Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl.

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pnwchef
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2014/04/22 10:04:49 (permalink)

Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl.

 
 

I am in the beginning stages of planning a cross country Roadfood tour. This will be during the winter months pulling a 18' trailer. I'm looking at going from Washington State to Key west Florida. When I leave Washington state I need to get through the Mountains fairly quick, then drop down into the warmer states. I would like to start strategically parking the trailer in Arizona, then, venture out with my SUV. I can have the trailer parked someplace then travel a few hundred miles and get a hotel. I just don't want to pull the trailer to every spot or even battle the traffic in large cities. My path will run through.
 
Idaho
Utah
Nevada
Arizona
New Mexico
Texas
La.
miss
Al
Ga
Fl
 
All options are open, I want to set this up hitting some of the great Roadfood places along the way. I will fly Joyce and Mollie in for 3 to 5 day weekends, two to three weeks at Christmas and so on. Any and all ideas will be helpful. Like I said, I can park the trailer and travel in a 100 mile radius if necessary. I can park and set up the trailer in a trailer park outside a larger city. I have no time schedule except that I'm in a nice warm place for the girls to spend Christmas. This trip is more about the journey, than getting to the destination. In fact, the destination can even change ........Thanks Bill
 
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    Keysey42
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/22 12:08:22 (permalink)
    Depending upon your route through Florida, I can give a few good recommendations.

    If you're coming down the west coast, stop at Cedar Key, a charming Gulf coast island town. You really can't go wrong with any of the waterfront restaurants there.

    Further south, it's worth venturing into the big city to get to Ted Peters Smoked Fish, a Bay Area landmark. They serve smoked salmon, mackerel, Mahi-Mahi or mullet —the mackerel's my favorite — with old-fashioned German potato salad, cole slaw, pickle, tomato, sweet onion and a lemon wedge. They're located in St. Petersburg, near the beaches. View their website here: http://www.tedpetersfish.com

    If you come through the center of the state, I humbly suggest my hometown of Ocala. Near downtown, we have some classic Roadfood spots — Dee Dee's Diner, The Lunchbox, True Grits, the Schnitzel Factory and Blue Highway Pizza. A little further out, there's MoJo Grill, Fat Boy's BBQ and Big Rascal BBQ. Within 10-15 miles of town, I can recommend the Dam Diner in Moss Bluff, Eaton's Beach Sandbar & Grill near Lake Weir, and a personal favorite, Stumpknockers (excellent fried catfish) about 10 miles west of Ocala on SR200. If you're coming this way and want more info on any or all of these spots, I'll be happy to provide it.

    If you're coming down the East Coast on U.S. 1 or A1A, check in at Culhane's Irish Pub in Atlantic Beach, then head to St. Augustine, where there are a huge number of good Roadfood restaurants, including Schooner's (listed here on Roadfood), The Columbia, The Hyppo (excellent house made popscicles in a huge variety of fresh fruit flavors, and good sandwiches, too), Wildflower Cafe (excellent breakfast), Redfrog & McToad's, Panama Hattie's and Saltwater Cowboy BBQ.

    Once you get to South Florida, stop in at Robert is Here in Florida City at the gateway to Everglades National Park for an excellent made-to-order fresh seasonal fruit milkshake while picking out some fresh Florida fruits & veggies for later.

    I know the Upper Keys best, because I used to live there. The original Mrs. Mac's Kitchen in Key Largo is a must stop, and Snapper's Dockside is a favorite. Stray off A1A onto Ocean Bay Drive at Mile Marker 100 and check out Key Largo Fisheries Backyard Cafe for a Lobster BLT. bit further south in Tavernier, Craig's Restaurant serves up the best handmade sub sandwiches on fresh-baked bread you'll ever taste. In Islamorada, check out the MEAT Eatery & Tap Room, Mangrove Mike's, The Green Turtle Inn (Lobster Corn Dogs!) and Islamorada Fish Company.

