USA 2011 Chapter 5 – On the road again: New Orleans to St Petersburg

As originally posted on my Tumblr site while travelling around the USA in 2011…

Time for my second (and longer) road trip, driving to Miami from New Orleans. However, I ended up staying for three nights in St Petersburg in Florida directly before Miami so that will get its own post: lucky St Petersburg, eh?

First day saw me heading out of Louisana and towards Mobile, Alabama. The drive was good, with some of it over more swampland plus variable weather too. I’d pre-booked a hotel in Mobile as it seemed a sizeable city, checked in and was perhaps inordinately excited that they had a complementary guest laundry service, so I could actually wash some clothes. Life on the road – the rock and roll doesn’t stop.


Wake Up – Boo Radleys in Sweet Home Alabama

Wardrobe improvement over, I headed out to explore and ended up having a fantastic night. I checked out a couple of sports bars (one playing “September Gurls” by Big Star as I settled in, very welcoming) before spending most of the night in this really cool “dive bar” called Hayley’s. You need to be a member to drink there due to some licensing laws, so I am now proud member 29579 should I ever be back in sweet home Alabama. Anyway, got talking to the barmaid and then some of the regulars on a whole range of topics right up my street: music, sport, film, comedy etc. Some of them were really big Ricky Gervais fans so I enjoyed trying to explain who “Barry from Eastenders” actually is/was in “Extras”.

That said, the law of “there is always one” proved international as one guy who my new buddies sort of knew kept interrupting in an unwelcome manner and seemed to find it hilarious that I was English. He also kept putting Oasis songs on the jukebox and saying “this one’s for you” in a poor English accent. Now I actually found this pretty funny and love Oasis anyway of course, but my companions weren’t so enamoured and I got the impression they felt he was letting their state/city down but I assured them that wasn’t the case. I also discovered I wasn’t the first English guy to drink in the bar, as there is a fella called “English Dave” that comes in from time to time. Again, glad to see that classic simplistic nicknaming goes on over here, as with my mate “Swiss Andy” (where could he be from, you may wonder…).

Next morning, with a slightly sore head, it was time to head towards Florida, which included driving through the state of Mississippi too. My ultimate destination was Panama City Beach (in Florida, not Panama) and the drive as I neared there was superb. I took a coastal route along what is called the Florida Panhandle (basically the North West of Florida state) and the beaches there are truly spectacular; properly white sand and deepest blue water. I also went through a really odd town actually called Seaside, which is where they filmed “The Truman Show”, so it’s full of newish identical houses that seem too perfect and is consequently a little bit eerie.

Once at Panama City Beach, I drove up and down the very very long seafront to find a motel for the night. I ended up in one that was a little rough and ready but had a fantastic balcony view right onto the beach (which you can see below). This in turn led to an interesting development that did surprise me: for the first time in a very long time, I went and bought some flip flops. Those of you that know me well will know what an unlikely scenario this is. Anyway, had to get some beach action so took the plunge. Beginning to worry what this may mean when I hit Miami. As for Panama City Beach itself, it’s nice enough but quite family orientated really so took it easy before setting off the next day.


Panama City Beach

There was no obvious stop for the next evening so I decided to drive in the general direction of St Petersburg and just rock up at a town/motel that looked OK en route. I ended up in a town called Chiefland, nothing particularly exciting although I did have a decent feed at Bar-B-Q Bill’s Bar-B-Q Grill, which was in a log cabin, a bit of authentic Americana there. After that, it was onto St Petersburg the next day…

One thought on “USA 2011 Chapter 5 – On the road again: New Orleans to St Petersburg

  1. Pingback: Adventures in the USA: 2011 | No Longer Teenage Fan Club

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