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06 June 2011

Through Florida

Day 12: Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
It's a new month! I taught Ashley to say "rabbit rabbit" to bring her good luck for the month. In the morning, she had to leave for work, and Ueli and I left shortly thereafter. I left her our hand grenade from New Orleans. W forgot our fruit snacks at her house. I drove the car, after applying my daily dose of sunscreen (Ueli's already got a wicked tan line on his arms). We drove to Tallahassee, sticking to small country highways. The rural communities kind of blended together and became more frequent as we headed into Tallahassee. As we entered the city, we drove by Florida State University and then headed straight for the Florida State Capitol.

Florida actually has 2 state capitol buildings: The old capitol is a now a museum and looks like a nice 19th-century colonial courthouse. We walked around inside this building for a while, taking in facts about Floridian history and about the state legislative process (we had already heard all this before at the Texas state capitol). In contrast, the new state capitol building is a stark, 22-story concrete block of a building that towers behind the old capitol. It's also currently in use as the functioning state capitol, so there's a security check to enter the building. The view from the top floor, the 22nd, is amazing; however, trying to get the elevator to the 22nd floor is a frustrating exercise (the trick is, you have to take an elevator to the 21st floor and then transfer to the elevator to the 22nd). At the top, you can see out in all directions, looking out until the landscape disappears into a thick, hot summer haze.

Staying Healthy on the Road

Maintaining a healthy and well-balanced diet while traveling is always a challenge. As intent as you may be on staying healthy, it's hard to resist the urge to simply eat what is most convenient. And just as importantly, you want to sample local foods as much as possible. On this trip, I've fared pretty well: In each city, I've eaten some sort of local specialty (or at least tried something famously featured on Travel Channel or Food Network), and when a big, greasy plate of fried Southern food presented itself, I split it with Ueli. So no major food incidents, so far, but it's still hard to maintain proper nutrition.

Snacking on fruits is a good habit to maintain while driving long distances. And a lot of times when you think you feel hungry, you may just be dehydrated, so make sure to drink water regularly, even if it means making more bathroom breaks along the way!

Passing Through Mississippi and Alabama

Day 11: Tuesday, 31 May 2011
We left New Orleans around 10:30am, saying bye to Allen and stepping into our already hot car. One last pass through the Crescent City, and then headed east along highway 90 (Chef Menteur Highway). The route took us first through New Orleans East. where we stopped at Winn-Dixie for snacks and supplies. We drove through the bayous, which were just lots of swamp plants and a few houses raised on stilts; nothing extremely interesting. Into Mississippi, we passed through some small, rural towns before stopping at the beach (near Pass Christian). The Gulf of Mexico was a brownish-greenish color; the "waves" lapped every 2-3 seconds, way too quickly. It felt like the water was hyperventilating and did not feel relaxing. The sand was fine, but not as powdery as the other Gulf beach we went to in Louisiana.

It's incredible to think that this is already day 11 of the trip. It's intimidating that so much of the rest of this trip is yet unplanned, but mostly it has just been exciting. Every place we've been to so far has been amazing, and I wish I could stay at each place much longer. But the road beckons...