EPIC US ROAD TRIP 2017


Image Of The Day || Day 22 || On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, US 33. October 18, 2017.


“Shunning US Interstates, and in a successful bid to join the cartographical hometown dots of many an old-time Country Music or Bluegrass heavy hitter, we went deep off the beaten track for a total of 307 green & windy miles through northern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and southern Kentucky. Three states, 300+ miles and many a small-town USA highlight, none of which you’ll find in any guidebook.”

Day 22 || October 18 2017

Route || Knoxville, Tennessee to London, Kentucky.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 307 (494)
Posted From || London, Kentucky
Today’s Highlight || Rural, small-town USA

We went rural today, road trip day 22. Shunning US Interstates, and in a successful bid to join the cartographical hometown dots of many an old-time Country Music or Bluegrass heavy hitter, we went deep off the beaten track for a total of 307 green & windy miles through northern Tennessee, southwestern Virginia and southern Kentucky. Three states, 300+ miles and many a small-town USA highlight, none of which you’ll find in any guidebook. I guarantee that.

Americana. Sneedville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

Small-town Americana. We ventured into the neighbouring shop to use the toilet. While here we attempted to buy a few coffees, but were given them for free. Why, I’ve no idea. The Irish charm charming charming rural USA maybe. Sneedville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

Tennessee – Maynardville & Sneedville

Maynardville, a.k.a. The Cradle of County Music – Hometown to Roy Acuff.

Maynardville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

If last year’s trip thought me anything it is that the Yanks, especially those in the sticks, love Halloween. And they prepare for it well in advance; we’ve been looking at pumpkins since landing in the country 22 days ago now. Maynardville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

Mid-morning break. Maynardville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

A mid-morning ‘Be Back Soon’ (if at all) in Maynardville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

For Sale. Immaculate 1989 Cadillac Coupe deVille. US 32 outside Maynardville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

I loved this. As always in rural USA, today we saw plenty of abandoned, rusting & has-seen-better-days transport options by the side of the road. However, this, an immaculate 1989 Cadillac Coupe deVille with 74,000 kilometres (miles) on the clock, has obviously seen some TLC of late and is now for sale by the side of US 32 outside Maynardville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

Sneedville – Hometown to Jimmy Martin, a.k.a. the King of Bluegrass.

Americana. Sneedville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

Americana. Sneedville, Tennessee. October 18, 2017.

On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, US 33, Hancock County. October 18, 2017.

On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, US 33, Hancock County. October 18, 2017.

On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, US 33, Hancock County. October 18, 2017.

Show-off Halloween displays fronting whitewashed houses amid impeccable display lawns that contrast starkly with unkempt, detritus-plagued surrounds of tumbledown houses & sagging barns; flags (both the Star & Stripes & the Stars & Bars); mile after mile of rusting roadside farm machinery, cars, trucks & tractors; rolling fields, forests & roller-coaster-esque roads; You see them all in rural USA this time of year. They are all eye-catching, but it’s the abundant abode abandonment that’s most striking, most photogenic. On the Tennessee/Virginia State Line, US 33, Hancock County. October 18, 2017.

Virginia – Coeburn – Hometown to Jim & Jesse McReynolds.

Coeburn, Virginia. October 18, 2017.

Love. Coeburn, Virginia. October 18, 2017.

Coeburn, Virginia. October 18, 2017.

Coeburn, Virginia. October 18, 2017.

The Country Music Highway, US 23, Virginia. October 18, 2017.

We hit the Country Music Highway last year too in northeastern Kentucky. Today was the return, this time in southwestern Virginia. The Country Music Highway, US 23, Virginia. October 18, 2017.

On the Virginia/Kentucky State Line, US 23. October 18, 2017.

It’s good to be back in Kentucky. I loved it last time. On the Virginia/Kentucky State Line, US 23. October 18, 2017.

Kentucky – Jenkins & Hyden

Jenkins – Hometown to Kenny Baker, master fiddler.

Burdine, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

Burdine, outside Jenkins, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

Hyden – Hometown to The Osborne Brothers

Hyden, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

Bob? Em, that would be Bobby. Tut tut. Hyden, Kentucky. October 18, 2017.

