Tallahassee and Tarpon Springs
April 2, 2014 • 2,035 views
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As of 2014, there still was no direct Amtrak rail service from New Orleans, LA to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. So just like I did in 2013, I rented a car from Avis and started heading east on the I-10. Unlike 2013, this time my drive was planned. I spent nights in Ocean Springs, MS as well as Tallahassee, FL and Tarpon Springs, FL.
I stayed in Ocean Springs, MS at the Holiday Inn located there. Corrine, the manager, had helped me during my 2013 trip and I had promised that I would stay there the next time I passed thru town. The Gulf Coast of Mississippi is a unique place and I would recommend staying there and sampling the seafood in places like “Mike’s on the Bayou.”
Farther east along the Gulf Coast and the I-10 is Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee is the state capital of Florida as well as the home of Florida State University. The FSU Seminoles were on the road that night but I got to see a community college basketball game at Tallahassee City College. At the Bill Hebrock Eagledome located on the TCC campus, I saw the host Eagles lose to the visiting Pensacola State Pirates by a score of 49 to 62 (I didn’t even know Pensacola was a state!).
From Tallahassee, I took a side trip down to Tarpon Springs, FL. I’ve known about Tarpon Springs for a long time. The late American journalist Charles Kuralt (1934-1997) had done a segment of his On the Road series about Tarpon Springs. Tarpon Springs is renowned for its Greek sponge dining industry. It has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any U.S. city. I had dinner at “Hellas,” one of the most famous of the Greek restaurants located in the Sponge Docks District of Tarpon Springs.
I finally reached Ft. Lauderdale, FL after driving 970 miles. I would add another 48 miles in my Gold Coast Rental car around Ft. Lauderdale during my two nights there. So after traveling 3,013 miles (1,995 by rail) I would board my new ship, the Crown Princess (113,561 gross tons), for a 49-day cruise around South America.
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