Since we left Fort Myers earlier this month, we’ve been meandering through the Sunshine state, enjoying some excellent State Parks and one great RV Park. We’ve experienced the entire gamut of what Florida has to offer, including the tropical feel of the Keys, the Everglades, the beauty of her forests and the friendliness of her people. We’ve worked our way north then west through this dog leg that is Florida to begin our journey north.
On May 18th we turned north again from the Florida panhandle and finally traveled out of Florida and into Alabama, and the clues were clearly evident that we have passed into a different realm.
Billboard after billboard tried to reach out and save us as Carrie advised me that we were now in the “Bible Belt”. Many large and opulent churches every religious flavor dotted the landscape along the highway almost from the moment we crossed the state line. As a side note it’s interesting that we have also observed numerous billboards and some storefronts for a chain of adult book and video stores since crossing the line into Alabama. We’re not sure who’s winning the war for the hearts, minds, and possibly the souls of the citizens of Alabama and the South but there is definitely a battle going on.
We’ve been channel surfing on Sanctuary’s stereo as we count the miles down the road because we haven’t yet decided on what flavor of streaming music we want for the RV to satisfy our love of Classic Rock, and what we’ve found so far in our totally unscientific assessment during today’s drive is that the saturation of Country Music stations in this state is remarkable. Granted, there are many CM fans in Florida, but there are also a variety of other music genres on the FM band to choose from, from Classic, Gospel, Hip-Hop, Pop, and even Classic Rock, but today we could find nothing but Country Music and Gospel on the Alabama radio dial. Don’t get me wrong, we enjoyed listening and sang along as we’ve learned lyrics to several of the current Country hits, but hey, how about a little variety y’all?
Finally there were the advertisements for the sights of the Dixie heartland, and along the interstate north this afternoon Carrie groaned an “OMG” as we both spied coming over the rise in the distance THE BIGGEST Confederate Flag either of us have ever seen. As we got closer we couldn’t begin to guess the dimensions of this enormous flag, but we guessed the pole it was flying from to be at least 100 ft. high, so you can do some math and make an intelligent guess too. I was also curious to see what message the billboard at the base of the flagpole conveyed to the public as it grandly stood on a hillside overlooking the highway. As we passed in front of it, I wasn’t disappointed either: “Sons of Confederate Veterans”.
We have met several genuinely warm and friendly people at the park where we’re staying for the next 3 days, but Toto, we are definitely not in Florida anymore.