While in Tallahassee I definitely did not take enough photos. Frankly, Tallahassee while different, felt a lot like Tampa. The flora and fauna is virtually the same, see: Spanish Moss. As soon as we crossed over the state line from Georgia into Florida, Spanish Moss was literally all over the place. When we drove from Tallahassee to New Orleans, as soon as we left the dong state, BAM, no more Spanish Moss. Dan actually asked a cabby about it one night, and the guy, a native New Orleanian confirmed that there is definitely no Spanish Moss in Nola. Anyways, I digress.
Tallahassee was made especially awesome due to how great our friends Matt and Katie are. They were amazingly gracious hosts and went out of there way to make sure we had a good time. Dan outlined our time in Tallahassee quite well, so if you’d like to read more on that experience go check out his post. I would just like to reiterate how amazing our friends have been. While in Lexington, despite Dave having to defend his Masters thesis (which if you’re not in academia you may not understand how stressful this is, but from everything I’ve gathered this is a very stressful point in one’s education), he made sure to take us around town and make sure we were having a good time while with him. Matt and Katie were just as great of hosts. While we had not seen each other in years it was a great process to get reacquainted with each other, staying up late playing new games, talking and sharing meals. They both made us all feel very comfortable and I’ll never forget our evenings together. While our trip may be out of the ordinary, what is most extraordinary are our friends. Thank you.
Earlier in the week Matt and I had biked out and bought a basketball because we forgot to bring any of ours along and there was a basketball hoop nearby. (Side note, drivers in Florida lived up to their reputation. A lady almost hit me when I was crossing a street on my bike, and Jake said that he almost got hit twice when he went out to get postcards) We had some mid-week rain, but we managed to get out and play some pick up games. Afterwards I realized how long it had been since I had played ball. I had some pretty bad tendinitis in my shoulder for about 6 months (the period of time that I would have wanted to play when we moved back to Detroit). Anyways, it was great to play again but my calves were killing me the next day.
The end of the week was a bit of a blur. Between working, and trying to get out and see stuff the rest of the week fairly flew by. Matt and Katie do a weekly dinner thing with their friends where someone hosts it and the hosts make the main dish and people bring sides. We got the chance to cook, so we went with some pork shoulder and coleslaw.
At this point I had been fighting a cold/allergies for a while. Pressure in my sinuses and in one of my ears. I had an ear infection earlier in the year when I had gotten a cold and I was damned if I was going to go through that again so I went to a doctor. Fortunately it wasn’t an infection, it was just not draining because of the allergies. He prescribed me some steroids and told me to get some Sudafed from behind the counter. The stuff that has pseudoephedrine. Some zyrtec and sudafed eventually got me feeling better but I felt like fresh garbage for a couple of days.
We were unable at this point to get a hold of our friend Loren in New Orleans, so we decided to just book some time at an RV park. We ended up going with http://www.riverboattravelpark.com/. They had pretty favorable reviews from what I was seeing, the only down side being that it’s several miles east where we wanted to be at. With a big ole bridge to cross which I wasn’t super excited to do on a bike.
Friday rolled around and we packed all of our things up and headed on out to Louisiana (a little later than we were originally hoping, but we got going eventually). I was definitely anxious about leaving and going to an RV park, something which we had never done before so I didn’t know protocol or how things worked. Driving through Alabama we went through Mobile. They have some tunnel that goes underneath the city which was kinda a trip. Felt like a short version of the tunnel to Windsor. I drove most of the route, and ended up passing off after a 1 and 1/2 fill up. I was kind of a dumbass and was fighting off being sleepy for a bit towards the end of my driving shift. I should have had Matt or Jake take over sooner. Anyways, of course when I’m not driving I finally perk up and can’t nap. We ended up getting in right before the older couple that ran it closed up. Right around 8:50pm CST.
We setup shop and Matt was itchin’ to get out and see the city. He ended up convincing Jake to come along with him. I was too wiped out so I just stayed in the bus and started moving some stuff around so that living in the bus made a little more sense. With that squared away I finally laid down opened my book and got 3 pages in before falling asleep.
Gaming was a part of our stay in Tallahassee. Magic, Dominion, Netrunner, Telestrations (pictionary + telephone mixed together), and some hot potato type game where you try to get your team to guess the word you’re given. I hadn’t played Magic since I was in middle school boyscouts. And even then no one really played, everyone just seemed to have cards. So I got to see some rounds of Magic and get a feel for the game. It’s actually a lot easier and quicker than I realized. I don’t know why but I always envisioned it was far more involved to setup (deck building aside). Dominion and Netrunner were clear winners though. Dominion is like super fast Magic where you build the decks on the fly. Jacob would have to explain Netrunner as he played it the most. Or Matt. Either way they both want to buy it.
We kept busy riding around Tallahassee. We also had our bikes tuned up at Great Bicycle Shop. Unfortunately (sort of) for us, is the weather was gorgeous in Tallahassee. That meant that everyone else noticed the nice weather and decided to get their bikes tuned up. We ended up getting some brakes replaced on one bike, shifter replaced, luggage racks added. Brake lines tightened. They also had a 30.2mm seat post which fits Matt’s Specialized bike which uses a 30.4mm seat post.. which apparently no other bike makers use. Matt had next day shipped one from amazon, but they took over a week for it to show up, which was going to arrive too late.
