Feb. 14th, 2012 10:34 pm
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Home again, home again, jiggety-jig.
I left Jekyll Island on Monday and headed north, first along the Coastal Highway, then along I-95. I breezed through Savannah, but didn't stop for very long. In all honesty, I just wasn't in the mood.
Spent last night near Beaufort, SC which is somewhere I've never been. I stopped there mainly because I was feeling like crap and mainly because I wanted to check out this place call The Chocolate Tree. They sell, obviously, chocolates.
This morning, I left Beaufort and headed along I-95.
At around 1:00, I rolled into the yard.
I didn't hang around the house for very long though, as I wanted to go visit my Aunt P and give her the souvenirs I'd picked up for her: a angel chime in Solvang and a kachina doll in Tombstone. Plus, I wanted to tell them about the trip.
I was up there for about three or four hours, then left and came home.
Now, I'm back home, feeling tired and ready for a good long sleep.
It's been a fun trip, even if the bill is going to be bigger than I thought it was.
I think I'm going to shirk work for a while longer, and just laze around the house the next few days.
Hope everyout out there in LJLand is well, and hope my little journal entries have been distracting, if not altogether amusing.
More later! - MEL
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That sound you heard was me dropping all my troubles and just luxuriating in the ambience of Jekyll Island. I'm here for the next four days before making the final leg of the journey home to SC, where I have to decide what to do next with my life.
Expect random postings if you see anything from me at all over the next few days.
More later. - MEL

Baldwin, FL

Feb. 7th, 2012 08:01 pm
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Well, friends, I'm back on East Coast time, so this update should go through without LJ frizzing out on me. Heh.
Not much to report today. Been riding on I-10 all day. Having been through Florida before, this whole section is old hat to me, although, for some reason, I seem to be covering territory faster than on my last trip.
I suspect that my travels in the southwest have caused me to adjust what I consider a 'long' car trip.
This part of Florida is pretty boring. Nothing to see. Shot through Talahasee and cleared Lake City which I wasn't expecting to do. At the moment, I'm about forty miles west of Jacksonville. I thought I'd make it through the city today and switch to I-95, but that hasn't happened.
Too tired.
Pulled off the road in Baldwin and am staying a Best Western that feels like a converted Motel 6. There's a Waffle House next door, and I'm so tempted to go get me a tripple order of covered hashbrowns, but I don't dare. I love hashbrowns, but they don't love me. 'Nuff said.
Anyway, tomorrow, I'll probably clear Florida and enter Georgia.
Don't worry. I'll be gentle.
More later! - MEL
p.s. Do y'all think I've taken this entire road trip to keep from shopping my book around???

Bonifay, FL

Feb. 6th, 2012 07:43 pm
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Hey folks! I'm back! Did you miss me? I would have checked in earlier but for a couple of reasons: (1)no wi-fi access and (2)I was getting debauched. Woohoo! And all I'll say on that note, is that I earned the Mardi Gras beads hanging from the rearview mirror of my car. :P
When last I checked in, I was in Louisiana heading for New Orleans. Well, I didn't stop in New Orleans because the weather was atrocious. Torrential rains, so bad that, for a while there, I contemplated gathering two of every animal into the back of the car! For a while there, I was genuinely worried I might not make it out of Louisiana. The storm dogged me as far as the state line then seemed to lose interest. I washed ashore in Biloxi, which was sunny and warm and much more fun than I anticipated. ;)
This morning, I got a late start and hauled ass east. I zipped through MS and into AL, pausing to admire Battleship Park and the Carnival Museum in Mobile, before leaving I-10 and driving to Pensacola. I had planned on taking 98 east, along the coast, but a combination of old drivers and the 45 MPH speed limit drove me crazy so I headed north and got on the Interstate again.
I swear those western speed limits (80 MPH!)have ruined me. Ruined me!
And now I'm in the lovely town of Bonifay, FL where I'm doing laundry and chatting with the cute redheaded clerk working the front desk.
More later! - MEL
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Dear Louisiana,
Today you did not impress me with your bad roads, bad traffic and bad drivers. I'm not even going to comment on all the nutso jaywalkers in Baton Rogue who seem to think its fine to just step into heavy traffic.
At this point, I'm thinking I may not want to linger within you much longer.
Which sounds wrong, even as I write it.
No love. - MEL
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Question: Why did the chicken cross the road?
Answer: To throw himself under the wheels of my car.
This lovely little incident happened east of San Antonio, as I was making good time on I-10. Ahead of me, I saw these little white things kind of drifting around the road. For a minute, I thought they were white garbage bags or something, then I realized they were chickens. A moment later, one of them dove beneath the wheels of my car.
Running over a chicken is surprisingly noisy, but not very bloody. I found more feathers on my tire than actual viscera. As for the poor chicken? Well, I'm afraid he's going to have to have a closed casket fry-up.
Other than that, today's been pretty cool. I visited the Davy Crockett museum, the Caverns of Sonora and the Alamo. All of them were interesting, although I have to admit the Alamo didn't do much for me.
And then, when I was leaving the Alamo, I somehow took a wrong turn and got lost in San Antonio. But a very nice lady gave me directions back to the Interstate, and I was on my way once more.
Then, sadly, there was the Chicken Incident.
Which is why, not long after, I pulled over in Schulenburg and got a room for the night.
I'm 100 miles west of Houston, so I'm thinking by this time tomorrow I'll be in Louisiana. And, hey? Isn't Mardi Gras starting next week? Cause if it is, I-10 goes right through Baton Rouge and New Orleans,and y'all might not hear from me for a while.

