A Cruise, a Few Loop-De-Loos, and Some Blues (Day 9)

Our return flight was at 6pm so we decided to spend some time at The Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium in Orlando before heading back to Tampa.  It was a surprisingly fun way to spend two hours on a Saturday morning.  The building is filled with weird exhibits and useless but fascinating facts.  Some highlights included a how-to video on shrunken heads, a car covered in musical instruments, a portrait of John Lennon carved from a phone book, a collection of hospital bedpans, an exhibit of medieval torture devices, a portrait of Jimi Hendrix done entirely in playing cards, and a life-sized replica of the tallest man who ever lived.  Really, it’s a kid’s paradise.

Once we finished our tour of the Odditorium, we hopped in the car and headed back to Tampa.  For lunch, we stopped at Danny’s All American Diner and Dairy Bar, an establishment that has been featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  It turned out to be the quintessential burger shack with walk-up order windows and picnic tables with umbrellas.  Orders could be placed inside as well but there was barely enough room to turn around.  I have no idea how Guy Fieri fit his camera crew in the kitchen to shoot the show.  The baseball-themed menu is loaded with breakfast items, burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, and locally made ice cream.  We all decided to stick with tried and true burgers and dogs.  Hubby was the most adventurous, ordering the Nolan Ryan – a hamburger with cheddar cheese, ham, bacon, and BBQ sauce.  All sodas are in glass bottles and kept in coolers at the front of the restaurant.  Alcoholic beverages are kept in coolers behind the building for individuals who feel the need for something a bit stronger.

While we were ordering our food, I kept hearing really good, gritty blues music from somewhere close by.  We followed the sounds to the back of the shack.  Low, and behold, an appropriately scruffy  band was playing on the back porch of the restaurant.  More patrons were sitting at tables strewn around the gravel parking lot.  We settled ourselves at an empty table and enjoyed the tunes by The Lambasters of Tampa Bay while we ate delicious burgers and fries.  The band was a very pleasant surprise and greatly increased our appreciation of Danny’s.  It was such a beautiful day to be outside that we stayed until the set was finished.  We took one last photo with the owner of Danny’s’ and then began the final and least fun leg of our journey – returning the rental car and maneuvering the airport for the flight home.  As sad as we were to have the vacation come to an end, we were all very happy to be going home.

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