Road trippin’ to Tally: entertainment for the long drive through Florida

Hurricane Katrina blew through the state last weekend, dampening all Miami activities, so for the lucky students that grabbed tickets to the much anticipated football game against state rivals Florida State University, this weekend should be experienced to its fullest.

Since the drive entails about 270 miles on Florida’s mundane turnpike followed by another 110 on I-75, start the tiresome eight- to nine-hour drive to the enemy’s home field early and make it a two- or three- day road trip up the coast and across the state.

Whether leaving Thursday night or Friday after classes, the first stop to break the monotony should be at Hollywood’s Seminole Paradise Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. With all the money being spent on gas, try to win some of it back on the casino’s room full of slot machines or while playing poker at the tables. When hungry, Seminole Paradise has over eight restaurants to choose from, ranging from country-western’s Tequila Ranch (mechanical bull rides offered) to Asian-inspired Tatu, and make sure to finish the night off right at one of the nightclubs or lounges.

After living the life of VIP at Hard Rock, make sure to stop off at one of the Turnpike’s service plazas for a quick and cheap bite to eat while continuing the adventure up the East coast of Florida. After about the 50th Yeehaw Junction billboard, the little shack on the side of the road off exit 193 that offers discounted tickets to all things Orlando, becomes a must see. Take the two-minute detour and if boredom sets in early, try counting all the advertisements for Yeehaw to win a prize.

Since Orlando is approaching and it’s only Saturday, take a trip down memory lane and visit one of Walt Disney’s theme or water parks. There are plenty of cheap hotels in the Orlando area along with every type of dining humanly imaginable-the city was built for tourists! But if theme parks just seem a tad too expensive, Orlando also offers miniature golf galore or some of the state’s most expansive outlet shopping right down International Drive. At night, Orlando has everything a college student could want, from movie theaters to restaurants or from night clubs to bars, either at Downtown Disney or Island of Adventure’s City Walk.

The big game is now only two days away and in order to prepare entering Seminole territory and to break up the drive on I-75, throw on Hurricane apparel and visit the Gators at the epitome of a college town: Gainesville. After the afternoon downpours, the mosquitoes will come out, but at night is when Gainesville comes alive. Visit friends, your sorority or fraternity chapter or just go downtown to The Grog or The Swap, equivalent to the Grove’s Tavern or Sandbar.

Now it’s time; it’s Monday and the big game is finally here. Find the fellow hurricane fans and break out the grills because the forecasted weather of partly cloudy, high of 88 degrees and only a 10 percent change of rain; tailgating seems ideal. While Miami had one hurricane conquer it this past weekend, Tallahassee’s Seminoles need a warning, because this weekend the Miami Hurricanes are going to destroy it.

Bari Lieberman can be contacted at