JULY 3, 9PM
I passed into the Eastern time zone this afternoon. Have traveled more than 4,000 miles since the start of this journey and despite a few bingles with the camper, have had a very pleasant and interesting journey! Sure, there are moments when I feel lonely, and when I really, REALLY want to share a funny or insightful moment with someone important, and tonight, on the eve of spending yet another holiday alone, I’m not so psyched. But here it is in a nutshell – I’d much rather spend time with a faithful dog than waste it with a man who is unworthy of my time or my love. I deserve someone who loves me wholeheartedly and with joy, and who is worthy of the same in return. Oh - and who loves my dog too!!! And the super bonus plus is that I have a lot of really wonderful friends. I am so grateful for each of them.
Long driving over the last few days. Left Mississippi, crossed Alabama along the gulf (and yes, it is very beautiful!!) and went into Florida. Drove around Pensacola to get a feel for the place, and liked it!! But here’s the funny thing – I drove all over New Orleans with the camper in tow – even through little roads in the French Quarter – and no problem. Yesterday while in Pensacola, however, I ran into a dead end street. Should have been able to make a U-turn, but didn’t cut it close enough and backed into a small brick wall while trying not to jackknife the camper. Put a wiffle ball-sized hole into back of it – this poor camper is getting quite the workout – it’s like a sailboat – every time I take it out I have to do another repair.
So tonight I’m on the outskirts of Tampa at yet another Motel 6 – On these one night stops, a hotel is cheaper and more convenient than setting up the camper. I’m out in the boondocks, not sure why there’s a hotel way out here – but there are a lot of truckers here, and other people who look like they have a profession I’d rather not know about. But it’s clean and Higbee will keep me safe. Guess what’s next door?? Can you guess? A WAFFLE HUT!!!! A woman in Mississippi told me they are like cockroaches – they multiply overnight and you can’t get rid of them! I’m shocked at the number of Waffle Huts I’ve seen – even this afternoon at a gas station, the garbage can was overflowing with Waffle Hut styrofoam coffee cups. I can’t get away from them – no one can!!
Crossed the bridges of Madison County this afternoon. Also came across the Suwannee River and sang a little song. Realized that Ponce de Leon and other explorers hundreds of years ago must have found the waterways much easier to traverse than overland slogging as the trees, kudzu and underbrush are so thick – I couldn’t imagine the creepy crawlies in there.
But that imagination got a taste of reality later in the day. At the rest stop this afternoon, Higbee and I enjoyed walking around the grass – she rolled and rolled around and I spent some time swatting at clever mosquitoes. On the drive south, big bugs – REALLY big bugs kept hitting the windshield, not as profusely as the bees on 5 in California, but these were so big I wondered if the windshield would crack. Then when I pulled up to park at Motel 6, there was a little gift that made me grateful that I wasn’t spending the night in the camper. In the middle of the parking lot right at the back of the RV – designed for semis (my truck and camper look like a tonka toy compared to these big vehicles). There was a big SNAKE. I asked a few truck drivers hanging around to identify it as good or bad (“all snakes are bad”) so one guy with sneakers kicked it away from the vehicle so I could let Higbee out without worrying whether she would get attacked. Just returned from our evening walk and saw enormous spiders and toads. Hopefully Higbee won’t get hooked on them. Apparently they are addictive.
How is it that you get tired sitting in a vehicle for 9 hours? I’m bushed and headed for bed. Tomorrow will be a continuation south, hope to make it to the entrance to the Keys and then on to Key West on the 5th.
Wishing everyone love and happy basking in their independence – whatever that may be!!!