The small town of Bradenton, Florida is where my grandmother lived and a family tradition was always to visit the local citrus farm by the name of Mixon's.
This has been a family run outfit since the late 30's. As luck (or the lack of) would have it, I showed up on a Sunday and they were closed. DOH! So I didn't get to go into the shop, but I still could check out the orchards. This is the place where I had Cumquats for the first time as a kid, and I actually found the same trees where I originally picked them. Sweet!
The other thing that Bradenton is famous for, is that it is home to the Pitsburgh Pirates spring training camp.
My timing couldn't have been better, as luck would have it (real luck this time), they were actually training that day! Last year, my friend Amir and I went to Spring training season in Arizona (Cactus League) on another road trip (you begin to see the extent of my roadtrip madness now?) and that was fantastic. Spring training is more like home town baseball than the major leagues. Things are a lot more informal, people are open and friendly, and everyone is filled with the spirit of baseball. What do you think Amir, next year in Florida (Grapefruit League)? Don't wory, I got you a shirt and a ball.
Well, gotta keep on truck'n, Mardis Gras is coming up fast...
This isn't actually the first time I've been to Florida. When I was a boy, my father packed the family up and took us all on a big road trip to Florida to visit my Great Grandmother Grace. Maybe that was the origins of my wanderlust? It's all my dad's fault! ; ) That was back in the early 70's and Grandma Grace has long since passed, but since I was going to be passing by I wanted to relive a childhood memory.