The last day of my road trip was a six-hour journey home through pleasant scenery that I have already described in my “Day One” post. During the latter part of my journey I kept receiving a number of calls from my dearly beloved Diana (a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed) as to what my estimated time of arrival would be and towards the end of the journey I deduced that something was going on. Well to my great delight on turning into Hyacinth Place I was greeted by a finishing line “Welcome Home Banner” and sign written road created by Miss Lindsay and cheered by the Hyacinth Place Welcome Home Committee and of course, She Who Must Be Obeyed! Having been duly de-briefed by the committee it was time to unpack the car have a good dinner and then time to reflect on my trip but first for the techies out there mileage covered today was 458.8 miles at an average speed of 66.7 mph and achieved a fuel economy of 23.1 mpg. The total mileage covered for the entire trip was 5,721 miles and my overall fuel economy was just over 20 mpg which was remarkable.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip and I’m going to reflect upon my entire journey over the next couple of days and, if I may, dear reader, I will publish my last post with my conclusions in a couple of days. So, until my next post, Toodleloo!
I’m on my way on my penultimate day leaving Slidell, Louisiana at 8.45 on a lovely sunny, blue skied morning and the temperature has already climbed to 76F (24.44C) and soon I join my old friend I-10 going east. About 45 minutes later I have crossed the state line into Mississippi and it must have been raining quite hard earlier on as the highway is pretty damp and spray is being kicked up by the vehicles ahead of me. However, the sky is clear and all is well as 75 miles later I cross over the Pascagoula river basin which is a large area that from the elevated highway spreads almost as far as the eye can see. To the south I can just see an industrial area of some kind with some shipping and to the north it’s swampland and near the horizon it appears to become forested. Eighty seven miles into my journey and I have left Mississippi and crossed into Alabama. One hundred and thirty miles and I see the impressive skyline of Mobile and shortly enjoy a view of the Battleship SS Alabama which I described earlier in my blog and you can view the photographs in my photostream on Flickr, please see the panel on the right hand side of this blog. Having passed Battleship Park I get a great view of the river flowing into the Gulf of Mexico which I did not see at the beginning of my journey as it can only be seen from this side of the highway! The Gulf is at peace, it’s an absolute flat calm without a ripple troubling the boaters out there enjoying the water. One hundred and fifty-four miles on and I have crossed the state line into Florida and I now recognise that this is my penultimate day of my road trip and I suddenly feel excited at the prospect of seeing Diana (a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed) and arriving back in Lakewood Ranch tomorrow but now back on with the day. At Pensacola I leave the Interstate system and take the coastal road heading for todays destination of Panama City Beach. En route I pass through the small town of Gulf Breeze and I’m motoring on a two lane highway through the Naval Live Oak Reservation. This area was designated in 1828 by President Quincy Adams as the First Federal Tree Farm. This was an important area at that time as the Live Oak, which is a member of the beech family was used in the construction of tall ships. As many as two thousand Live Oaks were used to make one hull for a naval vessel! As I continue along US 98 the landscape becomes a strip development of hotels and shops with an occasional view of the gulf.
A little further on I leave US98 and cross over a causeway bridge to Navarre and having parked the car I pay the princely sum of $1 for the privilege of walking along the lengthy fishing pier that was constructed in 2010. As I commence my $1 walk I view from the pier on my right hand side a bunch of not very attractive high-rise condominiums and to my left a brilliant white busy beach filled with the Sunday afternoon crowd relaxing, taking some rays! This part of the Gulf of Mexico is fed by a current that brings a prolific quantity of nutrients which colours the water a lovely shade of green which gives rise to the nickname for this part of the coast as “The Emerald Coast”. The throng of anglers on the pier are having a very busy time as they haul in what almost seems to be one fish after another and as I walk towards the end of the pier I find myself dodging anglers making their casts. The flying rods seem to be landing fish with a resounding thump at my feet as I continue to tread delicately over the writhing fish before they are scooped up by the anglers, de-hooked and returned to the ocean deep. I have just encountered an angler who has just returned a 35 pound Redfish to the sea as it was too big to keep! The angler would only be permitted to keep his catch of this variety provided the fish weighed not less than 18 pounds and not more that 27 pounds so, over the side of the pier this one went. Well, that not strictly true. This huge fish was gently lowered in a net to the ocean beneath the pier and then released from its captivity and some people think this is fun! All in all I think my $1 fee was good value. However, if I had been a fisherman I would have had to have paid $2! A little further on I break for lunch at Beasley Park in Ocaloosee Island and sit in a pavilion overlooking the beach. Having enjoyed my lunch I continue my journey and arrive at my destination at Panama City Beach for the night and tomorrow I start my final day of my journey and I’m now looking forward to returning to my American home.
