Early that evening we reached Savannah, GA. Not much to say about it since we really only drove through their historic district and then very quickly into a downtrodden ghetto area that abutted the highway. From there we drove a short distance to Skidaway Island State Park, which was beautiful. The huge canopy of trees kept it cool during the evening as Gus and I set up camp and tried out our air mattress for the first time. It was incredibly comfy and made it uneccesary to have to haul out the sleeping bags, which are a major pain the ass to unpack and then repack into the car. However, because we were now in a heavily forested area as opposed to the beach I felt very creeped out and thought the homicidal maniacs were out to get us and lurking in the bushes. I think I was holding on toy Gus for most of the night and made him zip up all of the windows in our tent so I couldn't see out. I know, I'm lame. I can't help it! I also saw a huge raccoon outside our tent and its eyes evily glowed at me, which put me a bit on edge.
Wednesday was spent driving across the rest of Georgia and Florida to get to Fort Walton Beach, FL, which is just outside of Pensacola on the Gulf of Mexico. There we stayed in Grayton Beach State Park. Oh... so beautiful. It was near sunset when we got to the beach. The sand was so, so white. And the consistancy was very gritty, like salt. The water was very green and clear and as warm as bath water. It was low tide, so we treaded out onto the sandbar and waded in the waves while watching the sun go down. I think that might have been my favorite park of the trip so far. I wish we could have stayed longer in the Gulf. It was beautiful and everything I would have wanted out of a vacation spot.
But, to keep on schedule, yesterday off we went to Baton Rouge. We crossed Alabama, Mississippi, and avoided New Orleans to get there. We drove through tons of pockets of torrential rain (with no visibility - quite scary for us) and passed a lot of dead armadillos on the side of the road, which is kinda weird roadkill for a yank like myself who is used to deer and raccoons. An interesting quality about the South are the clouds. They are very different than they are in the northeast. For one they are HUGE and seem to go on in all directions in great fluffy plumes. It's also a good deal flatter, so without buildings, mountains and hils to obstruct the view, all you have are clouds surrounding you every which way. Gus and I have a whole series of cloud pictures we took from the car that I hope to be able to post when we get back.
When we got to LA, we went to a Creole restaurant called Boutin's to try out the cuisine. Gus and I shared an appetizer of blackened, grilled alligator. It was surprisingly tasty. I wouldn't have guessed. A bit like a tough fish and prepared in a similar way. Gus had BBQ shrimp and had seafood gumbo, which I thought would be like jambalaya (which I love) but I was disappointed on that count. It was more like soup than stew. The place also had live bluegrass music, so we watched that and quite a few old couples dancing (line dancing?) together to the music. Not one of them cracked a smile! Wtf? Our waitress actually carded me when I ordered a drink and was like "New York! Wow, y'all traveled some way to get here!" She was so sweet and friendly, as I've noticed most southerns to be. Also much more formal, always saying ma'am and sir, which seems sort of funny to me, since I never hear it and I think of myself as being far too young to be a ma'am. I'm enjoying those regional differences inherent in this trip.
This morning Gus and I headed to the Louisiana Arts and Science Museum to check out the Jim Henson exhibit there, organized by the Smithsonian. OMG! It was wonderful. Henson was a genius and it was amazing to see his entire process from early character sketches story boards, TV commercial spots, the actual muppets themselves, and interviews/video footage. I highly recommend it those in the area or in any city that the exhibit visits. The rest of the day we drove through Texas, which was a major drag, especially around Houston where we hit some intense traffic. By the time we got to San Antonio, we were tired. Our room here kinda sucks, the front desk woman was completely unhelpful, would not take my AAA discount card or a coupon because apparently those discounts did not apply to "weekend" rates. Since when is Friday considered a weekend? She also gave us incorrect directions to a super market and sent us to the depot instead, so we got some crappy Mexican fast food and called it a night.
Tomorrow we hope to explore downtown San Antonio and then drive to Austin to explore what they have to offer. The next few days we hope to drive through Amarillo. TX and then spend 3-4 days in the Santa Fe/Taos region of New Mexico and visit with my archeology professor there on a dig with his students.