Matt ended up finding a tattoo shop that did work he liked so we biked down to setup an appointment. The artist was ready for a session right then though, so Matt got some work done. You can check out the goods over on the Tattoo page. Jake and I ended up biking back from there. I was definitely not used to biking that much, and not biking around on hills and stuff. It was fun though to get out and get biking. By the time we got back to the house we were both ravenous so we headed out to some place called Parlay’s Sports Bar. Matt ended up joining us when his tattoo was done. After Parlay’s we headed over to Leon’s Pub to check it out. Cool beer bar with lots of stuff to look at. Completely mixed crowd, young people, old people, foreign people, and smokey.
I’m going to stop belaboring my lax writing schedule. Maybe this will all be retrospective. I got to sleep through Georgia while Jacob was driving which was amazing. Arriving in Tallahassee felt a little bit like arriving back home. Being in Florida again felt good. One thing I didn’t realize though, was how hilly Tallahassee was. Hills? In my Florida? Anyways, we pulled up to our friend Matt and Katie’s place. And they came out to greet us. It had been a long time since we had seen Matt and Katie. A 7 year reunion? We had talked about coming up at some point when we lived in Tampa, but we were lazy jerks and never drove up. We had worked with Matt at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing years ago. Where we served banquets and worked shitty hours (who doesn’t want to do a 6am-7am shift, and then show back up for a 11-2pm lunch and then serve a wedding?).
One of the most amazing things about the trip so far has been our friends’ hospitality. The first day was a relief to be in warmer weather for me. I really love Florida in spring time. Warm during the day and cool at night. It feels a lot like my favorite weather during Michigan summers.
Phil was driving up from Tampa when we were driving through Georgia to meet us in Tallahassee (sorry Jess, we were just driving through!). He brought some of his clothes and music gear for us to store so he can join us later on (stuff that would be a pain in the ass to take on a plane). We hung out and just chatted and had an easy night in. Phil stayed the night and we went fishing the next day down on Wakulla beach in Crawfordville FL (side note, Katie was telling us about how Wakulla county goes by WeKillYa county and has shirts and stuff, unbeknownst to us when we went down there). It was about an hour drive out of Tallahassee and down to the Gulf. 40 minutes out on paved road then 10-15 minutes on a dirt road dodging holes through Florida panhandle overgrowth. Driving through the area, with the sickly sweet smell of decay, really brought back Florida for me. Eventually we made it through and out onto the beach. It was a little beach, and I had some trouble figuring out exactly where I should fish. I had read some fishing reports about shore fishing, but we had a fair amount of wind and recent rain.. so the water was murky. We started out through some flats and caught some fiddler crabs to fish with. We gathered up far more than we needed then started getting our lines wet. I had left my phone in the car, so I don’t have much in the way of photos, but it was nice to just wade in a bit and cast. We ended up not catching anything or even get bites but we just wanted to get out and be outside. As we were heading back to Tallahassee we were listening to UofM win their game and advance in the tournament. We also stopped by a BBQ place called Wildfire that was open on Easter Sunday! We all ordered far too much food and pigged out on deliciously smoked meats.
We rounded out the day watching the Game of Thrones season premier. We skipped on the Walked Dead (Rick: “I’M A GOOD MAN”) and called it a night after that.
Gearing up to leave Lexington and a production issue for one of our customers almost held up our departure to Chattanooga. My coworker Tony ended up taking over for me and saving my bacon and our time table… for now.
Nesa came by to say goodbye before we headed out. Leaving Lexington was uneventful until we hit an hour+ long traffic jam. Stop and go traffic isn’t great fun in a bus. At least it’s not stick! It seemed like the whole state of Michigan was flocking to the south with us for Spring Break. We were stuck in traffic with a van that had #YOLO, other hashtages and twitter handles soaped onto the car. I’m not sure they know how hashtages work. Someone also took a video of the bus while we were doing 5-10 MPH.
Traffic eventually cleared and all we could see was a family with suitcases, dog, kids and a police office near them with his flashers on.
Daylight gave way to dusk which gave way to night. Rain showers decided to show up with the night. Fog also made an appearance for our mountain travels. I white knuckled my way through the start of the rain and the mountains. The rain eventually let up a bit and I could enjoy the mountains. The bus was able to maintain 40mph on the steeper portions!
Eventually we made it to Chattanooga to stop for the night at our friend Stephanie’s place. Thank you for the hospitality Steph! I also got a chance to play her boyfriend’s Martin acoustic guitar. Martin’s are definitely worth their price tags.
Now we’re on the road again on our way to Tallahassee and warmer weather. Writing this all out while riding so I can transcribe it later. Best part about driving a bus through Georgia? You can’t go fast enough to get ticketed!
Jake also took some of the driving on. So I got to lay down and read/nap through Georgia.