January 3, 2009 (day 11)
I regretted not at least touching the Blue Ridge Parkway when I was here in November so I drove just a few miles of it today. A wonderful breakfast spoiled my lunch but not my dessert.
I can now claim to have driven all the Dixie Highway East, except for a half dozen sandy miles in northern Florida, between Cincinnati and Florida City. I don't know that I'll ever be able to claim the entire Dixie Highway because, in addition to that requiring going north for quite a ways, there are two trunk routes plus numerous feeders and connectors. I'll see what I can do.
January 2, 2009 (day 10)
January 1, 2009 (day 9)
December 31, 2008 (day 8)
December 30, 2008 (day 7)
December 29, 2008 (day 6)
December 28, 2008 (day 5)
So, I'm even more ahead of where I thought I'd be. Today started with a castle and ended with the blues.
December 27, 2008 (day 4)
December 26, 2008 (day 3)
December 25, 2008 (day 2)
December 24, 2008 (day 1)
I left Cincinnati on the twenty-third in freezing rain and the temperature was barely above freezing when I woke up this morning in Tennessee. By the time I reached Gibsonton, Florida, the thermometer read 86 and the AC had been on a long time. The drive was almost entirely on expressway but I still found a couple of things to photograph and there was a really cool bar waiting.
In addition to spending Christmas in the same area that he did eighty-eight years ago, I shared another of my great-grandfather's experiences recently. It all started when a certain Oklahoma blogster claimed to have seen obsolete razor blades. Since the blog entry I speak of appeared just days before I settled on my route, it's possible that the memories it triggered subconsciously influenced my choice. Read about some recent shopping & shaving here.
Prelude - December 8, 2008
I first plotted a high-speed return from Key West then explored the possibility of including the Tamiami Trail in my homeward route. The very first issue of American Road magazine had included a Michael Wallis article on the Tamiami and the Trail had formed the final southbound leg of the Dixie Highway's western route. It is a trail I'd like to travel. I believe my last visit to Florida was in 2001 when I retraced my great-grandparent's 1920 trip. I was reminded of that as I plotted the path of the Dixie Highway along the east coast and again as I plotted the Tamiami Trail near Tampa. It was somewhere in this area, I recalled, that Frank & Gertrude had spent Christmas in 1920. I suddenly had a slightly different plan. If I reversed direction and superslabbed my way to Tampa, I could be on the banks of the Alafia River, where Gert "spent Christmas eve listening to fishermen tell sea tales", on Christmas day. There was now a town on those banks that had not been there in 1920 and it added a couple pluses of its own. For one, its name is Gibsonton. Almost certainly no family connection but still a bit of an attraction. However, the other plus is a big one. Gibsonton is what RoadsideAmerica.com calls a "Circus Freak Wintering Town".
The change in direction would also, I hope, let me get in and out of Key West before the worst of the year end frenzy set in. I would again be leaving the Dixie at Asheville instead of picking up it up there but that's a compromise I can live and drive with.