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.
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.
The going from Base Comeau, Quebec had been slow to Labrador City, Labrador and did not change on the way to Goose Bay, Labrador. (1,115 km or 692 miles) Potholes, washboard, and muddy roads combined with workers and stop signs and red/green lights constantly caused us to stop or slow down. Patience was becoming a thing of the past, which resulted in pulling over around 2:00pm at a rest stop which had nature walk to Hamilton Falls. Continue reading →
The GPS had been set to avoid highways and toll roads and what a journey that made from Bishop, CA to Pacific City, OR. I drove through four seasons in two days: snow in the Sierra Nevadas and the road to Lassen Volcanic Park had a CLOSED sign due to snow; spring wind & summer’s driving rain in southern Oregon; sat on a bench in the sun on a bench in Coos Bay, Oregon. Continue reading →