Day 16: Tarpon Springs, FL to Sebring, FL

Another beautiful day here in paradise.  Sun all day except for a quick 10 minute shower and some greyness in the afternoon.  It looks like I’ll be going home to temperature highs in the 50s.  Much better than when we left!

I found a lake for the kids first thing this morning to blow off some of their steam.  When we arrived, I saw this grey bird & got a picture from a distance.  When I got about 50 feet away, he got nervous and went off to a wooden post.  Then I knew it was safe to bring the dogs out.  Nik battled with a swan once and I didn’t want to take any chances of a repeat episode.  This guy’s beak looked pretty sharp!  I think the bird (egret? heron?) was amused by all the ball throwing, barking and swimming while he stayed safely right where he was watching us.  I’m sure he was back in the water not five minutes after we left.

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This has to be one of my favorite finds of this trip.  I think this was an extremely clever adaptation of a Tastee-Freez sign.  From Tampa.

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I’ve seen a few of these cute water vending machines scattered around Florida.  I love the penguin statue in the igloo top.

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This building in Tampa is quite impressive.  The Henry B. Plant Museum is housed in the former Tampa Bay Hotel which was built in 1891.  The reflection from the intense sun wiped out the most dramatic part:  the minarets are extremely shiny silver.

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Cement Products & Supply in Lakeland had one of these “you pick” displays.  I’d have a hard time choosing one!

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OK — I need your help with this one.  These red plants are incredible — what are they?  They look like they belong in a science fiction movie.

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 Here are a couple fun signs from Lakeland.  Harry’s is an adapted Dog N Suds sign:

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while Dick’s Auto Sales has it all in terms of shapes and materials:

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A couple more bird sightings.  These two came in to graze on busy Route 19 north of Lakeland.  I saw the one on the right land first.  A crash landing at that – toppling face first.  The darker one was more graceful.  I assume the one on the right is the male because of his fancier markings?  They seemed a little larger than ordinary mallards.  Can anyone identify them and tell me if they are ordinarily this clumsy?

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I spotted this billboard today.  I dunno — is this sexist?

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I know I have seen these Superior Motel chain signs in post cards but I don’t think I’ve seen one in real life.  From Bartow.

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My food has not been all that exciting lately.  Salads from supermarkets, White Cheddar Cheez-its to munch on, souffles from Panera, cookies from Starbucks…  I haven’t really found any regional fun food to share with you.  But since I’ve never actually had a cone from Twistee Treat, I thought I’d better take the plunge today in case I don’t see any tomorrow.  I’ve taken photos of about 10 locations so far on this trip.  I tried the strawberry to match the umbrellas.  It was as wonderful as it looks.  Yes, I always get nuts with my ice cream.  I can’t think of any food that isn’t enriched by nuts.  This was the small!

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I hope to savor this next part of the trip for years to come.  While driving east from Fort Meade to Avon Park, we passed through miles and miles of orange groves.  The perfume of the white blossoms was incredible.  The house I grew up in was surrounded by lemon groves but I don’t remember any fragrance.  Surely, lemon trees must produce similar blossoms? 

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21 Responses to “Day 16: Tarpon Springs, FL to Sebring, FL”

  1. The big bird is a great blue heron. I should know those red plants as they are all over Orlando, but don’t know their name! And those are Muscovy ducks.

    I have always wanted to visit the Plant Museum- did you go inside?

    • Good — a heron! I got one right. Maybe someone else will chime in about the red plants. I don’t think we had them in California. Muscovy ducks — heard of them — now I know I’ll remember what they are. Thanks! Are they normally clumsy birds or was this guy just having an off day? Didn’t go inside the museum. Not much of a museum person at home or away. Certainly, not enough time on these trips plus I’ve got the dogs in the van.

  2. I hope you’re not thrown off by this rainy weather today. And to echo your sentiments on the smell of Orange Blossoms, for me it’s the most fragrant bloom I’ve ever smelled. One can only imagine what it must have been like when groves covered the state.

    • I managed okay with the grey and the sporadic rain today. I’m trying to look at it as the glass half full at this point. I’ve got SO many great photos from this trip and have covered so many miles. Plus, if it sucks in the northern part of the state, it will be easier to reshoot that part of the state someday than down south. In the house where I grew up, we had a big night-blooming jasmine bush — I guess that will always be my favorite smell. I was in FL for a couple weeks a few years back but it must’ve been earlier in the season pre-orange blossoms. I got to savor them again today on a big stretch north towards Gainesville.

  3. I love the Dick’s Auto Sales sign. Too much is never enough!

  4. Are you going to Perry? Used to be great signs there but when I went through in December some of them were gone.

  5. I think there is something on my list for there. I’m in a big time crunch now. Tomorrow’s my last day to play. I’ll be driving all night tomorrow and the day after to get home in time for work.

  6. Drive carefully!

  7. Just to answer your earlier question- Muscovy ducks are kind of the bufooon/bullies of the duck kingdom around here. Today’s another perfect weather day although you don’t want to hear that and I’m jonesin for your blog!

    • I’ll have to find out more about these ducks when I get home & get my life back together. It’s kind of grey here in SC right now as I’m heading home. I heard it was 29 degrees back home yesterday — yikes! By the way, we made it to Perry — some photos for the blog tomorrow or Friday. Heave ho — a mere 15 more hours of driving.

  8. Be safe and take your time. If you think of any “you can’t miss it” stuff between Tampa and Ft. Myers before Friday, let me know.

    • Hey — just got home at 1am. We’re all pretty exhausted. Can’t think of any “can’t miss” places in that area. I’m sure you’re much more familiar with FL than I am.

  9. The purple plant is called a Ti Plant!

  10. .. enjoying your photostream, which led me here. Local places to eat? On S Florida Ave going through Dixieland, a red / white stripe awing announces ‘local’.. well, not really, but Reececliff Restaurant is where you can find the best, do mean the best handmade, homemade-doubt-they-ever-used-a-recipe-pies this side of heaven !
    So, if ya missed it, put on your list for next time round !

    • I do like pie — and pretty much anything sweet. So maybe I’ll check it out sometime. If you like my Flickr stream and the blog, you might also like the website (RoadsideArchitecture.com). I’m working on adding all the Florida stuff now. It’ll take another month to get it all in. What I put up at Flickr is only about 3% of what goes to the site. What goes to the blog, pretty much stays at the blog.

  11. jrobgood Says:

    I think the red plant is actually a Croton. Had them all over the place as a kid in Florida.

  12. I’m a little late to answer you but the purplish red plant is a Ti, they’re from Hawaii originally. I just found your blog yesterday, and absolutely love it!!

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