Heading West


Sunday morning, after a marvelous evening out with Max at the Black Dog in Cedar Key, we checked out of Faraway Inn and headed down to the café on Main Street for breakfast (mine – Max already ate). As I stepped out of my car in front of the café, a small red car with Maine plates pulled in.

“So, where are you in Maine?” I asked the driver, who replied, “I’m not in Maine, I’m in Florida!” So, imagine my surprise when he said he was from Deer Isle!

Turns out we’re practically neighbors (which could be said about almost anyone from there, I guess). Larry and Allayne Snowden live just down the road from me in Sunset; Larry said he spends the winter in Cedar Key to escape the cold and snow. His wife said she comes down to visit, but was heading home soon to go back to work. While he hates the cold and snow, she said she doesn’t mind it so much if there’s snow on the ground.

Small world, eh? Imagine traveling all the miles we’ve gone in the last three weeks, only to run into folks from Deer Isle who live less than three miles from me. Larry’s parting words were something to the effect that if I get back that way, “stop in and see me. I’ve got space for you to pull in and camp if you want!”

I left Cedar Key with a big smile on my face, and feeling a little more light-hearted than I had just a day before. Sometimes, you have to go away to find yourself. I think that’s what I’m doing – and meeting my neighbors so far from home gave me the chance to get my focus back.

For the first time in a couple of weeks, I set out for my new destination without programming the GPS. I consulted my map, decided what the route should be, and set off at long last on the two lane.

Florida State Route 98 took us northwest to the panhandle, and within an hour I noticed that we were heading WEST. “Yay, Max!!” I yelled, looking back at my buddy in the rearview mirror. He raised his head, cocking it sideways as if to say, “And you woke me WHY?

“We’re going WEST! WEST! FINALLY!!”

We got to Apalachicola about 2:45, and drove around and under the bridge to the waterfront, where I parked the car and got Max out for a stretch and a little walk. After that, we checked out the town – totally closed on a Sunday afternoon – looked unsuccessfully for a cell phone signal.

Since arriving in Cedar Key on Saturday afternoon, we’ve been in what I am calling a “cell phone swamp.” No signal whatsoever. OK, occasionally one tiny bar would pop up. Dial the number, wait, call failed!

I have no idea how I got this screenshot of the END result of an iPhone call today!


So, without the benefit of that magic iPhone, we drove around and scoped out possible places to stay. Settled on the Apalachicola River Inn, right on the water, and it turned out to be a good choice. We had a nice riverfront room on the first floor. Anna, at the front desk, was kind enough to let me use her phone to call my daughter, when I asked what the story was with the lousy cell phone reception.

“Don’t even think about it, hon,” she said when I protested that it was long distance. “This happens all the time. I’ve got five lines, sweetie. You talk as long as you want.”

The view from our room at the Apalachicola River Inn just after sunset. Our room faced east…


Our room was really wonderful, warm, snug. Max has been a little under the weather since ingesting a lot of salt water at the dog beach in Venice last Thursday, and he asked to go out twice in the middle of the night (1AM and 3:30). If you’ve been reading this blog all along, you know that I’ve mentioned how he’s got the motel etiquette down. Last night was no exception. He gave out these soft little woofs – doggie equivalent of a loud whisper – to get me up out of bed.

Max at the Inn in Apalachicola.


After heading out from Apalachicola, we turned down the road to Cape San Blas. I’ve been told by several dog people that its beaches are dog-friendly, and wanted to see for myself. For some reason, I thought it would be more wild: it’s really built up, lots of big houses – many on stilts – line the road on the beach side.

We did stop at one public beach access point and walk in to check it out. Dog-friendly, yes, but only on-leash dogs. So, our beach visit was brief – and probably just as well since Max has no compunctions about drinking sea water!

Max would have liked to run loose on this beautiful beach at Cape San Blas.


Part of our trek today involved me Googling how to treat doggie diarrhea, finding a Piggly Wiggly on the way to get some rice and canned pumpkin, and a health food store for probiotics. I’m happy to say that tonight he seems to be on the mend.

Route 98 is a lovely two lane road that took us through some cattle and horse country, lots of woods, small towns, and along the coast for a while. The best part? It took us west!

I just had to take a picture of this sign for two Florida towns – BRUCE, and NICEVILLE! – that I saw on our way west today!


Tonight we’re comfortably ensconced in a Red Roof Inn in Milton, just east of Pensacola, cell service fully restored. Tomorrow, New Orleans!

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About Maureen Farr

I am a graphic and web designer – and the publisher of the print version of Arts Guide, a free guide highlighting the arts, dining, events, and more on the coast of Maine. In addition, I am a visual artist working in mixed media and encaustic, as well as creating found object jewelry. I am currently at work revising a short novel that I wrote as a participant in the 32nd Annual 3-Day Novel Contest.
This entry was posted in On the Road, Puppy antics, Random thoughts, Traveling with a dog, Traveling wth a poodle and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Heading West

  1. Chase Binder says:

    Hi Maureen,
    So sorry to be missing you and Max. We head out on Saturday for a month in Gulfport, MS. You are moving too fast for us! Enjoy reading about Max and hope you’ve had a chance to read about Maggie and the Keys. Chase

    • Maureen Farr says:

      Sorry to have missed you too. Enjoy Gulfport. we just drove past there on out way to New Orleans today! I’m sorry to say I haven’t been doing any reading – can barely keep up with email and blog posts right now! But I will check it out again.

  2. Suzanne Gibson says:

    Glad to hear you’re heading west!!!!

    Suzanne (of the picture taking family in Charleston)!

  3. Carolyn says:

    Yeh, well, as I am watching the “dusting” of snow falling gently on my roof, my road, my head, my car, my cats, my crows, etc., etc. – oh, sigh – I ponder when a “dusting” becomes A BLIZZARD. It’s been coming down here since 8:00 a.m., for God’s sake. Oh, sigh – again. So — how many of us do you want to meet you at – wherever it takes to get there for not much money? By the way – are you headed to Sante Fe? I have a reason for asking. Cheers, C

    • Maureen Farr says:

      AS MANY AS WANT TO MEET and you name it, I’ll meet you (within reasonable driving that is!). Yes, I’m going to Santa Fe, just not sure what the ETA is yet. Am in New Orleans tonight. Nice to get notes from you…

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