where the hell am i?

Daytona Beach Travel Blog

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this is not actually a true travel blog. as in, far away exotic destinations.

more often than not it's simply about the deviations [usually unintentional] i've taken in my own home state fla'duh...as in our new state motto: "duuuhhhhhhh...."

i realized awhile back that, i'm pushing 30, give or take a few years, & that although i've lived here since i was 2 years old that i really haven't taken a good look at the natural sights america's penis has to offer us, beyond where my parents took me when i was a kid.

it's not just the stupid theme parks....the only 3 are even worth a damn are busch gardens, universal studios islands of adventure, & epcot anyways....

there are the beaches. the one i come from happens to be "the world's most famous beach"....daytona. i never could figure that out. what makes it so famous? the fact that you can drive on the hard packed sand with out your tires getting stuck [before the speedway was built, the cars actually raced on the sand, way back when...reaching speeds of nearly 35 to 40mph! how's that for days of thunder]? was it because the disasterous years of spring break MTV brought with them in the 80s & early 90s? our record as shark attack capital of the world [not deaths...attacks] or is it the fact that you can whale-watch without ever going in the ocean or even near it?

i'm going to hell for that last one aren't i?....well it's probably not the only reason, but let's not dwell on that, ok?

like i was saying. there's other beaches. not just daytona. cocoa is very nice. people like to surf. they also surf in new smyrna & in ponce inlet, which was truly funny to me. the only time i see surfers on their boards at ponce inlet is when the water is glass-smooth. they're all laying out on their little boards, in their little wetsuits, burning their little brains out their while they banter about in that bizarre spicoli-speak they all somehow have picked up. they look like seals bobbing around out there. it's amusing to watch. standing on the jetty out there with the feral cats & the crusty fisherman, all wondering how soon the seals are going to notice that large, dark shape with the vertical caudal fin drifting about lazily about 8ft below their surfboards.

there's playalinda. that's a nude beach i think. that's near canaveral national seashore. i don't believe i've been there yet. it must be a pain in the ass to get to. especially if you hafta go to freaking titusville to find it.

there's one beach i think is really cool, because it is so unique. it's called sanibel island & it's on the gulf coast. near fort myers, fla. what makes this beach unique is the shells you can pick up there. conchs, whelks, & sand dollars in particular. shells on the atlantic coast get all beat to hell in the tidebreaks. on sanibel you can find large, whole sand dollars! if you were a collector, i'd suggest you come here.

there's aqauriums & museums all over the state...if you like gardens i could suggest leu gardens, which is has the largest collection of camellias in the nation, as well as its azaelias, roses, vines, & orchid collections; then there's bok tower which has botanical gardens, but would mainly be known for that big tower with the carillon bells in it. it's called the "singing tower"; i guess you can add cypress gardens to this list too. it's supposedly the 1st theme park in florida, opened way back in 1936. it's in winter haven. now it's got thrill rides...but when i was a kid, there were only a few things. a water ski show, the gardens, & the women dressed in the big frilly hoopskirts twirling their parasols & strolling through the afformentioned gardens that you could take pictures with. the "southern belles" are the predecessor to the poor unfortunate fools who get to don the goofy costume at the magic kingdom in 108 degree heat & then get the shit kicked out of them by snotty tourist children. i hope they get more than minimum wage for the abuse they take all summer.

forts...of course you have to visit that spanish fort in st. augustine. how could i forget it? nearly fell off the drawbridge on a field trip, i did. the hell's it called....fortress castillo san marcos. that's it. impressive name, yeah? piddle around there awhile. & then walk about in town & shop. there's some good little gifty stores. make sure if you do go, you also go stare at the "oldest wooden schoolhouse". it's exactly that. it's wood. it's a school house. & it's old as hell....apparently the oldest in the nation & also the 1st to go co-ed. yeehaw. i loved the animatronic school marm & her students. i bet they haven't had a tune up since the mid-80s. also, near & dear to my heart is the ripleys believe or not museum, because i like weird shit & it was the 1st one i'd ever been to....also because i love cemetaries & photographing the stones & crypts, i suggest going to the one in st. augustine, since it's got some of the oldest colonial graves you could see without heading north to savannah probably.

south of st. augustine is a small marine park called "marine land" [duh] & it's one of those types that has the dolphins balancing balls on their noses & jumping through hoops. movies like benji & the creature from the black lagoon have been filmed here. they had a particular breed of dolphin that was bred for its "champagne" color instead of that boring old gray. must be like an albino bottlenose trait or something.

and then there's the springs. springs all over the damn state. would you expect any less from a state nearly surrounded by water? of course not. too many to list off. but the well known ones are like blue springs. you can swim in the summertime across the boil if you dare. the water's freakin freezing. in the wintertime, depending on when winter actually hits florida [sometimes in january or or as late as february] the manatees come floating in to calf. if you don't what a manatee is, you might want to come check them out. they're like, the most benign, harmless things on the whole damn planet. the worst you could do is get hugged to death by one. that is, if it wasn't illegal to touch them. and something tells me that if they hadn't been put on the endangered species protection list, manatees probably would have died out ages ago, cuz...they aren't all that smart. when seamen delirious with scurvy 1st came upon them near shore, they thought they were mermaids. 1500lb gray mermaids. well being on a boat that long can make you screwy in the head, don't you know. and when they finally realized what they thought they were madly in love with turned out to be a sea cow, well...they discovered that manatee meat was actually pretty edible & pretty abundant.

actually, you can see these gray landmasses anytime of the year. i go watch them at a small look-out point near the wildlife refuge on the back road headed towards kennedy space center. i got as close as 3 ft away from one just standing on the riverbank. 

there's also silver springs. it's rather wellknown. a couple tarzan movies were filmed there. there is a tribe of monkeys descended from the originals released on an island there while they were filming. it features glassbottom boats that you can view fish, gators, otters, or whatever through. according to my dad, there are 2 catfish that have been there forever. they're called adam & eve and the old man, who saw them when he was a kid, swears they were at least 6ft long or more even back then..in the late 40s, early 50s. there's also a reptile show which my dad hates, because he's afraid of snakes. i think he aged about 10 years when he caught me getting my picture taken with an 11ft boa wrapped around my 8yr old body.

one of my personal favorites was silver glen which marked my 1st encounter ever with quicksand, to mine & ma's delight & my dad's horror. the "quicksand" you step into allows you to sink to a certain buoyancy. i could sink up to my waist back then. dad went in at least up to his chest. it's a great way to freak out people who don't know.

all the springs have fishing, boating, swimming & hiking to do. they're actually quite popular in the summer so if you do come to one, i suggest going early. they fill to capacity with those snot nosed kids & then you can move.

i'm thinking i want to travel around the state taking pictures of all the little out of the way places & amusements like sugarmill gardens & spookhill...gatorland maybe. i want to visit a bunch of the springs i've yet to see up north of here. maybe do some more hiking. some more boonie-stomping. try to get in shape for backpacking through europa.

in other words, this is just one big long rambling thought process that didn't actually have a point....i just felt like writing something. but if you made it this far without your brain imploding, i still apprectiate that you read this load of drivel.

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Daytona Beach
photo by: Cho