The Roundup -

Spring Road Trip: Florida to Montana in Four Days


April 24, 2019 | View PDF

The Roundup publisher Jody Wells visits "The Round Up" Country-Western themed bar located in Tampa, Florida.

Searching for fun this spring season? Why not a road trip across the country? Last week I did just that with my father. My dad was in Cape Coral, FL visiting relatives and I flew down to drive him back to Montana.

Our first stop was on Pine Island, FL to the town of Matlacha. We had lunch along the waters of the Gulf of Mexico at the Hooked Island Grill. We had excellent fresh seafood and enjoyed blueberry mojitos.

The following day we hit the road stopping in Tampa, FL. Tampa just so happens to be the home of The Round Up. The Round Up country western theme bar and night club that is. Even though the establishment doesn't open until 7 PM, I could not resist stopping by to get a photo with the sign. When was the next time I was going to be in Tampa?

We continued our trip through Florida that day and stopped for the night in Acworth, GA outside Atlanta. A large rainstorm had moved in making it very difficult to push on.

The following morning we drove though the continuing storm to Tennessee. Before reaching Nashville we noticed the sign for the Jack Daniels distillery. We decided it would be a great stop to see where the popular spirit was made. So we drove for almost an hour off the interstate to Lynchburg, TN. There we stopped by the Jack Daniels visitor's center where we learned a little bit about the history and production of Jack Daniels. Before leaving we stopped by the White Rabbit bottle shop to take home a memento.

Our next mission for the day was to press on to Nashville. We fought some rush hour traffic and headed directly to Printer's Alley in downtown. After finding some parking we walked a short distance to Piranha's Bar and Grill on 3rd Ave N. The huge mural on the side of the building drew us in.

Piranha's turned out to be the perfect place to stop. It was happy hour when we arrived so drinks were free and musician Warren Garrett was playing country hits for us to enjoy. We had a great meal and Garrett even played my dad's favorite song, The Gambler, at our request. Look up Garrett on Facebook and YouTube to hear his original music. The barmaid was also very friendly, giving my dad two signed bar tap handles.

After leaving Nashville we had plenty of daylight left so we hit the road once again. Our next destination was St. Louis, MO. We arrived in St. Louis shortly after the Gateway Arch monument was closed. But we were still able to take a photo of the curved, 630-ft.-tall monument celebrating US western expansion from an elevated street in downtown. We ended the day's travels with a stay over in Hannibal, MO.

View of the Gulf of Mexico from the Hooked Island Grill in Matlacha, Florida.

The following day we had an early start and planned to cover as many miles as possible. We drove though the middle of Iowa, a route neither one of us had driven before. The Iowa countryside was beautiful and the green grass was already sprouting everywhere. Around lunchtime we were passing through Des Moines, IA. After a quick search on Trip Advisor we decided to stop in at Skip's near the Des Moines airport. The reviews for Skip's were spot on with great food and friendly service.

After leaving Skip's we pushed on for another nine hours on the road. We ended the day in Rapid City, SD. The next morning in Rapid City we were a bit travel weary and ready to get home. The rainy weather also put a damper on our plans to do any sight seeing that day.

In all we covered over 2,500 miles in 4 days, but we still fit in some rather fun things to do along the way. It was definitely a family trip we will never forget.


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