Ozona, TX

Jan. 31st, 2012 05:34 pm
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Tonight, I am blogging from deep in the Heart of Texas. Or West Central Texas, as the case may be.
I'm glad I'm able to blog at all. Getting online at this hotel was bloody irritating. The wifi here is fucked up, and when I tried calling the number for tech support on the sign-in page, I got some bullshit service that would give me the telephone number if I payed them $4. Naturally, I called bullshit on that, and went down to the front desk, where I confronted the hipster desk clerk with the problem. He was very kind and gave me the number for tech support, who were also very nice and surprised to hear about my trouble with the other number, and then they got me online. Nevertheless, I was not pleased as this is the first time I've had problems with hotel wifi on this trip.
Anyway, Texas is big, beige and boring. I left NM this morning at 6:00 AM. Los Cruces came and went in the blink of an eye, while El Paso went on forever. After El Paso, there was just flat desert, interspersed with the occasional cow field. I suppose I could add that a significant portion of I-10, east of El Paso smells like cowshit, but that may not be a constant.
Anyway, I'm in Ozona which is about a day's travel from Santa Fe. After Santa Fe, the next city is Houston and then I'm crossing the border into Louisiana. I'm looking forward to that, as I'm sick to death of desert. I'd like to see a real tree, not cacti and scrub brush. Also, I didn't realize that I-10 went through New Orleans. So, something to look forward to!
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Today has been an interesting day. It has involved cowboys, hobo-fights and rattlesnakes! Oh my!
This morning, I left my hotel and headed south to Tombstone, the site of the famous Shootout at the OK Coral. Upon entering town, the first thing you come to is Boot Hill Cemetary which I thought was a lot more interesting than the reenactments in Tombstone. But then, I'm sort of wierd, so what do I know? Anywho, I wandered around Tombstone for a while, bought some souvenirs, and then headed further south to the little town of Busbee.
Busbee is a picturesque little town, its winding streets lined with Victorian buildings containing art galleries, souvenir shops and funky little cafes. If Tombstone has embraced the late 1800s then Busbee has latched hold of the Summer of Love. The town has a very retro feel, that is played up for laughs.
But there was nothing funny about the bare-knuckle brawl I saw while wandering its streets. Two hobos got into a fight. It wasn't staged; noses aren't meant to go squash like that. That didn't stop anyone from watching with morbid fascination as the two men pounded the hell out of each other, until the police showed up and hauled them both away.
After that little incident, I decided it was time to move on. So, back to I-10 I went and headed east. Despite the lateness of the hour, I stopped to check out 'The Thing' and grab a bite to eat at Dairy Queen. 'The Thing' was interesting, but I'm pretty sure it's a fake. Don't believe me? Pay your dollar and see it for yourself.
My next stop was at a rest stop. I really needed to pee, but when I opened my door, the biggest goddamn rattlesnake I have EVER seen slithered out from beneath my car. I'm not ashamed to admit that I squeeled like a little girl and slammed the door. And suddenly, I didn't need to use the rest room at all.
I kept on heading east and crossed the state line into New Mexico. Woohoo! Here, I'm holed up for the night in Lordsburg, where I think I'm either developing a stomach bug or a case of mild food poisoning from that Dairy Queen a few miles back.
Ah well. C'est la vie.
More later! - MEL

