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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

Florida, USA - part 2

USA | Tuesday, 23 March 2010 | Views [560]

We had a good ride by Greyhound bus from Orlando up to Tallahassee, the bus is not a patch on the ones we used to ride in South America but ok for shorter journeys. In Tallahassee we waited a while at the terminal and talked a bit with a young man there who didn't think he could travel in South America because he heard 'they eat people there'. We were picked up by Bonnie our host and at her home we met her husband Gene and their four sons, they made us feel so welcome and we joined them for dinner made by one of the sons. They have a busy household and just flowed around us during the evening. Gene is an evacuation official with the state and was called on when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans 5 years ago. He showed us pictures of the devastation there, there is a thing called the 'debris line' which shows where all the crap got washed to with the flood waters, also there was a memorable pic of about a dozen semi's spread around like toothpicks that have been dropped from above. While there Carol got online to book our bus from Pensacola to New Orleans, we were supposed to be travelling on Sunday but Carol got a little confused and booked the tickets for Saturday the 27th. We tried to get it sorted but Greyhound was not disposed to being helpful, we have organised online to hire a rental car and it has to be returned in Pensacola by lunchtime on the 27th the same time the bus leaves.

Next morning Stephan drove Carol to the nearby airport where she picked up a rental car from Alamo. Transport is hard in America once you go off the beaten track and we wanted to see the coastline between Tallahassee and Pensacola. We were lucky in that we were able to have a reasonably priced rental with no return fee, that can be a killer. Gene had told us about a Rainbow Gathering that was just ending in the nearby Apalachicola Forest so we headed there and camped the night with them. We joined a group for chai and heard a strange accent from a guy nearby and what ho - another Kiwi! What are the odds! We had a great conversation with Nigel (Wgtn) and his American wife Rachel who are travelling around America in a big bus they bought for US$4000 wow what a deal, only in America.

The next day we drove to the coast and made our way along it. Sadly it started to rain so we found a mall in Panama City Beach and later a movie theatre where we watched two movies for only US$1.50 each. We slept the night in the car, it was big enough to put down the back seats.

Thursday was fine luckily and we cruised along the coast and spent some time sitting on the fine white white sand of the beach there. This area is called the Emerald Coast and the sea is really emerald green but too cold for us to swim in. We were headed for Destin and took the long way around Choctawhatchee Bay where we sat for a while on the shores and lunched. In Destin we headed for Robs house, our host is a military helicopter pilot flying an Osprey which is an incredibly cool helicopter. We took a pic of him holding a model of it, have a look. We had a great night with Rob and his friends, we played Bocce in the backyard of his lovely home and had a hamburger BBQ, a shower and a fairly early night. At Robs we talked to his friends who were headed to Pensacola the next day and who kindly offered to pick Carol up from the airport after returning the car and drop her to the Greyhound Terminal - amazing, Americans are definitely a very generous people.

Next day we headed early to Pensacola and Kent waited at the bus terminal with the packs and Carol returned the rental with no problems. Adam and his friends picked her up at the airport as planned and they got back to the terminal in plenty of time for the bus. So the muddle up with the bus tickets was ok and it all worked out in the end.


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