2018 Florida Road Trip Part 6

16 Jan

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites


Day 6 Wednesday 10/24/2018


Two of the most important museums I had my heart set on visiting on this trip, were the National Museum of the U.S. Navy located in Pensacola, and the U.S. Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB.  Since hurricane Michael had changed my route plans, I now had to work my way to Pensacola by an alternate route.  After breakfast this morning, I headed north on U.S.-19 to visit some of the museums in Tallahassee that were originally on my list to visit on my way back from Pensacola. The first was the Museum of Florida History.   This museum is located in the R.A. Gray Building, there in Tallahassee, and as the state’s history museum it displays exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia related to the development of Florida’s unique history over the years.



Just a few miles west of the Museum of Florida History, I visited the Mission San Luis de Apalachee. This is the site of a Spanish Franciscan mission that was built in 1633 as part of Spain’s effort to colonize the Florida Peninsula, and to convert the Apalachee Indians to Christianity (see Wikipedia for “Mission San Luis de Apalachee“ for many additional interesting details).



As I headed for the next museum, I passed the Florida State Capital Building and stopped to take a photo. There was a modern 22-story executive office building in the background that ruined any kind of decent photo that a person would try to take of the restored original 1902 Old State Capital Building. Rats! I could have done without that modern distraction.  Guess I’ll have to learn how to do “Photo Shop” so I can get rid of those, and other, ugly distractions in the future.



While I was in Tallahassee, I went looking for the Railroad Square Art Park, and found it located just south of U.S.-90 and the Florida State University.  Because of my word dyslexia, I didn’t read all the words, and was expecting a “Railroad” park or museum, not an “Art Park.”  All I found at the “Park” was the sign below, just outside a small house with a “Black Dog” sign on it (whatever that means) and a couple of unidentifiable warehouse looking buildings.  DiVoran keeps telling me to, “Read ALL the words Bill” but one slips by me now and then.



Now I headed northeast on U.S.-90 about 10 miles, to visit the Tallahassee Automobile Museum located near the intersection of U.S.-90 and I-10.  This turned out to be one of the largest auto museums I’ve ever visited. The museum displays some 160+ beautifully restored (mostly American) cars dating from 1894, and includes, among others, a rare1948 Tucker.  The museum also has on  display, large collections of motorcycles, bicycles, boats, grand pianos, cash registers, and clocks filling two floors.



After this exhilarating experience, I headed northwest on I-10 & U.S.-231 toward Dothan, AL where I was to spend the night. I was running low on gas when I crossed the state line between Florida and Alabama.  The first gas station I came to in Alabama was advertising gas for $.40/gal lower than the last station I had passed, in Florida.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  I pulled in and asked a guy at one of the other pumps if the price was a joke or what?  He said, “Nay, this heres the reglar price, ‘causen we have lower gas taxes here in Alabam than they does down in Florida.  People comes across the border for their gas all the time to save money.”  WOW, what s serendipity!   I made plans to top-off my tank again tomorrow before leaving Alabama.



I skirted Dothan, AL and headed north on U.S.-431 to visit the Todd Syrup Farm  located a few miles north of the city of Dothan near Headland, AL. This turned out to be a long standing small community developed by Mr. Joe Todd and his wife Edria, and consists of a General Store, a Café, a Syrup Factory, a Farming Museum, and Campground.  I got to the Farm just at quitting time, and was able to meet Joe Todd and several of his syrup factory workers as they were closing up shop for the day.  Joe informed me that Thomas Todd had started this syrup business back in 1864, and that the family had been running it ever since. When I asked him about the museum, he mentioned the 40+ different cane mill designs the family had invented over the years, some dating from the Civil War days.



On my way to the motel I passed the entrance to the National Peanut Festival grounds and stopped to take a photo of their giant peanut.  Wikipedia informs me that the annual fall National Peanut Festival is held at this fairgrounds complex to honor peanut growers and celebrate the peanut harvest season.  The festival has amusement rides and an outdoor amphitheater where live music concerts are performed.   I would imagine you could find the “Miss. Peanut” beauty pageant winner there too.



While I was checking in at the motel, the desk clerk commented how lucky I was to have a room reservation, as they had been booked completely full, with relief workers, every night since hurricane Michael.  He was right, as I would not like to have to sleep in my van tonight.  Once settled in my room, I heated up my Italian Mama’s delicious meat Lasagna dinner and enjoyed it again.  Yummm!



—–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 6”

  1. Onisha Ellis January 22, 2019 at 10:16 pm #

    I’ve never been to a syrup farm.


  2. divoran09 January 16, 2019 at 11:32 am #

    This is really good. I agree about the modern building. Remember when we had our down with progress club?


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