Saturday, 17 July 2010

The final stretch


Ahh, the penultimate week of my travels has arrived. Eight months. Eight months of hostel, bus, car and country hopping is nearly at an end. But not before I scale the east coast of America in seven days and spend whatever's left of my vastly depeated travel fund in New York.

For the USA residents helping me on my way via comments and e-mail, rest assured that each morning the decision on where we go is influenced by all of your suggestions. It's a bit of a whirlwind tour, but since leaving Florida we've stopped overnight in Jacksonville, Florida (and grabbed pizza in Daytona Beach), before heading to Savannah, Georgia. Once our regularly scheduled programmes had finished being interrupted by a severe weather warning, we sampled some more southern style wings for dinner in the historic district. And yesterday we drove for hours through no less than three states, choosing to avoid the main interstate and take the coastal road instead.

After hours of non-stop driving through South Carolina, the seaside resort town of Myrtle Beach came into view around 4pm. "Ahh! Beach!" thought I, and my tired eyes brightened at the thought of a bit of sea-action. But see, me and the Boyfriend have a bit of an unofficial policy when it comes to stop-offs. If it takes us more than ten minutes to find a place to park, then forget it. If this seems a bit harsh, let me remind you that if driving is one of the most stressful things you can do with a partner, then finding a parking space when you stop probably comes in at number two.

The attendant in our first car park kindly showed us to a space, before telling us it would cost $10 for the half hour we wanted stay. We hot-footed it out of there, and several U-turns later (if I never have to do another U-turn again once home, I will have a good life) found a multi-story a few blocks from the beach front. We parked, went downstairs to the meter, and with it being 5pm the Boyfriend paid $5 for evening parking. The only other option was an all-day rate of $12. We got the ticket, only to find it was only valid from six o'clock. It had sold us an unusable ticket. We sent a plague of locusts to Myrtle Beach, banished it to hell along with all the other Places That Have Taken Our Money For Parking And Pissed Us Off Too Much to Use It In The Process (so far, Brisbane, Australia), and drove on to Wilmington, North Carolina.

Today was another long-bloody-drive. We'd planned on going through North Carolina and into Virginia via the Outer Banks, a picturesque chain of islands off the east coast. But half an hour before leaving, we did the whole 'lets just double check how long this will take' thing and discovered it was a 9 hour trip. Plus there were no ferries to get us to the first island until 3pm. In the interests of getting to New York on time, we decided to skip it and have a Moody Half Hour instead.

So, here we are. After a quick toe-dunk in the surf at Wrightsville Beach, we - sorry, I - drove 6 hours through sunshine, torrential rain and fork lightening to the university town of Charlottesville in Virginia. I'm tired, hence the slightly hum-drum nature of this post (my posts always seem to write themselves when I have miles of interstate stretching out in front of me, and conveniently delete once I arrive at my destination) but the more states we travel across, the more I realise:

Since leaving New Zealand, we haven't met any other backpackers doing this cross-USA trip. We don't have a guidebook, or even working phones. Just a cheap $8 map of the USA, netbooks and a car. Everywhere we go, conversations are sparked by people surprised by our British accents visiting their local areas. I'm not in the far reaches of Africa, outer Mongolia, or as far away as Australia. I'm only "over the pond", but sometimes it feels like I couldn't be further off the beaten track.

This is a difficult country to travel across, but for that reason, I kind of like it. 

7 comments:

James said...

Good luck with the rest of the trip!

I spent a fun day or two in Charlottesville. You're too early for football season, but maybe you could go check out `the lawn'.

Ellie said...

Hope you're not roasting. I heard the temperatures were soaring; and it's a humid clime.

jman said...

Sorry to read the weather gods have been playing havoc with your travels. Up here in the northeast we have hardly had any rain despite the scorching heat. No doubt things will change on your arrival!

And yes parking at a beach resort can be an exercise in frustration. When in NY take the subway to Coney Island - no parking issues, you can dip your toe in the Atlantic again and have a hot dog at Nathan' Famous original stand.

Safe travels.

nuttycow said...

Sounds like you're having a fab time (parking and weather woes aside).

When do we get to see the pictures?

London-Lass said...

Yes, pictures. Must have pictures.

Frankly, Scarlett said...

Are you coming to DC!? Yes? Yes? Yes?

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

James - Thanks, we didn't get to see too much of the place due to tiredness, but it looked really nice.

Ellie - Ohhh the humidity. It's pretty warm over here...but I'll miss not having to wear a coat or even cardigan at 12am once I'm home no doubt..

jman - More sterling advice, thank you! We'll be sure to check out Coney Island once in New York. Tomorrroowww wooo!

nutty cow & London lass - Pictures!! I've given you pictures! Haha, nah, I'll put together a little 'trip roundup' post with photos once I'm home and have endless amounts of unemployed time.

Scarlett - Yes yes yes! We were there on Saturday night and Sunday. Humid, but got to see El Presidente Obamas helicopters flying about the place.

 

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