Eventually, my girlfriend and I got our GPS unit working, an iPod hooked up and settled into capital R, capital T Road Trip mode. Google Maps predicted about five and a half hours driving to reach Apalachicola, with only a bit of that along an Interstate. Having just returned from nearly eight months abroad, I was dying to see some Americana, which came along in short order in the form of exquisitely manicured horse paddocks along the highway and roadside BBQ stands.
A bit further along, we spotted signs for St. Mark's National Wildlife Refuge. In desperate need of a decent leg stretch, we gladly paid the $5-per-car entrance fee, checked out the smallish visitor's center and walked what parts of the Plum Orchard Pond Trail weren't flooded. On our short hike, we spotted an alligator, a (possibly venomous!) snake and dozens of little green lizards puffing up their scarlet red throat sacks. St. Mark's is also home to a lighthouse built in 1832, but seeing it was kind of boring after our wildlife encounters.
After another 70 or so miles, and we made it to Apalachicola, a sleepy Gulf Coast town known for its fancy Victorian mansions, its oysters and, lately, its sea kayaking. After checking in at the Coombs House Inn, we borrowed a couple of the B&B's cruiser bikes--for free--and went touring. At Downtown Books, I picked up Sex, Death & Oysters, in which writer Robb Walsh name checks the historic Gibson Inn, just a few blocks from the Coombs House. We dropped in to try some Gulf oysters, but since the kitchen is shuttered on Mondays, we had to settle for a dozen on the half shell at the bar at Boss Oyster, served with my first Sam Adams since probably August 2008.
· A Rental Car Road Trip on a Shoestring Budget [Jaunted]