Epic US Road Trip 2017 Introduction

With almost 10 million km² of terra firma crisscrossed by some 6.5 million kilometres of road, the world’s longest & biggest road network, the US probably warrants more than one epic once-in-a-lifetime road trip experience. So, and a year-plus after our 9,500+ mile US Road Trip 2016, we’re hitting the US road once again. Welcome to Epic US Road Trip part II, the 2017 edition, 33 days of US road-trippin’ centered on the original Thirteen Colonies. This one is all about history; music; (more of) the Deep South; and rural drives and leaf peeping the vibrant hues of a New England fall/autumn. And yes, it’s gonna be epic all over again.

Forget all of your preconceptions. Take a look at America the way it really, truly is today; a land of limitless road trips, astonishing natural beauty and diverse multiethnic cities from coast to coast. Pay your respects to the heritage of Native American tribes, then explore the kitschy side of stateside life at oddball roadside attractions. Taste the American dream – sweet as apple pie, strong as homemade moonshine – for yourself.

– Lonely Planet USA, 6th edition

Epic US Road Trip 2017 In Numbers

Days

National Parks Visited

Miles Driven

National Scenic Byways Driven

States Visited

All-American Roads Driven

Image of the Day

 

|| Day 1 || September 27 || Boeing 737 MAX 8. Norwegian flight D81823 from Dublin to Warwick, Rhode Island.

 

“Making waves right now in the transatlantic sky, it was Norwegian who were tasked with the responsibility of getting us across the Atlantic to the road trip starting line… I’m well impressed.”

Day 1 || September 27 2017

Route || T. F. Green Airport, Warwick, Rhode Island to New Haven, Connecticut.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 110.1 (177)
Posted From || New Haven, Connecticut
Today’s Highlight || Hitting the road

Making waves right now in the transatlantic sky, it was Norwegian who were tasked with the responsibility of getting us across the Atlantic to the road trip starting line. And they did a rather good job of it too. I’m well impressed.

Boeing 737 MAX 8. Norwegian flight D81823 from Dublin, Ireland to Warwick, Rhode Island, USA. September 27, 2017.

NORWEGIAN || Boeing 737 MAX 8. On board Norwegian flight D81823 from Dublin, Ireland to Warwick, Rhode Island, USA. September 27, 2017. || It’s 15 years now since Norwegian’s first domestic flights in 2002. I’ve flown with them before, from Oslo to Reykjavik, Iceland in 2013, around about the time they won the first of their 5 consecutive best low-cost airline in Europe awards (they are also on a three-year run of being voted the world’s best low-cost long-haul airline). Going from strength to strength, seen here is one of their new, greener, quieter, US$100 million Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, this one so brand spanking new that the Wi-Fi antenna hadn’t even been installed meaning we had no access to the airline’s innovative and industry-leading free Wi-Fi for the duration of the 6 hour 40 minute flight. Taking the keys to the first their new toys in July of this year saw Norwegian became the first European airline to fly the single-aisle, 189-seater MAX 8, 110 of which they have on order and which they will use to service future low-cost long-haul routes, the first of which was their transatlantic service that began in May 2013. This service has been aggressively expanded of late to usher in what is being called a new era of low-cost transatlantic travel, one that is seeing Norwegian not only eat into the market share of the jaded offerings of established transatlantic carriers like Aer Lingus, but also the pilot numbers of complacent Ryanair. In hoping to open the skies to everyone, Norwegian are hedging their bets on people not minding a long-haul flight on single-aisle aircraft to minor airports (Norwegian themselves use the word ‘smaller’) in return for low fares, the cheapest transatlantic flights ever seen. There were certainly no objections here.
Keep up the good work, Norwegian.

A game changer.

– Travel industry expert Henry H Harteveldt commenting on use of the 737 MAX 8 by Norwegian as part of its aggressive expansion of long-haul offerings using smaller single-aisle aircraft.

Image of the Day

 

|| Day 2 || September 28 || Old Campus, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

 

“…the only show in town – while touring the Gothic-heavy campus this morning we got the distinct impression that if not for Yale then there might not even be a New Haven here at all.”

