Once again in the United States with my son Giovanni, for a long journey of 6.220 km. starting from Atlanta in Georgia, crossing various states, in particular Oklahoma which allowed us to travel some sections of the mythical "route 66", Texas with its endless oil wells, Mississippi and Alabama with their extensive plantations . Another exciting "on the road" experience entirely planned and made with DIY in June 2017.
Venice-Atlanta-Douglasville (Km. 60)
Departure from Venice and arrival in Atlanta at 16.00 pm local time with Delta Airline direct flight; fifteen minutes on foot to reach the passport control (first electronic then in person) with long lines but who had the ESTA? been facilitated.
A heavy rain awaits us at the exit and we have to wait almost twenty minutes for the shuttle that takes us to the Avis terminal to rent the car (a comfortable Nissan Altima Sedan); me too? it takes an hour to finalize the contract and then another forty minutes to reach Douglasville when it is now 20 pm and our coveted Hotel: Sleep Inn (? 85) very good. The nearly eleven hours of travel and the next four were long and stressful; I am really exhausted and go straight to bed.
Douglasville-Birmingham (Al) -Tuscalosa (Al) -Columbus (Mss) (Km. 470)
At 9,20 we are ready for departure with a temperature of 23? and the intense rain that accompanies us for most of the journey. We enter the I-20W and, after about half an hour, we cross the border with Alabama where we also enter the Central Time Zone so we have to put the clock back one hour; from 11 to 11,15 we make a short stop at a? rest area? after crossing woods, cultivated fields, the town of Pen City on the Coosa River, the northern suburb of Birmingham which extends for almost 25 km (we had already traveled there on our previous trip) and the city? Tuscaloosa where we take the US 82W.
After about 80 km we cross the border with the Mississippi. Here the landscape changes characterized by huge flowering magnolia plants and after another 20 km we arrive in the city? of Columbus at the Quality Inn (? 78); it is only 14,00 pm (I had not considered the time change) but we take the opportunity to rest and recover from the efforts of the previous day.
At 18,00 we go to the Applebee? S Seafood restaurant where we have a really good dinner: for me five fillets and two meatballs of breaded and fried catfish with beans, red sweet potato with peel cooked in silver paper and melted butter on top ; for Giovanni a very thick big hamburger, with onion rings and fried potatoes on slices of bread? buttered. Delicious!
Columbus (Mss) -Greenville (Mss) -El Dorado (Ark) (Km. 450)
I took a tour inside the hotel which looks very good and very clean especially in the breakfast room where an employee makes sure that everything is shiny and the food containers are always well stocked.
Shall we stop for a while with Giovanni? to enjoy an excellent typical American breakfast based on: hot sandwiches with a creamy sauce to pour over (gravy), omelette, sausage, boiled potatoes and much more of your choice.
At 8,50 am we are ready for departure continuing on US-82W, a beautiful road with 2 + 2 lanes and in the middle sections open for changes of direction and access to the farms that dot this plain; the temperature ? of 23? and the speed? maximum allowed of 104 / km.
Ranches alternate with large pastures and forests of oak, cedar and pine; we leave the town of Starkville on the sides and from Eupora the road presents itself with continuous ups and downs more? or less accentuated (typical of the USA) through extensive plantations of corn, soy and wheat. We pass Winona, Greenwood and, after a brief stop of fifteen minutes, at 12,20 we cross a long bridge over the Mississippi River at the end of which we enter Arkansas at Greenville; the temperature ? climb to 27? when we stop at a rest area with an information office (it would be worth a trip to the States just to see how they are equipped and managed)) in Lake Village where we stop for about twenty minutes, even if a strong wind blows, to take some photos.
The landscape changes: I don't see anymore? no magnolia trees, there are no cultivated fields but huge expanses of dense woods. We arrive in El Dorado at 15,00 and we immediately head to the Country Inn & Suites (? 120) a super hotel a bit? expensive but worth all the money we spent. Usual rest until 17,30 pm when we decide to head towards the center: a short walk through the streets of this town of about 20.000 inhabitants turns out to be a disappointment; the shops are all closed, many abandoned, there are no people around, even the temperature of 30? it does not facilitate. We take refuge for dinner at the Hotshots bar & grill: I order a bowl with salad, bacon, gorgonzola, tomatoes, boiled eggs, onion and chicken breast.
At 20,15 pm we are back at the hotel and I stop in the gazebo to read until 21 pm when I return for a well-deserved rest.
El Dorado (Ark)? Texarcana (Tx)? Sherman (Tx) (Km. 425)
Giovanni and I go to a substantial American breakfast and we notice that the cups, plates, glasses and cutlery are made of ceramic, not plastic as usual; I also find the cream with blueberries and raspberries!
After refueling, we start our journey at 9,30 am with a nice warm sun and a temperature of 22? that gradually increase? up to 30? at 13,00. We continue to follow US-82W through the usual landscape and, after passing Magnolia, at 11,40 we enter Texas; marks the border, the town of Texarcana. The speed? ? climb to 113 / km. the large pastures with forage, the cultivated fields, the rolling hills and the woods begin, we notice a group of inmates (indicated by a sign) who are cleaning the edges of the road. From 13,10 pm to 13,30 pm we stop and take the opportunity to eat excellent slices of pizza with spicy salami.
After passing the town of Paris, we arrive in Sherman at 15,15 pm at the hotel I had booked through Booking (like all the others we stayed in during the trip): La Quinta Inn & Suites (? 75). The first impression? excellent and they put us on the fourth floor in a quiet room as I had asked; settled the luggage, we relax on the beds but, after an hour, we hear a deafening and continuous noise coming from the corridor. Right in front of our room there is an ice machine and a soda machine that have come into operation; Giovanni immediately goes down to ask for the change with a room away from the noise. ? immediately satisfied with many apologies from the person in charge; I pack my bags again, take all our stuff and we finally settle down in absolute silence and I can devote myself to reading, crosswords and even a nap until 18,00 pm.
We go out with the car and head towards the local Catfish (restaurant specializing in catfish and prawns), unpretentious, the service to the good but with very tasty food: four huge catfish fillets, four large butterfly open prawns, beans, salad mixed, whole potato and various sauces.
The hotel? equipped with an outdoor swimming pool and a well-kept garden with flowers and a gazebo like this, when I return, I sit outside to read until 20,30 pm.
Sherman (Tx)? Vinita (Ok)? Miami (Ok) (Km. 440)
The sky ? very cloudy with a little? of rain but the sun comes out almost immediately; we leave at 9,40 with a temperature of 21 ?, we take the US-75N and, after a few kilometers (in Denison it is reported that the general was born here in 1890 and 34? President Ike Eisenhower) in Colbert, we cross the border with the state of Oklahoma.
In Durant we go out attracted by the signs that lead to an area with casinos, resorts, shops and restaurants managed by the Coctaw natives who form an independent nation with their own laws and government (in addition to them there are 39 other tribes of natives who hand down the traditions of their culture); after a short stop to take the map of the state, we continue our way. At 12,40 another stop to get petrol and buy Amish products at the nearby market (religious community born in Switzerland in 1500 and settled in the USA in 1700): blueberry cakes and biscuits with raisins that we taste almost immediately, appreciating the taste of home-made things very different from industrial packaging.
The temperature ? climb up to 30 ?, we cross immense prairies with pastures and forage, in Atoka the US-75 gives way to the US-69N and, before Muskogee, we cross the wide basins of artificial lakes on long bridges (there are many in the State 200) Eufaula and Gibson; we see in the distance the towns of Pryor and Vinita to arrive, at 15,50 in Miami, a town of about 14.000 inhabitants located on the corner almost on the southern border of the state of Kansas and with Missouri to the east. We find our? Microtel? (? 70) with a spacious indoor pool, nice comfortable and well equipped rooms; usually rest then at 18,15 we go to the center (the Main street is never missing both in the villages and in the big cities and marks the most important point) at the Stonehill Grill: Giovanni orders a big hamburger with pur? and thick beef gravy, for me five huge pieces of breaded and fried catfish with sauteed rice and broccoli.
Back at the hotel I dedicate myself to reading then I try to sleep but the boys in the next room make? Casino? until 23,30 when I decide to knock on their door to invite them to stop: they apologize and promise to stay longer? careful but I do not trust and I prefer to put earplugs cos? I can sleep peacefully.
Miami (Ok)? Tulsa (Ok)? Edmond (Ok) (Km. 360)
After a good continental breakfast, at 9,35 am with a beautiful sun but a lot of wind and a temperature of 30? we begin our journey that today plans to travel a good part of the legendary Route 66 that crosses the entire state from east to west to the border with Texas. We take it to Vinita (one of the oldest inhabited centers in Oklahoma) but we have discovered that, in order to follow sections of the original route, we have to make detours inside the villages as well. we decide to stop only in those places that attract us the most. The first occurs after about 40 kilometers in Foyil (a very small town of about 300 inhabitants) that we have traveled far and wide why? we couldn't find the? Totem Pole Park? that we wanted to visit. Finally, after so much wandering, we have taken the right path which, after a few kilometers in the middle of nowhere, led us to the park: a large field with magnificently decorated totems in bright colors at the top of which are represented the most? important tribes? Indian buildings (the tallest is 20m), other Indian structures, a souvenir shop and nothing else! But we were lucky: there was a rural gathering of those I had only seen at the cinema; women, men, children, elderly people arrived here with cars from which they unloaded chairs, tables and were preparing to have picnics. Under a tree a group of males and females of a certain age? he was playing country and folk music with violins that I really like: I asked permission and they were happy to pose for some photos. Elsewhere, on a field kitchen, cooks were preparing meat with which they would stuff sandwiches for lunch; we asked a Cherokee girl if it was possible to stay but, sorry, she informed us that it was already? all booked! Did we stop a little longer? to talk to her then we went to the shop, where you can buy original artifacts of the natives and I got some earrings made with black and white beads.
Overall, we spent almost a couple of hours experiencing a day of celebration in these small communities. rural: a nice experience. At 12,00 we resume our road but, after about 15 km. we are attracted by an indication that indicates the presence in Claremore of the? Davis Arms & Historical Museum? The world's largest private collection of firearms. Intrigued, we decide to visit it: there is a large building that extends over 3.700 square meters, inside the information desk, a souvenir shop, wheelchairs for the disabled, strollers available for children, impeccable toilets and then?. showcases and display cases with the approximately 50.000 objects preserved here.
Firearms play the lion's share: there are almost 20.000 mainly pistols (from the smallest to a Chinese hand cannon from 1350) but also rifles and carbines, machine guns and machine guns, swords, knives, a shop window? dedicated to Samurai weapons, artifacts of Native Americans. There are also 1.200 beer mugs, 70 horse saddles, hundreds of animal heads and horns, musical instruments, walking sticks, medals and honors, world war posters and more. We did not know more? where to look and what to photograph given the vastness? and variety? of the objects kept; we spent here more? of an hour and at 13,30 we left again following Route 66 towards Tulsa (one of the most important cities in Oklahoma with a museum dedicated to the famous folk singer Woody Guthrie who was born in this state). Near Catoosa we saw from a distance one of the most popular attractions famous: a giant blue whale 24 meters long emerging from the waters of a pond, we passed a bridge over the Arkansas River, left the city aside. of Tulsa and, after Stroud, the road began to present itself with ups and downs even accentuated for many miles, without traffic with the view of countryside alternating with groves, some rare farms and nothing else.
Did we get there? to Edmond at the Stratford House Inn (? 75) an excellent hotel run by an Indian family: opening of the doors with magnetic key, very clean, functional furniture, spacious room and services and no noise. It is 16,30 outside c ?? the wind and a temperature of 33? but we are fine inside and we rest until 18,20 pm when we go out for dinner.
We chose the? Fish City Grill? and I ordered a baguette filled with grilled shrimp, salad, tomato, onion, chopped mixed vegetables and sauce; Giovanni a hamburger made from crab meat: all really delicious.
Today we lived an intense and fulfilling day, we were in contact with the inhabitants and talked with the native Indians, we visited a unique museum in the world and, even if we did not travel along the historical stretches of Route 66, I felt involved in the his story commenting on it with Giovanni.
I realized, once more, that the United States is a great country: apart from its size and its contradictions, there is an air of freedom here. which is hard to describe; when we stop at distributors, in rest areas, in restaurants or shops, I like to observe the people around me. I notice that obesity? ? common to both males and females even very young, I see many elderly couples holding hands, maybe they are full of ailments and are struggling to walk (I saw a lady walking around quietly with her oxygen cylinder and another one perhaps of mine age who, with her friend, drove a huge camper and made gasoline). Here nobody looks at you with critical or disapproving eyes, everyone dresses as they want, c ?? the utmost respect for places and nature (severe fines are imposed on those who fail; those who occupy the place reserved for the handicapped must pay a minimum of $ 700!).
Edmond (Ok)? Oklahoma City? Amarillo (Tx) (Km. 470)
Today we decided to visit Oklahoma City, the state capital, with a population of approximately 600.000. After a good continental breakfast, we set out on the road at 9,30 with a beautiful sun, a strong wind (the constant of this trip) and a temperature of 26 ?; we see from the map that? easy to get there following first the US-77S then the I-235S which reaches the city center? which features the usual skyscrapers, beautiful spacious boulevards and parks. Following the signs we reach the Capitol, seat of the government and, in other buildings, of the main ministries and administrative offices. The palace built in 1919 in neoclassical style, remembers all those we already have? seen in the past; there? what affects us? the vast area in front and that of the parking lots (hundreds of places) completely deserted for both people and cars. We are absolutely alone! Giovanni makes a few laps before parking undecided and perplexed; I take the opportunity to walk in front of the Capitol to take some photos and we conclude that, being Sunday, also all the activities? some offices are still and we imagine what these places could be during the working week.
At 10,30 am we leave again crossing the city? to connect with the I-40W, a comfortable 2 + 2 lane highway that runs through a boundless plain with pastures, cows and forage; past the town of El Reno (home of onion burgers), we take exit 108 attracted by the indication? Cherokee Trading Post Calumet ?, petrol station, restaurant and souvenir shop run by Indians. Tents, totems and brightly colored murals complete the area; we stop here from 11,00 to 12,00 and after a short tour, is it already? very hot, I go into the shop to shop then, after the usual photographs, we resume our journey.
We neglect Route 66 why? stopping in each town with its characteristic attractions would take too much time: Weatherford (Air & Space Museum), Clinton (Oklahoma Route 66 Museum), Elk City (National Route 66 Museum) and finally Texola (with its picturesque? ghost town?) which also marks the border with the state of Texas which we cross at 13,40. The speed? granted? 120 / km and the landscape changes: still grasslands but interspersed with groves and low shrubs characteristic of arid areas; at 14,20 pm we stop in a? rest area with covered structures that I photograph, the wind? always present and the temperature exceeds 32 ?. Before arriving in Amarillo, a stop of our day, we always leave Route 66 and the villages it crosses with their attractions: Shamrock (Pioneer West Museum), Groom (the only place where we go out to photograph a famous inclined water tank and where you can see a giant cross which is believed to be the largest in the western hemisphere), McLean (home to a WWII prison camp) Conway (with specimens of Wolkswagen Beetles embedded in the ground).
We reach Amarillo at 16,15 pm and the Ashmore Inn & Suites (? 73) a good motel with an indoor pool and hot tub. For dinner we preferred to walk to the nearby? Cracker & Barrel? (very good chain that we already knew from our previous trips) even though a hot and suffocating wind blows. We are not disappointed: I order a dish consisting of 15 pieces of shrimp and balls of breaded and fried sweet peppers with two hot buttered sandwiches, cooked vegetables and broccoli; special!
Today we have traveled many kilometers but there? pleasant, quiet, with interesting stops
and a changing landscape.
Amarillo (Tx)? Lubbock (Tx)? Midland (Tx) (Km. 525)
Today we have planned a visit to the Palo Duro Canyon, second in size after the Grand Canyon in Arizona, inaugurated in 1933 and covers an area of 113 square km, 195 km long and 250 m deep; the Spanish name (hardwood) refers to the juniper plants that grow in the region and the typical red color? given by the presence of iron in the soil.
After a good continental breakfast (always included in the room price), we start at 9,00 with a temperature of 21? taking the I-27S which in twenty minutes brings us to Canyon where we detour on the TX-217E, a long straight road that after about twenty kilometers takes us to the park's visitor center. Collected the tickets ($ 5 each) and the information relating to the route, a spectacular scenery of red rocks, small canyons opens before us and the gaze is lost to infinity; then you go down to the valley on a winding road with tight curves and on the sides bushes, trees and grasses that with their intense green make a nice contrast with the red of the soil and rocks. This track, all asphalted, proceeds for 10 km more? a ring of three others along which there are parking lots, pitches for camping, toilets, picnic areas, spaces for campers and also an amphitheater where various kinds of events take place during the summer months. Activities who practice inside are camping, cycling, hiking and horseback riding, to which kilometers of paths and special routes are dedicated. The vegetation varies from wild daisies, asters, sage, yucca, red juniper berries and cacti that grow in a specific part of the canyon.
We were almost an hour and a half fascinated by the colors, the rock formations, the silence, the low traffic so we went out retracing the way up to Canyon and then continuing on the I-27S where the speed? allowed? of 120 / km and at noon the temperature marks 34 ?. We proceed up to Lubbock where the road becomes US-62 / 82W and always winds between boundless fields cultivated with corn and pastures with forage; we stop to buy chicken nuggets, potatoes and stuffed rolls cooked at the time that we will then consume during another short stop at 13.30 (a strong wind blows and a scorching heat of 40? so we stay inside the car) . At Seminole do we turn off on US-385S and from here on out suddenly, as if by magic, the whole plain to the horizon? scattered with dozens and dozens of drills that are working to extract the oil: I look fascinated at their slow, continuous, rhythmic, almost synchronized movements, which hypnotize me and so on? I hardly notice the time that passes and the kilometers we grind.
Approaching Midland (115.000 inhabitants and the hometown of Presidents Bush), I pull out the map I had printed from home to find our hotel but I miss the exit indicated as follows. do we get to the center of the city? and here I completely lose my orientation; we run around in circles for about half an hour and finally, with a stroke of luck, I can recognize the name of a street that I had as a reference and from there? ? it was all very easy to get to the Quality Suites (? 70) room with sitting area, clean, quiet and outdoor pool.
Are they already? at 17,15 pm then after half an hour when we are relaxing, a violent storm of wind breaks out but little rain that advises us not to move to go to dinner; I am also very tired from the many kilometers traveled and I don't mind fasting for one evening.
It ends like this? another day in contact with nature, with the beauties of the canyon, with the amazement of the drills and the small misadventures and I am happy why? I am enjoying getting to know this part of the United States.
Midland (Tx)? Weatherford (Tx) (Km. 470)
We hit the road at 10,00 with a temperature of 28? and we follow the I-20W which still crosses open spaces with drills and huge tanks beside it to contain the extracted oil; we leave the city on the right? of Big Spring and after 130 kilometers, beyond Colorado City we find the extensive fields cultivated with wheat and others just plowed.
At 12,30 we stop to get gas and buy two slices of pizza that we will consume more? late at an equipped rest area; curious and particular this structure that exhibits inside a vintage car, a petrol pump from the twenties and, outside, a sign that warns to be careful for the presence of poisonous snakes (rattlesnakes) in the surroundings. Temperature today? pi? acceptable yesterday (30?) but always an annoying wind blows; we travel like this, calmly, passing Abilene and finally arriving in Weatherford after having covered another two hundred kilometers. We settle at the Econo Lodge hotel (? 61) very good, well managed and quiet: it is 15,45 pm when we take possession of our room where we gladly stay to rest until 18,30 then we go to dinner at? Mesquite Pit ?. I order a plate consisting of five large pieces of breaded and fried catfish with dark rice and onion rings, Giovanni twelve giant prawns with potatoes and breaded and fried onion rings: tasty, abundant and beautiful to look at so much that it deserves a photo. Price 29? including drinks and tip!
Today we have redone the same stretch of road we had traveled on our previous trip to Texas in 2009 and are also staying overnight in the same city? in Weatherford but at another hotel: who would have thought that, many years later, we would still be here!
Weatherford (Tx)? Bossier City (Lou) (Km. 470)
We start our day with a good continental breakfast, we start at 9,30 with a cloudy sky and a temperature of almost 30 ?; we always stay on the I-20E heading towards Fort Worth and Dallas that I had proposed to Giovanni to visit but he has definitely rejected the idea why? don't feel like facing difficulties? chaotic traffic. The highway? already? clogged with machines even if the 4 + 4 and more? ahead the 5 + 5 lanes facilitate the going; rather he prefers to travel the entire external ring road (in total almost 100 km but on our route) to visit the tomb of one of his musical myths, Stevie Vaughan, after having identified it on the internet and which is easy to reach. We face complex intersections, we pass extensive commercial and industrial areas that stretch for kilometers (the number of car dealerships exhibiting the most diverse brands is impressive) and, after about 70 km, we detour on I-35E towards downtown Dallas continuing to four more and arrive at? Laurel Land Memorial Park? where we park.
John goes to ask for information on the location of the tomb and, given the vastness? of the park, we have to take the car back following the indicated path: arrived, Giovanni pauses for a few minutes in silence then takes pictures to send to his friends who have loved the same music. We stayed here from 10,30 to 11,00 then we return to the I-20E that we leave shortly after to stop to buy sandwiches to consume more? late and to deviate on the TX-19N deciding to take an internal road after so much highway. We follow the US-80E for another 110 kilometers to Longview after passing Mineola and Big Sandy and, resuming the I-20E, we arrive at the border with the state of Louisiana just before 13,00:34 pm; another half hour stop at a rest area where we eat lunch: I two pieces of catfish and the sandwiches left over from dinner, while Giovanni eats the sandwiches we had bought. I take pictures but it is also very hot with a temperature of almost ?.
The highway runs through the city? from Shreveport (we had already stayed here overnight on a previous trip) and, on the other side of the Red River, is Bossier City where we booked at the Quality Inn (? 65); really unfortunate choice for the condition in which we find the room: it smells closed, baskets not emptied, dangling electric wires, old furniture, broken fridge and torn duvet. Fortunately, the bed? comfortable and clean bathroom and we are cos? tired from the long day that we adapt: too bad,? one of the very rare times we have been wrong!
At 18,15 we go out to go to dinner, after long car rides to the center that offers nothing interesting, we stop at the Logan? S Roadhouse where I eat caramelized shrimp in spicy sauce with french fries at the moment and Giovanni a buffalo burger. At the exit we would like to take a walk but the still too high temperature discourages us and we give up.
Bossier City (Lou)? Jackson (Mss)? Forest (Mss) (Km. 480)
After a good night's sleep, I go downstairs for breakfast and find a wide range of choices. I prefer the classic American one. After calmly preparing your bags, we leave at 9,45 with a little sky? cloudy and a temperature of 31 ?; we always follow the I-20E (2 + 2 lane highway with a maximum speed of 112 / km) whose route passes through woods formed by cedar, elm, pine, walnut trees, many magnolias (symbol of the state and depicted in the flag ) while beyond? you can see extensive plantations of soy, cereals, vegetables and fruit trees (we will see them more closely when we walk inland roads) with farms that sell their products directly.
After two hundred kilometers, past Monroe, I notice on the map a site indicated as interesting cos? we decide to go and see what it is; in Delhi we deviate onto the LA-17N, skirt an artificial reservoir, and after 35 km in Epps we take the LA-134E (all through cultivated fields, no traffic and a few farms) which takes us straight to Poverty Point National Monument. IS? an archaeological site that owes its name to the plantation where it was discovered in 1873 and protected by Unesco since 2014; extends over a large area where you can see burial mounds ranging from a? height of a few centimeters to almost 40 meters and it is believed that they belong to the civilization? pre-Columbian of 1800/1400 BC
All this I learn by reading the information on the bulletin board, there is no one in the area, to visit these sites on foot it would take some time but the hour (12,30) and the temperature of almost 35? they advise us to take the car back. We retrace the same road to Epps where we stop at a small shop to buy catfish, chicken and fried potato wedges; we arrive again in Delhi to get back on the highway (shortly afterwards, amazed, we notice road signs indicating? danger of bears for 20 km!) and, after Tallulah, at 14,00
we pass on a long bridge that marks the border with the state of Mississippi.
Immediately after, at a lay-by, we consume our lunch remaining inside the car. Why? a strong wind blows and the temperature? arrived at 37 ?.
We see Jackson, the state capital from afar and, after traveling almost 160 km from the border, we finally arrive in Forest and immediately find the Days Inn (? 67) a good clean, well-kept, very comfortable, quiet and well-refreshed hotel. a ceiling fan.
I lie down and sleep for almost an hour then I read while Giovanni searches for restaurants to go to dinner: the choice falls on the Penns Fish House where I taste a po-boy (traditional sandwich of these places) consisting of a baguette filled with fried shrimp with vegetables and, separately, french fries and salad; really tasty.
When I get back to the hotel I have time to capture, with my camera, the last red flashes of the setting sun among black clouds laden with rain that begins to fall shortly after.
Today we crossed the northern part of Louisiana from west to east and beyond. of the half? of the Mississippi always in the same direction.
Forest (Mss)? Demopolis (Al) - Mobile (Al)? Pensacola (Fl) (Km. 520)
We take the car back for another long day of transfer that will end? on the coasts of the Gulf of Mexico; at 10,00 we enter the I-20E, we pass the town of Meridian and at 11,20 we cross the border with the state of Alabama; out c ?? a temperature of 26? and we have already? traveled a hundred kilometers.
From here we connect with the US-80E (always a wide road with 2 + 2 lanes open in the center, maximum speed of 104 / km) which passes through woods, where there is? little traffic; even less we find when we take the US-43S which has 1 + 1 lane and a speed? of 75 / km. Let's proceed like this? in the middle of nowhere for almost seventy kilometers until, after buying some slices of pizza, we go out to Thomasville and we stop at the school park (deserted but equipped with tables, benches and very well maintained) to have our lunch; this relaxing break in the midst of nature and silence was needed.
We stopped for half an hour and, when we get back to the car, it's almost fourteen, the temperature? climb to 30? and the street, after Jackson,? back to 2 + 2 lanes and shows very close and accentuated ups and downs; it crosses cultivated fields, small villages very distant from each other (many remote churches of the most varied confessions, hospitals for animals and huts selling boiled peanuts). We also drive along long stretches of road lined with trees with the characteristic long? White beards? that stretch out in the center of the roadway almost forming a tunnel: a very spectacular image!
