Florida or Bust: Greasy Floridian Food, A Ford-Edison Bromance and a Family Reunion

Day 5
Well we survived the night without any gator attacks, but were woken up to the sounds of Elvis Presely from our neighbors.

Easily a favorite hangout for alligators.

Quite a different scenery to wake up to. Pretty much since we left everywhere felt like it could be in some part of Wisconsin.

Everywhere except eastern Tennessee that is.

I went to check out the weirdos that woke us up. The night before a lot of the campsites were lit up with led emblazoned SUVs.

This group were the Elvis alarm clock culprits.


Thetr was indeed an Ocean Pond. They could have just called it a lake.

After leaving the campground we spotted a small mom and pop donut shop. Yes please.

Ed and Barb's Cream Donuts sold bird houses besides their namesake doughnuts.

They were really good. Mine had custard and blueberries. If you somehow end up in Lake City, Florida. Get a dozen.

This place was next door.

After driving further we were getting hungry. Sabina's Diner looked like a good choice.

I thought we might sit outside since we can't do that at home right now. It seems as though only smokers sit out in the patio.

So, inside we went.

The place was experiencing a bit of a post-Sunday chruch rush. Our waitress wasn't loving it.

Oh yea diner goodness.

The food turned out to be pretty damn good. Reminds of the Wienery in Minneapolis.

This place was hopping.

There's our poor waitress. I hope she got some good tips.

We continued on US 41 through Tampa before taking the interstate the rest of the way. I figured we got  to cheat since we would head north via 41.

Then we arrived at our fancy hotel in Fort Meyers.

The only reason we were on this little road trip was my shoots for Rasmussen College in Florida. The next day I'd have to work.

After settling in at our hotel we drove around for dinner. We first tried this place, but the placed had only one table and the owner stared at us awkwardly.

We went to downtown Fort Myers instead.


We settled on the Downtown House Pizza since all the other restaurants were a little pricey for our frugal budget.

It was situated adjacent to a nice pedestrian plaza.

Had we gotten here a week earlier we could have partied with the spring breakers.

While waiting four our 'za I checked out the nearby attractions.

The pizza was pretty good.

Couldn't complain.

We liked to point out anything we saw on this trip that included our names. Lots of subdivisions for Meadow and me, street names for Scott and a barber shop for Blake. 

Whoa crazy tree Florida.

Day 6

In the morning I woke up early and walked to the Rasmussen Campus. It was just down the block from the hotel. It was humid as hell.

When we woke up I saw that it was only 72 degrees and it was foggy. I couldn't believe how hot and humid it was when we got outside. 

While Scott was working. I noticed on our atlas that Henry Ford and Thomas Edison had winter homes here that you could visit. Of course Blake and I had to go.

All the light fixtures were designed by Edison.

I had no idea Edison and Ford knew each other, but apparently Ford looked to Edison as his mentor. 

Edison was here first, building his home in the late 1800's. I loved the simplicity of his home. Each room was almost a separate building with lots of porches. I would love to sip some sweet tea and gaze out onto the river.

Ford didn't build his bungalow, but bought it three decades later after visiting Edison's estate so often.


Another historical front door photo I can check off my list.

While walking along the water creatures kept jumping from our path. My first thought was a frog. Nope, lizards!

Edison was also the one of the firsts to have a private pool on his property. I wish I could've gone for a dip. You're too hot Florida.

On the property Edison also had his office and laboratory. 

Pretty cool that Thomas Edison actually worked in this lab and used the equipment. In the other room on the shelf was some chemical burns from 100 years ago.

We met Scott back at the hotel. After getting a swimsuit for Blake (he didn't bring one. What!?) and sunglasses for me (mine broke) we headed back north.

After driving through more strip malls and not finding any places to eat I decided to just pick a place.

The first place we wanted to go to was some kind of curry restaurant. They had just closed for their midday break. Old people must take naps in the afternoon.

I saw a place called Saltwater Cafe. It sounded cheeky.

Rather than being cheeky, it was shitty. I ordered a fried scallop po boy. It squirted me with every bite. Meadow knocked a water over, Blake picked at his soup and Brooke wasn't even impressed with a simple fish sandwich.


I think next time we will go to Ruby Tuesday.

There will be no next time. US 41 between Fort Myers and Tampa was strip mall after strip mall apart from the odd beachside resort in Saratoga.

There were some sleek mid-century motels with very Floridian paint jobs.

Brooke found her smartphone to be more entertaining then the highway.

We took the Sunshine Skyway across the Tampa Bay since we were staying near the St. Petersburg suburb of Gulfport.

Then we arrived at our Florida home for the next 3 days, through Airbnb. The tiny home was one bedroom and perfect for our stay. 

Meadow was very excited to be out of the car and able to crawl around.

I love this little place.

While Blake stayed behind at our little home we met up with some of Scott's family that I had yet to meet.

My cousin Mark tried to introduce their dog to Meadow. She wasn't having it.

My mom's sister, my aunt of course, has lived in Florida all my life. We only ever saw them when they visited us in Wisconsin.

They had a whole other home for the outside. I would never go inside if I lived here.

We ate some pizza, cheesecake and reminisced about our antics at our grandparents home.

They have a lovely view of the giant flag pole from the post office a few blocks away.

It was really fun getting to know my long distance family.

We stayed there until it got dark. I had to head back to get a good nights sleep for the next mornings photography gig.


Family photo time. 

Mark managed to look at the camera the second time around. Can't say the same for Mike.

Back at "our" place Blake and Scott decided to have a guy's night out while Meadow and I had a girls night in.

We meandered down Beach Boulevard to check out Gulfport.



Blake and I bought a pizza and some Bud's. Our beer consumption on this trip needed an upgrade from here on out.


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