Strange and Unexpected
Backpack on the Road
Volume One: Florida



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"…given a bit of slack, I’ll wander all over the place when telling a story..."

That's from the introduction to Strange and Unexpected: Backpack on the Road -- and there never was a question of where the trilogy should start... Florida is the one state that, in some way, includes all eighteen participants. In addition to Bob and Terry, this volume features trips with Mom and Dad... Kris... Kerri, Nick, Naya, Tamsin and Ky... John and Margaret... Ellen and Richard... and Mike and Louise. (Jay and Justin have been to Florida with Bob and Terry several times that aren't included in this book... still they have chipped in with thoughts for a special segment that can be found here.)

This volume features five different trips that took place in four different years.

You want theme parks? Of course you do. Mention Florida and Orlando is one of the first thoughts created. And when you say Orlando -- facts are facts -- to most people you said Disney. Every Disney park is visited at least once...

You want the Florida Keys? Sure thing. Tales include dolphin swims, sunset cruises, a Duval Crawl...

You want adventure? Ok...

"Terry looks at me and asks if I have the number to call for a cab home. Ellen hears her and tries to stop me. We have the following conversation:

'No. Wait. We have to go to Pepe’s first.'


'Yeah. Yeah. Pepe’s. That’s the place with the mojitos.'

'Ok. Pepe’s it is. How do we get there?'

'Just get us to Mallory Square and I’ll do the rest.'



'We’re in Mallory Square.'


'Look down.' (She does, then begins to fall, and finishes it off with one of those hop-steps that are so useful for catching yourself.) 'That’s Mallory Square.'

Ellen looks up. She stares at me for a moment with a quizzical, disbelieving look on her face, and then starts looking at the nearby buildings.

'Oh.' (Long, thoughtful pause.) 'I’m not going to find Pepe’s tonight.'"

Did we eventually find Pepe's? Oh yeah. We also found Cayo and Gypsi... rode on a airboat... celebrated the holidays... and so much more.

The state of Florida is an amazing and diverse collection of attractions that stretch from touristy theme parks and gift shops to palm trees and cold beverages. And our group has got thoughts to share that stretch all the way from Ocala to Key West...


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