LATEST FROM THE ROAD

Day 2 || September 28 2017

Route || New Haven, Connecticut to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 312.5 (503)
Posted From || Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
Today’s Highlight || Yale University, New Haven

Day 2. The first full day. We took a look around New Haven this morning, a glorious but windy morning in America’s oldest planned city (it was laid out in orderly blocks way back in 1638). The city is home to the Ivy League Yale University, the reason we chose to overnight here last night. Little did we know then that Yale is pretty much the only show in town – while touring the Gothic-heavy campus this morning we got the distinct impression that if not for Yale then there might not even be a New Haven here at all.

Cross Campus, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. September 28 2017.

YALE UNIVERSITY || Cross Campus, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. September 28 2017. || I’m not too sure which is more important for getting accepted into Yale, money or brains. Either way, you need a lot of both. Founded in founded in 1701, this is the 2nd oldest Ivy Leaguer after Harvard (founded 1636). The Alma mater of 5 US presidents, including the last 4 (trust Trump to break the streak), the campus is a rather picturesque riot of thick Gothic buildings. The library building seen here, the Sterling Memorial Library, even looks like Notre-Dame in Paris.

A few more pics from today exploring the campus of Yale.

IVY LEAGUE – With connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism. The Ivy League is a collegiate athletic conference comprising sports teams from 8 private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States – Yale University (New Haven, Connecticut), University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) , Princeton University (Princeton, New Jersey), Brown University (Providence, Rhode Island), Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Dartmouth College (Hanover, New Hampshire), Cornell University (Ithaca, New York) & Columbia University (New York City, New York).

In a region that is home to Yale University and the birthplace of the hamburger, Greater New Haven imparts tales that have evolved into the cornerstone of American history with inventions such as the cotton gin, Frisbee (the sport seemingly invented by Yale students) and the lollipop. The perfect home base to experience the arts, great shopping and dining and picture-postcard beach towns.

CTVisit.com commenting on the New Haven region

In getting from New Haven to the state of New York, we drove the Merritt Parkway, the first National Scenic Byway of the wider road tip. It won’t be the last.

The entrance to the Merritt Parkway on the New York/Connecticut state line. September 28 2017.

The entrance to the Merritt Parkway on the New York/Connecticut state line. September 28 2017.

National Scenic Byway #1 – Merritt ParkwayUS Scenic Byways Logo
Set in natural surroundings, Merritt Parkway’s significant design brilliantly integrates the craft of the engineer and the artist. The bridges along the route are excellent examples of Art Deco, or Art Moderne, styles of the 1920s and 1930s. Magnificent foliage abounds in both spring and fall.

NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAYS & ALL-AMERICAN ROADS

US Scenic Byways Logo
While each state can and does designate its own Scenic Byways, a National Scenic Byway is a road recognized by the US Department of Transportation for one or more of six ‘intrinsic qualities’, they being archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic. The program was established by Congress in 1991 to preserve and protect the nation’s scenic but often less-travelled roads and to promote tourism and economic development. The National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) is administered by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

The most scenic byways are designated All-American Roads. These roads must meet two out of the six intrinsic qualities. An All-American designation means these roads have features that do not exist elsewhere in the US and are unique and important enough to be tourist destinations unto themselves.

As of November 2010 there are 120 National Scenic Byways and 31 All-American Roads located in 46 states (all except Hawaii, Nebraska, Rhode Island and Texas).

Traffic jam. The Bronx, New York, USA. September 28, 2017.

NEW YORK TRAFFIC JAM || Traffic jam. Crawling through the upper Bronx, New York. September 28, 2017. || We had hoped to get to stop off at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx while passing through New York (& later New Jersey) en route to Gettysburg, but the traffic. Oh the traffic. We didn’t suffer one traffic jam in 36 days of road-trippin’ last year, the roads of eastern seaboard unfortunately proving as busy as we suspected they would be.

Image of the Day

 

|| Day 3 || September 29 || Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania.

 

“…the bloody Battle of Gettysburg (1863), the biggest and bloodiest battle to ever be fought on American soil…”

Day 3 || September 29 2017

Route || Gettysburg to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 98 (158)
Posted From || Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Today’s Highlight || Gettysburg National Military Park

Day 3. It’s about time we really got down and dirty with some history. And from here on out down the east coast there’ll be little letup in it.

