Sunny Florida

They always used to say “sunny Florida,” even though it rained most days. It rained just a little yesterday as we finished driving through Mississippi, zipped through Alabama without buying anything, and then spent a very long time on I-10 looking at trees.

We’d had a nice night in a cheery hotel in Pascagoula, MS the previous night. We knew we were no longer in Austin, because everyone commented on all of our hair.

Muscovy ducks that aren’t ugly.

Further down the road, we got ourselves this little gator, Swampy the Interstator Gator, at an extra-racist Stuckeys we stopped at to get the candy bars of our youth (Chunky Bars and Slo-Poke!). He’s our travel companion.

We all had fun.

There was a somber section to the trip, when we passed through where Hurricane Alberto went through the panhandle of Florida. We had no words for what we saw for miles and miles: trees snapped off midway up their trunks; young trees completely bowed to the ground, but still alive; huge trees uprooted; highway signs mangled; many new mobile homes with piles of debris behind them.

That used to be a thick, green woods.

In many areas, crews had cleaned up and left just a few healthy trees standing. Lumber or paper companies had harvested other areas. Sure, it will heal, but the woods that were not planted there for harvest were old.

Speaking of change

Once we got past Gainesville I noticed many of the lovely horse farms I remembered, but also way more houses where there once were ranches and orange groves.

It got weirder as we approached Orlando. So many new developments! And as we approached our destination I wondered why I saw what looked like an amusement park. We couldn’t be near the theme parks! Those are in the middle of woods as far as the eye can see!

Gator relaxing in former woods.

Silly Suna. You were last here 12 years ago. And you hadn’t driven here since, um, 1979.

Construction Central. The weather app says we are in Dr. Phillips. No clue what that is.

There are so many new apartments, condos, homes…whose woods these are, I do not know. We are right next to all those “attractions” that have sprung up.

Where we are

We came to the Parc Soleil resort for an update on our vacation thing in Hilton Head. Basically we came for an escape for little money.

It’s pretty here, though the furniture is uncomfortable. Now that the endless sales spiel is over, we can go hot tubbing and see some friends.

Sunset over the lake.

It’s nice to have no big plans. Ahh. I can just walk around and look at lizards snd flowers all day if I want to.


Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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