An eclectic bar, a bald star, hanging chads, rich people’s pads, 60 rag tops, and the ultimate rag — The National Enquirer. The joy of the unexpected! We had a great time today…mainly because we so enjoyed a number of things that we just stumbled upon.
We got up and at ’em early (very important since there is far more to see and do each day than we have time). I opened the window of our room to get a very interesting sunrise over the ocean photo. I then discovered our shiny, new Panasonic tape recorder (purchased yesterday from Tiffany, the young lady with two legal identities who we met at Staples) was filled with tape in places tape was not supposed to be. I lack the patience for such problems, but Bozzie Jane calmly dealt with it. We lost about half of the day’s recording. This slowed us up a bit as I posted the reports for Day 3 and Day 4. We finally got out the door at 9:04 am. 80-degrees, blue sky, and hardly any clouds.
We are all decked out in our new Round America sportswear today – caps and shirts. Thanks to Rod Smith and the crew at Atlas for doing such a nice job and shipping them to us at the hotel in Jensen Beach.
Jensen Beach, Florida is a beautiful, lush spot with a nice long beach. We drove down the A1A (the highway that runs north/south along the Atlantic Ocean for much of the way through the state). We weren’t expecting to see much for a while as our list of attractions was rather short until we got further south, so we were just scanning the roadway (mainly looking for speed limit signs, I’m afraid) when I saw a giant robot – probably 40-feet tall. I made one of my now-patented U-turns, and we found ourselves in the wacky parking lot of “Harry and the Natives” in Hobe Sound, Florida. We weren’t sure what it was at first, but we saw a lot of people coming in and out, and we soon realized it was a bar/restaurant. The “yard” was filled with an assortment of wacky things, and the front of the restaurant had funny signs and odd décor. The interior was even better – hats stapled to the ceiling, lots of funny signs, and an incredible assortment of eclectic stuff. The rest rooms really are outside in “out” houses. Boz ordered eggs and orange juice, but I felt Key Lime Pie and a Coke was the appropriate breakfast for Harry’s. Boz and I both agree that the Key Lime Pie is the best pie so far!
Our waitress, Kayla, introduced Harry, and we had an enjoyable chat. Harry and the Natives has been in business since 1949. Harry’s 89-year-old mom still handles the cash register. I could write pages about the clever things we saw and heard at Harry and the Natives, but you can just check their web site at www.harryandthenatives.com. We found Harry’s to be totally unique and enjoyable, and if you ever get anywhere near Hobe Sound, Florida, GO!
Harry would have to like Christopher Guest, producer/writer/director/actor known for “Waiting for Guffman” and “Best in Show,” two of our favorite movies of all times.
Boz commented that the creativity and originality of American entrepreneurs is truly amazing, and it is so gratifying to see businesses like this that have grown and morphed and flourished for over 50 years. We will see a lot of this on our trip.
We were laughing and smiling for miles after leaving Harry’s. Then we saw a sign for the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum. We’d never heard of a Burt Reynolds museum, but another U-turn, and I was knocking at the door. Unfortunately, Burt and his friends are apparently late sleepers and the museum doesn’t open until 11 am. We took a photo so we could say we were there, and down the road we went.
The next stop was “Shipping Plus,” a shipping place where we shipped extra clothes and many pounds of brochures back to Hotlanta. There, I met the owner, Lou, and a customer, Pat.
We made several stops over the first five days of the trip trying to find an American flag license plate for the front of our car. We got a free one at the Pelican Plaza Car Wash in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. There I met a young lady who should easily win “worst name” in our Best & Worst competition. I gave her our Round America card, thanked her for the free license plate, and asked her name. She said it was “Shithead.” People can be strange…. Maybe she saw the sign on our car. 🙂
On we drove… looking for the rich people’s houses (something the Palm Beach area is known for). Before we found the houses, we found ourselves in downtown Palm Beach, and I spotted the Palm Beach County Courthouse – home of hanging chads. Another U-turn, and I had a prized photo. As you have probably long-since determined, Boz and I enjoy “quirky” things, so seeing the courthouse was right down our alley.
As we drove through West Palm Beach, Boz hollered for me to pull over, and I did. She spotted a place called the “The Museum at Ragtops.” We went in to find a great assortment of antique and classic convertibles (rag tops) and a wide variety of memorabilia. We took a tour with guide Peter and met a half dozen fellow tourers, including Stephen Goldstein who turned out to be the cousin of Ed Aster, who I worked for in England from 1992 to 1994. Small world. Ragtops was great fun. We especially liked Jimmy Buffett’s 1962 Nash Metropolitan convertible and a 1967 Amphicar, a car that will drive on the road or motor across a body of water. See www.ragtopsmotorcars.com.
