The South. Just the word and imagery conjures up the willies in me. Every once in a while I travel down to these parts to visit family. They decided to do the old folks retirement thing and settle down in Florida a few years back. Yup – they hightailed it to the humid hot confines of the scary South to get away from the Northern winters. Seems like it’s a law or something that once you hit 65 or older you need to return to the mothership of Walmart and Waffle House. There are some freaks down here for sure. If Jerry Springer could be elected President of Crazy this would be his country. It’s a strange combination of retirees, transplants, an occasional native born here, and zombies from The Walking Dead. Oh, and don’t forget “The People of Walmart” as they seem to thrive in Florida. I am typing this post while on vacation down here with the parental units, and we are at the Tampa Hard Rock Casino for a few days before we do the Disney thing. Oh boy, are there some characters in this joint. I can hear “dueling banjos” playing in my brain constantly down here. Hey, we actually did pretty well playing dollar slots and poker. Also, we are fans of The Rat and the Death Star known as the Disney Parks. Say goodbye to my cash and credit cards! The saving grace is that we will be at Epcot for the International Wine and Food Expo which is an absolute blast. It’s the one day at a Disney park that turns into a drunkfest along with total gluttony! It’s like adult’s day to get bombed and it’s perfectly ok! I’m all excited for Brews Around The World. So. Much. Beer.
You all know what EPCOT stands for right? Every Person Carried Out Trashed! Good thing mom doesn’t drink so we have a built in designated driver. Poor mom. Mmmmm…..Beeeeer!
One thing we do which has almost become a tradition is hit up Cracker Barrel for a meal after we arrive. I just can’t help myself as I love these kitschy places to eat, and the general store is a riot. My weakness is their fried apples and biscuits. Oh. My. Gawd. Wandering around the store in a food coma for a bit I happened to notice this Christmas light set I just had to take a picture of. Yupper – those are real shotgun shell holiday lights. Nothing says Jesus, peace, and love like real ammo to decorate your tree with! I think I found this next to the NASCAR selection of items and penny candies. Yee Haw!
One thing I do have to give props to are the wonderfully creepy rest stops that can be found along I-4 while driving from Tampa to Orlando. Don’t get me wrong as they are well maintained, pretty clean, and offer a good vending machine area with a bunch of snacks and drinks to choose from. It’s just that at times they are deserted as in this pic I took before hitting the men’s room. No one in sight. After taking my place in front of the urinal a few dudes that looked like something out of a Swamp People bad dream came out of nowhere and took up residence at the urinals on each side of me. Both had mouths full of chewing tobacky. Mullets and ponytails. Camouflage hat and a big gut on one, while the other sported a Budweiser t-shirt with the sleeves cut off on his tattooed bean pole body. You ever seen the movie Deliverance? I really did not want to “squeal like a pig” so I got out of there quick, and this was during daylight! I have been to these stops late at night too. Really creepy. These are the places that nightmares are made of, but sometimes you just gotta go! Pee fast and run! You got a purty mouth, boy!
Of course, no trip to Florida would be complete without a pilgrimage to the Holy Grail of Rednecks the world over. This place needs no introduction. Waffle House!
TIME TO PUT ON YOUR BEST WIFE BEATER TANK TOP, AND HITCH UP THOSE PANTS WITH THE BIG BELT BUCKLE ‘CAUSE WE’RE TAKING THE FAMILY TO WAFFLE HOUSE!
Every time I walk into one of these places that dot the Florida landscape I feel as if they are about to film an episode of Teen Mom there. Or Kid Rock is about to bust in, start a fight, and sing a tune.
Alas, I just can’t help myself, as I love cheesy and tacky places, and Waffle House fits right in. Sometimes I get a craving for a nice malty waffle, sugery syrup, crispy bacon, and hot cup of joe. That is pretty much all there is to order here, and all I would want to eat here.
Waffle House is to the south like what Dunkin Doughnuts is to NYC. They are all over the place and pop up in strange locations. They never seem to go away. Like cockroaches. Yet, I really wish we had one in NYC close to my place. It’s waffles dammit! Me want!
HEY, DON’T MIND BILLY BOB OVER IN THE CORNER BOOTHS WITH HIS WIFE AND 12 KIDS. THEY ARE A CELEBRATIN’ MOM GETTING PREGGERS AGAIN! WAFFLES FOR EVERYONE! WOO – HOO!
Waffle House – http://www.wafflehouse.com/