Soldiers' National Cemetery, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

You’ll run out of time before you run out of things to do!

– A bold claim by VisitPA.com

Pennsylvania
The Province of Pennsylvania was founded as a proprietary colony in 1681 by Quaker William Penn. The name Pennsylvania, roughly translating as “Penn’s Woods” and created by combining the Penn surname (in honor of William’s father, Admiral Sir William Penn) with the Latin word sylvania, meaning ‘forest land’. Once the richest and most populous British colony in North America and one of its most industrial, this state is all about history & Amish Country, at least that’s what it was always going to be to us.

Philadelphia, a.k.a. Philly, once the second-largest city in the British Empire (after London), was also a centre for opposition to British colonial policy. The new nation’s capital at the start of the Revolutionary War, and pretty much right up until Washington D.C. took over the mantle in 1790, this is where the US Constitution was drafted and first read. And when rid of the Brits, the Americans found the need to fight among themselves; one of the most decisive, bloody and pivotal battles of the 1861-1865 American Civil War was fought at Gettysburg. Oh, and in between is the aforementioned Amish Country.

The Brafferton Inn, Lincoln Highway, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

The Brafferton Inn, Lincoln Highway, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

Gettysburg
A town of less than 8,000 it may be, but Gettysburg is a history heavy-hitter playing host as it did to two defining periods in American history – the bloody Battle of Gettysburg (1863), the biggest and bloodiest battle to ever be fought on American soil, and President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Gettysburg is history – the question is, how do you want to experience that history?

DestinationGettysburg.com

Motel 8, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

Even the motels evoke the storied Gettysburg past. Motel 8, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

Gettysburg National Military Park

Soldiers' National Monument, Soldiers' National Cemetery, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

Soldiers’ National Monument, Soldiers’ National Cemetery, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

Battle of Gettysburg & The Gettysburg National Military Park
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863 by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war’s turning point. Union Maj. Gen. George Meade’s Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, halting Lee’s invasion of the North. The Gettysburg National Military Park protects and interprets the landscape of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. The Gettysburg National Military Park properties include most of the Gettysburg Battlefield, many of the battle’s support areas during the battle (e.g., reserve, supply, & hospital locations), and several other non-battle areas associated with the battle’s “aftermath and commemoration”, including the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Many of the park’s 43,000 American Civil War artifacts are displayed in the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center. The park has more wooded land than in 1863, and the National Park Service has an ongoing program to restore portions of the battlefield to their historical non-wooded conditions, as well as to replant historic orchards and woodlots that are now missing. In addition, the National Park Service is restoring native plants to meadows and edges of roads, to encourage habitat as well as provide for historic landscape. There are also considerably more roads and facilities for the benefit of tourists visiting the battlefield park.

More pics from a self-drive tour of the military park.

Eisenhower National Historic Site

Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania, USA. September 29, 2017.

Eisenhower National Historic Site, Pennsylvania. September 29, 2017.

Image of the Day

 

|| Day 4 || September 30 || Farming in Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

 

“Diluted or not, their way of life is a big tourist draw around these parts, a simple and curious existence that draws the hordes from far and wide.”

LATEST FROM THE ROAD

Day 4 || September 30 2017

Route || Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 149 (240)
Posted From || Atlantic City, New Jersey
Today’s Highlight || Amish Country

Day 4. Pennsylvanian Amish Country in the morning, Philadelphia, the historic City of Brotherly Love, in the afternoon and Atlantic City, the east coast’s very own Vegas, in the evening. Three very different locals on a busy day.

An Amish buggy on the roads outside Bird in Hand, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

An Amish buggy on the roads outside Bird in Hand in Amish Country, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017.

Bring home priceless memories of the expected – farmlands, family-style feasts and the Amish.