We saw a lot of rich people’s houses and boats today. There are a bunch of them along the coast in southern Florida. We saw one home that was the size of a mall.
When we reached Lantana, Florida, I knew it to be the home of The National Enquirer, so we set out to find their office for a photo. We couldn’t find it, so we stopped three times to ask at a gas station, a 7-11, and then finally at a place that we were sure knows where everything is – Domino’s Pizza. No cigar. No one knew where their office was. We decided The National Enquirer is out of business (the kind of thing they would write about someone else), so down the road we went.
We probably saw the world’s smallest restaurant today, but Bozzie Jane wouldn’t let me take a picture. It was a guy in a lawn chair with a backyard-style smoker outside of a convenience store with a sign that said “Rufus Ribs.”
Boz noted that we saw an incredible number of chiropractors and furniture and clothing consignment stores today. She also commented that there is an interesting comparison between the architecture and people with whom we’ve come in contact – the buildings are really tired old worn out buildings or shiny and new, and the people are old or quite young and there’s not a lot in between.
We saw Fort Lauderdale beach – Spring Break Capital of the World! A real party place. Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale are really interesting with canals like streets and rich people with big yachts docked out front.
We rolled into Miami Beach at about 5:00 and checked into the Blue Moon Hotel in the art deco district in South Beach. More quirky stuff! We ordered Chinese from a nearby Chinese Take-Away, Sum Yum Gai, and we had a quiet evening as we prepared to hit the sightseeing trail in Miami all day tomorrow.
We did not see as many displays of patriotism today as we have seen in previous days.
It’s interesting to see what happens to your body when you drive eight to 10 hours a day in a convertible in bright sunshine. I have a great tan on my face, but raccoon eyes from my sunglasses; my left arm is extremely tan from the elbow down to my fingertips with a lily white strip where I wear my watch and an even whiter arm above the elbow. My right arm is similar, though not quite as tan. And I am getting extremely tan kneecaps. My uniquely colored body may qualify as a tourist attraction after a couple of months of this.
We’ve had perfect weather – not a drop of rain in five days. We’re really happy about Daylight Savings Time tomorrow; we can use an extra hour each day.
Our lesson for the day was very clear: Sometimes the best things happen when you least expect them. We were pleasantly surprised five times today, and it absolutely made for a great day on the highway of life.
My political commentary for the day: I was distressed today to learn that Julia Roberts, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Aniston, and George Clooney have made rude comments about the President and our government leaders in regard to the Iraq war. It may be hard to give up Julia Roberts movies, but I guess I will have to. I believe actors and actresses get paid grotesque amounts of money for their looks and their skill at pretending to be someone they aren’t. While they have freedom of speech, so do I. And I choose to exercise mine by refusing to spend any more money with any of them…and by encouraging others to do the same. I prefer to spend my money with people I like, and I don’t like anyone who makes what I consider to be anti-American comments. Others on my Actors to Avoid List include Michael Moore, The Dixie Chicks, Susan Sarandon, two Mexican guys on the Academy Awards whose names I didn’t catch, Barbra Streisand, Salma Hayek, Sean Penn (this generation’s Jane Fonda), Martin Sheen, Josh Brolin, Colin Farrell, Richard Gere, Mike Farrell, Kate Hudson, and Jane Fonda. I’m sure there are many others. Sadly, it appears that most of the actors and actresses are what I consider to be anti-American.
We’ve driven 1300 miles so far. Just 19,000 miles or so to go.
This news flash just in: We have begun receiving emails from nice folks in places like Jamestown, North Dakota inviting us over for dinner and pie as we drive through. It seems several newspapers around the country have run a story about our trip. We will certainly try to meet up with some of these nice folks.
It’s 9:04am 29166 We’re just leaving the Marriott after taking a picture of the restaurant, and we’re headed south.
