New Orleans was great. We had a good time, saw just about everything we wanted to see, ate everything we could bear to eat and it didn’t end up feeling like a forced march through tourism. Mom’s flight left early this morning, so there was no sleeping in today. We made it to the airport in plenty of time and I dropped her off and then I was on the road again. Unfortunately, I had miscalculated the distance to my next stop, and for once I had reservations, so I was on the road for kind of a while. About eight hours, to be exact. It’s a good thing I got an early start.
I crossed the Louisiana-Mississippi state line around ten, and I didn't notice. I mean, you'd think there would be a sign or something. I stopped once in Mississippi, got out of the car, said, "Huh. Mississippi." bought a Coke and kept going. I spent longer in Alabama, mostly because I got lost looking for the restaurant I found in Roadfood. When I did find it (with the help of the appropriately named tourist information center) it was very good, with lots of tasty seafood. It occurs to me that I maybe have been overdoing it with the descriptions of good food I have eaten, so I'll leave this one to your imagination.
Mobile isn't far from Florida, at least in terms of how I've been travelling, so pretty soon I crossed into my ninth and final state for the trip. This was where my miscalculation kicked in. You see, I had read in my guidebook that I-10 through the Florida panhandle is boring, and you should take highway 98 instead. What they failed to mention was that 98 is the traditional gathering point for the Southern America Slow Drivers' Convention, and it is very well attended. So it turned out to b a very good thing that we got the fan for the AC fixed (that was the problem I had in Austin- I only got cold air when I was driving fast enough to move the cold air into the car passively- it was a resistor, apparently). (Note to Zach: This was not my fault.) Long story (about a long drive) short, I at least made it to my hotel before sundown. I was staying on St. George's Island, which is a lovely place, although it looks like they have to rebuild it after every hurricaine season. I took a walk on the beach before dinner (pizza from one of the approximately two available restaurants). It was really a lot like Bodega Bay, except that the water doesn't turn your toes into little ice cubes and they have different seagulls here.
The place I was staying, the Buccanneer Inn, was really nothing more than an old motel, but it was right on the beach and it had BBC America, and that walk and a Monty Python marathon did a lot to revive my spirits.