This land so strange

As we continue our Florida journey it is best to remember the immortal words of Cabrera de Vaca when he landed here in the 16th Century in search of gold: “In view of the poverty of the land…the Indians making continual war upon us, wounding our people and horses…shooting from the lakes with such safety to themselves that we could not retaliate…we determined to leave that place and go in quest of the sea…”

But never mind all that…suffice to say it ended badly for Vaca and Co.

Floridians come in all shapes and sizes. I ran into the webbed guy and his love interest at Wakulla Lodge, the Deva of Peace in DeLand, down home Barbie in Micco, the flapper in my hotel room in St. Augustine and Marilyn in a phone booth in Sebastian.

Florida memories are made of this.

Speaking of DeLand, it’s one of my favorite Florida places. A college town that never lost its sense of humor or perspective, DeLand simply does not take itself seriously.

Oh, and they call themselves the Athens of Florida, which I love. (Wonder if that makes Gainesville the Sparta of Florida?)

I once spent the night in a fish camp on Lake Talquin while scouting a Bike Florida tour route from Tallahassee to Apalachicola and back.

That is all.

The Dead Lakes is one of the eerier natural wonders of the Florida world. Trees up to their keisters in water. What’s that all about?

Nearby Wewahitchka occupies a state of mind on the Chipola River roughly midway between Blountstown and Port St. Joe. It is literally as sweet as Tupelo Honey. And they have a Lake Alice, just like GNV.

Which is to take nothing away from Cape San Blas, just a piece down the road. Almost blindingly white sand on which near naked people repose. It sticks out on the Forgotten Coast like a lobster claw.

Eastpoint faithfully guards Apalachicola’s eastern flank and St. George Island’s northern retreat. It is almost entirely built upon a foundation of oyster shells and beer bottle caps.

I would have more to report on this phenomena, but, frankly he scared the bejeezus out of me. And so I ran away (a little maneuver I learned from Monty Python).

I know there’s a story here. I think it has something to do with our upcoming invasion thrust into Georgia’s soft underbelly (because you know why the St. John’s River flows north, right?).

When we win we’re going to take our Apalachicola River water back.

Words simply do not suffice. Sometimes you simply have to, um, drink it all in and let it go at that.

As my late, and lamented, friend Joe Bizarro once wrote (to the tune of “Camelot”): “Florida, Florida, you know it sounds a bit bizarre. But in Florida, Florida, that’s how conditions are.” (Miss you Joe.)

Author: floridavelocipede

A sometime journalist who used to string words together for a living before I retired to run a non-profit cycle touring organization that will henceforth go unnamed, as I have subsequently retired from that career as well. I write a bi-monthly column, theater reviews and an occasional magazine piece for my old newspaper. If I still had a business card it would read: Ron Cunningham: Trained Observer Of The Human Condition. Because like The Donald, you know, ego.

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