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DennyG

Christmas On The Alafia

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As mentioned in the US-1 forum, this year's Christmas Escape Route includes US 1 and the Overseas Highway but it's centered around the Dixie Highway so this seems a more appropriate place to tell of its beginning and, eventually, its end.

 

It began with an expressway run to Tampa for a Christmas Eve in the same area my great-grandparents spent theirs in 1920. I'll now take a more leisurely ride over the Tamiami Trail/Dixie Highway West to Miami. After a brief visit to Key West, I'll pick up the Dixie Highway East and follow it back to the spot in North Carolina where I left it on Thanksgiving weekend.

 

I left Cincinnati on the twenty-third in freezing rain and the temperature was barely above freezing when I woke up on Wednesday in Tennessee. By the time I reached Gibsonton, Florida, the thermometer read 86 and the AC had been on a long time. The drive was almost entirely on expressway but I still found a couple of things to photograph and there was a really cool bar waiting.

 

Things begin at:

http://www.dennygibson.com/cer2008/index.htm

 

Merry Christmas to all

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Very much looking forward to photos!

 

And if I shaved with a disposable razor, I'd end up bleeding to death. Rips out the hair on my neck something fierce.

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I learned to shave with one of those injector razors - back in the early 50's!!!!! A few years back I got tired of buying disposable razors and bought an electric. Don't shave quite as good as a blade - but, hey, I ain't going to visit the queen!!!!!!!!!! :D

 

Have a great, and safe, trip Denny - we'll look fwd to each day's report, as we always do, with anticipation.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

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Ah, Denny, you're bringing back memories to me! There's no doubt that you drove right by my old alma mater, the University of Miami. Sadly, I didn't have a car back then and couldn't do much exploring:( I saw plenty of Florida through the windows of buses, so I did get to see a lot of two-laners, especially in the cities and wherever the interstate hadn't been built yet.

 

And then there was Betty and Johnny's, a honky-tonk way out on the Tamiami Trail. A friend of mine and I used to go there and have a brew or two. They had a juke box with Hank Williams 78's in it! Since that was over 40 years ago, I doubt if it's still there. Probably a bunch of damned condos there now:(

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Another great trip report, Denny. And over some ground that I've been over before - 50 years ago!!! LOL I was stationed in Jacksonville at the Naval Air Station back in 1956!!

 

While I was following your trip, I was/am reading Least-Heat Moon's River Horse - I found a copy at the library. In the History section - figure that one out. That's as good as his Blue Highways and The Road to Quoz.

 

Thanks again for taking all of us with you on your road trips - your writting is enjoyable and interesting. And the photos excellent.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

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Ah, Denny, you're bringing back memories to me! There's no doubt that you drove right by my old alma mater, the University of Miami. Sadly, I didn't have a car back then and couldn't do much exploring:( I saw plenty of Florida through the windows of buses, so I did get to see a lot of two-laners, especially in the cities and wherever the interstate hadn't been built yet.

 

And then there was Betty and Johnny's, a honky-tonk way out on the Tamiami Trail. A friend of mine and I used to go there and have a brew or two. They had a juke box with Hank Williams 78's in it! Since that was over 40 years ago, I doubt if it's still there. Probably a bunch of damned condos there now:(

Nope, I didn't see Betty & Johnny's although I'd have liked to. All the Hank Williams I have is on CDs which I guess are rapidly being made obsolete by MP3s. Your comment about condos rings true. There are places along the Florida coast where a thermometer -- and maybe a palm tree -- is about the only way of distinguishing them from Manhattan or Chicago.

 

In some internet poking related to this trip I learned of an important intersection that must not be too far from you. Dixie Lee Junction marks the crossing of the Lee Highway and Dixie Highway West and is in Loudon county. Also, as you've probably learned, I hit a great eating place on the north edge of Knoxville. Litton's Market Restaurant & Bakery has no Dixie Highway connection but is just off of US-441. Since I didn't get a 'burger there this time, it's on my list (in red letters) for next time.

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Another great trip report, Denny. And over some ground that I've been over before - 50 years ago!!! LOL I was stationed in Jacksonville at the Naval Air Station back in 1956!!

