Lake City, Florida

Day 343

     The site of Lake City, Florida, was a Seminole village named Alpaca Telophka meaning “Alligator Village”. By 1830, a Euro-American town called Alligator was established, adjacent to the Seminole town. The city was incorporated and changed to its current name in 1859 because the mayor’s wife, who had recently moved to the town, did not like the name. Obviously, he was not a very strong mayor. 

Technical Stuff:

Tallahassee, Florida to Lake City, Florida: 97.6 miles

2 hours 9 minutes

10.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.40



Mission San Luis,Tallahassee, Florida

Day 340

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     The Apalachee Indians, who lived in the area around present-day Tallahassee, were among the most advanced and powerful of the Florida tribes that were met by early explorers.

     Spain’s Juan Ponce de León came to Florida in 1513. He named the land “La Florida”, meaning flowery, and claimed ownership for Spain.

     Hernando de Soto arrived in 1539 to seek his fortunes in La Florida. Native peoples in the region told the Spaniards that riches could be found in the Apalachee Province. The de Soto expedition was the first from Europe to camp in this area. 

     The myth of Apalachee treasure was represented on early European maps by the name given to the Appalachian Mountains.

     The largest Apalachee building was the council house that could hold 2,000 to 3,000 people. In the council house, the Apalachee and their chiefs met to govern the village, consider complaints, administer justice, conduct traditional rituals, and receive visitors.

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     The entrance door was built low so a person entering had to stoop, thus easy to see if they had weapons, plus they were bowing to the King. I entered first so Barbara could show her respects. 

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     In 1656 the Mission of San Luis was established here. The friars converted over 5,000 Apalachee’s to christianity. 

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     In 1690 the Spaniards built a fort to protect their interests in the area from the British. England was expanding it’s hold on Spanish Florida and made advances toward the Mission and fort. On July 31, 1704, two days before the British and Creek indians would arrive in the area, the defenders realized they would be outnumbered and burned the mission and fort to the ground, moving to St. Augustine. I think we will also migrate there.  

Technical Stuff:

Panama City, Florida to Tallahassee, Florida 137.5 miles

3 hours 10 minutes

10.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.37

Panama City, Florida

Day 330

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     Panama City is located within the Florida Panhandle and along the Emerald Coast. The Emerald Coast is the unofficial name for this Gulf of Mexico coastal area in the state of Florida that stretches about 100 miles from Pensacola to Panama City. The term Emerald Coast was coined in 1983 by a junior high school student, Andrew Dier, who won $50 in the contest for a new area slogan. 

     The development in this part of Northwest Florida had previous names such as “Floriopolis,” “Park Resort” and “Harrison.” In 1906, the development was titled “Panama City” and incorporated in 1909. A developer named George Mortimer West hoped to spur real estate development in this area during a period of intense popular interest in the construction of the Panama Canal by changing the town’s name from Harrison to Panama City. 

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     Today was the annual “Blessing of the Fleet”. The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition that began centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities. It is a blessing from the local priest and pastors that is meant to ensure a safe and bountiful season. This is an event held throughout the world at numerous seaport towns at the beginning of the fishing season. I don’t recall it ever being held in Maryland. 

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 The ships would line up in the harbor and pass before the priest who would bless each ship.

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   More than 150 vessels participate in the Blessing, ranging from ships to kayaks.

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     The pirates wanted a picture with Barbara.

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     This pirate takes his role seriously.

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Technical Stuff:

Gulf Shore, Alabama to Panama City, Florida: 182.7 miles

4 hours 15 minutes

11.1 MPG

Diesel: $ 2.20


The Last Battle of the Civil War

Day 324

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     Some people believe that the last major battle of the Civil War took place here, at Fort Blakeley, Alabama, beginning exactly 152 years ago today, on April 1, 1865, and ending April 9th.

     Being the anniversary, we attended a re-enactment of that last battle at redoubt #4, the heaviest fortified position. 

     The Union army awaits the signal for the final assault on Fort Blakeley, the last Confederate fortification guarding the eastern side of Mobile Bay.  It has been under siege and bombarded for days. When that signal comes, 16,000 Union troops will emerge from siege trenches and rifle pits to attack along a three mile front against a semi-circular perimeter defended by 4,000 Confederates.  With Blakeley gone, there’s nothing to stop the Union army from invading the last prize of the Confederacy – Mobile.

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     The outcome of the battle is not in doubt. By this point in the war, the Union army is a battle-hardened war machine – competently led and with seemingly endless amounts of arms, ammunition and men. 

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     The next day, April 10, 1865, Mobile surrendered without a fight. 

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