Day 96 – Clearwater Beach to Jacksonville

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We weren’t too sad to leave Clearwater Beach – it was ok but way too busy to really enjoy the beach the way we’d hoped for. We plotted a route to take us through Orlando where we had a quick look at Brian’s old house before moving on again. We’ve been looking for a Culver’s ever since we had one early on our trip in Minnesota and there was one not too far off our route in Port Orange. We stopped at the Culver’s and Brian had the double cheeseburger with bacon, while I had a single cheeseburger and cheese curds. The burgers were still as good as we remembered as were the cheese curds! From there we drove to Daytona Beach but couldn’t find parking so I just jumped out and quickly took a few pictures of the beach, which was surprisingly not that packed. It looked like a fairly nice beach but the surrounding area wasn’t great.
We got on the road to Jacksonville again and it was an easy trip to our hotel, the Extended Stay Jacksonville Riverwalk. Our room was ready and this was another one that was actually a suite, with a two plate stove and big fridge – though you had to ask for pots and pans etc if you wanted to cook, which must mean that they got robbed quite a lot! The room was ok but again very clammy and damp – though I suppose it is hard to avoid in these parts as it just so humid! We soon set out to explore the River Walk which was quite nice to walk along and it wasn’t too stupidly hot. I was surprised that the River Walk was so quiet as they must have spent a lot of money building it, but we enjoyed it anyway. We crossed the bridge to the main downtown area and Jacksonville Landing, which is a shopping centre with bars and restaurants as well as an open air amphitheatre. We had a drink at Hooters and another at Fion MacCool’s where I had to try the Boxty Nachos – essentially deep fried boxty with all the usual nachos stuff on top – it was very good but very oily!
We were just about to take the walk back over the bridge to go and find a bar on ‘our’ side of the river when I spotted some action around the amphitheatre area so we went to see what was happening. Some music (from the 70’s?) was playing and there was a few people dancing about while a band was setting up, and we decided to stay for a while and see what the band was going to be like. It turned into a really good evening with more and more people showing up and with kids running around and enjoying themselves everywhere. The vibe was really good and people were just sitting around and drinking from the bars in the area; I couldn’t believe how busy the Hooters got as earlier I thought Jacksonville was a completely dead city as there were so few people about! We ended up staying for quite a while and really enjoyed ourselves – another pleasant surprise!

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