    I'll chase down the links to these places for you and post them later today.
    post edited by Keysey42 - 2014/04/22 12:13:07
    #2
    pnwchef
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/22 13:43:04 (permalink)
    Keysey42: Thxs for taking the time! I'm thinking I may take the Gulf coast route. That s/b a nice pleasant drive. I'm hoping to have the girls meet me in Arizona for Thanksgiving. Christmas in San Antonio and New Orleans. This whole thing my stop at New Orleans, I will have to see how things work out........thxs..........Bill
    #3
    Greymo
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/22 14:32:03 (permalink)
    If you get to Key West, you have so many great choices.  For  a great Cuban sandwich or Cuban roast pork , head to http://www.elsiboneyrestaurant.com/
     
    For a great Roadfood experience , go to http://blueheavenkw.homes...staurant_Key_West.html
     
    You will love this place and Mollie will not believe it...............plus, the food is terrific!
     
    If you are feeling wealthy, another wondeul food experience is Louie's Back Yard.  You sit out on the deck, can hear the gently lapping waves,  enjoy the starry sky, and enjoy  a most excellent meal wirh outstanding service.  Mollie and your wife will feel like a princess and a queen.
    post edited by Greymo - 2014/04/22 17:10:47
    #4
    lleechef
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/22 15:01:21 (permalink)
    If you're anywhere close to Santa Fe you must stop at Santa Fe Bite (formerly Bobcat Bite) for the best green chile cheeseburger on earth!
    And if you're going through Mobile, hit the Brick Pit for some fantastic BBQ.......for me this was the highlight of last year's Glee Club.  As for New Orleans, the whole city is one giant food orgy!
    #5
    Keysey42
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/22 15:21:49 (permalink)
    If you decide to press on east of NOLA, the coast route (US 98) is a beautiful drive.

    Once clear of the panhandle, you'll turn south on US 19. If you want to check out Cedar Key, you'll want to take State Road 24 off of 19 to the west. It dead-ends on the island. Here's a link to a list of Cedar Key's many restaurants.

    http://www.cedarkey.org/dining.php

    I haven't been there in a while (a trip over is past due, I think), so I don't know if our old favorite, the Seabreeze, is still worth a stop. If we get there before winter, I'll post about it on this thread.

    As you near Tampa/St. Pete, Highway 19 has a reputation as a traffic nightmare. If you don't plan to try Ted Peter's, I would give the Tampa Bay Area a wide berth. Alternatively, follow 98 south of Homosassa Springs and get on the Suncoast Parkway, then I-275. If you're up for smoked fish, put Ted Peter's address in your nav system (if you have it) to detour there. Otherwise, stay on I-275 and take the Sunshine Skyway across the mouth of Tampa Bay — it's spectacular. (Do note that if it's very windy, this might be a bit iffy with an SUV and trailer.)

    As for the places I recommended in South Florida, here are the promised links:

    http://www.robertishere.com/xcart/home.php

    http://www.mrsmacskitchen.com/default.aspx

    Go to the original, not Mrs. Mac's II. It's the same food, but a totally different vibe. You'll know you're in the Keys at the original!

    http://www.keylargofisheries.com/cafe.shtml

    Although the fish house has been there for years, the cafe opened after I left the Keys. It's definitely on my list to try the next time I go back, though — my mouth waters just looking at the Lobster BLT pic!

    http://chadsdeli.com

    I actually got this place mixed up with Craig's in my last post. This is the sub shop. I lived and worked a few blocks away from here when I lived there, so this was a frequent lunch stop, and was the first place I went when I went back 3 years ago. It was still fantastic!

    http://www.craigsrestaurant.com

    Not Chad's Deli, but another frequent lunch stop back in the day. Excellent fish sandwich.

    http://www.mangrovemikes.com/ordereze/default.aspx

    A few words need to be said here. When I lived in the Keys (1997-2001) there was Manny & Isa's, a Cuban place which served a wicked chicken and yellow rice, but also had the best Key Lime Pie. The familiar Key Lime Pie is a simple formula: Key lime filling (it has to be pale yellow/green — if it's bright green, it's not made with real key limes), graham cracker crust. But few know there is a different Key Lime Pie, and there is debate as to which one was the original (recipes for both kinds date way back in Keys history). The fillings are identical, but Manny & Isa's version had a regular pastry crust instead of graham cracker, and was piled high with meringue. Manny and Isa have passed on, and their restaurant is no more, but "Mangrove" Mike Forster bought their Key Lime Pie recipe when they retired, and it lives on in both his restaurants, Mangrove Mike's and the Midway Cafe. If you stop at Mangrove Mike's and they don't have it that day, find out if it's available at the Midway down the road. If it is, go there for dessert!

    http://www.greenturtleinn.com/_index.php

    Hopefully, if you go there, they'll have the Lobster Corn Dogs among the specials that day — a whole Florida lobster tail on a stick, dipped in a cornbread batter and fried. Awesomeness on a stick! The Lobster Mac & Cheese is also fantastic. As they like to say, "the Turtle rests on Monday," so if you go on a Monday, you'll find them closed. But if you stop in on a Tuesday between 6 and 7, tell my friend Kim Chesher, who broadcasts the Girls Night Out radio show on Sun 103.1 FM live from there, that I sent you.

