Third Rest Stop: IHOP in Wildwood!


Third Rest Stop: IHOP in Wildwood!

Okay, I admit it -- I was feeling a little nervous getting onto I-75 so soon and barreling over to the left-hand lane to get onto Florida's Turnpike. I'm nervous sometimes when I do that in my car.

So I needed to fortify myself. And I remembered Sunshine=Sometimes's suggestion to stop at an IHOP during my trip.

So here I am! -- about five miles farther down the road from my stop in Rutland yesterday.


I've never been in Wildwood in real life. The town is actually on the other side of the interstate -- it's the same exit off I-75 that I use to go home, just in the opposite direction. So it's time I made a (virtual) visit!

(Hey, I know that exit!)

Founded in 1877, Wildwood is also called "The Crossroads of Florida." CSX had a railway station on Main Street. Since 2004, this old station has served as a CSX maintenance yard:

Wildwood got a bit of notoriety a few years ago, in the form of Buddy's Bar-B-Que. Buddy's chose to ignore Florida's indoor smoking ban. First, it posted a sign permitting smoking. Second, it had a plastic jug by the cash register, not for tips but for donations toward paying the smoking fines.

And third...

(Story at Tampa Bay Times)

Buddy's took the 10-foot-long, 5-foot-tall fiberglass pig attached to its roof, stuck a plastic pipe painted to look like a cigarette in the pig's rear end, and turned the pig around so that its tush faced the road. The pipe blows smoke.

Or, rather, blew smoke. According to Wikipedia, Buddy's is now out of business.

I can tell you all sorts of stories about how I can't stand cigarette smoke, which makes my eyes tear and my throat close up. My mother had smoked until she suffered her first heart attack at age 44 and had nearly died from it then. Let's just say that cigarettes and I have never gotten along.

My longest one-day real bike ride, of 137 miles, had taken me from Boston to Provincetown, MA (part of that mileage was some extra riding, so that I could rendezvous with my cycling buddy). The ride leader, a man in his 60s, had quit a decades-long smoking habit and had then gotten into shape. He left the rest of us in the dust. :-)

So here I am at IHOP! That IHOP For Me Balsamic Glazed Chicken Meal looks good.

And some strong black coffee.

Well, maybe a touch more coffee...because my virtual bladder is super-strong!


And then it's onto I-75 and a quick jog to Florida's Turnpike! I'm sure these nice people will let me scoot over to the left.

Time to get out my quarters!

Oh, wait -- I'm on a bicycle! I don't have any axles! No charge. :D

That chicken fortified me enough to travel 14 miles for the day in 63.5 minutes, for a three-day total of 39.5 miles. And I've just passed this sign:

My progress after Day 3 -- 58.5 more miles to get to Jane's!

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I'm right behind you EJ...15 miles today on the bike...3 mile walk!