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Orange County Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last Saturday morning I headed northward from my new home in the Florida Heartland (rural South Central Florida). I drove through Polk County – and then into Osceola County – and then into Orange County. (That’s where Orlando is, and I did enter into its sprawling city limits.)

Once I entered into northwestern Osceola County – rural evolved into suburban – with more homes, and stores, and restaurants, and of course – heavy traffic.

I spent the day with my brother, sister-in-law, and two nieces – visiting from the Dallas Texas area. As an aside – news broke that (Saturday) afternoon about the mass shooting at the Allen Premium Outlets. My family lived in Allen for about 6 years from 2007 to 2013, and since 2019 they’ve lived in a nearby suburb within a half-hour of that large outdoor shopping mall. I’ve been to that mall countless times with my family while visiting them. I lift-up to our God Almighty the family and friends of the victims of the shooting. May He comfort them in this difficult time.

Back in the Orlando area – me and my family spent much of the day at the Orange County Convention Center at a national cheerleading tournament. (My youngest niece is a cheerleader with her 9 and 10-year-old peers.) After that we spent several hours at Disney Springs. Once upon a time (mid-1990s to mid-2000s) I spent many vacation nights partying at Pleasure Island – which is now known as The Landing. I even had an annual pass to the nightclubs for many years. We enjoyed a late-Lunch at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Kitchen at The Landing. The food was good, abundant, and expensive. The front of the restaurant faced one of those former clubs that me and my brother loved to hang out at.

It was a fun but exhausting 189-mile day-trip. It was about 14 miles longer than it should’ve been. That evening I accidentally missed the entrance to the hotel that my family was staying at, and we ended-up on I-4 for a frightening 7-mile stretch. As you may know (as a longtime reader of this blog) I don’t drive on interstates, expressways, or turnpikes anymore (with rare exceptions) due to anxiety attacks. Luckily – it was near bumper-to-bumper slow-moving traffic during the entire stretch, so I was sort of fine with it.

It was good to finally return home to paradise in the Florida Heartland after that Saturday adventure !

Next #TravelThursday I’ll look back at a fun cruise from exactly 19 years ago. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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Home Sweet Sebring

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. I’m waking-up in my new home in my new neighborhood in northwestern Highlands County Florida for the 6TH morning in a row. It’s the longest streak yet, and I’ll be waking-up here for 3 additional mornings before I head back down U.S. 27 and Krome Avenue to Homestead for a quick turnaround.

Now if you’ve been reading or watching the news lately then you may know about the gas crisis in nearly all of South Florida (from The Treasure Coast southward through The Florida Keys). There are long lines at gas stations that are actually open, and no activity at all at gas stations that are closed because they have no gas remaining. It’s all because of a freak 24-hour rain event in Fort Lauderdale last week where they received over 2 feet of rain – flooding much of the region – including the port where the gas comes in. Here in my new part of Florida there is no such crisis. No lines. No shortages. No closings.

I’m scheduled to return to Homestead this Sunday morning. I’ll celebrate Christ with my home church family, and then I’ll spend 4 nights in my longtime home before I return back north to Sebring. But I may reconsider that schedule if the gas crisis continues.

I can easily fill-up my car with gas here in this area, drive down there, and then return back here on that same tank of gas. I get up to 50 MPG on the open road with my Honda Civic, but why venture into chaos and rage ?

If I take that trip – my next trip back here to Sebring will be even longer than this one – 12 nights in a row. Going forth I’ll be spending about 70% of the rest of the year here in Sebring, and 30% in Homestead. (I have an Excel spreadsheet that tracks all of this.)

Yesterday morning I spent about 2½ hours with my new friends at the Sebring Historical Society (#SHS). We enjoyed coffee, pastries, conversation, and we had an informal meeting. This afternoon I’ll spend about 3½ hours with them as we enjoy our monthly spaghetti dinner (my first one). This Saturday afternoon we have our quarterly pot-luck luncheon and board meeting. I’ll be serving with the #SHS a lot going forth. I’ve been dreaming about this opportunity for a couple of years now, and I’ve been blogging about it since a couple of years ago. My retirement dreams are coming together !

It’s 4/20, and I’m not making this up. We have a big nearly mile-long manmade lake in my new neighborhood. Nearly all of the condos encircle the 10½-acre lake. Its name – Lake Mary Jane.

