Home > Drives > Drive 2010 - Day 6
Drive 2010 - Day 6
I didn't have much time to explore New Orleans itself, but I also didn't want to leave without at least taking a look around.
I discovered that nearly everyone in New Orleans uses "good morning" as a greeting, and if you reply with anything other than "good morning", they will think you are a jerk who hates them and everything about Southern culture. This is very unusual compared to where I come from, where "hi" or "hello" are perfectly acceptable alternatives.
The first place I stopped was near the French Quarter. It was about 8 or 9 in the morning on a Saturday, and the last stragglers from the previous night's partying were still making their way home. The streets in the French Quarter are blocked off to cars on Friday nights (maybe other nights too?), so I parked nearby and explored on foot. My advice to other visitors would be to not do this in the morning - at least, not in the morning on a Saturday or Sunday. The hot, humid weather did not make for a good combination with the streets lined by dumpsters from the restaurants and bars. Since this was my only chance to see it, I'm glad I did, despite that downside. The French Quarter is one of those well-worn, well-loved places that make it obvious why New Orleans' citizens wouldn't leave even after something like Hurricane Katrina.
After circling through the French Quarter, I stopped at one of the parks along the Mississippi river to see that for myself. Afterwards, I thought I'd see if I could find any of New Orleans famously-elaborate cemeteries. I did come across a few, but they were all nearly completely barren of the artwork that made them known worldwide. I don't know if the damage had been done by the hurricane, vandalism, or some combination of the two, but there was literally no trace of the statues I'd expected - just lots of broken bricks and damaged mausoleums.
I left by the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway. The Causeway is a particularly impressive bridge due to its length. In the middle of the bridge, it really appears as though you are on the ocean - there is no sign of land in any direction.
Looking back, I wish I'd taken some photos in New Orleans, but I also can't think of anything I could have done differently in the time I had that would have made it possible to take anything other than tourist snapshots. Getting an angle I would have liked would require shooting from windows on the second floor or higher of a building, and I just didn't have time to search for something like that. Even early in the morning, trying to set up a tripod on one of the sidewalks wouldn't have gone over very well.
By the late afternoon, I was in northwestern Florida, and on one of the "national seashore" beaches near Pensacola I finally found some vaguely hill-like geography that made me feel at home shooting a couple of photos before the rain started.
I had originally planned on driving right along the barrier island just south of Pensacola (highway 399, I think?), but changed my mind when I saw how backed-up traffic was. There was no way I was going to be able to keep to my schedule if I did that. However, I did end up making a stupid mistake that cost me at least as much time.
The beaches in and around Destin are pure white. When I saw them, I immediately thought of White Sands National Monument, and kept looking for a good place to take pictures from without success. I was really curious whether IR or UV photos of the beaches would appear the same as those of White Sands in New Mexico. I had made it as far as Panama City before I decided I should drive back to Destin and spend the night so that I could get some beach photos in the morning. The distance between those two cities is only about 60 miles, but due to traffic and the incredibly low speed limit, it took me almost two hours to get back. Once I was there, I discovered that there are no cheap places to stay in Destin, at least not on a Friday or Saturday night. I've stayed in 4-5 star hotels in major cities for less per night than at the lowest-priced motel in Destin, even during my trip when tourism was bleak due to the Gulf Coast oil disaster. It sure is a nice-looking area, but be prepared to shell out egregious amounts of cash if you spend the night.
Date: 10 July 2010
Starting Mileage: 32177
Ending Mileage: 32584
Distance Travelled (Day): 407 miles / 656 kilometers
Distance Travelled (Trip to Date): 2395 miles / 3863 kilometers
Fuel Purchased (Day): 15.490 gallons / 58.636 liters
Fuel Purchased (Trip to Date): 75.821 gallons / 287.014 liters
Average Fuel Economy (Day): 26.3 miles per gallon / 8.9 liters per 100 kilometers / 11.2 kilometers per liter
Average Fuel Economy (Trip to Date): 31.6 miles per gallon / 7.4 liters per 100 kilometers / 13.5 kilometers per liter