RETURN TO DOZIER: Pt. 1 ~ HELLO AGAIN!

New Year’s 2017…

Time to reflect on the year that’s past, make resolutions for the upcoming year & most of all, time for our family New Year’s cabin trip! This year’s location was Alford, Florida. While I was excited for the time we’d get to spend as a family for the next several days as well as all of the unique things that we would get to experience with our kids, I must admit that I was extremely thrilled at the thought that Marianna was only a 27 minute drive from where we would be staying! Dream come true people, dream come true! We would literally be driving past the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys constantly as we travel back & forth to attend activities, go to the store, etc. I never thought I would get to lay my eyes on the property again once, let alone multiple times a day for several days in a row, but here we were! Although my head stays firmly in the clouds most of the time, I did try to be somewhat realistic about how much time we would actually get to spend there. We had the kids & my husband who’s literally expressed how stupid & ridiculous he thinks my little adventures are, so best case scenario would mean a couple of drive-bys & possibly waking up at the crack of dawn one morning & sneaking off for a few hours, right? Well, what actually happened was far better than anything I could have imagined….

 

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29th, 2017 (Day 1)…
  We arrived in Marianna around 3pm & stopped to grab lunch before making the remaining 27 minute drive to our cabin in Alford. We were so close to Dozier that it was hard for me to think about anything else. Fortunately my Ride OR Die (aka the Bestie) suggested that maybe it wouldn’t hurt anything just to drive by, so that’s exactly what we did! For the most part, it looked the same from the road. You could definitely tell that the buildings still standing had deteriorated considerably in the 2 years since our 1st trip…Florida weather is extremely harsh & very unforgiving & these buildings have been vacant & uncared for since roughly 2011. Having gotten a decent look, we headed out to our cabin to unload but knew that we would visit again before the day was done.

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HELLO AGAIN…2 YEARS LATER!

 

  It only took a couple of hours before we were back again. Here we were standing at the fence with the barbed wire wrapped around the top. Much like the 1st encounter in 2015, it was dark, cold & we had to rely on the headlights from the car to illuminate whatever was behind that rusted out fence. What little light we were given cast an eerie glow & made the empty shell that had been known as Dozier School for Boys seem even more foreboding. We were able to take a few pics & then left for the night. Hopefully I would be able to get back there again the next day & actually spend more time there but at this point, I would take whatever I could get…

 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 30th, 2017

  Our 2nd day in Jackson County was one full of plans. Our goal was to see the Caverns & hike the Bellamy Bridge trail to the infamous haunted Bellamy Bridge (An entirely different story for a different post!) before dark as it was already chilly & the temperature was expected to drop by evening. There were too many of us to travel in 1 vehicle, so the Bestie & I piled our 2 boys (who just happened to be each other’s Ride OR Dies!) into her car & took off…And it just so happened that our route to Florida Caverns State Park took us right past DOZIER! Before I could even say a word, she was whipping her little low rider car into the opening between the trees & right into the abandoned cabins of Dozier…And swiftly drove over brush, debris & other non-car friendly items! After hearing the noise it made she stopped the car & we both sat there with our mouths hanging open in that “Awe Shit” position! After several minutes, we climbed out to see what the damage was gonna be & while she did her 10 point inspection, I began to try figure out how I could spin our latest dumbassness (Yes, I meant Dumbassness!) when I made the call to the hubs to come dig us out. Hell if nothing else, at least I would finally get him to lay eyes on the very thing I’d been obsessing about for several years. I got back in the car & held my breath. Finally the verdict…We weren’t stuck! We looked at each other & started laughing like a couple of crazy people! All the while, our boys were in the back seat, completely unphased….Not really surprised as they’re totally used to our antics by now! We backed out & headed out to see the Caverns….But we’d be back…

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SUCH TROOPERS BUT I’M PRETTY SURE THEY’RE OVER OUR ANTICS!!

 

To Be Continued….

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