Rachael made me promise to tell you about my moment of weakness. For the most part, I have been good, not paying for anything. There's no cheap place to stay here anyway; even the one campsite is $25. So it's been hospital and WalMart parking lots for me, with the odd rest stop thrown in, when I want to drive further.
However, last week I was headed out to a truck stop 45 minutes away for my shower (strange how a shower has become a major event; "what did you do today?" "ran some errands, wrote a novel, took a shower"), and when I got there, it just wasn't working for me. Truckstops in the north are happy grungy places I feel comfy in, with waitresses named Marge that everyone calls Mom. Truckstops in the south are breeding grounds for confederate flags and missing teeth. Not bad to stop at, nice folks, but I really don't feel 100% comfortable getting naked and/or sleeping there.
Plus, every single one down here charges $7, and one was only for "professional truck drivers." Well, driving a truck is what I do, does that count? No, I don't get paid for it, but come on, I need a shower!
Anyway, these are all lame excuses. Mainly I wanted to veg and knit and do something past dark.
So I bought a six pack of beer, a cheesecake, and got a cheap motel room. 'Course it's hard to knit on a six pack, so I basically just watched cable and jumped on the bed. I am really not good at not spending.
I got off work at 3 yesterday, and didn't have to work until 4 today, so it was time for a mini-trip. I headed down to Daytona Beach, with a few specific spots to hit. First, Dummott's Tomb in New Smyrna Beach. I have no idea why this was on my list, I don't know who Dummott was, but for some reason, his tomb is in the middle of a small residential street, on a little island. Strange. Possibly more interesting once I discover who he is.
Second stop was Elephant Fantasyland. This sounded great, one of the creepy fairyland kinda things that popped up for kids in the 70's. I was expecting fabulous big statues and photo ops. What I got was a brand new, very elegant municipal park. Apparently the city decided they had to rid themselves of the tacky. What a bummer. I hope this isn't a trend. Someday cities will realize that tacky things can bring tourist revenue. I may have bought a T-shirt of an elephant fantasy, you never know. Instead we have a nice, boring, beige-toned park. Sigh.
Final stop was DeLeon Springs, Ponce's fountain of youth. Well, by the time I got there, I only had an hour, and it cost $5, and there was considerably more to do in there than an hour's worth. So I thanked the ranger for telling me all the selling points, and turned around to head back north.
Put that way, it sound like the trip was a bust. In reality, it was great. I found the Florida I had been missing! Just outside of Daytona I started to hit the tourist-trap-gone-to-seed that I had in my head. Miles of brightly colored motels with itty bitty white lights, and shit nailed to the wall. Bars everywhere, with names like The Iron Horse, and Mac's. One bar had a big bronze of a soldier mid-charge, holding a POW-MIA and a USA flag. He was bungee-corded to a pillar so he could charge the right direction. Then there was the Pink Pony, The Home of The Lap Dance, advertising Topless Girls, Totally! I think they meant totally nude, but it came out in a valley girl voice.
Yay! Here was the seedy underbelly I was looking for, in the bright sunlight with nothing to freak out about. Everything looked like a motel, even the thrift stores and motorcycle shops. And every time the natural world was allowed to peek through, you got glimpses of spanish moss and marshes, or a little inlet and islands.
So even though the things I looked for on the drive were unexciting/nonexistent, the drive itself was fabulous. And the drive is the point anyway.