Next #TravelThursday we’re going to Venus. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Blogging Church Commerce Driving Food Geography Home Travel

Sebring Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. This past Monday morning I returned southward back to my longtime home. It was bittersweet, as I enjoyed 4½ days / 5 nights in my new home, new neighborhood, and new region of Florida. I didn’t want to leave, and I wasn’t really excited about returning to my old home. But I’ve got some good stuff planned for this upcoming stretch down here in South Miami-Dade. I’ve got the annual Good Friday Prayer Breakfast to look forward to tomorrow. I also get to observe and celebrate Resurrection Sunday with my church family – followed by Lunch after that. It’s going to be a good time here.

It’s actually 184 miles from home to home. All along I’ve been touting 186 miles, as that’s what Google Maps states. I guess it’s off by a couple of miles (probably due to rounding). I drove up 184 miles. I drove down 184 miles. In-between I drove 43 miles all around town – discovering roads to get around, stores, restaurants, and my new church. I even found my new barber shop !

I surpassed the 19,000-mile mark on my car odometer in West Broward driving southward this past Monday morning. That’s just 19 days after I hit the 18,000-mile mark. And the 18,000-mile mark came 37 days after I hit the 17,000-mile mark. I drove over 1,000 miles in consecutive months (February and March) for the first time since 2020. That may not happen this month. It could be real close though.

I took an impromptu photo of the main entrance of my new neighborhood, and I actually posted it on Facebook within our private group. Surprisingly it received more likes and comments than any post that I wrote publicly when I was active on Facebook for almost 5 years. I captioned the photo – What a great place to live ! #Home

Here’s that photo:

Next #TravelThursday I’m heading back to Sebring – by way of Fort Myers. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

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Maryland Fried Chicken

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. As I continue to settle into my new region of Florida here in Highlands County – I’ll keep on finding interesting places to see – and eat. After all – eating is an integral part of any travel experience. Eating is one of my favorite hobbies !

If you know me personally, or if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile – then you may know that I’m originally from Maryland – Prince Georges County Maryland to be specific. (It borders Washington D.C.) For 11+ years (1969-1980) as a kid I lived in Greenbelt, Bowie, and Lanham. I had some great childhood memories back then, and some not-so-great ones as well. My grandparents, and nearly all of my uncles, aunts, and cousins lived within a few miles of each other back then.

During my entire time as a kid growing up in Maryland (and also adjacent Fairfax County Virginia) I’d never heard of Maryland Fried Chicken – either the restaurant or the mere concept. Chesapeake Bay Crabs – definitely. Scrapple – of course. Fried Chicken – negative. Fried Chicken comes from Kentucky. Everyone knows that.

Looks like there are 14 locations of Maryland Friend Chicken in Florida, Georgia, and 1 in South Carolina. Most of them (9) are concentrated across Central Florida – including 2 within a few miles of my new home. They don’t have a presence on social media; although, a few of the local locations have their own web sites. There’s actually a WordPress-created web page at that reveals its 60+ year history and origins in the Orlando Florida area.

My local Sebring location has their own web site at

I went to my local neighborhood Maryland Fried Chicken for Lunch on St. Patrick’s Day. I was greeted by two friendly workers. One took my order, and I struck up a conversation with both of them. I told them that it was my very first visit there. They asked me where I was from. I told them “Maryland !”. I added that I’d never heard of Maryland Fried Chicken, and that I’m looking forward to enjoying it.

I ordered the 2-piece chicken dinner (all breast). That comes with 2 sides. I got it with fries and homemade macaroni salad. I took it home and I enjoyed it. It was very good. The fried chicken has a distinctive flavor to it that kind of reminds me of my childhood, and that’s really strange because the only fried chicken that we ate when I was a kid came from #KFC. My elementary school cafeteria may have served fried chicken every so often, so maybe it brought back memories of that taste. It’s hard to explain its unique flavor – perhaps very juicy ?

I’ll obviously have to go back again this weekend to pick-up some more Maryland Fried Chicken.

One Maryland Fried Chicken location in Winter Garden Florida is going out-of-business after 57 years. Read that article here.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll write about my new neighborhood, and I’ll even share a picture or two. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp