Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Day 3: Mobile, AL - Shreveport, LA

I thought yesterday was hot.  Only the 2006 Alan Furley 200 came close.  Today was another thing altogether; when I embarked on my fruitless search for somewhere prepared to let me sit in air-conditioned comfort and scoff a humungous pizza it was 39.5 degrees.  I had the roof up and the air-con on  for most of the afternoon.

Observation number one: there are a considerable number of what appear to be vultures soaring over the countryside all along the Gulf Coast.  Quite what they live on is a mystery though, as almost the only roadkill to be found hereabouts is delaminated truck tyres.  Which are everywhere.  While on the subject of wildlife, I saw my first live raccoon last night - previous sightings having been of two-dimensional ones only.

Observation number two: in Alabama a liquor store is called a "package store".

Observation number three: I have both the  new Mark Billingham (not Thorne) and Peter Robinson (Banks) novels sitting on the kitchen table, havin been jettisoned from The Luggage for weight reasons.

And so to today's journey.  Observation number n: the motorcar has become infested with tiny insects, from whence I know not.  Moreover, the entire Gulf Coast, plus a fair ways inland, are equally infested with flying ants or similar which once they've occupied one's motorcar, are almost impossible to evict.

Proof that I have been in Mississippi
I digress.  Much of the scenery today was the same as it's been since Sunday - long straight flat roads through the woods.  The only difference being in southern Louisiana, where the woods are up to their knees in water.  This means no rest areas, as there's isn't any dry land on which to build them.  The remainder of Alabama was knocked off in about twenty minutes and Mississippi didn't take long either.  I offer this photo as proof I'm not making this up.  I initially thought that the arty soft-focus effect was due to the camera dying on its arse, but it turned out to be condensation on the lens.

Intermediate observation - I have two Swiss Army knives here and have thus far not managed to use the same one to open two consecutive bottles of BEER.  What is going on?

As you may observe, there are not many photos over on flickr yet.  This is because even were there anything around worth capturing (which in general there isn't) there's nowhere one can stop to do so.  The bridge over the Mighty Mississippi in Baton Rouge, for example.  The Mighty Mississippi down here is a good deal more impressive than it is up in Minneapolis, surprisingly enough.

Proof that I have been in Louisiana
But I'm getting ahead of myself.  You will note the sort of bilingual-ness of this sign.  It's my opinion that the US government wasted its money.  They should have left it to the French...  Once in Louisiana I managed to find ny way to the north end of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, handed over my three dollars and drove over what most people consider to be the longest bridge over water in the wurrrld.  It's twenty-four miles long and when you're in the middle on a day like today, all there is to see is bridge,water and the odd pelican.  Until  New Orleans appears out of the murk on the left.  The Chinese claim to have a longer bridge, but they are this: wrong.

Then through the swamps to Lafayette and turn north up I-49.  Dylan fans should note that en route I turned off fo "gas" on Highway 61, which was a sight more interesting than much of the rest of today's route as Hurricane Isaac had dropped enough rain that there was still a sizeable stream running across the entrances to the "gas" station.  Sadly I-49 is not the same as Highway 49 as immortalised by, among others, Howlin' Wolf.  One day I'll have to come back and do this country properly...

And so to Shreveport.  Shreveport is most notable for being the home town of the insaniac hot-rodder The Kid in the uncut version of Stephen King's The Stand.  He gets killed to DETH by wolves just east of the Eisenhower Tunnel, where I shall be in a day or two.  Did you know that while other US State are divided into counties, Louisiana is divided into parishes?  Well, it is.

And finally, a note to motorcar rental companies: it is far more useful to put the owner's manual in the glovebox, rather than concealing it beneath the boot floor.  Idiots.

New states visited: Mississippi, Louisiana.

1 comment:

  1. We saw a live racoon on the BBC news last night, they found one in this couple's back garden. It was knocking over the plant pots and getting into fights with the dogs. It now lives at a rescue centre, looking cute.