Thursday March 19th, 2015... We left Virginia Beach, starting coordinates 37N80W! It was bitter sweet to say the least, and tears were shed as we realized what and who we would be missing while we were gone. We respectfully acknowledged the feelings, with an understanding that these feelings would fade, and it would all be worth it.
First stop was Charlotte, NC, for a (way too quick) visit with an old college friend and her hubby. It was so sweet to end an emotional day with seeing their faces and catching up a bit. Then it was off to New Orleans baby, where we spent just a day exploring and taking it all in. The local cuisine, jazz culture, and booze was good along with the random parades. The second picure below pretty much summarizes the wierdness found on Bourbon Street. Fun for an afternoon, but not really our scene these days.
|Balcony on Bourbon Street|
|Bourbon Street wierdness. WTF|
We spent our first 2 nights on the road sleeping in the 4Runner in Walmart parking lots. If I wondered what it was like to homeless, well now I have the slightest understanding... And it kinda sucks. I was less than thrilled to wake up and have to walk into a public restroom with boogers still in my eyes!
|Mallary's wake of shame|
We decided to take a slight detour on our way into Texas, to Sea Rim State Park, to camp out for the night. It started off amazing! I (Mallary) conquered my fear of alligators (kinda) and then we set up camp right on the deserted beach, between the marshes and the Gulf of Mexico. We collected fire wood, and made a delicious Dutch oven stew on the fire and watched the sunset. Perfection... And finally a glimpse into what life was going to be like...
|Gator spotting, they're not so bad afterall|
|Perfection, the calm before the storm|
|Dutch Oven dinner.|
Until bed time... then began MOSQUITOACOLYPSE! We thought inside a vehicle with only a cracked window stuffed with mosquito netting and an exterior screen would be totally safe. But about 2 hours into the night, we heard the unmistakable buzzing sound of mans worst enemy, mosquitos. We quickly dispatched them, hoping it was rogue vermin that made their way in early in the day. However, as the minutes went on, more and more and more mosquitos kept pouring their way in. For every one we killed, it seemed like three more would show up. At first it was somewhat entertaining, turning off our lantern and then turning it back on and luring them to it only to smash them against the ceiling leaving skeeter stalactites. Louder then the crashing sounds of the nearby waves, the swarms of bugs outside were only growing louder by the minute. We held the lantern to the window, and to our alarm, the window was literally covered with bugs. How were they getting in? We concluded that the swarm was so massive that they were working their way through small gaps in the tailgate. Time to get the hell out, pretty sure i've seen an X-files episode of something like this. After making a dash out of the truck to round up our miscellaneous gear while doing a dance similar to when you're trying not to pee yourself, we sped off out of the park and stopped at the first dodgy motel we came across. "Luxury" has never felt so good. Next time a park ranger says "Make sure you have deet!" We'll translate that as "Better stick with Walmart". In the end we made a pact that whenever a miserable situation arises we'll treat ourselves to a hotel, motel, or whatever it might be that counteracts the blow to morale. Roughing it is great, but we draw a line at being stuck in a car with ravenous mosquitos all night....and frankly it was just too early in the game for this. :)
We are now in San Antonio, staying with some good friends, while we gear up for crossing the border. A couple days of R&R, hanging out with friends, last minute prep, and a little Texan sight seeing, before heading south! Life is good, we are so excited for the road ahead!