Friday, February 01, 2008

Paradise found

News & Observer - Raleigh,NC,USA
Retired News & Observer columnist Dennis Rogers and his wife, HollyAnn, are traveling the nation in a motor home. This is his latest column about their road trip.

YEEHAW JUNCTION, Fla. -- This lonesome crossroads in the middle of Florida is as good a place as any to contemplate this confounding, delightful, irritating, rewarding but essentially uninhabitable appendage dangling from the bottom of America.

It was here that Florida's two major industries, farming and fun, were born. Here, at what was once known as Jackass Crossing in the middle of what is still a vast underpopulated swath of pine trees, open prairie, cattle ranches and citrus trees south of Orlando and north of the Everglades, an entrepreneur opened a combination juke joint, restaurant and hotel in the early years of the 20th century. Called the Desert Inn, it was where cowboys, Indians, loggers, truckers, farmers and other rough-knuckled men came to eat, drink and, to put this delicately, rent some better-smelling companions for an hour or a night.

Today the Desert Inn huddles in the lee of the Florida Turnpike and is proud to be on the National Register of Historic Places and have its own state historical marker to celebrate its bawdy past.
Full Story...
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