3 weeks ago (3 Thursdays ago) I returned home from my Spring Break 2021 Road-Trip. It was a fun 5-day adventure traversing 624 miles through the 10 South and Central Florida counties of Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Okeechobee, Highlands, Hardee, Glades, Hendry, and Collier. I also barely touched Monroe County, and I saw its many islands.
Last Thursday I wrote on Day 3 – my next 116 miles through the countryside of Highlands and Hardee Counties. The story continues now:
On Day 4 I started the morning in downtown Lake Placid with a hearty breakfast. I then checked-out the Lake Wales Ridge Wildlife & Environmental Area: Lake Placid Scrub Unit a few miles to the south. It’s a large sandy wooded area abutting the southwestern shore of the actual 3,400-acre Lake Placid. Hundreds of thousands of years ago when sea levels were about 150 feet higher than they are today it was beachfront property, and the abundant sand is left over from that era. I didn’t stay very long there, as it is “Bear Country”, and I’m scared of bears.
I headed northward to Avon Park at the far-northwest corner of Highlands County. I excitedly arrived at the Avon Park Depot Museum – only to be instantly dismayed when I found it CLOSED. Nevertheless I took this picture of a 1948 passenger car that was used by Western Pacific during the 1950s and 1960s, and then later by Auto Train (from Virginia to Florida) in the 1970s. It was actually a buffet dining car as part of Auto Train, and 50 years later it sits here – as a buffet dining car that the museum hosts.
So my trip to Avon Park was a total bust, as that was my only scheduled stop there. But not so fast. I just spent more time writing about it above than the amount of time that I was physically there, so all was not lost. I’ll make it back there in the future.
I headed back southward to the downtown district of Sebring (my likely retirement town in a few years). I headed for Lake Jackson – the 3,212-acre lake that Sebring surrounds. After spending a few minutes on the pier that extends onto the lake I decided on a spontaneous spur-of-the-moment visit to the Sebring Historical Society (facing the pier and lake). Unfortunately it was CLOSED when it was supposed to be open. Well this morning is going just wonderful thus far !
I wasn’t about to give up so quickly. I actually drove around the building, parked my car again, and noticed an entrance on the 2ND floor of that same building (from the parking lot on the hill). I walked-in, and within about 10 seconds I realized that I had walked-in to the Sebring Public Library. #LOL
I looked around the library for a little while – pretending I was interested in what I was looking at. (I wasn’t.) After a few minutes of that I walked up to the front counter, and I inquired about the museum downstairs. They actually called downstairs for me to find out if (or when) they were open. I didn’t hear the other end of the conversation, but after the librarian got off the phone she told me that YES – they were open – but head for the “yellow house” (across the parking lot) instead, and walk-in. I thanked the librarian for going out of her way in doing that, and I headed for the “yellow house”.
A nice older woman greeted me at the front door as I walked-in, and she gave me an extensive guided tour of the historic house that less than 2 months earlier became a public museum after restoration. I loved every minute of her tour. The tour took perhaps 45 minutes (if that). For the next 45 minutes we just chatted back-and-forth as if we knew each other for years. She lived much of her life in Miami-Dade County, and then she retired to Sebring where she is now a docent for the Sebring Historical Society. Sounds like an interesting plan. Sounds like a potential vision for my future. She urged me to return to that first place that I tried to enter earlier but encountered a locked door. She said that I should talk to the guy that’s in there right now. He’s a Director at the Sebring Historical Society. I did just that, and we talked for almost 90 minutes. (I also got to tour the premises which serves as a library of historical archives for the city and region.)
The rest of my day in Sebring was fairly uneventful. I felt rejuvenated after that unexpected 3-hour experience with the Sebring Historical Society. It was the highlight of my entire road-trip vacation.
Looks like I went over 3 minutes with this blog post. (My goal is to write blog posts that take less than 3 minutes to read.)
I’ll share Day 5 of my 5-day road-trip next Thursday here on my blog. It was not my normal “last day of a road-trip”. I took a detour, and I visited a few places that I had never been to before.
Miles Driven on Days 1, 2, 3, & 4 = 422
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