Hello folks! The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of travel for me, and I am happy to be back at home sleeping in my own bed, with my husband and my puppyhead Dex.
After visiting home, and having a beautiful shower, I hopped back on a plane to Alabama. I got in Monday afternoon, saw Mumford and Sons play Monday evening, worked Tuesday, and left again Wednesday for a fun road trip to visit our friends in Gainesville, FL!
Since I am a southern transplant, I want to share with you what I found unique about our trip down to Florida. It seems the south is full of quirky new things and it’s always fun to discover them!
We took a few pit stops along the way to Gainesville. First, we stopped in Dothan, the location of the first Del Taco in Alabama! Andrew’s favorite restaurant is Del Taco (dream big honey), and since there are none where we live, this was quite the treat for him. Embarrassingly enough, we actually stopped at Del Taco several times on our trip so Andrew could get his fix.
|Andrew enjoying his “Green Burrito”|
After lunch at Del Taco, we drove to Tallahassee and spent the night with my cousin Brittany who is the new big wig Director of Communications for the Secretary of State. She just moved there and started her new position two weeks ago, so we crash landed at her place. We had dinner, visited with her, and slept on a brand new air mattress we bought for the trip that was mostly deflated by morning. Not great for the pregnancy body image-which is already suffering. Oh the joys of a road trip!
We then drove to Gainesville and got to visit with our dear friends Michael and Anita. Michael is doing an anesthesiology residency at the University of Florida. Because he was in Andrew’s Medical school class, they got to know each other pretty well, and it was good to catch up. They have two of the cutest kiddos ever!
On our way there we encountered a Florida phenomenon called “love bugs.” They are disgusting. They stay attached after mating for days, then they fly around like this and harass you.
According to a “local” we met in Florida, the legend is that love bugs were a failed University of Florida genetics experiment. Well I don’t care what they are–they creep me out! Not to mention, our car was bombarded with them. I mean covered!
Our first day in Gainesville we wanted to see some gators, so Anita took us to a park called Paynes Prairie Preserve. It was actually beautiful in all its creepy swampiness. You can walk along a boardwalk that takes you out into the swamp, and then you can walk out onto the grassy area. This kind of freaked me out because there was no gate. A gator could literally walk up onto the boardwalk and just be sitting there waiting for you.
Unfortunately, we didn’t stay too long because we were ATTACKED by more love bugs and it was hot as hell. No, I’m not exaggerating, they were everywhere, landing all over us, flying in our faces, etc.
So, we didn’t get to see any actual gators. But, I did find this picture of a gator at Paynes Prairie.
|How awesome is this gator?
That night we ate at a local pizza joint called Satchels Pizza. Attached to the restaurant is a random store called Lightnin’ Salvage. This place is eclectic. Everything was repurposed and reused at this restaurant. The plates we ate off of didn’t match, the silverware was mismatched. There was a fountain made of scrap metal, pipes, and junk toys. It was quite charming.
You can sit and eat inside a bus, if you would like. We opted for a traditional table.
After we had delicious salad and pizza they brought us out a dessert menu on a viewfinder, which I thought was so unique! It almost made me want to order dessert.
Then we went and browsed around the attached Lightnin’ Salvage store. They have all the junk you never thought of and don’t need here.
I’m not sure why, but I found these particularly funny.
Just outside of the store was a playground area for the kids.
What a fun night! We spent the rest of the weekend in Orlando, at the outlet malls, at Ormond Beach, stopping at Trader Joes to stock up on essentials like Cookie Butter, and then watching the Alabama football game. I guess we are becoming southerners!