Day 9 – A Sonny Day at the Lake | The First Time 2011

12th August 2011

Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q, Dairy Queen and Lake Louisa State Park

After two consecutive days at theme parks we gave ourselves a day off today to let our feet and legs have a rest.

Woke up to sunshine today and weird bobbly clouds in the sky. We spent the morning in the swimming pool, generally larking about and being silly!

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We decided to head out to Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q for lunch. We are big fans of ‘Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives’ on the Food Network channel, and the presenter, Guy Fieri often visits BBQ joints and we knew we’d want to try out some American barbecue whilst in Florida. Steve wanted to be able to try out pulled pork, and Liam wanted brisket, so into the car it was to drive to the nearest one in Clermont.

Stick Bug

The Road to Clermont

Steve's Road

There were a lot of roadworks going on around the restaurant and I missed the turning. Had to do a U-turn to go back around and try again! Nothing too painful and eventually we pulled up outside.

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We were seated in a booth and we ordered some drinks. Liam a coke, and Steve and I, an iced tea (strawberry and mango respectively). When our waitress brought our drinks out to us, my mouth dropped to the floor…the size of these drinks can only be described as mammoth! they must have been two pint glasses, easilly. I hope you can get some sort of scale with this photo of Liam holding his coke! The ice tea was so delicious, it was a shame I couldn’t finish it!

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Liam ordered his brisket which came with garlic bread and his choice of sides which were corn on the cob and fries. A healthy portion which was $7.99.

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Steve went with the pork 3 ways – pulled pork (tick off the list!), sliced pork and sticky ribs with corn bread, plus his sides of baked beans and coleslaw. LOTS of food there for $11.99.

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Since Liam and Steve covered all the bases with beef and pork, I decided on the chicken and ribs combo ($10.99). I also had corn bread (I love that stuff!) and I chose a sweet baked potato and mac ‘n’ cheese as my sides. Best mac ‘n’ cheese I ate all holiday!

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It was a huge lunch!! Very, very tasty – we hoped to go back during our vacation, but the future tells you that we didn’t – a shame, but it’s on our list to go back there in 2013!

The total bill came to $41.14 and well worth it. If you like this sort of food, I would highly recommend Sonny’s.

We didn’t stay for dessert – all a bit too stuffed…however, I had wanted to visit a Dairy Queen whilst out in the States, and as it turns out, there was one about a mile away…so maybe not so stuffed!

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It was like a fast-food ice-cream parlour (I think they also sold things like burgers and hot dogs). We ordered a banana split, a peanut butter sundae and a pecan blizzard. It was around $13.

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Lovely ice-cream and another tick off the list of ‘things to eat in Orlando’. We sat in there to eat our desserts as taking them outside would have been meltdown – and a lot of sticky mess in the car!

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After lunch, we headed back for the villa…but first, the worst bit of driving experience I had (so far)…turning left…without lights…across three lanes of traffic O_o To put it politely, it was soil yourself time. Now, 3 weeks (US) driving experience now tells me that I should have just turned right and done a u-turn further down the road…but I didn’t think of that at the time – I wish I had!

I won’t lie, it was very scary waiting for a break in the traffic, which just never seemed to come. The dude behind me got bored with waiting and pulled right out, not caring about on-coming traffic at all. That was his look out – I wasn’t going to take the risk. Eventually my break came and I breathed a sigh of relief as we were on our way again.

On the way back we saw a sign for Lake Louisa State Park and decided to pull in and have a look.

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In the UK I love to take photographs of nature, and you’ll often find me in my local country parks snapping away, so I couldn’t pass up this opportunity whilst in Orlando!

We paid $5 entry and were given some maps and other pamphlets. The State park felt like the size of our hometown – it was insanely huge! We began our drive through, taking in the sights of Orlando’s natural world and trying to find somewhere to park!

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Eventually we came to a car park, pulled up and got out of the car for a walk about. We saw some cacti and small lizards…

Cacti at Lake Louisa State Park

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…before clocking was were probably red fire ants and the spider the size of the moon. You have to see the large version of this picture to truly experience the horror!

The unknown spider

Deciding that I had had enough of nature – I like pretty not evil! – we got back into the car and continued our drive around the park. I’m sure if we had hiking boots we would have walked for a bit more, but a maxi-dress and crocs aren’t exactly walking through the forest attire! (It was an unplanned visit after all!)

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Steve then spotted a tortoise in the bushes, so I quickly pulled over (I don’t think I was supposed to, but really, there wasn’t a soul around), and we watched as it raced across the road…he sure moved fast! It was a joy to see, it really was and I would love to have spent longer here than we did. A look on Lake Louisa’s website tells me that this is a gopher tortoise.

Gopher Tortoise

Would have been pretty awesome to have got a photo of that tortoise with this sign in the background!

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Eventually we got to a lake and parked up. I don’t know if this was Lake Louis (as there seemed to be a few lakes in this park) but this sigh was absolutely breathtaking, has to be seen to be believed. It just felt so calm and tranquil.

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Taking note of the alligator sign, we just took a few snaps (*boomtish*) before heading back to the car.

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Despite the alligator warning, there are canoes, presumably for rent…rather them than me!

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And somewhere to have a BBQ. There were also cabins to rent near the other lake (we saw signs). What a wonderful place (if you are into that sort of things).

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Back at the villa we were able to have another dip in the pool, but it was annoyingly cut short by a thunderstorm. So instead, we ventured to Walmart to re-stock our depleting supplies, and, as we left the supermarket, the lightning started up again. It was amazing to see – really lit up the whole sky. Sadly, no photos of this storm.

Now, remember the scary driving moment earlier? Well, buckle up, because it doesn’t compare to the one that I had coming home from Walmart. To get to our villa community it is a left turn for us at the lights, so there I am, in the correct lane, the green light comes on and I make my turn. As I do so, something makes me stop and two cars go racing through directly where I would have been. It was a frightening experience let me tell you. I don’t know if the lightning had messed up the traffic light sequence or if they were just running a red light…but I was so lucky that something made me stop. I was pretty shaken up :(

Now, this of course is extreme, in general I have found driving in Orlando very easy and stress free and have loved every moment of it. I think it helps if you are a confident driver. Steve was quite happy to leave me to do all the driving – which is fine – I’m a nervous passenger!

So, with nerves settled, we had a snack for dinner and watched crap TV before bed to be all refreshed for our visit to Animal Kingdom and breakfast with Donald Duck at Tusker House!


All photos from this day can be found on my Flickr!

Read the next day:
Day 10 – The Circle of Life: Animal Kingdom and Tusker House Character Breakfast

Read the previous day:
Day 8 – Hooray for Hollywood!: Hollywood Studios, Hollywood & Vine and Cracker Barrel

Read ALL the days:
Orlando, Florida Vacation, Flashback Friday Series Index