    I hope you make it to the Keys. It's a beautiful place!
    post edited by Keysey42 - 2014/04/22 15:30:16
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    pnwchef
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/22 19:51:02 (permalink)
    Greymo Thxs, Blue heaven is one of my favorites, Mollie will love it.
     
    lleechef Lisa, Santa Fe Bite is a must, I will be going through there on my way to San Antonio.
     
    Keysey42: Great ideas and choices......thxs again........The more I think about it, I may just put the trailer as far as Arizona and leave it their. It's a long haul to San Antonio and Nola. I could have the girls fly out of Nola and then I could travel farther down South. It all depends if they want to come back in Feb. I could also go back to Arizona for the Super Bowl. I'm looking for a repeat. I have way to many options........pnwc

     


     
     
    #7
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/22 20:03:16 (permalink)
    Out of curiosity, why are you taking a 18 ft. trailer with you.  Is it a camping trailer??? 
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    pnwchef
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/22 20:16:48 (permalink)
    Sundancer7

    Out of curiosity, why are you taking a 18 ft. trailer with you.  Is it a camping trailer??? 

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

     
    Yes Paul, it's a travel trailer. I thought it would come in handy for extended stays. The only thing I'm trying to figure out is how far I want to take it. I can stay in hotels when I meet up with the girls. 
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    mayor al
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 00:57:50 (permalink)
    Early part of the trip
    Join the Snowbirds who homestead in the L. Havesu/Bullhead City AZ area along the Colorado River. fan out from there to do Laughlin and Vegas, Grand Canyon, the Imperial Valley and Date Groves, then move east on US 66 and south to I-10, Take another Break near Las Cruces/Deming N M to do the SO end of the Rio Grande Valley (Hatch for Peppers), El Paso for Cattlemans Steak House, Roswell NM and White Sands.
    Plan on some time in the BBQ belt in the Hill Country of Texas and Austin Area..too many places to itemize here but use the Sterns books and other guides and hit as many as you can.
     Crawdads are ok but Oysters are better... eat seafood allong the gulf coast everywhere. Make a point of visiting with Bill at the Brick Pit BBQ. It is worth much more than "a stop"...It is an education plus.
    Have a great ride...
    #10
    pnwchef
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 09:23:11 (permalink)
    mayor al: good ideas!.........where would you think a good place would be for a home base that would be good for day trips out for BBQ. This would be a Roadfood area that a person could take a month and still not hit all the "off the beaten path" places. I haven't been through this area in years. 
     
    Austin to San Antonio...79 miles
    San Antonio to Fredericksburg..70 miles
    Austin to Lockhart 36 miles
    #11
    Sundancer7
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 09:32:06 (permalink)
    In my opinion Lockhart is the mecca for BBQ.  Smitty's Blacks or Kreuz.  All three are super.  I have been thee several times with Al, Bushie and others.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    joerogo
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 10:12:03 (permalink)
    I can't believe you are not making this trip via Emmitsburg!!!
     
    Don't miss out on the great Cuban Food in Miami.
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    mayor al
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 10:35:40 (permalink)
    You might consider parking at the LBJ Ranch (ST Park) while not exactly in the center of all those points, it certainly is close to the epicenter, and you can get to any and all within a couple of hours.
    Alamo, Riverwalk,Ft Hood, Round Rock Do-Nuts, West,  Waco-Dr Pepper, Taylor, Austin, Lockhart, Southside, Shiner (Beer), Schuenberg, Fredricksberg, College Station, and more. The list is immense. Plan on a couple of weeks in Central Texas without moving from the LBJ  Ranch.
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    Davydd
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 10:36:36 (permalink)
    I RV travel a little bit. As for roadfood I am constantly re-seeking Cajun in Louisiana, not in New Orleans but in the heart of Cajun country centered around Lafayette, Abbeville and Breaux Bridge. Shrimp, crawfish, alligator and oysters.
     
