Puppy love

Driving out of the National Park we passed a little “farmers” market which we checked out. They weren’t really selling produce – more like, knitted goods and crafts plus some cookies and cakes. They were also adopting out puppies which, of course, could not go un-noticed by most visitors. Including us.

This one is begging to come with us but we’re not exactly ready for another passenger..

Although this one may have made us think twice, just for a second.

Ok, maybe longer than a second…

We left as quick as possible to avoid Andrew smuggling a certain little white puppy into the van.

We stuck to the coastline and drove as long, and as far as we could today making it our third solid day of driving. The weather has been pretty crummy as we move north which makes us not feel as bad about breezing by it. We found a little nice spot to take a break for a late lunch. It looked like the area would be generally quiet even if the weather was good. Though the beach itself was one of the nicer ones we’ve seen so far.

We also found a Man of the Sea Museam – random but interesting.

Later in the day we made a quick stop into Destin Beach to check it out. On a cold windy day like this, we didn’t stay long. Sand was blowing everywhere, Man-o-wars on the beach and choppy water. no thanks.

When in Pensacola, near Destin, we made a stop at a grocery store and while we were sitting in the van we heard the sound of something hitting our van, hard. We rushed out to find that a guy next to us had slammed his door into our van. I’m sure the wind played a big role but it really was not a good feeling to find the van did not get away un-damaged. It could have been worse, and at the end of the day it is only a tiny scratch (less than an inch) on the raised part of a the panel, but still.

The guys response was less than helpful – he offered us $20 bucks, then denied it was even his door that caused that damage (despite his door having a bit of paint missing). So once we went through the reconstruction and lined up missing paints and he apologized. I indicated that to get it fixed would be more than $20 because if you were doing it properly you would have to deal with the the entire panel instead of getting it just touched up. I realise this is drastic but the spot could be catalyst to cause rust if left un protected. Being from the south he has no concept of rust, his response was that if we wanted to do this through insurance then he wanted the police involved and to do it right. I was all torn up about this – I really think its the dumbest thing to call the police and take them away from saving lives/fighting crime and all that, so they can deal with a minor ding in a parking lot.

What really got me going is when the guy told us: “it’s just an old van and, you know, who cares anyway”.

I know he probably doesn’t care about his truck and in general thinks we don’t mind, but honestly, this van is actually our home right now. It has been babied since it rolled off the production line, and since we’ve had it, we’ve continued to make sure it is well taken care of. In the 36 years it has barely been out in the snow, still has it’s original paint, no signs of rust, and is generally in amazing condition for a ’75. It is not JUST an old van, it means far more to us than that – where is the respect? We skipped the formal report and just left it at that – the guy booked it as fast as he possibly could. This whole thing put a bit of a sour on the rest of the day – I really hate how others seem to just not care. Not just about their possessions, but about anything really.

We continued on and crossed the border into Alabama – our first new state in almost 2 months. We weren’t quite in the mood to stop so we pressed on, hitting Mississippi shortly after. With all this driving, we’re certainly covering ground but we’re generally exhausted by the end of the day. Our whole objective has been to make it to see some Mardi Gras activity. This evening we’re spending the night just outside of Biloxi, MS and are planning on catching the Mardi Gras parade they have planned tomorrow.

It will be a first for both of us and we’re pretty excited!

Tallahassee, FL to Ocean Springs, MS 

Today’s track – 280 miles | 448 kms
Tomorrow’s plan – See what Mardi Gras is about