Sixty litres, forty bucks

Trip Start May 24, 2005
1
7
15
Trip End Aug 20, 2005


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Flag of United States  , South Carolina
Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sixty litres, forty bucks(which fills a tank of gas)and you are ready to see America. The joys of driving in the US is the so many things you see on the way. One of the first things I noticed was the people in bright orange jump suits picking litter. Well I thought to myself its great to see such high visibility gear on state workers. Only as I approached could I read the writing on the suits that said "Inmates of Barton County Jail" then I saw their guards a couple of good ole boys with a couple of good ole pump action shotguns. I guess not a lot of guys run coz the guards did not have the physique for running, but they were mighty comfortable with their shotguns. Also as I drive down the east coast you get to see wildlife, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks and the odd badger. Unfortunately they look like these flat brown and red puddles but hey they still pretty. Once on a six hour drive I thought I saw a kangaroo but it turned out to be half a deer. Maybe I should ease up on the caffeine pills and tootsie rolls when I drive :-)
The freeway system is great, nice straight roads with gentle bends and heavily policed. In the North everybody breaks the speed limit which is 65 mph, most people do about 80mph plus. Which is ok till it rains and you have eighteen wheeler trucks drenching entire cars with water. Everybody rationale on the freeway, is you should be the second fastest car, the fastest car will always get the ticket. The drivers in Boston were bull headed and aggressive, they would rather crash than give you an inch of the road. As a tourist, I get lost, enter the wrong lane, try to navigate and drive simultaneously. When I make an error I correct it, no amount of gestures, honking from these fools in their "rolling fortress" a.k.a. SUV/Jeeps think they are going to stop me from changing lanes. Hey I am guy in $1,250 car and you my fool are in $100k M class jeep, they don't understand that another dent on my car will not devalue it. Funny when I give them a big smile and a large wave, after I change lanes anyway, it seems to drive them crazy :-) As for some NY drivers they were good, waving me through the odd time but like Boston there are guys who believe their horn, is also their brakes, their indicators and a method to make me move quicker, Ha :-)When you get into the South everybody drives calmly only 5 mph over the speed limit, people yield way and generally more polite. Maybe coz they nicer, maybe coz they armed or maybe the cops are more forceful. It could also be the fact that nearly everybody drinks and drive, which will cost you up to $10k if caught but still does not deter them. I was even told in New Orleans they have drive through cocktail bar! Whatever the reason for it is much more pleasant to drive down South. The food one gets on the roadside are the standard burgers, freedom fries and fried chicken. Once in Wendys I had a taco salad which was a big salad bowl with chill con carne poured over it. Interesting textures never mind taste as you combine sour pickles, lettuce and chillies.....
I must admit I am very impressed with Charleston, South Carolina. Its a small city, very picturesque and historic. From their you can visit many of the old style plantations with its period houses, history and scenic gardens. One of the nicer things that happened to me was in the market area. I was talking to a trader, just chatting about Ireland etc. I eventually picked a photograph that I liked and she insisted that I could have the photo for free. All she wanted in exchange was a photo from Peru, of some Peruvian kids sitting in front of a red door. It's funny I was talking to another woman in a bar and she said "Wow you're from Ireland, ya know there is another Irishman here in this bar" I said "Is it the guy in the tweed flat cap and the badge (that states I a republican not a criminal) by any chance". She said "Wow the Irish can really pick out there own!" "Ock I know its just a knack we have" I replied. It turned out Jock (tweed hat guy) left Belfast when 13, is a nice guy with a strange Belfast/Georgian accent. So that is all for now folks, take care and don't work too hard :-)
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