Week 38 – Atlanta to Mobile

Day 259 – Atlanta to Athens

Sunday morning we slept in, then packed up the van to head east (essentially for the last time on the trip). We stopped along the way for lunch in the van, then continued on to our destination, Athens. Michael had always wanted to visit because his favorite band, R.E.M., got there start there. First, we walked by the 40 Watt Club, the center of the music scene in Athens. Then we walked through downtown and down the hill to the last remaining section of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (the steeple), where R.E.M. played their very first show. Finally, we visited Wuxtry Records, an excellent independent record store.

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Week 37 – Lakeland to Atlanta

Day 253 – Lakeland to Gainesville

Sunday was the beginning of a long week of driving to get out of Florida and all the way to Atlanta. It was also Christmas Eve! We had a lazy morning at hotel, then we drove to the campground, making a quick stop at Jo Anns to pick up more yarn for the Trail Blazer blanket Tracey is working on. We got a propane fill-up, Tracey did the laundry, then we settled in to watch Christmas movies in the van.

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Week 36 – Kennedy Space Center to Lakeland

Day 246 – Kennedy Space Center to Florida City

Sunday we had a long drive planned with an important stop along the way, so we packed up the van and headed south towards Miami. This was probably the most difficult drive of the entire trip, lots of traffic and city driving with terrible, awful drivers. It was exhausting for both of us, but we made our way around Miami to Biscayne Bay National Park. We didn’t really get to enjoy the park as it was meant to be enjoyed, since it really is best suited for snorkeling and boating. But we enjoyed the nice weather and got a really nice view of the Miami skyline far in the distance.

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Week 35 – Indian Rocks Beach to Kennedy Space Center

Day 239 – Indian Rocks Beach

The weather finally cleared and started warming up on Sunday, just in time for our trip into Tampa to go to the see the Buccaneers take on the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium. We really enjoyed the game and some nice sunny weather, but once the sun started going down the chilly weather returned. After a seafood dinner on the way home, we returned to the condo for another relaxing evening.

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Week 34 – Jekyll Island to Indian Rocks Beach

Day 232 – Jekyll Island to St. Augustine

Sunday morning we packed up the van and kept moving south into Florida, our 41st state on the trip. Our destination for the day was St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the U.S. The town is an interesting mix of Spanish colonial buildings and late 19th-century architecture built when the town was blossoming as a tourist resort. We spent a few hours walking around the town center, then we headed a few miles east to our campground in Anastasia State Park on the ocean.

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Week 33 – Columbia to Jekyll Island

Day 225 – Pointsett State Park

We began our Sunday with a relaxing morning in the campground, mainly to let the weather warm up a bit. Then after lunch, we found a nice, easy four-mile trail through the forest to stretch our legs and get a better sense of the countryside. While it wasn’t the most magnificent hike we’ve ever done, it was still a nice, quiet walk.

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Week 32 – Bryson City, NC to Columbia, SC

Day 218 – Bryson City

Sunday started with a cold, crisp morning, so we bundled up and walked a few short blocks to the main street through downtown Bryson City. We visited a few shops and got an up-close look at the Great Smoky Mountain Railway train that was preparing to leave the station. On the way back to the hotel, we grabbed a to-go lunch so we could fuel up for an afternoon hike. The weather was much warmer by then, so we had a very pleasant hike on the Deep Creek trail, just inside the boundaries of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We saw several nice waterfalls and took in some nice views of the surrounding mountains.

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Week 31 – Charlottesville to Bryson City

Day 211 – Charlottesville to Christiansburg

We started off with another cold morning on Sunday, so we bundled up and packed up the van for a relatively long drive. Along the way, we stopped at Natural Bridge, a historic geologic landmark once owned by Thomas Jefferson. After a nice hike and lunch, we continued on to our destination, Christiansburg.
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Week 30 – Clifton to Charlottesville

Day 204 – Clifton

It was odd waking up to the sound of children Sunday morning after spending the night at Tracey’s brother TJ’s house. The boys were in a playful mood as we drank our coffee and said our goodbyes. We made the drive into the heart of Washington D.C. to visit Michael’s coworker Rachel and her family at her house. After two years working with his current employer, this was the first time meeting a coworker in person. We ate an excellent breakfast casserole and enjoyed showing off our van to her three-year old son. Afterwards, we headed back to Tracey’s parents house for dinner and a fun game of Train Dominoes.

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Week 29 – Cape May to Clifton, VA

Day 197 – Cape May to Rehobeth Beach

Our plan for Sunday was to take our first ferry ride of the trip, taking the boat from Cape May to Lewes, Delaware. The ride was a little rough, as the weather had turned bad again overnight. We survived the hour-and-a-half journey without getting too seasick, but the rain got worse and worse as the afternoon went on. We stopped at an outlet mall to get out of the wet for a bit, then we had no choice but to go back out into the weather to our final destination for the day, Delaware Seashore State Campground.

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