I was thinking recently about how little I’ve left the country in the last few years, compared to the few years preceding it. International travel just took a break in my life, due to funds, resources, figuring life out, and all the other reasons it does so in a persons life. Despite the lack of overseas adventures, I have used USA road tripping to fill the void and I am of on yet another adventure.
Backstory: lost my job, & decided to move home to VB for the summer. Yet, I had never been to the deep south before and had a few dollars and days to drive home the long way and see some new states.
Which brings us to the first leg. Sarasota –> Alabama/Louisiana
I figured the first drive could lead me along the Florida gulf coast, add in a stop in the Pensacola area beaches, definitely a stop in Mobile at Boba Time (instagram famous boba? yes please), and then head into Escapawta campground for the evening.
Welp. the first few steps were all on track. The drive was great. Podcasts and tunes were on point. Even the boba tea was impressive. From the southern beaches in Alabama through the green fields, it was a beautiful drive. I pulled into the campground ready to relax and read and set up camp. I met the owners, the most wonderful couple with an equally wonderful southern drawl, Larry and Janice, and as happy as they were to see me they had a pretty intense warning.
A storm is coming.
Not just any storm, but a class 4 storm (still no idea what that means but Larry assured me it was intense). Of course I hadn’t bothered to check the weather, tents were waterproof right? At this point there was nobody else at the campground- though that’s unclear as to whether that was coincidence or storm-related. They were so kind and the campsite was so lovely that I was still open to staying and Janice told me I was welcome to hold up in the bath house (um??) or set up camp in the gazebo. As I sat down to weigh the options, Larry told me that if his daughter was thinking about camping in this class 4 situation he would definitely rather she go get a roof over her head. Knowing nothing of the area, I took his warning. New Orleans was only a couple hours away, I could just go there tonight instead of waiting for tomorrow.
Mind you, cell service was spotty out here so while my GPS worked- I couldn’t search for new locations or re-route, I could only trust that the GPS new what it was doing. I drove through pastures. I am pretty sure I was in somebody’s backyard when I crossed the Mississippi state line. There was a girl riding around on horseback as I drove through this cobblestone path certain that Maps was having a good laugh (didn’t she know about the class 4 storm??). I went through a few small towns that definitely hadn’t changed in the last 75 years. Yet, low and behold, GPS did not let me down and I found the highway. Cell phone service returned and I was able to book a night at the same place I planned on staying the next day. While I was starving and exhausted, I had a place to stay and a full day to play tourist in New Orleans the next day.
And that brings us to today. I had some pancakes and coffee, courtesy of the hostel staff, and I’m out on foot to see the things. Of course, I found a cool rock gym and fun ninja/gymnastics type place to check out this evening, and hopefully some yummy cajun food in there somewhere too. Also, apparently the storm switched paths and didn’t end up affecting things this far South, so cool?
Alrighty. Stay tuned! I have waterfalls and mountains in the plans!