Roadtrip Nuissance on US 301

Taken on a secondary road through the exciting hinterland of "Deliverance", these trucks equal an unintended suicide mission.

An unintended road trip through deliverance country

A lucky circumstance allowed us to take a couple of days off from what has turned out to be a 24/7 experience if done right: running a bed and breakfast.

So on Sunday morning we took off for Tarpon Springs, just north of Tampa on the Gulf Coast, to spend a couple of days touristing this old Greek village, well known for sponges and souvlaki. Of course our accommodations of choice were a bed and breakfast smack in the middle of the “action” called Ashley’s Bed and Breakfast.
Before you may think that this is a B&B story, I have to correct my direction, because this is a story about irritation with government services and information to the public in Nassau County that almost took all the fun out of driving to our destination.

Our roadplan choice to get to Tarpon Springs was simple. Take A1A/200 to I-95 and then either go down on the Interstate to Normandy off I-295, connect to Hwy 301 to Ocala and a bit south on I-75 to SR 54….or go Hwy 301 by cutting the Interstate out.
We had heard that 301 all the way to Callahan was now 4 lanes, so we decided to go that route.

Wrong choice!! Oh to Callahan and beyond direction Baldwin, traffic was smooth and progress was impressive. Until we hit the rural community of Bryceville, where a Nassau County Sheriff’s vehicle stands with all lights flashing like a pre-historic dragon and the road is barricaded with the word DETOUR written all over it.

In the best of times, taking US 301 is a risk considering the amount of crazy 18 wheelers this road attracts, but to be taken on a secondary road through the exciting hinterland of “Deliverance”, these trucks equal an unintended suicide mission and a very bad start to what can be considered a well deserved couple of days of.

So why am I angry at the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department or Public Works or whomever is responsible for informing us “John Public” that we should expect intended or unintended obstacles and offer us alternative options if and when available.

Because a sign at the I-95 overpass on US 301, saying: Expect delays. US 301 is rerouted at Bryceville or more eloquent: US 301 closed at Bryceville. Expect to be re-routed through freaking backwater country where crazy truck drivers are out to show you who is king of the road, would have given us other options.

A sign more would not have mattered, considering how our streets are littered with political pundits’ voter requests these days. Maybe one of them understands why I’m angry with ignorance and why a little sign would have made all the difference.

So if you read this be forewarned. You’re on your own out there in No Man’s Land.

3 Comments

  1. Angie Hall

    Thank you for your cute story.  However, your first mistake was “hearing” that “301 all the way to Callahan was now 4 lanes”.  It is not and won’t be for a year or so down the road.  It was supposed to be 4 lanes in 2005, but that’s another story.  
    Your reference to “Deliverance” must have been when you saw the goon on CR 119 with the remaining shreds of an American flag,  a Tea Party flag, and a Confederate flag on the pole on his front fence.  He, too, is another story.

    The trucks you speak of carrying timber and such are a daily occurrence on CR 119 & CR 121, and we have learned to co-exist with them now that the county has blessed us with a wider road after so many years of us complaining about narrow roads with potholes on 119 & 121.  Some of us put our food on the table with a job in the forestry industry.

    But just remember, those of us who live in the “hinterland” like it because it is quiet and peaceful.  The extra traffic has disrupted us too.  Not to mention, I was on THAT bridge coming home from work a short 12 hours before it gave way.  I’m just glad nobody was hurt.  That bridge was built in 1940 and seeing the water level the night before, I’m not surprised it washed away.

  2. publisher_sa

    Hi Angie. Thanks for your corrections, but as far as I’m concerned the 4 lanes into Callahan was pretty much a fact. However 4 Lanes from Callahan to Baldwin was marked as to be completed by 2014. As to catching a negative vibe about hinterland dwelling, I’m sorry to say I have no negative thoughts about it. Years ago I lived for awhile on the edge of the Osceola Park outside of Lake City. I loved the peacefulness of nature and minimal human interaction. And the trucks I was referring to were regular US 301 King of the Road idiots who were detoured from 301. Over the years they have tried to kill me on several occasions, and last Sunday was a treacherous reminder. I’m not talking about loggers even though some of these boys take too much risk as well, inspite of the fact that they are more used to backroads. Yet mostly I thank you for informing us that the reason for the US 301 road closure was the collapse of a bridge. (I’m sorry I don’t watch local news, which probably reported it between their attacks on restaurant cleanliness and Jaguar stories).
    If the county would have communicated the collapse on a sign near the I-95/US 301 overpass, this story would have never seen daylight and I would have never written this reaction to your comment from my hotel room in the cute Greek Village of Tarpon Springs. My story was not about time loss on our trip but about dodging 18 wheelers on a small and badly equipped country road that moves through the hinterlands of Northeast Florida, where the county could have forewarned us with a simple sign. Sorry if it sounded to you like I was judging. I was not.

  3. Angie Hall

    Oh, yes, you are correct.  The 4 lanes into Callahan from Yulee are in fact completed, but that’s A1A, not US 301.  US 301 is the section from Callahan to Baldwin and further south.  

    I’m glad you had a good trip.

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