At Creola, after traveling another eighty-five kilometers, we enter the I-65S motorway which we follow up to Mobile, pass through the center and join the I-10E; we cross a long bridge of about 15 km that allows us to see (finally) the waters of the Bay of Mobile on the Gulf of Mexico. Another seventy kilometers and we enter the state of Florida; shortly after, we take the I-110S that takes us to the city center? in Pensacola where we had booked at the? Victorian Bed & Breakfast? (? 128) that we find after a few turns and are already? 16,50.
Outside it looks very good (the typical Victorian villa with porch, rocking chairs with multicolored cushions and well-kept garden); the hostess welcomes us and shows us the various rooms furnished in style, indicating the food and drinks we can use but, when she takes us upstairs and lets us enter the room she has reserved for us, we have the first disappointment : it is a room with only one double bed! John and I remain perplexed why? I was sure I had booked for a double and a single. The lady says I will see? what can to do: I wait fifteen minutes in the living room then she comes back and tells us that she has arranged everything; I breathe a sigh of relief and, when he shows us the new room, I am really impressed (large space for a double bed and a sofa bed, armchairs and TV with green plants, a study room with desk, a large anteroom with sink, bathtub antique and separate toilet, round table with chairs for relaxing, linen, curtains and furniture in blue and its shades). Besides ours, there are only three other rooms on the same floor.
Shall we rest for a while? and, after being informed to go to dinner, we choose a place located on the bay; at 18,30 we take the car with the intention of parking it in the city center? then take a walk to the selected place. Unfortunately the access roads are all blocked why? celebrations are underway with parades and various events; so, by other external roads, we reach the? Fish House? a long construction partly in masonry and a lot in wood (access steps, floor, tables and chairs) with dozens of seats both inside and outside with a view of the bay, illuminated and very suggestive. Fortunately, we immediately find a place outdoors even if c? already? a lot of people; while waiting I take a short reconnaissance tour and notice a well-stocked bar and a shop that sells gift items (glasses, t-shirts, hats, etc.). We order two typical dishes of the place: for Giovanni twelve large grilled prawns covered with pecan grains, for me crab meatballs with Creole mustard, matched potatoes and a mixed salad; we enjoy everything very calmly happy to find us here even if the place? noisy due to the many people who keep arriving and have to wait their turn to be able to sit down.
We return at 20,00 and the temperature? still 37? why? we are happy to find our room tempered by air conditioning; short-lived joy why? after a while? the air? became decidedly cold and the noise? impossible to bear (it feels like having a jet plane overhead). We look around looking for the thermostat to adjust the degrees but we can't find it; Giovanni goes down to ask the landlady but he hears the answer that no? possible to lower it more? so why? the device ? central and serves the whole house. Angry, frozen and tormented by the noise we will try to sleep. Too bad, we have no luck with the? Bed & breakfast ?!
Pensacola - Fort Walton? Crestview? Valdosta (Ga)? Adel (Ga) (km.550)
We have not seen the time that the morning arrives to get up and go down to breakfast which, in truth? ? been prepared very well: embroidered tablecloth, carefully chosen cups, cutlery and glasses and the food served with elegance; we met the other three guest couples but did we talk a bit? only with the one sitting next to us. Polish husband and wife who were touring the US and already had? also visited several cities? of Italy.
Calmly prepare your bags we go down to pay: another anger why? the lady claims 37 $ more? for the change of room and has already? prepared the receipt with the increased amount. I would also like to point out that my confirmation sent to me at the time by Booking.com by e-mail reports exactly the reservation for a room with a double and a single bed; she complains that booking made the mess but Giovanni replies that we are not responsible. In the end he is convinced to receive what was originally established, we don't talk about the night spent in white and we take our leave.
We start moving at 10,15 with a clouded sky and a temperature of 28? first taking the US-90E which we travel for about ten kilometers then we enter the US-98E (we pay an admission ticket of $ 3,75) which, after crossing a long bridge of about ten kilometers, will coast? the beaches and waters of the internal lagoon; from 11 to 11,30 we stop in Navarre with a walk on the white sand and, after taking some photos, we return to the coast.
Being the traffic Saturday? intense, we proceed in line almost at a man's pace, it seems to be in Jesolo in mid-August, the hotels, shops and meeting places follow one another without stopping for almost thirty kilometers up to Fort Walton when we decide that we have enough of chaos and we take the FL-85N to connect, after another forty kilometers in the middle of nowhere (bears warning signs), to the I-10E highway that crosses all of North Florida to Jacksonville on the Atlantic Ocean.
