Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On Florida’s doorstep

Kingsland, GA – We knew we were truly in the south today when I caught sight of a large live oak with its spreading branches dripping with Spanish moss. That, and the palmetto palms we saw on the sides of the Interstate 95, were true indicators of the distance we’ve covered since our snowy start Sunday morning. I’ve been keeping an eye out for an armadillo or an alligator in the swampy patches by the roads, but the only wildlife we’ve spotted have unfortunately been in the form of roadkill.

Kingsland is just three miles north of the Florida state line, in Georgia. Huge billboards by the road have been touting “Peach World”, where visitors can sample boiled peanuts, pecan pralines and peach bread among other local delicacies.

On our roadside stops, we’ve eavesdropped with guilty pleasure, just to hear the wonderful southern twang and expressions, “y’all” being a frequent one, that everyone uses in these parts. We hit yet another Cracker Barrel restaurant for lunch, where we ordered eggs and bacon from the breakfast menu. They came with a platter loaded with buttermilk biscuits, grits and a thick, pale sauce they call gravy in which one is expected to dip one’s biscuits.

There was frost on the car when we peeked out the window this morning, and it was just above freezing when we set out, but by midday it had reached eight degrees Celsius and after lunch I finally ditched my fleece-lined winter jacket for the lighter one I’d brought along. By three o’clock it was 14 degrees! Lovely! And we had bright, clear skies the whole way.

Our route was the opposite of yesterday’s, in that we got on the I-95 at the start, drove the I-95 all day and exited the I-95 at day’s end – no convoluted on-ramps and off-ramps, no ring roads and no traffic jams! Of course, there were still lots of transport trucks along this important route, but Val navigated around them all beautifully.

On the recommendation of Lezlie, the hotel’s front desk clerk, we headed across the way to the Millhouse Steak House for dinner. It was within walking distance, but we had to cross a railroad track and a four-lane roadway that included the off-ramp from the Interstate, so we felt a bit vulnerable as there were no sidewalks. However, there was a pedestrian crosswalk to get us across, so that was a relief!

We both ordered steak with caramelized onions and mushrooms and our meals were scrumptious! The fresh sourdough bread and crisp salad rounded the meal out beautifully and we left quite satisfied. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to reaching our destination tomorrow, and the home-prepared meals we will be having from now on!

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