Sunday, December 11, 2011

Random Notes

Bumps in the Road
I have said that perhaps the greatest salesman ever is the guy that sells the water amusement centers that many towns and municipalities have constructed. Talk about an intangible sale - "What you need is a water park for your citizens so they can have fun!" (Fun is the most intangible of intangibles). The second greatest salesman is the guy who sells carnivals to Catholic schools. I thing the third best might be the guy that sold almost the entire state of Florida on the concept (and the corresponding products) that every mile of interstate highways and roads need to have reflector bumps on the dividing lines attached to the pavement. Even just changing lanes you get that machine gun fire ratta-tatting shooting up through the suspension and up into your teeth. These are almost as big a pain in the neck as......

Most of the above mentioned streets and boulevards have some kind of concrete dividing median going down the middle. So you can't make a left turn onto one of the above mentioned streets from a cross street or parking lot exit. You end up having to make a right, go down until there is some kind of cut in the median, then make a U-ie. What a pain. The same goes for wanting to make a left turn into something when you are driving on the divided street. I could see that the reason for this craziness is that there was some well-meaning road official that concocted the idea that the occurance of accidents might be high on streets without medians. And maybe they were right. But believe me, this dependence on u turns is chaotic in it's own way. Nuts.

Jacksonville needs boats.
In a previous post I said that Lisa and I stayed at a hotel on the south shore of the very wide St. Johns river in Jacksonville and that the vista seeing downtown was very nice. But the waterfront was dead as a rock. There were docks all up and down the river banks and it is obvious there had been attempts made to get the banks to be a cool place to be but things were just dead. The reason is very obvious, even to non-boaters. We walked from our hotel kind of on the east end of a river walk built out of some nice docks and piers towards the west end to one of the only restaurants on the riverfront. We liked the view but were disappointed by the lack of life. We then saw the reason. There were signs that said, "No docking of boats." (like what else would you dock. A blimp?) That's the problem. No boats allowed at a dock...on the water. Huh? There are two reasons why this is a big mistake. First, boats and boaters are colorful and fun, and people are attracted to that. The second is that as we have been on our adventure we have found the rumor that boaters are just about the nicest people around to be true. Get a bunch of nice people together and good things are sure to happen.

And the restaurant winners are...
In a previous post I said that we were kind of disappointed with the restaurants down in Florida. Here is an indicator that this is true: There were only two restaurants that we went to three times, and they were both donut shops. Bradenton Donuts in Bradenton, and Dandee Donut in Pompano. Honorable mentions go to the fish restaurant in Marathon, FL where we had lobster reuben sandwiches, the italian restaurant in Bradenton with the name we can't pronounce (two visits) and Heavenly Pizza in Pompano.

One Friday evening in Bradenton we stopped at a Wendy's for dinner. There were two elderly gentlemen there wearing shirts and ball caps of the local high school football team. One man had left to go to the bathroom. The other man was standing there so I asked him if there was a big game that evening. When he spoke to me, to my surprise, he spoke with the biggest hick accent that I think I had ever heard. "Yep," he said, "Weez be playing dat teem from Pie-nellis countee, up thar in Tampy." (Translated - We're playing that team from Tampa, up in Pinellas (p-nel'-lis) County.) Gotta love the locals, ya'll.

Gator Tail is boring
Lisa had deep fried Alligator Tail tidbits for dinner Friday night in Jacksonville. Pretty much bland and tough to eat. If you see it on the menu skip it. The gumbo was good.

Indigenous trees
One of the very obvious differences between northern and southern Florida is the trees. Mostly fir trees up north, palm trees down south. Nothing earthshaking in this but it is very obvious.

All around Florida
We drove the entire parameter of Florida. I-10 on the north. US-19 (could have been a FL state highway) and I-75 on the west, US-1 to the Keys, and all the way up I-95 on the east coast.

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