• The Road Warrior Report - December 29, 2015 - Orange Bowl Travelogue #2

      MIAMI, FL – Day 2 in Miami really got going about noon Eastern time or so. Hey – this is not your vacation. Don't judge.

      Anyway, we schlepped down to the Fruit and Spice Park when we got up and going – but not to go to the park. We went back in 2009 when we were here for the regular season game against Miami, and we would recommend it highly. This time, however, we just went for lunch.

      You see, there’s a little café at the park, and while you wouldn't think it would be much, it actually holds a secret. They serve the best lobster rolls we have ever had. And that includes well-known Boston versions. They are so good that we drove all the way down there just to have them. And they were as good as we remembered.

      We then headed out to the Everglades and Coopertown Airboats to do some gator viewing and high-speed swamp cruising. Unfortunately, the place was packed (this kind of ended up being a theme on the day), and we decided to decamp and do something else. So we headed across town to Miami Beach to cruise around out there.

      That place was packed, too. Traffic was insane. After a fruitless search for a parking spot along Ocean Drive (punctuated by being flipped off by a scantily clad blonde carrying a coconut with a giant straw in it), we moved over to Collins and got into a public parking lot. There, a large black lady (who apparently was a U.S. Marshal – at least she said she was) who had just parked took it upon herself to be the parking director, parceling out spots to those who arrived first, even if they had circled around and weren't the first in line when a spot became open. We were the beneficiaries of that, which resulted in an argument between her and some folks who backed up to try to snake the spot she was holding for us.

      We walked along Collins and did some shopping, then moved over a block to Ocean Drive. The wife wanted to rent those public bikes (they’re Citibikes here – sponsored by Citibank) and cruise along the beach. We were up for that, but she has a broken foot and has to wear a walking boot. We opined that perhaps the walking boot would make bike riding a bit difficult. She did not listen. So, we rented the bikes and rode around the beach area, but it only lasted about 20 minutes before, as you might expect, the boot was bothering her and she didn't want to ride anymore.

      So, we ended up kind of sitting around watching folks go by, which was quite fun. A lot of different people are in Miami Beach this time of year. Lots of different languages being spoken. One guy that stood out was a dude rollerblading around with a GoPro on the end of a stick. He appeared to be completely intent on taking video of himself rollerblading.

      We saw where they were setting up for a big beach shindig the night before the game with an Imagine Dragons concert and a bunch of other stuff. We will likely forego that – crowd scene on the beach isn’t really our thing. We also went by the GameDay set. They had a huge screen set up showing the day’s bowl games next to the stage and we got to catch a little of the Cal-Air Force game.

      We then headed back to the car and proceeded to Joe’s Stone Crab, which was only about 10 blocks away. Actually, we proceeded very slowly to Joe’s Stone Crab. It took us about 45 minutes to go 10 blocks. About 6 blocks in, we figured out why.

      There are only a couple of causeways back across the bay to Miami proper from Miami Beach, and at the intersection with the road leading to one of them, absolute traffic chaos had erupted. Traffic was backed up and people would just back up all the way through the intersection, in every direction, when they had a green light. We mist have sat through six or eight cycles of that light when we got to the intersection because traffic was blocking us. And it didn’t help that the idiot behind us thought that leaning on his horn was going to help the situation.

      But, eventually, we made it through and dropped the car at the Joe’s valet, only to find out that the wait was 2 to 2 ˝ hours. But, the wife wanted Joe’s, so we commenced to waiting. While we were waiting, she visited the bar a couple of times. Eventually, we took a first-come, first-served bar table and decided to eat there. They don’t have the full menu in the bar, but you can get stone crab, which was what we came for anyway. By the time dinner arrived, the wife was three sheets to the wind. A good time was had by all. The diet didn’t fare well, once again, alas.

      As we headed back to the hotel, the wife lapsed into speaking nothing but babbling Spanish. This included mocking me in Spanish for asking her to quit babbling in Spanish in the hotel lobby, which was full of Spanish-speaking people. Not that her Spanish is bad – just didn’t think it was the thing to do.

      We intended to get this posted last night, but fell asleep writing it during the inevitable Texas Tech destruction at the hands of LSU. The wife is now dealing with a hangover/migraine combination. Fun times. More later.

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