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Road Trip, day ten
Mar 15, 2012
Road Trip, day nine
As the ninth day dawns I head to the beach one last time.
The beach was always my way of unloading the stress of the day when I lived in Florida and it is nice to be back.
Parking of course is an issue. When I lived in Jax Beach I left the car in the driveway and walked over to the sand. Now I have to find a parking spot which actually takes a while and I end up several blocks south of where I wanted to walk out on the beach, which means after a quick walk on the sand and dipping my toes in the Atlantic Ocean I completely lose my bearings and it takes a couple of tries to take the right seawalk back to my car.
After breaking down and buying a power adapted for my car so I can charge my phone while I drive, I head west down Beach Blvd. before hoping on I-10 and heading for the panhandle.
The top is down until I hit Tallahassee at which point a few sprinkles cause me to put it up and while off the highway I decide to once again take the scenic route. I drive past the state capitol building and past signs telling me where FSU is before getting on the road south of town toward the Gulf. It's a two lane road through small towns (including one called Crawfordville though I'm not sure if their basketball team won a state title in 1911). It would be a quick trip to the coast, but the cars in front of me all want to do 40 mph through the winding tree-lined roads. After something called the Ochlockonee Bay things clear out and I can cruise pretty quickly for the Gulf, reaching it east of a town called St. Theresa.
The top goes back down in a small fishing village and I drive past a constant stream of waterfront homes, many of them on stilts in case of another major storm.
I drive over something called the Jon Gorrie Memorial Bridge, so called because the state of Florida is terrible at naming bridges, and into yet another in a long stream of towns whose name I cannot pronounce.
I get to Panama City where I pull into a McDonalds to use their wifi. As I get out of the car a bum notices my Indiana plates indicating I'm from Montgomery County. He claims to be from Montgomery and tries to talk to me about Bob Knight. I doubt it. I know the game plan for the homeless often includes making a connection with the guy you're hitting up for money. After a while he tells me Knight kicked him at a clinic for high school basketball coaches and excuses himself because he was a material witness for something that happened on the McDonalds property so he can't stick around. I money-lessly wish him well and move on.
I also make a sad discovery. The power adaptor I just bought only fits in my cig lighter when the car is in drive. Not exactly useful for keeping a laptop charged while parked in a McDonald's parking lot.
Not wanting to get stuck in spring break traffic I head inland to get back on I-10 and am dismayed to learn that it isn't a straight shot, which costs me about an hour. I do get to go through a town called New Hope, but I still call it by its original name - Star Wars.
After an hour I'm back in Alabama, leaving Florida behind after eight wonderful days. I head through Mobile. You enter it via a bridge over Mobile Bay and as soon as you hit downtown you head through a tunnel and just like that Mobile is behind you. Soon I'm in Mississippi and by 1 am I'm in New Orleans.
I stay with another Action News alumn who takes me past the brightly lit Superdome and onto Bourbon Street. There are three great street in this country and so fay my trip has taken me to two of them, Broadway in Nashville and Duval St. in Key West. Here's the third and what a party. There is a mix of guys in suits and women in skank outfits. The bars are all open and doormen stand outside trying to wave everyone in. There are even guys throwing beads from a balcony, though no women take them up on their offer.
I spend most of my time looking at the ground in front of me in order to avoid stepping in puke.
There are two things you notice a lot of, strip clubs and garbage. There are trash cans everywhere and empty cups and discarded pizza plates pouring out of them.
I get a hurricane from a place that looks like an open air candy store with the walls lined with machines stiring drinks.
There is no last call in New Orleans but places close if they aren't getting enough business and eventually they shut the doors and we leave. There are still hundreds of people out and about on the street. I'm told this is a slow night.