We, however, leave the towns of Marianna, Chattaoochee and more on the sides and in the distance. ahead Tallahassee (capital of the state with its skyscrapers), after two stops at rest areas and entering the Eastern Time Zone (clock ahead of an hour so it is 15,30 and outside there is a temperature of 32? ), we divert to Greenville on US-221N and, at 17,10 pm after Ashville, we cross the border with the state of Georgia. We continue on the same road, which in Quitman takes the name of US-84E, to arrive at the intersection of the I-75N motorway near the city? of Valdosta; we have left behind the ancient cotton plantations with the classic manor houses, endless crops of peanuts, peaches, pecans, onions whose qualities? they are advertised by huge signs and roadside stalls selling the products at retail.
Can we finally run after passing through many internal roads at high speed? pi? reduced compared to the limits on the highway and at 18,15, after another forty kilometers, we arrive in Adel where we settle down at the? Super8? (? 67), discreet and frequented largely by Mexican workers, several boys are bathing in the outdoor pool.
Time to drop off your luggage and after a short relaxation away back in the car to go to dinner at? Western Sizzlin? an unpretentious restaurant but with good food that we chose from the buffet with a fixed price tasting a bit? of everything.
When we left at 20 pm the temperature was still 30 ?; today ? was the stage pi? long in terms of kilometers traveled and when we returned to the hotel we did not see the time to go to sleep.
Adel (Ga)? Stockbridge (Ga) (Km. 340)
Breakfast is not? provided in the price of the room cos? we decided to go on foot to a typical place where to have an authentic American breakfast based on: a tall buttered toast with two bull's-eye eggs on top, bacon, melted cheese, grated and grilled potato burgers and, apart from other slices of bacon, orange juice and coffee? long; we wanted to treat each other well on the penultimate day of our stay in the United States and we left really full and satisfied.
We start at 10,30 with a beautiful sun, a temperature of 28? always following I-75N
(motorway with 3 + 3 lanes and a maximum speed of 113 / km) which winds through extensive
plains cultivated mostly with peanuts and pecans.
At 12,50, after traveling about 230 kilometers, past the city? of Macon (known for its architectural beauties that we saw during our previous trip to Georgia), we decide to go out a bit? to walk one last time the internal roads and take away the memory of the real USA of the small villages, of the ups and downs, of the isolated farms, of the pastures, of the cattle, of the churches placed in the most? unthinkable. In Forsyth we take the GA-83N we continue on the US-23N and the GA-16W (always in the middle of nature) to return, after having traveled almost 55 km, on the I-75N motorway which we travel for another 35 kilometers and arrive, at 14,30 pm, in Stockbridge at the Microtel Inn & Suites (? 65).
The room is not? still available why? we arrived too early cos? we sit in the hall where you can stay cool as the temperature has reached 33 ?; while waiting I dedicate myself to reading and looking around. The hotel is very well presented, clean, friendly and competent staff with an outdoor swimming pool and many other customers are waiting their turn.
Finally at 15,15 pm we can take possession of our really comfortable room (this hotel chain has new facilities furnished in a modern and functional way), where we rest until 17,30 pm when we decide to move to go first to a near Valmart to do some shopping then have dinner at the? Bench Warmers Sports Grill? where we order: Giovanni a plate of shrimp and I a hamburger.
Not too busy day that took us from the south to the north of Georgia and almost at the end of our trip.
Stockbridge? Marietta? Atlanta (airport)? (Km. 190)
I had a good night's sleep and are preparing to spend our last hours of vacation; I take a shower, go to breakfast and, at my convenience (we have been given an extra half hour for check-out), I prepare my bags. At 11,15 we are ready, we take the car and we take the I-75N that crosses the whole center of Atlanta. Traffic ? very sustained even if the 6 + 6 lanes facilitate the advance but there are long queues at the junctions to exit and enter; we decide to always continue towards the north also to pass the time still missing before our departure; we pass the city? with its skyscrapers (we had visited it far and wide during the previous trip in 2009), the commercial and industrial areas that recur without interruption up to Marietta where we go out for a stop and refuel after traveling almost eighty kilometers and decided to return.
After a few empty laps, at 14,45 pm, we returned the car to the Avis headquarters; we waited five minutes for the minibus to arrive which, with a journey of almost twenty minutes, dropped us off at our flight terminal. Only during this journey, did we realize the vastness? of the area on which this airport extends that? the first in the world for passenger traffic: roads, intersections, parking lots, cargo loading areas would have confused anyone.
Finally inside, we had plenty of time to complete the formalities? at check-in, at passport control, at customs and take the train to arrive, after a walk, at the boarding gate.
Expected departure at 17,35 and arrival in Venice at 9,10 the following day, after 9h 34m of direct flight.
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