Sunday was my birthday and we decided to go on a one day vacation. It ended up being the best birthday I've had in a long time and the whole day only cost about $50.00. You can't buy much with $50.00 any more. Maybe the next time you're on a tight budget and your boyfriend's birthday comes around you can do something like this. Trust me, the memories of a really fun day are worth so much more than a video game, a shirt, or cologne.
We (my boyfriend and I) and our friends John and Amy, and their German Shepherd pup Elaine went down to Ona, FL to check out Solomon's Castle. On the way down we passed through lots of small rural towns.
Much of the landscape on the drive was sprinkled with old FL cracker homes. Here's one such home with horses grazing in the front yard.
We stopped by a small Spanish flea market, but I didn't get any pics because I forgot the camera in the car.
Solomon's Castle is a very unique place. I took millions of pics but the castle is made of recycled aluminum printing plates so I couldn't get a shot without tons of glare. Click on the pics so you can read about the castle and some of the art within.
Here's a pic of John and Elaine with Solomon. Solomon was at work in his workshop and we were the only ones who took the time to stop by and say hello. He was really sweet. All of the tools had my boyfriend and John drooling. Notice Solomon's shirt, it say's "Do I look like a freakin' people person?" I'll bet that would fetch a pretty penny at a Brooklyn vintage shop.
This hand built miniature replica of the Alamo is just a facade placed over the side wall of a corrugated aluminum garage. Even the door and cannon are scratch built by Solomon.
I'm not much of a nature photographer but this place has 90 acres of nature trails to roam. Out of all the pics I took these berries are the only ones that came out nice enough to post - I love the color, maybe I'll get inspired to make something.
When it came time to leave we decided to take old HWY 27 home. It follows the Orange Blossom Special railway from Chicago down to FL. Check out those ominous clouds and palm trees. This scene is very FL.
It was at this crossroads that we spotted a local guy selling used bikes. If you're a regular reader you know that I really like old bikes, so we had to stop in and meet this artisan.
Here's a pic showing my boyfriend with the bike builder. His name is B.V. and he's the big fella in the white shirt. You might recognize my boyfriend from my Facebook profile pic. For the record the pic on Facebook was taken several years ago and he's wearing the EXACT same clothes in both pics. Why are guys such slobs?
Here's a good shot of all the bikes and part he had for sale in his front yard.
We actually hung out with B.V. for quite a while. The guys all got along and talked about wheel bearings and tools. By the time they got done talking it was dark.
Our next stop was Spook Hill. Spook Hill is a haunted hill in Lake Wales, FL where ghosts push your car up hill - no joke. There's even a wiki-page, and a Roadside America article. Check out the sign below. We tried it and I can tell you that we started at the bottom of a hill and we ended up at the top.
Spook Hill is right next to Spook Hill Elementary School. They've got a funny sign out front. Most schools have a lion or a bear as a mascot, not these folks.
After our spooky, gravity defying ride we were pretty tired so we stopped into a local shop and bought some fresh squeezed O.J.. We then got a bite to eat and headed back home.
I know it's never as exciting to look at pics and read about a trip as it is to actually do it for yourself. I'm hoping that this post will help motivate you to get up and do something. For about the same price as pizza, beer, and reruns you could be out doing something that you'll remember forever.