Discoverlancaster.com

The Amish & Amish Country
The colony of Pennsylvania, established in 1681, was one that respected religious freedom, thus attracting minority religious sects, including the Mennonite and Amish communities, Christian church fellowships with Swiss Anabaptist origins – the Amish church began with a schism in Switzerland in 1693. Led by Jakob Ammann, the followers became known as Amish. Know today by some as the ‘Plain People’, the sect settled in tolerant Pennsylvania in the early 1700s fleeing persecution in Switzerland, something I’d imagine would be would be unheard of in the Swiss society of today. Speaking a German dialect, known as Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch, they are known for having large families (6-7 children the norm, a blessing from god); for marrying within the faith, a requirement if baptised (baptism usually taking place in their late teens or early twenties with almost 90% Amish teenagers choosing to be baptised and to join the church); for their plain dress; for valuing humility & having an aversion to asserting oneself or self-promotion (not selfie takers, individual photographs might cultivate personal vanity); and for living a simple, rural and Bible-centered life, the rules of which – collectively termed the Ordnung, meaning order in German – see them shunning, or severely limiting, their use of power-line electricity (to do so would be going against the Bible which says that you shall not be “Conformed to the world”), motor cars, telephones and motorised tools, manual labour being just one why of living what they interpret to be God’s word while making one less dependent on community.

Amish farming outside Bird in Hand, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

Amish farming outside Bird in Hand, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

While they keep themselves to themselves, invariably pressures from the modern world have seen a dilution of strict traditional Amish values and customs in some regions of the US & Canada. Diluted or not, their way of life is a big tourist draw around these parts, a simple and curious existence that draws the hordes from far and wide. There are Amish communities in some 8 US states, the largest concentration found here in Pennsylvania – some 75,000 of the nearly 300,000 North American Amish population live in the state with the Amish communities in an around Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County something of an Amish hotbed. Welcome to Amishville.

More pics from today in Amish Country.

Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell in the Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

The Liberty Bell in the Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017.

Philadelphia & The Birth of The United States
Populated for at least 15 millennia, Europeans first arrived in the 1500s with the country as we know today emerging from the so-called 13 British colonies of the North America East Coast, established by English settlers between 1607 (the Colony and Dominion of Virginia, the first) – & 1732 (the Province of Georgia, the 13th). Grievances with the British government and numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the 1756-1763 Seven Years’ War led to the 1775-1783 American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, and during the course of the Revolutionary War, the 13 colonies declared their independence by ratifying the US Declaration of Independence, composed largely by Thomas Jefferson and unanimously passed two days’ previous on July 2nd.

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

– Thomas Jefferson in a letter to his wife

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017.

We the People
The new United States of America would go on to ratify, in 1781, the Articles of Confederation, effectively the first US Constitution (a guiding principle of the Articles was to preserve the independence and sovereignty of the states, a principle adhered to with the future expansion of the union to its present 50 states). The war ended in 1783, Great Britain formally recognising the independence of the United States, via the Treaty of Paris, resulting from the very first successful war of independence against a mighty European power. With the Articles of Confederation adjudged to provide inadequate federal powers, the current United States Constitution, which famously starts with the words ‘We the People’, was adopted in 1788, the first permanent constitution of its kind. Its first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and were designed to guarantee many fundamental and now famous civil liberties including the right to bear arms (the Second Amendment) & the right to decline to give self-incriminating information, a.k.a. pleading the fifth (the Fifth Amendment).

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. September 30, 2017.

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. September 30, 2017.

Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. September 30, 2017.

Atlantic City, New Jersey. September 30, 2017.

Atlantic City
A nationally renowned resort city for gambling, shopping and fine dining, Atlantic City also served as the inspiration for the board game Monopoly. Considered the “Gambling Capital of the East Coast” and is second to Las Vegas in number of casinos, yearly gaming revenue, and number of rooms, the city skyline has been transformed by construction of new casino hotels and condominia. Atlantic City is also home to numerous shopping malls and districts.

The Boardwalk. Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA. September 30, 2017.

The Boardwalk. The Atlantic City Boardwalk was one of the first boardwalks of its type in the United States, having opened on June 26, 1870. The Boardwalk starts at Absecon Inlet and runs along the beach for four miles (six kilometers) to the city limit. An additional one and one-half miles (two kilometers) of the Boardwalk extend into Ventnor City. Casino/hotels front the boardwalk, as well as retail stores, restaurants, and amusements. Notable attractions include the Boardwalk Hall, the Steel Pier, and the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum. Home of the Miss America pageant, Atlantic City has been featured in numerous films and television series, most notably the setting of the 1980 film Atlantic City starring Burt Lancaster and Susan Sarandon and the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. Atlantic City, New Jersey. September 30, 2017.