Benson, AZ

Jan. 28th, 2012 10:16 pm
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Tonight, I'm in Benson, AZ just 28 miles north of Tombstone, the site of the famous gunfight. I left Blythe around noon this afternoon, after getting my car serviced. And, I can report, after driving through southern Arizona, that the state smells wierd. I'm not sure why, but it does. And no, it's not a desert sage type of smell, but something more chemically. I noticed it in Goodyear, then Pheonix and finally around Tucson. Maybe it's just pollution. Maybe I've been having microstrokes all along the road? Who knows?
Anyway, tonight I'm in Benson and tomorrow I'm checking out Boot Hill. I wonder if I'll see any ghosts?
More later! - MEL

Blythe, CA

Jan. 27th, 2012 10:15 pm
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Today has been kind of a fucked up day. I don't want to go into details about it, except to say that it could have been a lot better. Conversely, it could also have been a lot worse. I suppose I should be grateful.
Anyway, I finally did the Salton Sea, which was interesting. And kind of depressing. Also, I was surprised that there are so many people living in the area. I always thought it would be more sparesly populated.
Anyway, after the sea, I returned to I-10 and headed east again. I'd hoped to clear the state line before sundown, but that didn't happen. At dusk, I was tired and cranky and just out of sorts, so I pulled over in Blythe.
Tomorrow, when I cross into Arizona, I may or may not head to Lake Havisu City to check out the London Bridge.
I'm really just not feeling it.
More later. - MEL
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What. A. Day.
I left Solvang this morning, after finally finding the statue of the Little Mermaid and taking a picture. So, mission accomplished, I headed down the road. In Santa Ynez I stopped at the Chumash Casino and spent an hour or so on the slots. Then, it was on the CA-101, southbound, which took me through some lovely coastal communities before dumping me into the hell that is Los Angeles.
Now, I don't want to offend anyone who lives in Los Angeles. It's a lovely city. I've enjoyed my visits there, in the distant past. But I've never driven there before today and, after today, as God as my witness, I will never drive in Los Angeles again.
It took me three hours to escape the city.
Part of it was just bad timing. I hit just as rush hour began. The 101 was gridlocked for miles, and then it was stop and start, stop and start. It was like having sex with someone with OCD.
Anywho, I finally got through the city onto I-10, which wasn't a whole lot better. I was hoping to make Indio tonight, or at least Palm Springs, but that didn't happen. Tired and hot, I pulled off the road in Calimesa and checked into a hotel.
As I type this, I've opened a bottle of wine and sucked down about half the contents. I'm not even buzzed. I think all my time in wine country has given me a greater tolerance for the grape. Either that or this $12 bottle of wine isn't as strong as I thought.
Ah well.
Tomorrow, I should reach the Salton Sea.
*fingers crossed*
More later! - MEL
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This morning, I said goodbye to San Simeon by the sea and headed south on Highway 1. My destination was the faux Dutch village of Solvang, CA in the San Ynez Valley. I followed Highway 1 to Lompac where I switched to the East 264 Highway.
It was interesting to note that on the drive from San Simeon, I saw cattle and zebras, alpacas, emus and ostriches. And then, just like that, I arrived in Solvang.
The town is very pretty with its faux Dutch storefronts, decorate windmills and tall stone towers. The downtown area is easily walkable and I spent most of the afternoon drfiting from one store to the next. Public parking is abundant and there are lots of clean restrooms.
It was a warm day, with highs in the upper 70s, so as I wandered around Solvang admiring the buildings and browsing the stores, I grabbed a mango sorbet from an ice cream place.
Now, I'm back at my hotel, considering where I want to go tomorrow.
I'm told there's a Chumash Casino three miles down the road.
So I guess the question is: do I feel lucky?
Yes, I do! - MEL


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