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Sunday, August 11, 2013


             It's one thing to read "Blue Highways" or "The Road Less Taken" but quite another to actually veer off the interstate. Exploring what's beyond can get interesting.  
     6000 miles into this trip we realized we had not followed Carl Sandburg's advice.  We had been on too many big, busy roads.
   Earlier this week Francesca and I were whizzing south on I-26 with thousands of other vehicles.  We felt like pebbles pouring through a funnel all in an effort to get to Savannah quickly.  We knew we weren't having fun and thought, "Maybe today's journey can be as interesting as its destination".

People often describe sailing this way.

    Scouring a map, we saw a nearby country road that snaked its way to the coastal city.  Five minutes later we were on it passing  towns with names like Orangeburg, Smoaks, and Sixty Six.  We were on "Freedom Road" which later became "Lowcountry Highway". 
    Sometimes we didn't see another car for miles.  No one was selling the okra, tabacco, or beans that filled the fields next to us. 
    On the edge of Branchville we saw a sad little store with a "Fresh SC Peaches" sign.  We went in to find five bruised, lonely, peaches huddled on a table.  
The town got better after that. 

 This is the former train station that is now a museum.  Small town collections like this are a treasure.

 We loved the Branchville's faded houses as well. 


Two days later we were leaving Saint Augustine for the final leg of our trip.  We shunned the interstate again for A1A, Florida's Atlantic coast highway.   Here are a few things we saw,

Fort Mantanzas 
The southern entrance to  St. Augustine harbor is spectacular but passing by can conjure up a sad past.   The inlet is best known for the mass execution of 245 French Protestants by Spanish soldiers in 1585.   After the Frenchmen were captured they were told they could live if the converted to Catholicism.  All but four refused.
   "Matanzas" is Spanish for slaughter. Killing for God, it's an old tradition.  
Wood carving, there's a tradition I can live with...

Tree Root Sculptures 
  Just south of the inlet you pass a house festooned with the resident's creations.

The Atlantic Ocean        
How many highways give you a view like this?

JAVA JOINT-  You can enjoy the view above 

 while sipping coffee at this Flagler Beach cafe.
         Just down the street, there's a non-stop party at the Pirate House. I wanted to join them but 
Francesca wouldn't allow it.   She heard Miami calling.  
   Continuing south we soon ran out of lonely highways.  After five hours on I-95 our dog, Pi, smelled things familiar.  We were completing the last of our 6,823 miles. 
     It's good to be home.  We knew we were here when we opened the Miami Herald and saw 
two local mayors being led away in handcuffs.
    To those of you who have been following the blog,  thanks for coming along.   I also thank the many of you who invited us into your homes or sent in  comments and suggestions.  
     We enjoyed your stories as well.

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