US Road Trip Travelog: 24th February 2005

Rainy night in Georgia. Sorry about that, but it was. First stop before the drive to the coast is to see George Hussey. George is another contact through Sean at the Riviera Owners Association, and as well as being a big fan of the cars he runs Automobile Atlanta, a Porsche specialist with emphasis on the 914.

As seems to be common with Riviera people, George is really helpful and friendly. He's having his father's old Riviera repainted (bought new and still with the ''Riviera built for ...' plaque on the dash) the same original colour. He seems reasonably impressed with mine, and surprisingly tells me that I may not have paid over the odds for it. But then maybe he was just being polite. When new the Riviera had a huge option list and mine, as is the case with many I think, has a few of the desirable ones - passenger-side electric mirror, giant dual horns under the bonnet - and is missing some that you would expect, like a tilt steering wheel. The badges on the side, which I'd noticed are crudely stuck on with glue, are the wrong sort as well.

After that a real treat as he shows me around Auto Atlanta. Though most of the business is mail order they also have a workshop with customer cars and quite a collection of their own. There is an immaculate 356 Cabriolet, another being restored for a customer (though frankly it looks to me as if it'd be easier to build a brand new one from scratch) and numerous 911's, 944's etc. The best bit for me is learning more about the 914, a car never made in RHD form and so rare in the UK. It's a fascinating and probably under-rated little car and it seems to me that George has found a real niche with his business. There's plenty of info on their - very good - website if you're interested.

After my visit to Auto Atlanta I need to get south of Atlanta itself, and the I-75 is the only real option. The city is huge and takes about half an hour to cross but thankfully, unlike St Louis, they've learnt about the value of proper road signs. Once on the other side I leave the I-75 and join Highway 23 down towards Macon.

Driving through Georgia
For the next 250 miles the view through the screen is pretty much as above.

North of Macon I join the I-75 again briefly then leave for Highway 80 all the way down to Savannah. It's a long drive but the roads are relatively empty. The towns along the way provide a welcome diversion (and unwelcome speed limits) along with some familiar names - I'd seen Dublin on the map, but Dudley? Unlike the one in England the Dudley in Georgia looks a bit depressed, not really somewhere you'd want to stop, and ... oh, my mistake ... maybe it's not that different. They should do a twinning thing. On the way down the car clocks up 75,000 miles and the funniest thing I see is a sign outside an Antique Mall (bric-a-brac shop) that says: "Dead Peoples Things For Sale".

After a long time being lost around Savannah I eventually find the Econo Lodge, the only place I could find last night with a room free for the night (and there are no rooms free anywhere tomorrow - Friday - night). First impressions are not good. The door to my room looks like it's been kicked down quite a few times, the view from the only window is of some dirt and a pile of trash, and the electric sockets in the room are hanging off the wall. Still, it's cheap and near the centre of town.

Savannah riverboats
Savannah riverboats.

Ok, Savannah isn't really on the coast but it does come highly recommended by just about everyone I've spoken to. It is a very attractive older city.

River Street, Savannah
River Street, Savannah.

After a few beers on River Street, despite a rather snotty barmaid, I decide to go and get something to eat. The place I choose - the Blue Moose, I think it was called - looks like a good mix of decent bar and food. In fact it offers neither, so after a disappointing meal I retire to my pit of a motel room to rethink. I'd picked up a free newspaper in town and seen that a blues band are playing downtown. I get to the venue about 9:30 to find that it's closed. No explanation, it's supposed to open all afternoon and night, just closed. Time to give up and go back to the motel again.

I'd spoken to the guy running the place when I'd arrived and he'd told me that, even though they are officially fully-booked, he could find me a room for the following night. In the morning I can't get any hot water from the shower, and someone before me has obviously tried harder than I did and broken the handle off as well. What's worse than a cold shower? One where the water doesn't drain away either. I don't want to know why.

US Road Trip Travelog: 25th February 2005 >