Astral Nomads

One man, one woman, one rabbit......traveling with the stars.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Everybody Knows This is Tallahassee

Everybody seems to wonder
What it's like down here

this is nowhere.
Everybody, everybody knows
Everybody knows.*

To leave St. Augustine and head west, the general route is I95 North to I10 West. We wanted to make our last stop in Florida on the panhandle, where there are some nice beaches, but we didn't feel like driving the entire 7 hours to the panhandle (yeah, Florida's a big state) in one go. Not that we couldn't, it's just that we're not in any hurry and the weather forecast called for a few more days of relatively cold weather so we decided to hunker down in Tallahassee for a couple of nights to see what, if anything, was worth seeing there. The Tallahassee Tourist web site didn't really have much in the way of compelling must-see attractions and, after a day and a half on the ground, I'm pretty sure I know why. The only items in my consciousness related to Tallahassee before I got here were: 1) the much vilified Florida Secretary of State Kathrine Harris during the episode of the hanging chads (nightmare material for sure) and 2) Florida State University, home of the Seminoles, a team that plays in the ACC (Almost College Conference) [Go Gators!], and 3) Rick Scott, the bald man with the shady past that's now governor of Florida per the wisdom of the Florida electorate.

I am leaving Tallahassee with my consciousness unaltered. 

The drive along I10 was pleasant enough. 

Way down upon the Swanee River,
Far, far away
That's where my heart is turning ever
That's where the old folks stay
All up and down the whole creation,
Sadly I roam
Still longing for the old plantation
And for the old folks at home**

We actually did pass over the Swanee River, also
spelled Suwanee. Curiously enough, Stephen Foster
never lived in the South and only visited it once in his
entire life. In fact, he died, impoverished, on the Bowery
of the Lower East Side of New York City. Bummer!

Some typical American landscapes, especially near
the interstate just scream of crass commercialism. How
many corporate logos can YOU spot?

We did have a nice dinner at this Indian
restaurant near our palatial quarters in
the Econolodge here. We had Lamb Rogan Josh,
Gobi Mattar, Samosas, Nan, and rice. It was good
but we were so hungry, we forgot to take any pictures.
Actually, we were surprised that there was an Indian
restaurant here. Actually, there are two. What's funny
is that they are on the exact same road, only about 1/8 
of a mile apart and they have the exact same menu.
A conspiracy, you say? Mighty suspicious indeed.

Otis loves when we come in from Publix. Publix is this
huge supermarket chain in Florida. I think we've been in
every one. At least it seems that way. Otis goes right for 
the bag with the cookies. He's got a wicked sweet tooth.

You know there's absolutely nothing to do when the Astrals
go to a mall. This is the the Governor's Square Mall right down
the Appalatchee Parkway from our motel. It actually had an
interesting (for a mall) architectural design with this heavily strutted
ceiling and exposed window line along the top, allowing sunlight to
filter in. Wendy needed a new duffel bag for her modest wardrobe
but we struck out here. It was mostly sneaker stores and chain boutiques.
And scarily empty.

If you need proof that it's cold in Florida, here's some
ice in our motel parking lot. I see a manatee screaming
for mercy. What do you see?

Speaking of our motel, just in case you think the Astrals
are unable to handle roughing it, check out this combo
ice vending/laundry room/snack bar set-up. I guess the
awning would help during a torrential rainfall. But, really,
add a Satay stand and this is a scene from Manila.

When we pulled into the motel parking lot I thought perhaps
I had made a wrong into one of Florida's correctional institutions.
I think it was the complete lack of windows facing the parking
lot that gave me that vibe. We do have a window, actually. It
provides a scenic (and close-up) view of one of the entrance
ramps to the Applatchee Parkway.

Hans, wait in the bunker. I'll start the van.

Tomorrow the Astrals are heading over to Destin, where we booked four nights in an ocean-side motel adjacent to a state park. It's still a little cold for camping but we hope to do some hiking and biking before we cross the border into 'Bama.  No idea what we're doing after that. That's the beauty of it!

BTW, something good did come of Tallahassee:

(Thanks to our friend Lauren Pletzner)

*"Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" - Neil Young and Crazy Horse
**"Old Folks at Home", Stephen Foster


  1. GOD how I miss Florida!! I would move back in a heartbeat... and Publix??!! I for one am glad you're leaving Florida soon, its making me SO homesick.
    BTW.. you haven't lived until you have a veggie sub from Publix! Have one and think of me!!

    Dont forget Gator County - Molly Hatchett ;)

  2. @Mama: Sorry to make you homesick Mama. We've just about run around the table on the great state of Florida. I'll grab me a Publix veggie sub before I book and post a pic if I remember to take one. I'll overnight you one if you think it will keep. Let me now.

  3. Personally, I can't wait til you get out of Florida!!! Watch out they come!

  4. @Barbara: All in good time my dear, all in good time.

  5. Yeeesh. Now I know where not to visit. Maybe it's a gravity thing and all the interesting stuff falls down into the peninsula of Florida.
    But at the very least you are still in one of only two states still without snow!

  6. Yes, it was cold in Tallahassee and I'm sure we missed some great State Parks, but the only hiking we are really equipped for in frozen temperatures are the local malls... and I hate malls. But I sat in our dingy motel room and created a pretty place from the view of our basement window. I'll have Gerry post it so it doesn't seem like Tallahassee is all that dismal. Stay warm Tree!

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