Daytona

Got to the east coast of Florida today and heading North now. Just stopped to do today’s update in case I can’t find the WIFI later. Cooled down after the mini hurricane I drove through. Rain was coming in sideways from the passenger side and hitting me in the face. Very hard to see. Even the truckers slowed down to 35 mph. I just followed the tail lights on one. I figured he would clear whatever he hit out of the way for me.
Before that I spent a lovely afternoon in Daytona. Went for a drive on the beach and found a fairly deserted spot so I could drop my camera bag if I decided to go further into the water. I didn’t, but I did go in far enough to get my shorts wet. There are two Carl pics today since it was a big day for him, got to drive on a beach and not get stuck. He wanted to play dune buggy but the speed limit was 10 mph.
I’m glad I chose a relatively empty part of the beach because there were all kinds of birds there, not just seagulls. The splash on landing looks rather unpleasant but they all do it so it must be OK for them.
My camera did the mirror flipping thing again so I decided it was time to get inside with some AC and have lunch while it cooled down. Went to Ken’s Wing House. They have a delicious spicy raspberry sauce for the wings (another challenge for Fredericton eateries). I of course included a pic of the servers to be fair. Wouldn’t want to appear to be favoring the owl place.
After lunch I toured around a bit and got my souvenir shot glass. Hit the highway and found the mini hurricane. I decided I could use a coffee so I pulled off the highway where there were outlet stores figuring there must be a Starbucks close to there. Nope, but there was a Casual Male XL. Damn you clothes that fit! Spent way more than I should have but I just had to have the Angry Birds shirt, can’t find anything big enough in Canada with pop-culture prints.
Enjoy and see you tomorrow. More road then sleep, hopefully in the carmper if it stays cool.

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The Sunshine State

Got up to another hot, sunny day. Got on the road to Largo for a visit with the last of the friends before I get back to NB where there will be a big welcoming party for me. OK maybe it is for someone else but I’ll be there too.
Pretty good driving day weather and traffic wise. One little problem was that I heard the O2 sensor wire dragging. When I had the exhaust work done in Washington he left the wire dangling. I had gone under the car to tuck it up a couple days ago but it fell down again so I figured I better get under there and tie it up before it either wore through or caught some debris on the highway (there is a lot of it). So I had to take everything out of the trunk to get at my jack, OK because it made me realize I’ve gotta do some shirt-laundry. This heat has been hard on the t-shirt supply. Got Carl up and tied the wire up so it wouldn’t be dragging. Good thing I did because in the couple days since I tucked it up the rubber coating had worn through the outer layer. Another few hundred kms and it could have worn through the inner layer and I would have been without an O2 sensor. For those of you playing the home game this would be the O2 sensor that was installed in April after not working for five or six years with absolutely no ill effect on Carl’s performance.
Got a little off track when I got to Largo and ended up having to realign. It was OK cause it made me miss the supper rush and I got to see a little of the city. Also there was a flock of birds just wandering around the lawns, Lyn wasn’t sure what they were so the pic is below. First one to tell me wins a prize to be named later, it may be similar to the prize for developing a lemon & pepper wing coating.
After my great meal and visit I headed east. Had to stop to try my hand at lightning photography for the first time. Wasn’t as dramatic as some shots you see but it was heat lightning happening mostly inside the clouds. It was a good exercise to practice the timing and settings so the next time I get a shot at some clear lightning I’ll be ready…and hopefully not get hit.

Mileage update: about 15,000 km done, 3,000(ish) to go. Five or six days…No problem.

Enjoy.

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Missibamida

Got through the rest of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and into Florida today. Little bit of a miracle that I got this far considering the traffic. In Mississippi and Alabama the longest I went without hitting a jam caused by an accident was about 40 miles, the shortest was about 5 miles. Crossing the two states was roughly 225 km but it took 5 hours to cover that distance. This was the first delay due to accidents on this whole trip so overall it is not bad but to have them all in one day was a little stressful.
I thought the rest areas in Texas were really nice then I got to Mississippi. For the “Welcome Center” they have big brick buildings styled after the plantation houses with the big columns in front. The inside was really nice too (pic below). Bama’s buildings weren’t quite as nice but their rest stops were in treed areas so there was lots of shade. Florida has OK buildings with security over night.
The Mississippi welcome center was also where the NASA tour bus loaded. I was tempted but they didn’t allow backpacks and I didn’t really want to leave my camera stuff in my car for a few hours in the heat. I took a picture of the lunar lander they had by the parking lot. Oh yeah, it rained until about 12:30 local time. That is what the spots are in the picture.
The traffic shot is of the buildings in Mobile…or maybe you pronounce it Mobile.
Tired so bed time and I’m not sure what time zone I’m in so I’ll see you tomorrow.

