2023 - April - Road trip - Day 3
These blogs in some way I used to think of as long very public diary entries in which I have been known to ramble on about all sorts of old rubbish. However, in the past few weeks I have finally come across David Sedaris on Radio 4. He reads in a very soft and soothing American accent his essays as he calls them regarding many events in his life. They are very well written and very well read. I can recommend them. I would therefore now like to think of these blogs as daily essays. I think they would also be best if they are read in an American accent. Thank you.
Perhaps I should get then these turned into Podcasts…. And then into a TV series where someone famous who looks like me (George Clooney perhaps) who could recreate each day of a trip in an Emmy winning series. I have always been a fan of breaking the third wall, so perhaps George could also look and speak to the camera occasionally with some of my well thought out and well-constructed amusing throwaway remarks finishing with a knowing look.
Or maybe not.
Our first moving day and as we were in no rush it was a leisurely start. Breakfast was not as good as the day before as there was no hot water for tea until I asked for some.
We then went back and packed up before checking out and asking Reception to call us a cab to take us to the airport car rental centre. We could have got an Uber but Karen is still wary of using them and as the cost was identical opted for the cab. Happy wife – happy life.
This time we had a nice gentleman driver originally from Bangladesh. He didn’t follow cricket which ended that conversation and insisted to start with that he would drive us rather than us renting a car. When I told him we were heading down to Orlando he changed his mind.
Initially we went to the wrong floor to get the paperwork sorted for the car but about 15 minutes later we were getting ourselves organised into a very nice Kia Sorrento. Normally we are in a blinding hurry to just get somewhere when we finally get to the car so it was nice to be able to take time to get sorted. I had bought a second hand dashcam to use on these trips from now on and I got that attached and working.
I used Waze on my phone for our directions. Initially I attached it via a cable, but as we set off, I realised the car had Apple Play. Not only that but it connected to my phone via Bluetooth, something I have been saying for ages that cars should be able to do. It meant Waze appeared on the in-car screen as soon as I got in and started the engine from then on. Very impressive and something I want on my next car at home.
The drive out of New Orleans was busy but the traffic thinned out as we went along. Our plan was to break the journey up with a stop at the Gulfport Premium Outlets which were conveniently about half way to our destination. We planned to have lunch there.
The scenery as we left Louisiana and drove into Mississippi was what you would typically think of as swampland. Interesting at first but then rather repetitive.
We passed the NASA space centre where they test the rocket engines. Karen almost failed to see the enormous rocket that was lying next to the highway, like it was just an everyday occurrence to drive past one.
The Premium Outlets were deserted both of people and any food or drink outlets. Karen did her bit for the US economy in the Columbia shop before we left after being given directions to the nearest Starbucks less than a mile away.
We both had a drink and a quick bite to eat. I caught up on the football score as City were playing away at Middlesbrough. It was a make-or-break game. Sadly, the score line as we left was bad, but had turned to even worse to grim by the time we arrived at our hotel. Our season is now effectively over.
Before then we crossed into Alabama for the first time. We think this makes it the 38th State we have been to. I expected flags and bunting as a minimum as we drove over the state line, but there was nothing. Not even a photo opportunity with the State Sign. Again, their loss as they could have used that in a publicity campaign to attract more people here.
Our destination for the next 2 nights was a place called Mobile. Famed for the birthplace of Tim Cook from Apple, Jimmy Buffet going to school here and the original site of the first Mardi Gras – a fact for which they were very proud. I will gloss over all their problems with slavery and racial issues which hopefully are all now in the past. It is also the rainiest city in the USA with an average of 66 inches per year.
Our hotel was a newish looking Holiday Inn Express again, chosen for the cost and free breakfast again. Also, because Karen approves of them. Our room was much bigger than the last and very acceptable.
After settling in we headed out for dinner and for our first Outback meal of the trip. It was just a short drive away. The restaurant was not busy, provided excellent service coupled with some tip top food. We both had our usual Steaks and they were delicious. Karen had a Blueberry Martini to wash hers down whilst I made do with water.
We were back in our room or as I called it our ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ by 8pm and settled down on the sofa to watch the latest episode of ‘Race across the World’ on iPlayer. We both really enjoy this especially as we have been to some of the places in Canada they are passing through. Then we caught up with an episode of ‘Blue Lights’ as well before retiring for the night.
A relaxing but not Rock n Roll end to the day is what George would say to the camera just before the credits come up.