Image of the Day


|| Day 15 || October 11 || The State Capitol Buildings in Tallahassee, Florida.


“While Tallahassee is short on attractions, it does, and unlike the other 49 state capitals, boast 2 capitol buildings.”

Day 15 || October 11 2017

Route || Maccleeny, Florida to Mobile, Alabama.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 397 (639)
Posted From || Mobile, Alabama
Today’s Highlight || The Florida/Alabama state line

T’was the busiest day of the lot on the road today. We returned to Alabama – we’re in Mobile, as deep in the Deep South as we’ve been, and we got here from Macclenny via a stop in the Florida capital of Tallahassee.

As seen from the 22nd-floor observation deck of the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. October 11, 2017.

As seen from the 22nd-floor observation deck of the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. October 11, 2017.

There wasn’t/isn’t a whole lot to see in Tallahassee, a planned city full of suits, bureaucracy and heat. The city’s geographical location meant today it was a convenient break in the 395-mile drive west from Macclenny.

A road junction as seen from the 22nd-floor observation deck of the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. October 11, 2017.

A road junction as seen from the 22nd-floor observation deck of the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. October 11, 2017.

The New State Capitol as seen from the steps of the Old State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. October, 11 2017.

FLORIDA STATE CAPITOL – NEW & OLD – The New State Capitol as seen from the steps of the Old State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. October, 11 2017. || While Tallahassee is short on attractions, it does, and unlike the other 49 state capitals, boast 2 capitol buildings. The old one, a.k.a. the Historic Capital, was built in 1845. It was spared from the wrecking ball when the new 22-storey capitol, a much more boxier affair, was built in the 1970s. Both now live happily side by side, the old capital a museum to all things Florida and the new one the somewhat sterile administrative centre for the Sunshine State.

On the Florida/Alabama state line, Interstate 10. October 11, 2017.

FLORIDA – STATE #12 On the Florida/Alabama state line, Interstate 10. October 11, 2017 || Just as we expected, the state line signs have been a lot tougher to tick off this trip; the eastern seaboard is a different, much busier beast. That said, we’ve yet to be thwarted (we’re resilient). Today we got the Florida state sign, albeit when leaving the state on the Florida/Alabama state line. It took a bit of work but it was worth it – between this and last year, we’ve seen 40+ state line signs and Florida is the most impressive of them all.

I saw this quote in the lobby of the Florida State Capitol today and thought it apt.

Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.

– Ernest Hemingway

Late in the day. Interstate 10 on the Florida/Alabama state line. October 11, 2017.

Late in the day. Interstate 10 on the Florida/Alabama state line. October 11, 2017.

We’re now in Mobile. I’ve always wanted to come here, for no other reason other than one of my very favourite YouTube videos emanates from here. Leprechauns in the Deep South? Generally no, but tonight yes.

New Orleans is a 2-hour drive from here. The city is the only reason we’re this far south – this wasn’t on the original itinerary. That said, we’ll be there tomorrow. We’re super pumped for that.

Image of the Day


|| Day 16 || October 12 || Shitfaced on Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.


“A city where seemingly anything goes, New Orleans is also party central, the party firmly centred on the French Quarter’s infamous Bourbon Street, a neon-lit party zone that actively embraces getting shitfaced 24/7. Revelers, meandering from here to there with a beer or colourful cocktail in hand, come here to have a good time, and it seems a lot of them do just that.”

Day 16 || October 12 2017

Route || Mobile to New Orleans, Louisiana.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 167 (269)
Posted From || New Orleans, Louisiana
Today’s Highlight || The French Quarter, New Orleans
On the Mississippi/Louisiana State Line. October 12, 2017.

LOUISIANA – STATE #14 On the Mississippi/Louisiana State Line. October 12, 2017.

