End of Day Nine: Sunday, November 26, 2017
It is the last day of our nine-day road trip. We managed to visit a total of fifteen states counting our home state of Florida. Surprisingly exhaustion has not set in. We spent the night in Valdosta, Georgia and took our time getting on the road. Possibly because subconsciously we didn’t want our little adventure to end.
Today we traveled from Valdosta, Georgia to LaBelle, Florida then I continued on to Fort Myers. Under normal conditions the traffic on Florida’s highways and byways is heavy. Today it was intense due to the combination of it being Thanksgiving weekend and a big football game weekend, Florida-vs-Florida State. Yes, Sharon Curry was still ecstatic that Florida State chopped the Gators.
We expected I-75 to look more like a long narrow parking lot instead of the high speed death trap it normally is, so we determined to avoid major roads as much as possible. With the exception of a very short on-one-exit-off-at-the-next involving I-75 we managed to stay on the back roads and avoid major traffic. The route we took was new to both of us and proved to be very scenic and peaceful. We even discovered a small restaurant called Mayo Café in Mayo, Florida that offers delicious traditional country cooking.
Our homeward bound route took us by the charming shop, Point of View, which we had discovered on our first day of travel. It is in Fanning Springs and offers a variety of merchandise. While checking out I questioned the clerk, whose accent is obviously German, how she had come to be in Fanning Springs. She explained that her sister and brother-in-law own the shop, they opened it approximately fourteen years ago. The site was originally a motel which became abandoned and put on the auction block. At the time her sister and brother-in-law lived in Clearwater and spent weekends in the Chiefland area playing on their four wheelers and such. Her brother-in-law decided to put-in an offer on the property never expecting that his would be the winning bid. Much to his surprise he won the bid and landed himself an old rundown motel. It was torn down and the current building constructed. Then they had to figure out what to put in the new building. After doing some research they decided on allowing multiple vendors to share the space. Their goal was to offer people an interesting place to experience old fashioned customer service and hospitality, a place they would want to revisit. Multiple boutiques merge into each other offering an eclectic array of treasures from the very old to the very new, from the very beautiful to the very odd. It is a delightful experience to wonder through and look for treasures while sipping on a glass of complimentary tea. They have accomplished their goal. We are planning a weekend trip to the area to revisit the shop and explore the area more.
We made it to LaBelle around 8:00pm. As we rounded the corner Sharon Curry caught sight of her home and was treated to the evidence that her family had done some Christmas decorating while she was gallivanting around the countryside. Her home was sparkling with Christmas lights. Sharon’s don Bubba and her dogs, Louie and Jasper greeted us happily and Bubba helped us sort through the packages in the back seat. It wasn’t difficult to tell whose was whose. I had five books and two rocks, one from the railroad track at Gee’s Bend and one from the beach at Lake Michigan and Sharon had bags and bags of fabric, an antique quilt rack, crafts, trinkets, etc. etc. etc.
As I drove home to Fort Myers I replayed the trip in my mind. Wonderful memories to be enjoyed for years to come.