We’re heading down there on Sunday. I haven’t set foot in that state since I was a young teen, I think. A long time ago. But our family used to vacation there occasionally. I spent some time in Daytona, have been to Disney World, visited Fort Lauderdale and Miami and Key West. Other places too… a long time ago. This trip is going to focus on the Tampa/St. Petersburg area. My parents are down there, and we’re going to visit with them and explore a bit. It’ll be nice to get away from the daily soul-crushing grind, as well as the ice and cold.
Do you have any kind of relationship with the state of Florida? It definitely seems to leave an impression, heh. Both good and bad. I’d like to read yours, maybe while on the plane? Please tell us about it in the comments section.
I shared my limited Florida memories in the latest episode of the podcast, which you can play here:
And I apologize for this brief update, but I need to go to work. I’ll be working almost up to the moment we leave. Oh, it’s quite a life I’ve carved out for myself. All this and the baseball situation! Grrr… I was hoping to take in a Spring Training game down there, the teams involved would’ve been irrelevant. Bastards.
Anyway, before I go, I’d also like to invite you to check out the latest No New Jeffs column, right here. It’s a monthly column I’m writing at Substack about some aspect of aging. There’s a new one on the first day of every month.
Please share whatever memories you have of Florida, if you’re so inclined. And I’ll see you guys when we return.
Have a great day!
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I live in Florida. It’s pretty sweet. Usually.
My two sisters and I were loaded into our “titty pink” 1958 Chevy station wagon at 5:00 AM and Dad drove for 12 straight hours from South Charleston to Jacksonville to visit my Aunt and Uncle. That was the standard summer vacation.
I had to ask the interwebs what “titty pink” means. That’s a useful name for a color, and also fun to say. Conversely, Urban Dictionary tells me that a pink titty is an ugly little boy. Also a useful expression.
I assume that a variation of that phrase was used by my Dad’s coworkers at Union Carbide when he brought his new ride to work. He probably decided the “pussy pink” wasn’t appropriate to tell his kids years later.
I was key wesr’s only ever hetero flower shop deliveryman. It turned out to. be a fun job. all my neighbor ladies used to get free flowers from me and i met. lot of gorgeous women.
later I became a volunteer firefighter and I met all the wack jobs.
Live in Tarpon Springs. Great area
In the 1980s I spent some time in New Port Richey. Pasco County seemed a little (well, a lot) redneck-y to this New York boy.
Chad Wallace says
Beware of the toll roads in Tampa area. Most have no toll booths, therefore you cannot pay ‘manually,’, its all automated. Once you are on there, you are their victim. Their systems take a photo of the license plate and then send a bill. IF you are renting a car, they charge the rental car company, and then the rental car company will charge you the toll plus $50 or so bucks (or more). You can buy an EZ pass or whatever the fuck they are called at Publix grocery stores, put a few bucks on it and then you’ll be covered.
Lots of stuff in FLA is set up to screw over tourists and separate them from their $. I find this ‘government sanctioned; ripoff to be especially appalling.
The Yodler says
So what? 29 other states have toll roads, you gonna whine about them too?
I trust you’ll be flying in to Fort Myers, rather than Orlando. A few years ago we flew into Orlando to see some friends in Port St. Lucie and Melbourne. NEVER AGAIN. Worst airport experience of my life. The fact that they have to load you on a shuttle to get from one area to the next is a precursor of what’s to be expected. The line for rental cars was about 40 minutes long. Finding one’s way out of the airport can also be a bit challenging. When we go back down there next month we’ll be flying into West Palm instead. At any rate, by this time you’re already there so hopefully I’m not bringing up any painful memories, lol.
I’ve flown in to most of the airports in the state at one time or another, and they all share the same common experience – the SMELL of humidity and vegetation when you leave the comfort of the terminal A/C. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad smell, it just lets you know that you’ve arrived in Florida.