    My favorites are Gator Cove in Lafayette, PreJeans in Carencro and Shuck's in Abbeville.
    post edited by Davydd - 2014/04/23 10:41:30
    #15
    chefbuba
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 11:40:08 (permalink)
    pnwchef

    mayor al: good ideas!.........where would you think a good place would be for a home base that would be good for day trips out for BBQ. This would be a Roadfood area that a person could take a month and still not hit all the "off the beaten path" places. I haven't been through this area in years. 

    Austin to San Antonio...79 miles
    San Antonio to Fredericksburg..70 miles
    Austin to Lockhart 36 miles

     
    Don't forget that you are also in chicken fried steak country.
    #16
    mlm
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 12:13:11 (permalink)
    In Blanco, south of Johnson City, there is a Bowling Alley Cafe which I went to years ago. It was fun and inexpensive and I believe Roadfood has reviewed it. Also, years ago, I went to the Bluebonnet Cafe and an oldfashioned type pharmacy in Marble Falls. Both quite worthwhile. Indeed do not forget chickenfried steak but try to get recommendations. CFS ranges from terrific to shoe leather. If anyone happens to know of any real roadfood in San Marcos or Martindale, please let me know. There is every chain imaginable and decent food but no roadfood that I know of.
    #17
    pnwchef
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 12:53:58 (permalink)
    mayor al

    You might consider parking at the LBJ Ranch (ST Park) while not exactly in the center of all those points, it certainly is close to the epicenter, and you can get to any and all within a couple of hours.
    Alamo, Riverwalk,Ft Hood, Round Rock Do-Nuts, West,  Waco-Dr Pepper, Taylor, Austin, Lockhart, Southside, Shiner (Beer), Schuenberg, Fredricksberg, College Station, and more. The list is immense. Plan on a couple of weeks in Central Texas without moving from the LBJ  Ranch.

     
     
    do they have Rv parking ???????? Or are you saying stay close to the park.
     
     
      
     
    #18
    Davydd
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 14:47:55 (permalink)
    Fredericksburg is an interesting German town. I've eaten at the Rathskeller and the Auslander there. Also nearby is Luckenbach, Texas between Fredericksburg and LBJ Ranch. That is an experience and worth a stop. There is plenty of RV camping in the area. The easiest way to find camping is using an app on a smartphone like All-Stays.
    #19
    pnwchef
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 15:07:56 (permalink)
    Davydd: I think Fredericksbugh is a great place to spend a few weeks. The only concern I have is it's not as warm as I would like. I may have to give a little to get a little. This for me would be a Roadfood paradise......Bill
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    mayor al
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 20:02:19 (permalink)
    We Stayed in Killeen (motel) for over a week twice a few years back... a combination of Jan visiting her son when he was at Ft Hood, Me taking my Mom around the Czech villages and cultural attractions, and then all of us getting together with Bushie to hit the BBQ Trail. Plus we have done two Hog Hunting long weekends and two Glee club sessions in the area.   and I would go back again for a week in a heartbeat.
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    Sundancer7
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 20:16:26 (permalink)
    mayor al

    We Stayed in Killeen (motel) for over a week twice a few years back... a combination of Jan visiting her son when he was at Ft Hood, Me taking my Mom around the Czech villages and cultural attractions, and then all of us getting together with Bushie to hit the BBQ Trail. Plus we have done two Hog Hunting long weekends and two Glee club sessions in the area.   and I would go back again for a week in a heartbeat.

     
    I would go back to Lockhart in a heartbeat.  That was the best BBQ I had ever had.  Outstanding.
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN

    #22
    mayor al
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/23 22:52:45 (permalink)
    Yeah, Paul, I still Put Black's BBQ in Lockhart and Louie Mueller in Taylor t the Top of my Texas list. Then Kreuz Mrkt. I have not been to Franklins in Austin or John Muellers either... but would put them on top of  my new places to try if we go southwest again.
    While  I love the 'Que and the history, Without Bushie it wouldn't be the same.
    I'd rather head down to Mobile and mix BBQ with Seafood !
     
