We arrived at our very good friend Gary’s this afternoon and right away he asked us simple question, “Do you want to spend a couple of days at the beach?” It took a nanosecond to reply yes, and here we are with open sliding glass door listening to the waves, reading, and relaxing (of course with my friend Mr. Modelo). The house we are staying at belongs to one of Gary’s friends who is also a colleague. You can see from the pictures that this is a fine place on a fairly isolated part of Flagler Beach, nestled between the sea oats, palms, and very colorful wild flowers. Two days here won’t be enough, but it is a fine start to our time at the beach.

The drive here from Hogtown, (Gainesville as it is now known), took us two hours as we traveled along state and county roads, sometimes along the boundary of the Ocala National Forest. It’s an easy drive on the eyes. The southern pines, some darkened by relatively recent fires, provide a very different feel from a drive on I-75 or any other major highway. The wild flowers are stunning — red, all shades of pink, orange, yellow (Black Eye Susan), and lilac, all swaying in the wind and inviting us to slow down to look. At many junctures the flowers spread well beyond the short strip adjacent to the road and the median and encompassed an entire field. Also, the Mimosa trees here are just starting to flower.

The signs along this drive are different from the others normally seen on the main highway. At one point we reached a “T” in the road and needed to turn left. The three signs at the intersection read “Team Glock,’ “Hog Traps,”and “Gator Meat.” I guess that means that we are in the south. We had to stop the car to avoid running over two sandhill cranes who were crossing the road ever so leisurely. We also saw a sign advertising a hog hunt.

One constant enjoyment on long road trips is reading the pithy names that people give to their businesses, teams, activities, and just about everything else. More fireworks store names were found, including Four Seasons, Big Daddy’s, Big Dog’s, BJ’s, JR’s and Mad Dog’s. However, the best names found were those of Memphis in May barbeque winners, although one of my all time favorites is a team that seems to have disbanded: the Not Ready for Swine Time Porkers. Also consider: The Transporkers, Suspicious Rinds, The Count Bastie Porkestra, Sweet Swine O’ Mine, and The People’s Republic of Swina.

The trend in gas prices ended in Alabama, reaching a low of $3.15.9 south of Dothan. The price has moved up and stands at $3.49.9 here, still much lower than found in Omaha.

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