For the techies out there mileage covered today was 290.1 at an average of 46.4 mpg and achieved 22.2 mpg.
Today started off with a big surprise. As I opened the garage door I was met with a resounding cheer from the Hyacinth Place Send Off Committee. With grateful thanks to Anna who’s idea this was and for making the food and to Sara for providing the mega balloons and to Diana (a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed) for opening the champagne! It’s amazing what that lot will do for a glass of champagne at 8.30 in the morning! Cy Bricker put his arm around me and said “I love you man and you’ve got your shirt on inside out!” Well I was up early! It was all a bit of a rush and I hardly had anytime to say a proper goodbye to “She Who Must Be Obeyed”. Finally I was on my way.
I had a very pleasant drive north on the I 75 with not too much traffic which became even easier when I started to go west on the I 10. The weather was perfect and I was enjoying the change of scenery as it became greener and undulating with a mixture of well forested areas and beef cattle fields. However, it was not to last as, the skies changed and I ran into very heavy rain. The Corvette took all this in its stride and the car felt planted and stable even going through quite deep surface water.
I had decided to spend the afternoon visiting the Tallahassee Natural Science Museum which is an open site of about 50 acres but unfortunately the rain had settled in for the afternoon. So, I took the opportunity of spending a happy couple of hours at The Tallahassee Automobile Museum which was well presented and has some fantastic vehicles including two ex movie Batmobiles!
Later on the weather had cleared and I had a drive around the city of Tallahassee which is the state capital of Florida. This is an eclectic mix of fine buildings and others!
This evening I dined upon Seafood Gumbo followed by Steak and Shrimp Sizzler with Louisiana sauce at Barnacle Bill’s. It was very good indeed but I’m glad that I treated the sauce with respect as it had a mighty “kick” to it! The only way I can liken the main course would be to a Spanish mixed paella with a kick!
For the technically minded of you out there, I have covered 369.3 miles at an average speed of 54.8 mph and achieved 20.7mpg.
I have posted a few photographs below but you can see all the photographs taken today by clicking on the “My Photo Stream” link in the right hand side panel of this blog.
Tomorrow the weather forecast promises to be good so I should have an excellent drive to my next destination where I will be visiting something quite unique!
My family think I’m crazy. Perhaps they’re right! I just think that in today’s world some people are in such a hurry to arrive that they forget to enjoy the journey. So, I’m in the process of planning my first big trip which will be from our holiday home in South West Florida to Las Vegas and back in my Corvette Grand Sport. It’s a round trip of roughly 5000 miles and I think I’m going to take about seven days to get to Las Vegas where I will be having some fun with my good lady wife, Diana (a.k.a. “She Who Must be Obeyed”) and 180 plus friends in that town in Nevada. I’m going to take an extra day on the way back so I can see the sights that I have planned. Currently my itinerary looks like this:
Starting from Lakewood Ranch near Sarasota and then driving to Pensacola Fl., Houston Tx., San Antonio Tx., Fort Stockton Tx., Tuscon Az. and arriving in Las Vegas Nv.. On the way back I will be visiting Flagstaff Az., Amarillo Tx., Dallas Tx., New Orleans La., Panama City Beach Fl., finally returning to Lakewood Ranch. Crazy or not – you decide!