Amidst the rain
Salvaged cars ruined by the hurricane lined up in rows occupied acres of land along the interstates. Debris, downed trees and limbs in western Louisiana and south eastern Texas lay rotting along the roadsides. I by-passed Houston and stayed on the designated “Farm Roads” in Texas road system. Continue reading
I had never been to the South before. I visited North and South Carolina but not enough to warrant me putting the states decals on the van — a decal means you have really explored it. Georgia and Florida warranted stickers and Alabama would also or so I thought.
In my mind, Alabama has always been a symbol of the “iconic south”, witness the above photo, and Hwy. 29, the back road from Pensacola, Florida to Montgomery, Alabama solidified that idea.
MILEAGE TRAVELED SINCE MAY 2017: 43.000 miles
St. Joe’s Campground
See previous posts on Florida:
Breakdown, Beaches and Birds
GOBBLE GOBBLE-CAREFUL WITH THAT THROTTLE
I arrived in St. Augustine, Florida on Dec. 2, 2017 stayed there a few days, continued driving the state’s perimeter, stopped in various towns and reconnected with old friends. (See previous post links above. ) My route was St. Augustine, Jensen Beach, crossed over to Alligator Alley on Hwy. 75, went up the Gulf of Mexico coast-north to Florida’s Panhandle. It is a state of dredged swamp lands, artificial canals, developed lands on landfills, picture perfect gated communities and gorgeous beaches and sunsets to name just a few of Florida’s characteristics. Land “fingers” stretch out into dredged canals to allow million-dollar views of Florida’s legendary sunsets. Replicas of a Moor’s castle or who-can-build-the-largest house along with high rise condos, hotels and timeshares line the eastern coast. This is not to say there aren’t other neighborhoods throughout all this, there are, but they aren’t as visible. Florida is a mixture of lifestyles and landscapes–enticing from a developer’s point of view, destructive and artificial from an environmentalist perspective, welcoming and beautiful and warm from a retiree’s vision for his life’s autumn years–rotate the fish bowl around and different perspectives rise to the surface as a visitor. I knew I had become accustomed to “the scene” after the fiberglass dolphin spouting clear or blue-tinted water into the air became common place, along with plastic fish mailboxes.
Georgia was full of surprises for me–unexpected visual pleasures and observable sadness struck me while driving through the Peach State. I decided to take a break from Florida and its cold rainy windy weather, and not reading the weather report beforehand, I drove up to Georgia on Christmas Day. Google maps was set to “avoid interstates/toll roads” when I left Tallahassee, FL on Hwy. 19 to Macon, GA. Mabel, my van, has really slowed my driving down so I now use the phrase, “meander down the road”‘: hence, 125 miles and 3.5 hours later, I arrived at Americus.
Windsor Hotel, Americus at Christmas
Americus is the home for Habit for Humanities’s International Headquarters. It also has a wonderful hotel, the Hotel Windsor, built-in 1892 that displays the Victorian architecture so prevalent in the late 1800’s .http://windsor-americus.com
I spent Christmas afternoon in the hotel’s dining area sipping coffee and eating carrot cake before joining the 18 wheelers at Wal-Mart for the night. Wal-Mart’s free RV parking does come in handy.
Alligator Alley–that’s the highway (I75) I took to cross over to the western side of Florida. The name alone did not sound terribly auspicious, but it seemed the quickest route to go and allowed me to by-pass Miami. Surrounded on both sides by swamp and everglades and brackish water, Mabel (the van) crunched over the occasional -already-dead turtle or bird or “blob-of-something” as we headed West. I realized this was the first time in seven months I was actually heading away from the sun in the morning. All this time, I have been driving north or east or south. After a while, it is the little things that bring amusement to the long distance road traveler.
GOBBLE, GOBBLE–CAREFUL WITH THAT THROTTLE
ENJOY YOUR TRAVELS IN NORTH CAROLINA
Welcome to North Carolina on Thanksgiving Weekend!
One of the most wonderful things about this trip has been reconnecting with so many old friends and making new ones. Today, December 15, 2017, marks exactly seven months since I left New Mexico. 25,000 miles later we arrived in North Carolina. I just checked this mileage and thought I had driven more than that — at times it definitely has felt like I came out of the womb into the driver’s seat! Continue reading
GO FOR IT!
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.’–Marie Curie
MABEL AFTER 460 MILES OF DIRT ROADS
TODOS SANTOS, BAJA CALIFORNIA 2015
I have done tons of road trips all over the US, but never traveled in an RV. So, when I saw Mabel as I affectionately call my 2002 Roadtrek, I knew I was ready to take the trip of my dreams–travel throughout all points north of the 48 states! Mabel went from being a grandfather’s vehicle transporting kids on fishing trips–verified by a mere 46,000 miles on her after 14 years–to a long haul RV. Larger tires, elevated suspension, solar panels, sound system, navigation system and UBS ports and a custom-made futon which converted the back “lounge area” to a full time bed completed her modifications. We left New Mexico on May 15, 2017 and after six months, the odometer rolled over to 77,000 miles.