The bitch in the machine

I know it seems harsh but that is what we have taken to calling Miss Neverlost, the know-it-all voice from the GPS thingy in our hire car. Especially when she doesn’t have the roads we want to go to or takes us to some weird other road of the same name. We love it when a new road or bypass has been built and it looks as if we’re flying or going cross country on her little screen as she valiantly asks us to “make a legal u-turn as soon as possible” or to “proceed to the highlighted route” (pronounced rowt) over and over until we shut down her volume.

However she does work tirelessly and if I do get a little frustrated by her slow and unintuitive keypad, inside that little box I’m sure I’ve heard her sigh.

“Alright then do it your way you turkeys – just don’t blame me if you end up somewhere in Alaska…”

BIM has taken us now all the way through Charleston and Savannah into Florida, named you might be interested in by Juan Ponce de Leon, who when he landed on what he thought was an island named it after its prolific flowers in 1513. He was in search of the Fountain of Youth and thought he discovered it, but as we discovered when we sipped from said spring – all he got was a slightly sulfuric beverage of average taste.

Do I feel younger? No.

Is it a tourist trap? Yes. But hey, we’re in the States.

And about to embark on a journey into the biggest tourist trap of all time: DisneyWorld.

But let me take you back aways to Charleston. Yes Gone with the Wind territory.

Tara! Home. I’ll go home. And I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all… tomorrow is another day.

A town that has survived Civil War, Earthquakes, Fires and in 1989, Hurricane Hugo. Some of the buildings bear the remnants of those disasters. A church spire still leaning from the Earthquake in 1886.  Bolts through the sides of houses to hold them together.

Charleston

The houses are cute. They call them single houses because they are one room wide and they have these verandahs down the side of the house facing the sea to catch the breezes. There is a door on the street end of the verandah called a privacy door and if it’s closed it means don’t look on the balcony!

They also paint the ceiling of these verandahs with sky blue paint. Some call it haint blue – or ghost blue – as it is said to frighten away ghosts by making them think it is daytime. In reality it is supposed to deter wasps and hornets from making their nests. It stuffs up their perception or something.

Savannah is beautiful. I’m in love with Spanish moss which hangs like soft mistletoe from the branches of the overhanging oak trees. It is a shady seedy city full of the resonance of its colourful history, and familiar because of all the films made their including most famously Forrest Gump and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Savannah

OMG it’s midnight. I still haven’t worked out a way to upload my photos nor put my little films online but dear internet, it ain’t going to happen tonight.

Tomorrow I need to have my Disney smile on because being grumpy and tired at DisneyWorld – well that’s just not Disney is it?

UPDATE: Disney was great. Classic. You have to do it.

But we also did Universal Studios…

Universal Studios

Universal Studios

Norfolk to Wilmington

Yesterday we got up bright and early, enjoyed our free breakfast and hit the road to enjoy a full day’s travelling.

Not.

In fact we slept in until breakfast had been cleared away and blearily made our way out to find a Dunkin Donut on our way to Kitty Hawk. We didn’t find one.

Instead we hit the freeways and eventually picked up some fruit and water at a Food Lion supermarket. At lunchtime we came across a fantastic all-American diner – Mel’s Diner.


Mel's Diner

A shiny chrome trailer type diner with all the retro charm of the movies. And the food was fantastic. Groover had this enormous club sandwich and I had a Greek salad. Also huge and crisp and delicious.Our rumbling tummies satisfied we jumped back in the car and headed for the site of the Wright Brothers first powered flight at Kitty Hawk. The town itself is row after row of stilted wooden houses – designed for beach life. And the road down there not much more than billboard after billboard interspersed with the occasional strip mall.

Entry to the Wright memorial is only $4 per person over 15 and it lasts a week. The museum is excellent and they have a full-scale replica of the original plane and glider. The original is in the Smithsonian. Outside they have marked the flight paths and we had fun getting the kids to recreate the flights on our little video recorder. Watch the video…

We then climbed Kill Devil Hill where the brothers first launched their glider. The memorial which looks brand new was in fact built in 1932. It is very impressive and apparently is the inspiration for some random game that Groover and Hugamuga play – Bioshock. Note the jetstream of what their invention led to next to it.

Kitty Hawk

Kitty Hawk

The dunes have been grassed over to keep them in place and they don’t like you walking on the lawn, so much so that they’ve oversown the grass with prickley pear. Nasty stuff.

Then we got back in the car for a big drive. We got as far as Wilmington where the Lonely Planet guide recommends The Water Street Restaurant and stopped in for some southern fare. Once again LP didn’t let us down. This is a great restaurant – the food is good – we had the crabcakes and the fried green tomatoes, the popcorn shrimp and a pasta dish. All delicious. The entertainment was world class. A brilliant singer who kept us entertained all night. There were a group of older folk there who come along everytime this guy performs and they were up dancing and really having a good time. They came to talk to us because they came from Connecticut and Groover was wearing his UConn tee-shirt.

Wilmington

Wilmington

Today we’re mooching off down to Charleston and Savannah. Then to Orlando and Disneyworld.