We lost our tape recording after Daytona so one thing I remember is 7:11pm is when we arrived at the hotel. We did overshoot the hotel a little bit by about 5 miles. We had to come back because we missed the sign. There really wasn’t a lot to see. We stayed on 1 rather than A1A because we got on A1A once and it turned out it went to nowhere. We did change over to A1A in Port St. Lucy so that we could come down because our hotel was on A1A. We stayed on 1 and saw some biker bars of different types. We saw the Kennedy Space Center from Titusville and took a photo there. We took the Cocoa Water Tower and went through a number of little towns that aren’t on maps. We’ve now lost those names unless we repeat the trip in order to pick up the additional cities but I don’t think Barbara’s up for repeating the trip. We probably had some wonderful thoughts relative to things on the right but those may come back. We did call our hotel to confirm our reservation. They gave good directions, and we found out that our box was there. We’re very excited to have our new Round America caps and shirts on. So, if we think of anything else that happened on that little stretch of the road we’ll put it down. Basically, it was just driving along traditional Florida. There was a wide assortment of stuff in terms of architecture. I will be sure to get a picture today of golfer’s tan and my sunburned elbow, but it’s not too bad.
Another beautiful day as we start 78 degrees. Blue sky, hardly any clouds.
Indian River 29170 9:10am People fishing off the bridge.
Sewalls Point 29171 9:11am
St Lucy River 29172 9:13am
Stewart Florida 29172 9:14am No trucks has been a really nice part of the drive on these two lane roads.
It’s 29186 miles 10:19am as we leave Harry and The Natives which is a place to spend in Hoby Town since 1949. Harry’s mother is still in there working with a calculator. She miscalculated my change but I didn’t have the heart to tell her. We met Harry, our waitress was named Kyla. Harry’s a nut. It’s just an unbelievable assortment of stuff, funny things, signs. There’s a gas pump outside. Inside there was a thing inside that said ‘no sex is bad for your eyes.’ There was everything imaginable. There bathrooms really are outside. They’re in an outhouse. It’s just incredible. There’s a bunch of cabins out here. They have outdoor seating as well as indoor seating. As I look in the back, they have the front of a truck parked out in front of one of these cabins. They have a complete stage and greyhounds racing on the wall. They have a volleyball court back here. It looks like there’s an airplane stuck in the ground. It’s just incredibly eclectic bunch of stuff. Old posters and signs and movie memorabilia. We had no idea it was here. We just came by and happened to see a giant robot. I looked and saw some other funky stuff and said hey we gotta pull in. I had a delicious breakfast of key lime pie and Coke. It was the best key lime pie I’ve ever had. It turns out key lime pie was invented just a few miles from here in Stuart, Florida. That was a treat and a half like Barbara said. It was certainly the best surprise so far. I can’t imagine going to a much better place ever. Harry and the Natives is on Mars Street and Hwy 1.
We enjoyed Harry so much because it was so interesting to see the originality and creativity of people, and their way of expressing themselves to their business. It has been around for 50 plus years, and the history that’s there is so incredible to see.
Tequesta 21193 10:31am Still rockin and rollin from Harry’s.
I took a photo of the Tequesta Lighthouse at 21195
Burt Reynold’s Park 29196 10:38am
I guess Burt’s fans don’t get started before noon because the place doesn’t open until 11. At least we got a picture of the outside of the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum.
Barbara thinks we should do a documentary because that would really be interesting to people. But I asked if she would be willing to be the documenteraryerist, and she turned me down just as she turns me down for being editor everytime I want to start a new magazine. So that means that the documentary would be a huge hit, but unfortunately she wouldn’t be willing to do it. I wish we did have a video camera, but we’d probably add another 100 days to the trip.
Opening of the brook. It might be interesting to start the book off how when he was age 9 or 12 or whatever it was, he sat down and wrote down his goals and the things he wanted to accomplish in life, one of which was to visit or be in everyone of the 50 states. When he got down to the last 2, he decided to start over.
This is certainly a pretty area of Florida on Hwy 1. It’s upscale, clean, modern. I like old stuff, but it’s also nice to see clean, modern, and new as well. We continue to pass through a lot of places. They’re obviously cities, but they don’t have the sense to put a sign out on the road to say it’s their city.
Juneau Beach. They’re one of the ones who don’t have the sense to do a sign. 29202 10:56am I’m not sure if we should credit them in the book since they are so delinquent.
Maybe they want to keep it a secret that they are a city, and keep tourists away. That is possible.
Unlike family vacations, I have not heard Barbara once utter the words “Are we there yet?”
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park 29204 10:58am
It strikes me that Harry would have to like Christopher Guest.
I met Lou Montalbano; I got his card as well as a nice lady Pat at the shipping spot. We shipped our box back.
We’d like to thank the Pelican Plaza Car Wash for giving us the free proud to be an American license plate for the front of our vehicle. I asked the young lady behind the counter how much the license plate was and she said it was free. I said let me give you my card. I asked her name and she said “shithead.” I said “oh that’s a pretty name.”