Florida. Meeting family, talking politics, alligators, playing tourist, and more.

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Finally getting to some of the traveling summer time. With a lot more to come. Travels  began with a long (very long) drive to Tampa and then Hollywood Florida from Galveston Island. In Joe’s little car with no A/C. So much for my start back to life on wheels after five and a half years of car-free living. I had demanded that he clean the ten years of junk in his car (I swear, that guy) and as I joked about dead things in the trunk…out comes some frickin skins….oy. But the torture of his beloved car is only on my own car-free living head. (And he refused to rent.)

Somehow we even managed to talk politics, Presidential Candidate’s and drive twenty four hours (with some stops but mainly driving and gas up) and not kill each other. And man in a car talking politics this can become very heated.

We both are pretty amazed one of us did not get left on the side of I-10.

Florida is a place that I have been in and out of a few times for equestrian related things in my long ago past but I never really got to see it and never have I been to Hollywood or Miami where I’ve been able to go this Spring/Summer.

Joe and I will begin our American Road Travels from here, as well as  visit, while here, some of his family (let’s see if I get approval. We might just talk politics and Presidential Candidate.)

I was also getting to see Florida with the new eye’s of a traveling tourist rather than work or mission.

And I’m in love.

His grandparents are adorable. They offered us food again and again (I still need that bean soup recipe and nothing like a big breakfast with a huge ol’ hamsteak,his grandfathers face when Joe said I was Jewish…but the laugh when I told him I eat all the bad things), and I got to learn that Joe is VERY much like his PopPop. I died laughing and told them I now knew who to blame for Joe. His grandmother and I often shared a look about those two men. They are also the cutest couple ever. His grandfather has selective hearing while his grandmother just turns her hearing aids off….they are a comical couple that belong in a movie.

His grandmother and I talked of writing and her ideas for a tv series which I truly would watch and hope that she does get it written completely and do something with it as it was perfect. Sharp woman. Hard working people. I also got to see some of Florida and how the retired live which fascinated me how well the state is set up for this. It truly is awesome and I really give the state kudo’s for it all.

The drive down Alligator Alley was pleasant and again the state is really set up for preservation while allowing humans to live there but a good lay out for all it seemed. I DID see a ‘gator that was at least 9 foot! But not really good stopping so no picture.
We took a fun rout through Florida “Orange” country as well and saw how that all worked. Wow. The housing and the fields (which I am somewhat used to from other travels but was all new to Joe) and amount of horseback over see and huge trucks filled with oranges was pretty cool. It is surprising how different the state is place to place and I was quite surprised at it’s size (That strip of I-10 of entering to hitting the highway down the middle was the longest in my life ever and I have driven I-10 from Houston to Los Angeles several times.) The state tricks you of it’s size.

His aunt is awesome. One tough chick and boy can she give The Look to Joe…unfortunately this was mostly about the him not having babies situation. I am sure the blame will fall to me there now, even though part of what helps us date is that neither of us want children, aside from me not being able to. Meeting family can be fun (She’s Jewish, she’s divorced, she’s older, she’s not having babies, no marriage here guys…move along. Did I mention his Austrian background?) She is obviously the Take-Care Aunt of the entire family. She is real though. I admire real and tough woman, though sometimes that’s exactly who I can butt heads with, but thankfully none of that here. And the woman knows how to properly show us the right places to eat and does so just how I like…family style and LOT’S of appetizers all around. Travel is food. Also an incredible host and a lovely home.

I did get put to work. Not all fun and folly goes without payment. Ha!

His Aunt is opening a business down in Florida and we went to help which turned into a task of trying to turn 13,000 feet of white concrete floor into polished and new and clean again…and boy was that thing filthy to start. We went through a day of chemicals that nearly killed us (no eco-friendly was going to take care of that floor) and back breaking scrubbing and seemed to get nowhere. The next day was a hunt for finding a better way, which we did find and though still long and back breaking the chemicals part at least was no longer a problem and our lungs stayed intact. The quote to have this professionally done was apparently near ten grand or some ridiculous number and how the hell hard could it be to clean a floor…or so we had thought. But hard work and all, we came out with much laughter…and some tears. And blisters. But all in all I figured it was a way to work off those vacation calories I’d been building…’Ode to the Cubano Sandwich!

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