Day 17: Sebring, FL to Gainesville, FL

The weather turned ugly today:  lots of rain in the morning, then only sporadic with mostly grey skies.  There might have been 20 minutes of sun all day and most of that was while driving.  So I got what I could in terms of photos – decent enough for documentation, just dreary-looking.  I covered a lot of miles and the dogs toughed it out with just vacant lots here and there for exercise.  There was one brief stop at a lake for some “swim-swim”.  Tomorrow, they’ll get their last big romp at a dog park for this trip. 

While hunting down a giant can of turpentine trash can in Lake Placid, I encountered some very fine murals.  Here’s a sample:


This gator sign is at the Watering Hole in Sebring.  It was way too early to investigate the gator.  I don’t think I’d want to see a captive gator anyway.


After yesterday’s blog posting of a Superior Motel chain sign, I noticed another adapted one in Winter Haven.   And here’s a vintage example of what these signs looked like.


Also in Winter Haven, there was this adapted Mister Donut sign. The store was a regular boxy building and didn’t have the original W-shaped roof.


I got into the tourist groove at Ferris Groves and purchased some strawberries, two jars of jam, and a “goodie”.  Gotta support these places!  The orange coconut candy seems to be the same manufacturer as the lime coconut patties that I sampled back in Tennessee on a previous roadtrip.  But there were gators on this one so possibly they are custom made if not for this shop then for Florida?  I didn’t sample the candy yet to report on its quality.


Note three sets of legs visible — eager to see what “mama bought for us”.


This one’s for you Jacob…K — are you out there?  I didn’t know they had hillbillies in Florida. This sign is in Hernando.


I’ve been noticing a sign phenomenon that might be unique to the South.  It’s possible they exist other places and I just didn’t notice.  Or possibly it’s confined to Florida since I can’t exactly remember when I started noticing these.  Anyway, mounted on top of a larger plastic sign are these smaller plastic signs.  Usually they have some simple illustration to identify the type of business or just for an extra design.  This one at Ken’s Furniture in Ocala is pretty nice.


Here are a couple buildings from Silver Springs.  The first, an adapted Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge.



And this little building looked so lonely and special to me.  A real Southern belle surrounded by Spanish moss-draped trees:


I love mid-century buildings that incorporate natural materials.  This one in Ocala is a little over-the-top!



I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the lack of respect that plastic signs get.  We’re really going to miss them when they are gone.  This one from Ocala is a real winner in my opinion — and it’s BIG.


So. I have one more day to play and then the following day will be all interstate. A sensible person would maybe do a couple hours of picture-taking tomorrow morning and then start heading home. But I can’t help myself. I’ve been staring at the atlas and my list and I’m tempted to get to Mobile, AL if I can. I don’t have that many stops in the FL panhandle… and, hey, from there, I’m almost in New Orleans… but that’s a 20 hour drive home! So I can’t really say what my plans will be. But I do know that I won’t be posting here tomorrow night since as soon as the sun goes down, I’ll be driving like a demon northward with just napping breaks and caffeine. I’ll finish up the final batch of Flickr photos and a wrap-up post here once I’m back home on Thursday.

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