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Louisiana

Today was all about trying new eateries, car organizing/maintenance and getting the miles gone.
Started with some Popeye’s Chicken. They had a poster claiming that they beat KFC in a blind taste test and I can see how that would happen. Very good chicken, similar to some that I’ve had before but I can’t place it right now, and not as greasy as KFC or Dixie Lee.
The next new eatery was Chick-fil-A. I ate at the one in Lafayette on Louisiana Ave. I mention the location because the service was excellent, very friendly and helpful. I like the way the chicken is prepared, a very light coating, not quite a breading. Kind of in between the crunchy and the grilled chicken you get at most places. Will have to hit another one of those before I get back to Canada.
Did a little reorganizing today in the back of the car. Also polished the headlights because I drove for a little while after dark yesterday and the high beams have not been very useful. I’d heard that you can use tooth paste on your old headlights when the plastic gets milky. I figured I might as well give it a try as the kits to fix them up run anywhere from $10 to $20. I used regular Colgate out of my suitcase. Put it on a cloth and spread it on the headlight the same as you would a wax, then buffed and rinsed with water. Took 3 or 4 minutes per light. Below are two pics, in the first only the one on the right is finished. The second picture has both finished. The difference is most noticeable if you look at the orange signal on the right of the pictures. I don’t know if it was mainly removing road film or if it is actually polishing the plastic but I could see a noticeable difference just looking at them. I haven’t driven at night since I did it so I don’t know for sure if it makes a difference in the brightness of the light.
Other than that it was a lot of highway time. Drove across the causeway(s) first between Lafayette and Baton Rouge then to New Orleans. There was no place to pull over for a picture so i shot some more video and a few shots with the 50D through the window. The best shot is below. Haven’t looked at the video yet.

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More Texas

Hard to sleep in the car when the low temp overnight is above 25C. I did it anyway and kept one eye open for rattlesnakes. Woke up and finished the drive to Wichita Falls area to visit with Don-Don. We had a good hang out and lunch at Leal’s. Then it was back on the road for Louisiana with the ultimate goal being Nawlins. Got as far a Shreveport and had to get a hotel room with the AC. At 10:30 it was still 32C, again not car sleeping weather. It is hard to take a picture of hot but I tried to find a safe place to pull over when I saw the cows just standing in a pond up to their shoulders. Alas there was no safe place on that stretch of road.
Today I finished with Texas, hit a little Arkansas then into Louisiana. Tomorrow Nawlins, day after that Florida then it is north to Caraquet along the east coast. Hey Atlantic Ocean, could you cool things down a little for me? Not a lot, just enough so I can sleep in my carmper (yes, another word coined by me)

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So this is Texas?

The northern part anyway.
I have a couple of “Bite Me”s to pass out. The first is to whoever said it gets cold in the desert at night. IT DO NOT! It might cool down but there is no way you can call 20C (68F) cold.
The second is for the guy at Canadian Tire in winter of 2003/04 that told me I needed a new battery immediately or I would find myself stranded. I finally decided to replace it today (7.5 years later for those of you who don’t like math). I thought about replacing it last fall but it was still doing what it was supposed to just a little slow on the cold days. The last week or so the heat has been really hard on it and one of the cells quit taking a charge so it was only throwing 10.5V. Still worked and probably could have finished the trip but I figured I should change it to save the rest of the electrical system. So at noon when it was 38C (101F) in Albuquerque I changed Carl’s battery in the parking lot of a parts store. Oh, and it was the original battery installed at the factory in 1997.
Back to adventures. Got into Texas today and the first thing I noticed (other than the stifling heat) was the wind farms. I read an article that said Texas was a leader in “alternative energy” and having seen so many wind powered generator so early I believe it.
Also I finally stopped in for my Hooter’s wings. I know most of you won’t believe me but the primary purpose was the food. The waitresses were just a bonus. They have lemon & pepper as an option for sauce/flavor. It is AWESOME! You hear that Fredericton eateries, the first of you to come up with a delicious lemon & pepper coating for wings wins. What do you win? My undying love and patronage. That should be enough motivation. The thing I forgot was how big their wings were, probably compounded by the fact that I’m in Texas where everything is bigger. To shorten this I ordered way more than I should have and had to force them in (no doggy bags possible on this trip unless I’m out with a friend who can take the leftovers). But they were delicious.
Pulled into a rest stop and the first thing I see is the sign pictured below warning to watch for rattle snakes. Didn’t notice the UFOs in the pic til I unloaded the camera.
Off to sleep, enjoy the pics.

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New Mexico

Got into New Mexico today, so far a little more to my liking than Arizona and Nevada. I like the red rocks and sheer cliffs along the highway. Don’t get me wrong, Arizona was nice but New Mexico is more my style.
Little story from yesterday. I saw a car with a sign that had the triangle and Recycle Rite on it. I carried on and went to fill my water bottle from the spring tap. On the way back to my car there was a woman opening the car. Turns out the Recycle Rite company is her son’s because their community doesn’t have curbside recycling. He wanted to provide the service and help to make sure things were recycled properly. Here is the link to his site if you want to check it out. http://www.recycleritecf.com/index.html
Back to today, I didn’t sleep well last night for some reason so I was really tired and decided I better stop in Albuquerque so I didn’t fall asleep driving. No way to sleep in the car during the day in the desert so into a motel I went. Still got 400 kms in today and more than 800 yesterday. I’ll make it into Texas tomorrow, Enjoy today’s pics.

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