 

While I was following your trip, I was/am reading Least-Heat Moon's River Horse - I found a copy at the library. In the History section - figure that one out. That's as good as his Blue Highways and The Road to Quoz.

 

Thanks again for taking all of us with you on your road trips - your writting is enjoyable and interesting. And the photos excellent.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

Is that Mayport or is there something right in Jacksonville? I was briefly in Mayport in 2004 when I took a ride on the Enterprise with my son.

 

It's been awhile since I've read it but I think I might have liked River Horse even more that Roads to Quoz. His other major work, Prairy Erth, can get a little tedious but still has some great Heat-Moon writing.

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Duuuuude! You could tell it was Florida sunshine in many of those photos -- somehow, the sun in Florida always seems sunnier.

 

I got a huge kick out of seeing the "East US 41" sign (pic07a). Well, that is, after every cell in my body screamed "that's so WRONG!" -- I lived 5 blocks from US 41 for 5 years, and lemme tellya, you get used to seeing a road signed "North" or "South" after that much time.

 

I also enjoyed the photos of the old Bahia Honda bridge. And the "End US 1" photo! And all the shots of brick and unpaved and single-lane DH. I'm not sure I'd've taken even my Matrix down that sandy road, as easily as my wheels spin in the snow.

 

jim

 

 

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Is that Mayport or is there something right in Jacksonville? I was briefly in Mayport in 2004 when I took a ride on the Enterprise with my son.

 

There were 3 big navy bases - Mainside Jax is south of downtown on the St John River; NAS Cecil Field was out west of town a few miles; and Mayport was the carrier base for Jax and Cecil Field.

 

From a google search they are still there.

 

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

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I'm envious, Denny. Wish I coulda ridden shotgun in the Vette.....Bliss

Not sure I needed a shotgun but a guy with a shovel would have been welcome :lol:

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Duuuuude! You could tell it was Florida sunshine in many of those photos -- somehow, the sun in Florida always seems sunnier.

 

I got a huge kick out of seeing the "East US 41" sign (pic07a). Well, that is, after every cell in my body screamed "that's so WRONG!" -- I lived 5 blocks from US 41 for 5 years, and lemme tellya, you get used to seeing a road signed "North" or "South" after that much time.

 

I also enjoyed the photos of the old Bahia Honda bridge. And the "End US 1" photo! And all the shots of brick and unpaved and single-lane DH. I'm not sure I'd've taken even my Matrix down that sandy road, as easily as my wheels spin in the snow.

 

jim

You're absolutely right about the sun. If you liked east 41, you'll probably like south 62. A guy in Showtown USA claimed that US-41 is the only odd numbered US route with east-west signage. I don't have an example that proves him wrong but, with things like "south 62", I have my doubts. It was actually kind of refreshing to find someone who even knew about east vs. south numbering. (He volunteered the information.)

 

Funny, but I had similar thoughts about whether or not I'd take my Vibe down that road. I was actually as concerned with clearance as with traction and the Vibe would help considerably with that though I'm not sure it would have been enough. I want a tall 4WD next time.

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I'm sure your Vibe is better on non-dry pavement than your Vette, and so it's a matter of perspective -- but my Matrix is one of the worst cars I've ever owned when it comes to driving in snow. Best was, of all things, my Mercury Sable wagon; that sucker could inexplicably go almost anywhere and as long as clearance wasn't a problem I'd've put it down that sandy highway.

 

The "South 62" sign was a hoot. Not as WRONG as the East 41 sign, but that's only because I've never been anywhere near US 62.

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A guy in Showtown USA claimed that US-41 is the only odd numbered US route with east-west signage. I don't have an example that proves him wrong but, with things like "south 62", I have my doubts.

I've always been annoyed with US-35 being signed East-West from the Indiana border to Dayton, Ohio. I guess that's one to show the Showtown guy. Surprised that one didn't come to mind, since it's close to your neck of the woods. ;)

 

Chris

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I've always been annoyed with US-35 being signed East-West from the Indiana border to Dayton, Ohio. I guess that's one to show the Showtown guy. Surprised that one didn't come to mind, since it's close to your neck of the woods. ;)

 

Chris

Duh. :blush: Yeah, I drive that fairly often. As you may know, that stretch was once part of the National Old Trails Road.

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