7]

There are other theories as well, but this one seems as good as any of them. 

I'd been hearing about their place for years, but each time I drove by it, heading to the Gulf shores to camp in the Turtle, they were somewhere else. It was time!

I don't know how big the property is but it's big!
Bordering on a swamp, the feeling of being far off in the woods is strong. But nearby are beaches! Nearby being a relative term.

Kirk's shop is huge, no surprise to anyone who knows him

The boat Pam and Kirk have worked on three years now.
Launching time isn't far away.

I love this wood burning stove Kirk made, named Croc. 

One of Pam's sculptures. I'm in love.

All over the property are visual surprises.
What is it? Pam and Kirk are searching for the answer 
I have a lot of photos of the above jig, it's one of those objects that begs for an answer as to its origin. Moving parts, a serial number that I can't track down... If anyone is interested in joining the hunt, let me know and I'll send more photos.

After sitting up talking while drinking a lot of wine and looking at various treasures until the wee hours, we all turned in. Francie and I headed out the next morning, taking a detour to Cedar Key. She'd never been there and I'd not been there for over 30 years. Incredibly enough, it still has some of its old Florida charm left, though the modern world has crept in. More on that in a minute. 

When you start seeing big expanses of water, you know you're there.

Little islets dot the waters around Cedar Key and the feel of another time and places hit immediately. Out of the woods, into the zone. A Florida I remember better than the one that exists today.

We walked the main drag, a very short walk, in search of a place to have lunch. The one we wanted to go to was closed so this place was it. It was okay, the oysters were good, but nothing to say, GO HERE!

I did really like this oyster shell wall

Oysters and crab bisque, a fish sandwich and potato salad
The oysters are from a local oyster farm and they were good

This is for Jack, if he ever sees it. 

There are still some funky buildings

Street art

Of course Francie loved this. 
The car was feeling a bit wobbly and as we headed off, the wobble became a distinct bumpity bump. Getting out to look, a tire had started to split apart, as in a two foot separation, though for some (thank you, Universe!) reason it wasn't flat as a pancake. With no phone signal, we headed back to Cedar Key and the first store. Still no signal. Using the store phone Francie got in touch with AAA. Sure, we might have done it ourselves but that's why you pay AAA! 

After a long wait, the best AAA guy in the world showed up. He changed the tire and then followed us 40 miles back to where new tires could be purchased. He called ahead and with 5 minutes until closing, the tires were changed. We swapped old Florida stories and one he told us was really sad/maddening/sad. 

Apparently, as 'Yankees' as he called them, found the charms of Cedar Key, they decided one aspect that any old Florida person considers part and parcel of Florida, wasn't so charming. Shrimp boats have been banned from Cedar Key, with the reason being they were 'unsightly'. That seems so bizarre, but it's true. There were a few more stories too, the ones you usually don't hear until you've been lured by the location and find yourself in Paradox. That's why he and a few more live 'out in the woods' nearby. Oh Florida!

Since neither of us like to drive at night anymore, we found a reasonable motel to stay in, in the town of Chiefland (it wasn't on my bucket list but it did the trick), found a BBQ place with excellent ribs and called it a night. The next morning, it was back to Lake Panasoffkee.

With so much rain, the land is lush!
Yesterday afternoon, after it cooled down a bit, we took a walk to the lake. Even with all the rain, the lake is way down on water. The birds I'm used to seeing everywhere were nowhere, except a couple of anhingas too far off to do justice to with a photo.

Some dragonflies entertained instead of birds

In all of the greens, these blooms stood out in fiery contrast
Soon we'll both head out in separate directions, except for generally West, to meet up again another time somewhere. That's what friends do. 

While this trip took a curve unexpected, with a leap to the West far sooner than I thought, everything has a reason, some of which remain to be seen. Roll with it. Or fly. Life is short, carpe diem. 

Have a Sunday Funday! Do something serendipitous!


  1. I'm worried about you guys. How's everything. A second hurricane is on its way there. Be safe.

  2. Keep those positive vibes flowing!!

  3. I miss your posts, Mir! Hope you are well *smooch*

    1. All is well, I'm hoping to get the blog going again sooner than later, I miss it too!