2018 Florida Road Trip Part 5

9 Jan

A Slice of Life
Bill Lites


Day 5 Tuesday 10/23/2018


I was out early this morning, heading north on U.S.-19 to visit the National Armed Services Museum located in Dunedin.  This small museum displays artifacts and memorabilia from all branches of the U.S. military, dating from the Revolutionary war to the present.



Now it was another 10 miles north on U.S.-19 to visit the SpongeOrama Sponge Factory located in Tarpon Springs.  This is a very interesting place where they tell you all about how Florida Gulf Coast natural sponges are harvested, processed and distributed all over the country. I would have enjoyed a lunch at one of the fine Greek restaurants along the water front if it hadn’t been so early.



While I was in Tarpon Springs, I drove into downtown to visit the Historic Train Depot Museum.  This small museum is situated in the original 1909 Atlantic Coast Line Railroad depot building and displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the influence of the railroad on the city of Tarpon Springs beginning in the early 1900s.



Now I headed north on U.S.-19 & SR-50 to visit the Brooksville Railroad Depot Museum located just off S. Main Street in Brooksville.  This museum is located in the original 1885 Florida Southern Railroad Depot and presently is the trailhead for the Good Neighbor Trail Project (Wikipedia will tell you all about the trail).  The museum displays memorabilia and artifacts that tell the story of the railroad’s influence on Brooksville and the surrounding area in the late 1880s.



Next I worked my way roughly 145 miles north, mostly on U.S.-19, to visit the Forest Capital Museum State Park located just east of the Perry- Foley Airport.  This 13 acre park contains a small museum and several restored early 1800s buildings, that gives visitors an idea of what life would be like, as they tried to scratch out a life on an 1864 Florida homestead.



A Florida Historical Marker at the entrance to the park described how the nearby Perry Army Air Base (1943-1945) was used to help train 120 U.S. Army Air Corps fighter pilot replacements each month in support of the WWII war effort.  Today the Perry-Foley Airport still uses those runways for general aviation purposes.



By now I was ready for Greta (my Garmin) to take me to the motel for the night there in Perry.  After I got checked in, I asked the desk clerk for her restaurant recommendations, and she said,  Mama’s Family Italian Restaurant just down the street was good.  So I gave Mama’s a try, and enjoyed a delicious meat Lasagna dinner with  fresh baked Italian rolls and butter.



NOTE: When I planned this trip in early September, I had planned to travel from Perry, west on U.S.-98, along the Florida west coast, all the way to Pensacola, the most westerly point of my trip.  I would visit museums along the way in St. Marks, Carrabelle, Apalachicola, Port St. Joe, Panama City, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, and Eglin AFB.  I had motel reservations for a night’s stay in Panama City and Pensacola.  We now know that hurricane Michael had other plans for western Florida.



A week after the hurricane dealt it’s deadly blow to the southeast (and two days before my trip was to begin), the Panama City motel called to tell me they were not going to be able to honor my reservation because of major hurricane damage.  Because of the way I had made my reservation (non-refundable), the closest place they could place me for that night was Bainbridge, GA.  I agreed since most of U.S.-98 along the west coast of Florida was closed, and I didn’t want to take a chance on traveling on any roads other than Interstates thru the hurricane’s path.  The next day the Bainbridge motel called to tell me they were not going to be able to honor my reservation for that night either.  What a mess this was turning out to be.  I ended up having to stay in Dothan, AL that night.  I just wanted to get all the details straightened out before I left on my trip, as I didn’t trust my ability to make or change the necessary arrangements while on the road.

—–To Be Continued—–



Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 61 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.




One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

2 Responses to “2018 Florida Road Trip Part 5”

  1. GP Cox January 9, 2019 at 6:05 am #

    Florida is a wonderful state to roam around in, isn’t it? A lot of history, towns with character and modern tourist areas. It’s too bad Michael’s visit put a damper on part of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Onisha Ellis January 14, 2019 at 10:27 am #

      Sometimes I take Florida for granted. Bill’s road trip is inspiring me to venture out this winter.


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