Orange Juice Maps

Winter Star Party - Days one and two

The Florida keys are about 1600 miles away from our home in Michigan by car. No matter how you divide it up, that's a lot of driving, about 24 hours worth. Irene and I decided to leave Saturday morning around 7:30AM to try to get to the Florida keys before sunset on Sunday evening.

We pushed hard to get past Atlanta, Georgia all day Saturday, and ended up getting a room in Cordele, GA around midnight. The last five hours we fought through a driving rain until we hit the heart of the storm about 180 miles north of the Florida border. At that point we just couldn't go any further.

It was a short night. After a nap, shower and breakfast we were back on the road by 7AM. It was still raining, so I drove the first leg of the trip. When we finally made it to the Florida state line I gave out a little cheer. It was time to get a picture of Simochick at the visitor center with the "Welcome to Florida" sign in the background. I read the traffic sing out loud to Irene, "Visitor Center, 2 miles ahead, free orange juice maps."

I looked at her in all seriousness and asked, "What the heck is an orange juice map?"

She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "That's a map of where all the orange tree groves are."

"What good is that? Why would anyone want a map like that?"

Now she seemed a little puzzled by my ignorance. "Because with one of those, you can drive all the way through Florida, getting free orange juice all along the way!"

I said, "Are you're kidding me?" She said, "Yes! Were you serious?"

Now, I was pissed off. "Why are you messing with me? You know I'm so tired I can barely think."

"I thought you were just kidding around, so I was playing along, trying to explain what an orange juice map is."

"So there really is no such thing?" I asked, totally confused.

"No. The sign meant free orange juice AND maps!" Now, Irene is laughing so hard tears are rolling down her cheeks, and she just keeps repeating, "orange juice maps, orange juice maps...really? You were serious!"

I pull into the visitor center and it all becomes clear to my sleep deprived brain. They give out free orange juice and maps at the Florida visitor center. And I am going to be hearing about "orange juice maps" every day for a long time.

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