St. 'Hot'gustine

Trip Start Jun 09, 2009
Trip End Jun 23, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Louisiana
Sunday, June 21, 2009

Seeing that I had shoes on with a sleeved shirt, I was way too overdressed for the free breakfast in the lobby of the hotel in St. Augustine.   Packed with Americans feverishly stuffing their face simply because it was "free," compelled me to suggest we move on to a paying restaurant for a nice morning meal.  I am not trying to be a snob here, but please wait to put on your white zinc on your nose until you actually GET TO THE BEACH!  Not before breakfast.

Across the street to Shoney's.  Remember those!  They still have em down here.  Man it’s dang hot outside.  As we sat down, I realized that the minimum age limit here is 75.  The waitress did not card us and let us continue our breakfast even though we were well below the legal requirement.  I mean, these folks remember when St. Augustine was being built!  Again, no straws with the coffee.  And what I thought were ashtrays on the table, were actually false teeth trays to hold while you have juice

Now I am just being rude.  Sorry.

A tad on the bitter side (first time this whole trip), we ventured out into the stale and incredible humid air.  We began to tour the downtown historic district, taking in the first school house, the oldest church in the country, and walking on some of the original stone streets from the 1510s to 20s.  Very historic and wonderful indeed.  One catch….its 114 degrees in the SHADE!  It started going down hill after I scrounged up 5 dollars in change from the truck to fill the parking meter, only to read as we walked away that parking is free on Sundays!  I stepped into a Crocks store (still trying to find the historic significance of that by the way) to just cool off for a second.  And would you believe that I was told that if I was wasn’t browsing that I could not loiter.  I confronted him about it and he justified it by saying that if he let everyone in to just cool off, he would have no room for the shoppers.  What a CROCK!  So I just picked up a pair and walked around looking at different pairs until my body temp got back down into livable range.  I put the Crocks back in the wrong place if you were wondering.  Don’t worry…it’s SO letter time when I get home.

Brian and I sat under a tree on a bench and made a game plan.  We need to just head for cooler ground.  It does us no good to tour in these conditions and I think everyone else felt the same as it was near empty.  No forts today, no lighthouse, no beach.  This weather was making me sweat like OJ in court.  We decided to cut our losses and head to New Orleans.  So at 12 noon, we packed the truck back up, told the Ramada to have a nice stay and work on that breakfast thing, and headed west on I-10.

Please, please don't get me wrong here.  St. Augustine is a wonderfully charming place and I am sure much more exciting in the cooler months.  So please do not think we left because of the city.  On the contrary....I was challenged with our decision to leave or not.  But with this heat we could not enjoy it at all.

The thermometer stayed at 3-digits most of the trip, and even had to take periodic breaks to let the tires cool down.  This was no joke driving and the amount of flat tires on the side of the road and 18-wheeler blow outs proved that this was going to be a tough push west.  Quick late-lunch in Tallahassee, energized toward Pensacola, then Mobile, through Biloxi at sunset and into New Orleans just before 10pm.  Temp was still at 92 when we got 14 feet below sea level in the Big Easy.   At least our hotel here in New Orleans is much more upscale than the St. Augustine “Resort” and we can relax by the pool during the heat of the day and enjoy two full days in the Quarter than the original 1.5 days as planned.  Plus I have a great love of NOLA and always feel like returning home when I come here.  Nearing 4000 miles now.

The torches lit on the outside of the Maison Dupuy on Toulouse and Burgundy welcomed these weary travelers who just yesterday morning left Virginia.  All in all, I think it was the best move we could have made as I sit here and type in the room.  Now we only have to drive to Houston on Wednesday and that is cake compared to the miles past.  This will also be a nice time to unwind after the tight schedule I  had us on for the journey.  But we did see a lot, huh!

The stillness of the quarter surrounds this hotel now as we pass 1am.  I will retire for some much needed rest.  Need to lie in the dark and think of how I am going to write my letter to the Crock people.  Can’t promise I will be up before a certain time, since Café du Monde is open 24, allowing me my beignets at any hour.  Until tomorrow….Dispatch out.
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