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.
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.
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.
Nova Scotia Visitor Sign
A 2017 movie, Maudie, gives the history of the woman who painted this sign by the Visitor Center in Digby, NS.
I am spending the last nite in Canada at a road’s end on a deserted beach by the Gulf of St. Lawerence. The water goes back and forth on the inlet’s shore, leaving bits of debris and taking bits of sand back into the slate blue liquid. Dried-out washed-ashore sea grass form long stretches of low berms just beyond the water’s reach. Sand, rocks, pebbles and sticks, which crackle when I step on them, litter the forgotten background. Continue reading