Mile Marker 2590: A Florida Road Trip

What’s the word, Pigeon Handlers?

These are just some notes, anecdotes, tidbits, and life lessons encountered on a 2590 mile road trip from Kosciusko to Key West, plus a few stops in between. 

I-10 West, in terms of Texas Travel, is far superior to its eastbound counter part. There you are, just minding your own business, and then Houston. Houston, as it turns out, starts in Sealy and lasts to Louisiana. Also, 80MPH and fractions of traffic will always beat bumper to bumper slug marches. However, one cannot get to Florida via a westward trail, leaving the only advice available: Suck it up, Buttercup.

Actual conversation heard in a Chouston Starbucks that captures the essence of working on a rainy day:

I’m going to Jump out the window.
Well, wait til your break. We’re busy

Having a Nemesis is not a normal thing in today’s society. Even more uncommon when they are one sided. That being said, passing Jim Adler The Texas Hammer’s shop in Houston, which boldly displayed his title in red, nearly derailed an otherwise peaceful adventure with thoughts of passionate rage. A woman scorned and Hell hath no fury like one who hath lithened to one too many Texas Hammer commercials.

If Possible, plan the Louisiana portion of your I-10 excursion to allow some sunshine if for no reason other than Atchafalaya.

When thinking of time as an asset, especially when its dark and you are determined to cover as many miles as you can, don’t take our friend I-10 East from Baton Rouge to NOLA. Take Interstate 12 toward Slidell. If you happen to not take this, as if you were driving at night and did not know this, you’ll add about an hour to an hour-and-a-half to your trip. However, if you do happen to make this mistake, you’ll get to drive over the Ponchartrain. Double However, this only works if you can see. 

Once you get out of states like Texas [and to a lesser extent Louisiana], states don’t last very long. 

Oh hey, we’re in Mississippi.

Oh hey, we’re in Alabama.

At some point in every man’s life, he will abandon the ideals of a loud, obnoxious truck. If you haven’t reached this point, you will love the tunnel in Alabama. If you’re like me and drive the Soccer Mom Mobile, you’ll find yourself reminding yourself of the importance of blade oil on a chainsaw.

Side note: If you are still about that loud, obnoxious truck life, you could likely end your adventure here in Alabama. Pro: The Tunnel. Con: Associated fuel cost associated with The Tunnel, which is something I like to call the Whistle Tax.

If you’ve only ever been accustomed to Texas coastal water, you will be in awe of the beach in Pensacola. I’ve only ever seen water that blue once, but that was from a west Texas water well that carried about 5000ppm chlorides and put off enough gas to set off a Hydrogen Sulfide monitor. The Horseshoe Water Well ain’t got nothing on Pensacola.

Now that you’ve made your way into Florida, do yourself a service and take a leisurely drive down U.S. 98. Absolutely one of the prettiest water drives I’ve ever seen.

Something about the speed limit in Florida. It means absolutely nothing. Nothing, I tell you. In Florida, ponies are meant to ride and 10MPH over the limit in the fast lane is a safety hazard because of how much it slows down competing traffic. 

Speaking of posted Speed Limit signs, the return of the black backed, white fonted night speed signs. We used to have these back home on the farm in South Texas, but they gone. Come to Florida, they back. Good to see a species previously thought to be extinct is thriving elsewhere.

Talk about a bait and switch. Florida is supposed to be sunny and hot. I left out of Tallahassee at the break of day and watched as my thermometer had the nerve to tell me it was 34 degrees.

It is traveling in a non-upward direction,
I shall alert bystanders in the vicinity of the approaching danger by utilizing the logging industry approved jargon Timber!

You may have thought Miami Native Pitbull and to-my-knowledge-not-Florida-associated Ke$sha were talking about clubbing and partying and what not when they teamed up, but they weren’t. The most surprising thing I found about The Sunshine State was the Timber. More specifically, I can say with 63% unreliable certainty that I saw more pines than palms. 

Two Words: Swamp Backhoe.

Take the Tamiami through the Everglades. Worth it. Saw my first gator via this trail. Life made. 

There’s a reason Airport Hotels are priced how they are.

If we can back track to the subject of vehicles, if you’re like me and have made the switch to a more practical method of transportation, know that the Soccer Mom Mobile is an absolute unit. 25 miles per gallon. Why is this important? As you start getting further south, fuel prices start to increase. I myself, as most of you know, just spent a good bit of time in West Texas where a higher cost of living has resulted in higher fuel prices, so I was used to it. A neat surprise, and this benefits the Bubba’s who still rep the big trucks, diesel is cheaper in Southern Florida than it is in West Texas. If you forewent the temptation of The Tunnel, you will be rewarded.

I could go one for days about the Keys. And I will, as I’ll be spending the remainder of the year [save holidays with the family and the Lone Star State] on Layton Key. What you need to know now is this: While Iguanas and Free Range Chickens are considered normal, feral rabbits are not. At least that’s what a local told me as we both scratched our heads at the domestic looking bunny chowing down on the grass on Key West. Photos available via Instabuela.

If the clouds are just the right shade and the sun is in the perfect spot, you can gaze out across the ocean and never see where the water ends and the sky begins. A horizon like that makes the miles on the road worth it.

Leave a Reply