The Trail to Florida

Hey everyone,

Hope all is well with you. We are traveling again, on our way to Miami with a side trip to Cuba then down to Key West. We decided to drive so we could stop and make connections with friends along the way. Probably doesn’t save any money but it’s way more fun and interesting. And we get to see some country that either we haven’t seen for a number of years or are seeing for the first time.

We left Madison on Saturday January 23, a day later than expected so we would miss the big storm that dumped snow on Kentucky, Tennessee, and points to the east. Our first day destination was somewhere between Paducah, KY and Nashville, TN. The interstate was fine but that all changed when we got off the highway to stay the night. They obviously don’t have much in the way of snow removal equipment because only a few of the streets were plowed and none of the parking lots of hotels, restaurants, and businesses were cleaned off. Oh, if you count that the entry door was cleaned off then that’s considered snow removal! Our northern friends will find this unacceptable, our southern friends will find this the norm! Here’s a photo of the parking lot, just about two days after the storm had passed. Think hard, frozen snow and ice.

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On Sunday, we met Billye Foster and her friend Tim in Nashville where we went to church at the oldest standing church in Nashville.

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Then we went to one of the most famous places to eat in Nashville, the Loveless Motel and Cafe out on the edge of town. The motel is no longer in business, they’ve turned the rooms into little shops. But the cafe does a huge business and is frequented by a lot of celebrities such as Elvis (I think he’s passed!), Willie, Waylon, and recently the guys from one of my favorite shows, the American Pickers, Mike and Frank. The Loveless is famous for their breakfasts, fried chicken, and especially their homemade biscuits. We were told that they make about 7000 biscuits each and every day, figured it was about an average of 5 per customer, so we did our part to keep up the average. Highly recommend making a side trip to the Loveless for a great meal at a reasonable price.

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The remainder of the trip was uneventful through the mountains and on to the plains of Georgia. We stayed the night just north of the Florida border and made the trip the next day down to the Tampa/St. Pete area to visit our former neighbors Ken and Cindy Thomas.  When we arrived the temp was 82, just what we wanted after leaving the cold north. Well that warm weather disappeared real quickly and was replaced by heavy rain. Some areas were getting 3 or more inches per day so lots of standing water and flooding and unfortunately no beach time. So we did some inside stuff like visit the Ringling estate in Sarasota. The circus exhibits and the mansion were very fun to visit. Here’s one of the murals at the entrance to the learning center.IMG_0024

And my one and only sunset photo taken at Treasure Island.

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The rain continued as we headed south along the gulf coast to the Naples area to stop and see our Madison friends, Larry and Vicki Martin who are spending a few months in Florida. Took these photos on our walk around the neighborhood after the sun finally came out, the flowers are blooming and we heard that some of the tomato plants were already in the ground. Honestly, I didn’t include these photos to make our northern climes friends and family envious!

Again, due to the rain, we did some inside stuff and went to the outlet mall in Bonita Springs. One does notice that there’s a lot of what should I say “seniors” down here (even older than us!) and even they are on their smartphones just like the younger generation!

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Our next stop is Miami for a few days then off to our adventure in Cuba. We are really excited for that part of the trip and hope it goes well.

Here’s a parting photo of some boats in the Bay of Sarasota on a foggy, cloudy day, so far I think one of my better photos.

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Until next week,

Tom

4 thoughts on “The Trail to Florida

  1. Bon Voyage Donna, Tom, and all—just heard Peter Greenberg, the Travel detective, say that now is the time to go to Cuba–before prices soar due to less government control in future. Or something.

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    1. Just read a couple of short articles by Rick Steves that said the very same thing. Plus he’s sure that Dunkin Donuts will be the first chain in Havana!

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