My wife is from Florida, and we’ve made a dozen trips over the past 20 years to visit her family (scattered all over the state) and do the usual tourist activities. The roads are among the best paved of any state that I’ve ever driven on. They have this thing called “rain” that seems to fall almost every day in the afternoon (I’m from SoCal and we have a similar phenomenon but it only happens in the winter and the water comes down cold instead of warm). I still can’t wrap my head around stepping into the ocean (especially on the gulf side and having it feel like bath water instead of 68 degrees like a proper ocean. The beach is where you are supposed to go to escape the heat, not feel like you’re in a sauna.
I’ve always enjoyed my time there, BUT could never move there due to the humidity. SoCal “dry” heat is bad enough (you should know having lived here), but I am astounded that people can live in Florida with that kind of constant humidity. I don’t think the state would be habitable without A/C. Try visiting St. Augustine in August in 100 degree weather and thunderstorms. Pure Hell. I believe the person that invented the phrase “A nice place to visit…” penned it while visiting in the summer.
Jeff, you’ve complained numerous times about “posterior moisture” where you live. You ain’t seen nothing yet! Visiting Florida in March will be pleasant. My advice? Go back for a visit in the summer for the full experience.
Otherwise, nice place!
Burnt Usually says
You don’t have to shovel sunshine. Enjoy your vacation and visiting your parents.
John that knows Bill says
Tampa/St. Pete is a great area, those people complain about The Trop but I’ve always enjoyed sitting in the AC watching baseball there. Highly recommend a visit to George M. Steinbrenner Field, even if you don’t like the Yankees. The mermaid show and frigid water at Weeki Wachee are worth a visit.
matt k says
my experience with florida is basically limited to the freeway specifically i95. if you gotta cover an assload of distance fast, take the 95.
drove from savannah to boynton beach FL to stage up for catching a cruise the next day. got in to the hotel around 4ish and took the kids to the pool so wifey could relax in the room. phone starts blowing the fuck up….she forgot the passports in savannah in the hotel room.
quick phone call to the hotel, they found them, they’ve been placed in the vault, no chance of getting them shipped to us in time for boarding cause it’s sunday
she’s sobbing and i immediately start crunching numbers. it took a bit over 6 hours to get to boynton beach, it’s 4pm-ish, we don’t board till 1030 the following day. so i’ve got 18 hours and change. i tell her i’m going back for them. she and the kids can fuck around in the pool, get dinner, etc.. sorta screws our plans of going exploring some nature paths and hoping to see gators or snakes or whatever (we’re canadian, all we got is moose) but whatever. the alternative is no cruise.
I fucking booked it on that freeway. and those drivers are insane, just sayin. anyway i wheel into the valet parking in savannah at 10:20, sprint from the car to reception, grab the passports and lay a patch out of the parking lot headed south again. thankfully it’s superbowl sunday…the goddamn highways are mostly deserted and the police are occupied with drunks. podcasts and an unhealthy amount of monster energy got me through it. at 4 am, doing 80 i get my doors blown off by a half dozen semis, so i realise that at 4am the speed limit is mostly a suggestion.
staggered into the lobby of the hotel in boyton at like 520, i’m sure i looked super strung out, and face planted on the bed for a whopping 2 hrs sleep.
ft lauderdale seemed nice too.
I have a work related conference that has met about 25 times in FL over 30+ years. Clearwater Beach, St. Pete Beach, and now Lido Beach for the past decade or so. I used to fly down and do an “in and out” without much tourism. Once the kids were old enough, we would drive and add at least one theme park on the way in or out. It was nice, because the meeting was always first week of January when it was not so hot or humid. In fact sometimes it could downright miserable – 50 degrees and rainy. But have used that conference to get our boys to Disney, Universal, Harry Potter, etc., when we otherwise would not go.
Once, we went a day early and got to the Everglades to see birds and gators. It turned out to be the coldest two days in 75 years. Sunny, but 40 degrees and windy. We took the trolley inside the National Park, and all we had (for a family of four) was one tiny fleece blanket to cover our sorry asses – all we brought were shorts and tees. We wrapped ourselves up and still almost froze to death. Only bright side was that all the gators were out sunning themselves to keep warm, so we got some good pics.