So over the Thanksgiving break, illiteratenazi and I took a random trip to Florida in order to escape the madness that is Richmond.
We left Wed night and drove all night, stopping at a rest area right inside of Florida in an attempt to get sleep. I had no idea that apparently this is common practice, we parked right around a buncha other cars also filled with sleeping peoples! Anyhow, woke up the next morning at sunrise and it was all cool, with palm trees everywhere and these weird clickey brown birds all over the place!
Any idea what they are? They seemed vaguely starlingesque, maybe I'll look them up later if I'm feeling not-lazy. I fed them crackers and got neat close up pictures. Oh, and apparently turtleneck doves are wild down there! I used to have an albino one named Bijou back when I was a wee lad.
So then we drove south until we thought we were south enough, this being Daytona Beach. Check it out, Nascar totally hangs out here!
Look! It's a lizardey thing!
The water was very pretty, but too cold for swimming unfortunately. The gulls, however, were out in full force.
We got hungry and ate our Thanksgiving Dinner at some local place (I had a BLT!), and I totally overtipped the server who was totally setting off my gaydar and had the bluest eyes I'd ever seen (or blue contacts). Then I had a 'Hey, John would totally find this funny!' moment and had to take a picture of this sign:
We went to Okala National Forest, where they had this really awesome lake with swimming and such. Costs $4 each to swim, and we got fresh clementines which were very tasty!
The lake had all these fish swimming around in it and they kept randomly leaping out of the water in a very awkward manner. Due to all these fishes, as well as the fact that this was the clearest lake I'd ever seen (the light patches in the picture are the sand at the bottom of the water, and the water was 5-6 ft deep), I just had to go swimming. It was cold, but great. Drew almost wussed out of going in, but in the end he realised that sometimes pneumonia is worth it!
One of the reasons the water was so clear was because of all these wacky underwater springs all over the place.
Vultures everywhere. And there weren't even any old people around! It was insane, I'd never seen that many vultures in one place.
They totally thought they were ducks!
This is totally doctored but way neato.
The next day we go check out the Gulf side, couldn't find any swimming to have but there were still critters to see. Like this guy!
What a lazy bastard. I got really close though!
Ate lunch at a Steak and Shake, which apparently Drew is rather fond of. They had approximately 2389472374932 types of milkshakes, I got a Dark Chocolate, which was good times.
We went to Lower National Wildlife Refuge in the hopes of more good trails, not as much unfortunately but still had some scenicness. Like lots of rednecks in hunting gear! As apparently there's good huntin' just outside the refuge. Saw a deer but it was too fast for my camera. Got this picture that I cropped into a panorama while getting lost after leaving the refuge.
It was horrible, actually. We take a left onto a road I thought was 20, but it actually wasn't and we end up driving all the way to the end of whatever road we were on, about 1/2 hour, before realising we went the wrong way. However, by the time we righted outselves, it was totally time for dinner!
I'd wanted to eat locally, as I think it's silly to eat at a chain restaurant that you can eat at anytime, and I'd wanted some fishes to eat, so we stopped at some middle-of-nowhere restaurant that served mullet! I totally ordered the mullet too, and much to my chagrin I was not served the scalp of a redneck. Nonetheless, it was a tasty mullet (it's a type of fish, apparently). I also got fried okra, I'd never tried it before! So much ketchup was used at that meal, it wasn't funny.
We stayed at the Worst Hotel Ever that night. The sort where you had to insert quarters to get ice. It was pretty bad.
Next day we head over to Marineland on the east coase, mostly because I saw it on the map and hoped there was an aquarium. On the way there we get subs and eat at a park which had signs up saying something along the lines of 'watch out for manatees' (for the boats), but unfortunately there were no manatees to be seen. Marineland was actually a dolphinney place, so we went in and watched dolphins flop around and do dolphin things and play with balls and eat sushi and so on. I need to visit Sea World at some point, as I hear it's a much more optimal experience then this was. The dolphins were nice and all, but the place just seemed a bit too run down.
Across the street from the oceanarium was this wacky guy!
We drive north along the coast on a mad quest for ice cream, and end up stopping in St Augustine, where, unbeknownst to us until then, was the first city in the US, that being the fort of Castillo De San Marcos (am fuzzy on details here).
There's a bunch of people in the town and it's entirely too crowded, apparently there's some arts festival going on there. Upon seeing a big fort with cannons, it became imperative for us to stop, made even more so by the fact there was ice cream nearby. Well, gelato technically. But very tasty nonetheless. I had a scoop of something involving chocolate and caramel and nuts in a chocolate waffle cone, and Drew had the same thing, except he had the brilliant idea of getting chocolate and caramel squirted on top of it, which promptly oozed off the cone all over his hands and the floor. I realised that this was an excellent way to not get mugged, cause who'd want to mug someone who'd just get chocolate all over the wallet they handed to you?
Oh yeah, while we were at a red light there was this horse-drawn carriage beside us (they were everywhere) and the horse just started peeing like a bloated fire hydrant, it was crazy! Then the people sitting in the carriage notice us laughing and the guy says the horse is making a political statement.
Then we went to a non-crap hotel with a heated pool! Luckily the child swarm didn't hit until we were almost done with poolage. Our final trip event before leaving the next day was to go to Eclipse, a gothy club located in Jacksonville. Drew dressed up, complete with eye makeup!
I did as well, figuring this was a good opportunity to wear The Top. In fact, later when I requested some KMFDM and the DJ immediately went to his cd case to get it, I have a feeling that said top might have been an instigator.
Club itself was kinda sad. Most of the stuff I actually recognised was slower stuff (who plays Covenant - Bullet in a club when they have such more danceable songs? I mean I love the song, but it's really hard to dance to), and even with harder stuff they all danced like they'd eaten entirely too much fruit and it was ejecting itself from their fingertips in frothy bits. And they all stood in one place while dancing. Maybe it really is a DC/VA thing to actually move around when dancing, being that when I went to a club in Philly back in the day they all did the 'stand in one place and dance' thing as well, whereas I find it much more enjoyable to move about on the dancefloor. And with fists, dangit! However, the club did make the best Butterfinger I've had yet!
Jacksonville is scary, we stopped at a McDs on the way back (God knows how he talked me into that) and there was some cracked out guy asking everyone that pulled up through the drivethrough for money to buy food, and (as he specifically stated) to not buy alcohol from the liquor store across the street). My quarterpounder was without many of the toppings one would actually expect to find on a quarterpounder, thus again reminding me why McDs is to be avoided at all costs. Jeez, at least we could have found a Wendy's or something.
Drive back the next day was long and arduous, it really was one of the worst days to be traveling. Insane lines at cheapo gas stations in Georgia! Got another milkshake from Steak & Shake though, this one was a strawberry fudge cheesecake shake, was very tasty! At some point the traffic is at an utter standstill, and it's all overcast, and so we crank up REM - Everybody Hurts really loud. It was a beautiful thing. And then my butt hurt from car sitting, and then we got home. The End.
Epilogue: The next night, right after Front 242 exited the stage and the show ended, guess what song whatever dj it was started playing? Well, I don't remember the name, but it was from the Katamari Damacey soundtrack! And I'm all like OMG Katamari and the scottcarolyndoug looks at me funny. Scott owes me $10!