We have been planning to check out this piece of Florida history for quite some time now, and a free weekend came up, so off we went.
Our 82 Rabbit Diesel is a budget build for sure, but we finally have it in a comfortable driving state. Two new tires and an alignment have done wonders for it, along with some new suspension. I wanted to take it on a tour of some of the old Florida landmarks I have collected over the years. After all, summer is coming, and we all know how nice and hot it can be in a car in FL without A/C.
We set out from our apartment in Sanford, and our first stop was to get some roadside boiled peanuts on our way through Ocala National Forest, the staple of any rural Florida trip.
Next, we had planned to take the Ft Gates Ferry across the St Johns River, which would have been a nice piece to add to our trip, but Irma washed away the dock, and I had no idea until we got there. Keep checking their site for when it returns. For now, I will leave you with a picture of my GTI from a few years ago, it is a great piece of old Florida and has been in operation since before the automobile.
Having to take the long way around the St Johns, we drove through Palatka. We soon spotted a diner that looked interesting, so we decided to come back after we got done with our next destination, which was the Old Brick Road, better known as the oldest remaining part of the original Dixie Highway. We started at the Espanola entrance and headed north. It is approximately 10 miles and can be done safely as long as you are careful and you car is a moderate height. Ol' Freddie felt right at home as a light rally car.
It is hard to believe the road is in this good of condition, I am assuming the sand has alot to do with it. It was fun to wonder what it looked like 100 years ago, and how much work went into constructing it. I could picture old Model T's bounding over it slowly in the hot Florida sun back in the day.
Freddie got us through safely, and the new suspension got a workout.
I highly encourage anyone looking for a fun roadtrip day to give this a try. A few common sense things are all that's needed. Bring cold water in case of emergency, as there is no cell phone service or many people passing by. It is against the law to take the bricks, so be respectful and keep this landmark alive. More info into the history of the road here.
A long day in an old car can really get to you, and we were starving by the time we got to the end of the Old Brick Road. We headed back to the diner we saw in Palatka, a place called Angel's. Supposedly, it is the oldest diner in Florida, a neat fact we only learned by walking inside, even though as I type this, its written on the damn sign, haha!
If you are ever in this town, also check out Ravine Gardens State Park. We didnt have time to go back there today unfortunately, but it's worth the stop for sure.
As evening fell on Palatka, we started our journey back home and headed toward Ocala National Forest, then home to Sanford. What a great day enjoying the Florida countryside in our trusty old Rabbit!