Through the Deep South …

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Back in April …

Time to leave my sister’s place in The Villages in Central FL. I was on a rather tight schedule. I needed to be in NYC in early May. This meant driving through the deep south rather than experiencing a bit of it. I had already given the deep south short shrift on my way from Baton Rouge to The Villages.

You can hardly count The Villages as the deep south, not when the residents greet you at the local Starbucks with New York and New England accents. Not when their golf carts (used for getting around) are decked out in Yankees and Red Sox and Patriots livery. Not when they talk about going on cruises and playing golf.

Okay, I admit one guy had a pretty good story about his encounter the day before with a gator on a golf course, which adds a new dimension to natural hazards and preferred lies. But in my two weeks there, no one exactly suggested that we all join Billy Bob for a few friendly beers and go down to the swamp and shoot holes in beer cans. I know such people exist. I even have this pic to prove it …

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I shot this at the edge of a swamp on my way to visit my sister. It didn’t exactly fit in with the nature shots I posted a few blogs back.

Anyway, after a couple hours of driving, I was back in the swamp, a different swamp – Osceola National Forest in Northern FL, just north of where I-10 bisects the continent. My room for the night …

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Okay, most people talk about the sensual pleasure of sleeping on a mattress with sheets after being two weeks out in nature. It works the other way around as well: After sleeping on a mattress under a roof for two weeks, there is nothing like going to sleep and waking up to the cycles of nature. It’s in our DNA. Outdoors is our true home.

Some nature porn …

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Then back on the road …

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Emphasis on back and road. Check out the pic at the top of this post. Okay, I’m cheating. That was from the next day. Anyway, it was time to fill up with gas and takeaway chicken and maybe get to talk with a real redneck. But the kid behind the counter recognized the Nikola Tesla on my Tesla T-shirt, and started up a geek conversation. He, too, was sporting some kind of geek T-shirt. Obviously, not my day for rednecks.

Okay, I’m cheating a bit. That encounter was from the next day, as well. Back to the linear portion of my narrative …

Now I was on I-75 headed north. I bit later, I spotted this …

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I had to pull off and investigate. I wasn’t disappointed …

 

The photo of southern cook books needs to be blown up to full size …

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That’s right, you are looking at two volumes featuring cooking with Coca-Cola. Then, back to a swamp. This time, Occonnee National Forest, just outside Macon. You gotta love two of each letter. Anyway, looks like a good spot to pitch my tent …

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Just one catch …

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While backing into this perfect camp spot in the middle of nowhere, my front wheels started digging twin holes down to China. Ironically, I had spent the better part of an hour making sure no such thing would happen. I had passed up on a number of potential sites, knowing what can happen if once you take your car off the road for even a couple of yards.

When I got to this spot, I had actually gotten out of my car and inspected the ground beforehand. I had driven through worse. But there was something different about the soil. This particular patch of earth now made love to my car and tried to consume it.

Miraculously, I had a cell connection. Equally as miraculous, I had kept my AAA membership current. In the chaos of last year, I easily could have forgotten to renew. I made contact and let them know I would need a tow in the morning.

Come morning, Easter Sunday, JD here got me out in a jiffy …

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JD was in a hurry, apparently with lots of calls to make. But he was definitely a local rural boy. For one brief moment in time, I made a true southern connection. I’m happy to say this Easter Sunday it occurred in a Christian context – one stranger assisting another. Can I hear an Amen?

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