    #23
    pnwchef
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/24 09:44:43 (permalink)
    mayor al

    Yeah, Paul, I still Put Black's BBQ in Lockhart and Louie Mueller in Taylor t the Top of my Texas list. Then Kreuz Mrkt. I have not been to Franklins in Austin or John Muellers either... but would put them on top of  my new places to try if we go southwest again.
    While  I love the 'Que and the history, Without Bushie it wouldn't be the same.
    I'd rather head down to Mobile and mix BBQ with Seafood !

     
     
    Al, I feel like we are talking about the pilers of the BBQ world. Places like Black's, Kreuz mkt, Franklin BBQ and Louie Mueller's are like visiting the monuments in Washington DC. Maybe we could put these places among the BBQ wonders of the world. I think maybe these places should be put in a different category of the best of the best. I remember seeing pictures of bushie, his face light up in the pictures. You can see in his eyes, he loved who he was with and what he was doing. I think your right, a person could spend a few weeks in this area............Bill
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    pnwchef
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/24 12:41:15 (permalink)
    joerogo

    I can't believe you are not making this trip via Emmitsburg!!!

    Don't miss out on the great Cuban Food in Miami.
     
     
    Joe, Tom told me he was putting in a Helicopter pad, as soon as he does I'll drop in and say Hi! I'm hoping it wasn't the Vodka talking! Yes!! Tom's BBQ is that good.
    #25
    brisketboy
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/24 13:21:11 (permalink)
    Bill, on your way through Johnson City be sure to stop at Whittington's Beef Jerky store. Some of the best I've ever had. They also sell a lot of home made jams and stuff.
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    Root-Beer Man
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/24 18:06:14 (permalink)
    Once you're past NOLA there's some good eats to be had. If you stop off in the Gulfport, MS area there's Lil' Ray's in Gulfport, MS. A nice stop for a Po' Boy or some seafood. There's also the White Cap, down on the beach. Known for it's fried up seafood. Now that the water's cleaned up shrimp and oysters are back on the menu's on the Coast. Both have been staples for many a year on the Coast. 
    I'm sure that folks are going to say to stop over in Mobile, AL for some Wintzell's and I will say that's a don't miss. Also, in Mobile is the Dew Drop Inn. Stop in for one of their chili dogs and the burger that inspired "Cheeseburger In Paradise". 
    If you make it to the East Coast of Florida I highly recommend a stop at Dixie Crossroads for the best danged shrimp anywhere. Well, worth the trip, (especially if you're going to do the tourist bit at NASA). There is nothing quite like their rock shrimp anywhere else in the country.
    #27
    Foodbme
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/25 02:56:58 (permalink)
    I've been holding off responding until I could get a general idea of your thinking as far as AZ goes.
    As you know AZ is two different climates/environments during the winter months .
    Timing is everything as far as Nov-Dec temperatures go between the northern route, I-40 and the southern route, I-10.
    Up North, your trailer could be covered in snow and down South, you could need air conditioning---On the Same Day!
    5-600 ft. difference in elevation!
    Nov. - Flagstaff AZ - Avg. Hi -37 - Avg. Lo 16
    Nov. - Phoenix AZ -  Avg. Hi -66 - Avg. Lo 40
    So, once you decide which route you'll take I'll be better equipped to make recommendations.  
    #28
    Treetop Tom
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/25 09:10:49 (permalink)
    While in TX be sure to "Czech out" some of the local kolache places.  I'm not a huge fan of the mass-production kolache shops, but here is a article with some good suggestions:
     
    http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/field-notes/2012/09/the-great-texas-kolache-crawl/
     
    We recently had a expatriate couple from Texas open a kolache bakery/ice cream shop in town and I'm glad to say they are doing a booming business, and rightfully so:
     
    http://www.kolachekreations.com/
    post edited by Treetop Tom - 2014/04/25 09:28:34
    #29
    Sundancer7
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 13723
    • Joined: 2001/07/18 14:10:00
    • Location: Knoxville, TN,
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    Re:Cross Country "Off the beaten path" Washington Stae to Key West Fl. 2014/04/25 10:04:14 (permalink)
    TT:  Great article on the Kolache crawl.  I enjoyed it and in fact I have made several stops in West,comma, Texas.
     
    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #30
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