US Road Trip Travelog: 26th February 2005

Leaving Neptune Beach means joining the Interstates until west of Jacksonville, where I can drop off the I-10 and onto Highway 90. Florida seems to have a somewhat erratic policy regarding road signs, with some junctions signposted well in advance and some where you need to dive right, and slow down for a 25 MPH off-ramp, with no warning at all. As is common with Interstates across cities there's often some idiot in an SUV hanging on the back bumper, but I'm getting used to that.

Once on Highway 90 the road is straight, free of traffic, and the towns are few and far between. I'm playing with the performance of the Rivera and find that the maximum setting for the speed indicator warning is 95 MPH. That buzzing can get annoying, and I can't work out how to switch it off. What I really need, of course, is an Owners Manual for the car. Not the technical one, the one that tells you what controls do what.

Before losing my driving licence (if I actually can in the US) I think it's time to sort out some music for the car. The AM radio is pretty useless and my singing is so bad that it offends even me. Worse than that I had a Genesis song in my head yesterday, which is like self-inflicted torture. It would be a shame to cut-up the dash of the Riviera to put in a modern hi-fi, and there's no place else to put one within easy reach. I'd like to have some music that I can take into my motel room as well, and have an idea.

At a Wal-Mart I buy a Memorex AM/FM/CD 'boom box' - no, I don't know what that means either - for $30, a cigarette lighter to AC adaptor for $35 (the top of the range one was the only with a decent length cable), and a copy of the Stones 60's compilation 'High Tide And Green Grass' for $15. A few miles down the road and, following a few bleeps from the adaptor, it's satisfaction all round. This isn't the world's greatest music system but it is loud enough to drown out my singing, which makes it good enough.

On the way into Tallahassee I rejoin the I-10 briefly and then drop off to the outskirts of the city to find the Super 8 motel listed in their guide. After a bit of driving around in heavy traffic I realise (later confirmed when I look at their website) that it doesn't actually exist. I check into a Days Inn where I'm assured that they have internet access, but once in the room I find that it's dial-up access only. Time to check back out, which I'm quite happy to do as there was a guy sitting outside on a bench taking a bit too much interest in me unloading my car and spending a lot of time on his cell phone. May be innocent, but it feels a bit odd.

Next motel down the road is a Howard Johnsons. I've not stayed in one of these before but the guy there assures me that their wireless internet access actually works, and he's right. The room is nice but the place itself isn't so impressive. My original plan was to stay here in Tallahassee for two nights, to watch the NASCAR racing the next day, but now I'm not so sure. Surfing the internet in the evening I find somewhere that looks a lot nicer, so I book it online.

US Road Trip Travelog: 27th February 2005 >