|17th May 2004
We've got about a 350 mile drive ahead of us today, plus a major
stop along the way, so we set ourselves the goal of getting away
by 7.30am. We then surprised ourselves by actually getting away
by 8.30 am, a far better result than usually achieved. It's not
that we don't get up early enough. It's just that Brian always
has to attend to client emails each day.
The nature of Brian's website
business is great inasmuch that we can travel pretty much
whenever we wish. However, the downside is that he must always
be on call to deal with any issues which may develop so we are
never totally on vacation.
We drove out of Mississippi into
Alabama then on to Mobile (pron. Mobeel). The bridge across
Mobile Bay was a little over 5 miles long and thus dwarfed the
one which impressed us yesterday. We then continued on
across Alabama and into Florida. In due course we find our way
to Pensacola Florida and locate the US Navy Air Museum. This
place was recommended to us by the US Marine Reservist cum FedEx
pilot who sat beside Brian on the flight from Los Angeles to New
A full flight of 5
Blue Angels stunt planes
The US Navy Air Museum turns out
to be very big and very impressive. There looks to be close to
100 planes of every vintage right up to the present day in this
massive museum. And every one of them is in impeccable condition
regardless of vintage.
There's even a full sized Imax
Theatre physically within the museum and we enjoyed one of the
films very much. Incredible air footage of all descriptions.
Sopworth Camel from World War 1
Lots of exhibits
are best viewed from the mezannine
The Tour Guide was
very interesting but as we didn't
have enough time to see it through we had to depart
World War 1 German Fokker
came on line too late to prevent ultimate defeat
After at least two hours in the
museum we went back to the carpark to find our car only made a
ticking noise but wouldn't start. Most of you know that Brian
aint no mechanic but he thought he knew the problem. "It's
either the starter motor solenoid or the bendix spring thingie",
he opined. "Just call Hertz", said Lynn.
Then Brian made a discovery we
won't elaborate on here. "Hmmm, maybe we have a flat
Brian collared one guy after
another as cars arrived or departed the carpark in an attempt to
find someone with battery jumper leads. Around about try number
eight a guy said "sure do". Shortly after that we got
the car started and drove on our way with Brian wiping the egg
off his face.
By now it was clear that it would
be late LATE before we would arrive at our Bed and breakfast in
Monticello, Florida. It meant some serious concentrated driving
to reach John Denham
House by 9.30 pm. Arriving in a totally exhausted condition
we received the following greeting, "Hello, I'm Patricia
and welcome to John Denham House. You're our only guests at the
moment so I've put you into our honeymoon suite".
18th May 2004
We had a late and leisurely breakfast (we're going to have to
put an end to these massive breakfasts), then we went out to
mooch around this very small town and nearby environs.
John Denham House
B&B in Monticello, Florida
The townspeople all seem to know
each other and were very friendly to each other and to us.
Literally everyone who passed us offered a greeting and we're
old fashioned enough to believe that this is the way it OUGHT to
We popped our head into the
recently restored "Opera House" and the lone guardian
dropped her work and insisted on giving us a full guided tour
complete with all the history.
When we we walked into the local
Barber Shoppe, Ronnie Cox offered Brian a shave or a haircut.
"Do you mind if we just take a photo?" "Sure,
just go right ahead" said the very obliging Ronnie.
Driving out into the nearby green
countryside we spied a couple of majestic oak trees in an
exposed position. These were far from the best we've seen but
being well exposed they were easy to photograph. We don't know
why oak trees are rarely planted in Australia. They're a really
lovely tree and of course, here in the South they are always
replete with skeins of spanish moss.
We're so sick of eating road
food, most of which is so over seasoned, over embellished and
over the top. Our B&B hostess recommended we drive over the
State line into Georgia and try a place called the Farmers
Market Cafe in Thomasville GA. We took her advice and from here
on we are definitely going to seek out similar places and avoid
Although we have encountered so
called "southern food" at a number of different places
in the last 10 days, our gut feeling was that the Farmers Market
Cafe was far closer to the genuine article. It was nothing to
look at and we probably would never have selected it but for the
recommendation. However the food was simply, appetising just
what the doctor ordered (sorry that's wrong because Brian's
doctor would be appalled given the fat content of this southern
A very refined, mature and
extremely hospitable black guy recognised our puzzled looks when
examining the array of vegetables. He took us on a guided tour
of the buffet, throwing in an extremely erudite commentary as he
guided us along the Bain maries.
Here's what the $8 per head
Southern stye buffet included:-
- Grilled Pork Chops
- Deep Fried Shrimp
- Southern Fried Chicken
- Deep Fried Bacon Fat Strips
- Fried Catfish
- Smoked Sausages & Onions
- Fried Chicken Livers
- Corn on the Cob
- Johnnie Cakes
- Creamed Potatoes
- Turnip Greens
- Black Eyed Peas
- Butter Beans
- Sweet Potato Souffle
- Mustard Greens
- Green Beans
- Salad Bar
- At least 10 other things whose
name we forgot.
The $8 buffet price also included
a large homemade lemonade, a soft drink or iced tea plus
Brian passed on the dessert
offerings but Lynn still had space to try the Peach Cobbler and
the Banana Pudding. Phew!!
Chatting with our buffet guide at
the end of the meal we asked for a little guidance on tipping
conventions in the US. He mentioned that he only gets paid $2.50
per hour so without tips he would be unable to live. We later
discovered that this is pretty much the norm in the USA. We
Australians always talk about the never ending necessity to tip
everyone in sight when visiting America. However, when you
consider what we got for $8 and you consider our waiter's $2.50
per hour, we should just adapt to the American system and take a
"when in Rome....etc" approach because the bottom line
still represents fantastic value.
We've noted that the expected
gratuity has increased since earlier visits. Nowadays 15% is
minimum and 20% is becoming normal for reasonable service. Hey,
just go with the flow is our motto now.