New Orleans. The largest city in Louisiana located the mouth of the mighty Mississippi river, the home of jazz & Mardi Gras. The city’s historic French Quarter, where we hung out, is a nice place to wander, awash as it is with charm, churches and foliage-draped & colourful wooden architecture – beautifully preserved wrought iron facades abound.

Rue Demaine, French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. October 12, 2017.

Rue Demaine, French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. October 12, 2017.

But it’s also rather grungy and is overflowing with weirdos and destitute types, a mix of non-conformists and folk obviously down on their luck.

French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. October 12, 2017.

Down on his luck. French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. October 12, 2017.

Bourbon Street
This is a city where seemingly anything goes, party central with the party firmly centred on the French Quarter’s infamous Bourbon Street, a neon-lit party zone that actively embraces getting shitfaced 24/7. Revelers, meandering from here to there with a beer or colourful cocktail in hand, come here to have a good time, and it seems a lot of them do just that.

Burbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. October 12, 2017.

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. October 12, 2017.

A few more from rambles up and down Bourbon Street, an unavoidable consequence of a visit to New Orleans.

We came here because, and when three hours north of the city on last year’s, 2016 epic US road trip, we said we would swing by ‘some day’. That some day just happened to be today, epic US road trip (2017) day 16.

French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. October 12, 2017.

Getting ready for Halloween in the French Quarter, New Orleans, Louisiana. October 12, 2017.

I’ve a ton of picture from our time in the city today; the French Quarter, and once you avoid Bourbon Street, is rather photogenic. Way more to come from here but for now here’s a sampling, a few more captures from today in New Orleans.

Image of the Day


|| Day 17 || October 13 || The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana.


“… measuring an impressive 23.8 miles (38.5 kilometres in proper distance units), it was for decades the longest bridge over water in the world. The spoilsport Chinese (who else?) have recently built many more many times longer, so the good folk at the Guinness World Records have since shifted the goal posts as it were, changing the wording/fabricating criteria to ensure this is still, as I type, the longest ‘continuous’ bridge over water on earth. Neat, and a great drive.”

Day 17 || October 13 2017

Route || New Orleans, Louisania to Fort Payne, Alabama.
Miles (Kilometres) Driven || 480 (753)
Posted From || Fort Payne, Alabama
Today’s Highlight || The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

T’was the busiest day of the lot so far on the road today. Four hundred eighty miles of US Interstate we covered today, Day 17, just over the halfway point of the wider road trip. Needless to say, it was a day of covering ground, but there were a few interesting stops en route. There always are.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana. October 13, 2017.

LAKE PONTCHARTRAIN CAUSEWAY || The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, Louisiana. October 13, 2017. || Just outside of New Orleans is Lake Pontchartrain and its awesome causeway. Opened in the mid-50s as a single bridge (another parallel bridge/causeway was added in the late 60’s, the present north bound carriageway we drove today) and measuring an impressive 23.8 miles (38.5 kilometres in proper units of length), it was for decades the longest bridge over water in the world. The spoilsport Chinese (who else?) have recently built many more many times longer, so the good folk at the Guinness World Records have since shifted the goal posts as it were, changing the wording/fabricating criteria to ensure this is still, as I type, the longest ‘continuous’ bridge over water on earth. Neat, and a great drive.

Meridian, Mississippi. October 13, 2017.

Meridian, Mississippi. October 13, 2017.

We stopped off in Meridian, Mississippi, 200 miles north of New Orleans. Why? It’s the birthplace of one Jimmie Rodgers. Who? Jimmie Rodgers, a.k.a ‘The Man Who Started It All’, all being country music.

The Jimmie Rodgers Museum, Meridian, Mississippi. October 13, 2017.

The Jimmie Rodgers Museum in Meridian, Mississippi. October 13, 2017.

We’re in a place called Fort Payne, northern Alabama (we crossed from Louisiana through Mississippi and into Alabama today, crossing the Deep South as we headed north). It’s cooler here, a good few degrees cooler than the southern Gulf Coast. Dad likes that (he didn’t like the hot & steamy South). We’re 130 miles shy of Sparta, Tennessee location for the one-day bluegrass festival we’ll enjoy on Day 18. Yep, more bluegrass, one-day, bitesised bluegrass, and the reason for the epic dash north.

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