Day 8: Changing steed
Pensacola, FL to New Orleans, LA
We have been welcomed by the vintage camper’s owners like family, including a somewhat tense but cordial political discussion from either sides of the current American government. Even with that, I would have stayed longer in the cute history-filled camper with its friendly and chatty owners. Alas, we had to take the Mustang on the last leg of her trip.
Of course, she was outrageously unsuited for a road-trip on the highway and had way more in herself than we ever asked of her. We had nice strolls in sunny Florida streets with her, but her quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission and 310 hp EcoBoost engine were used more to maximize fuel economy (29 mpg – 8.1 l/100km – average recorded over 7 days of mixed use) than to take advantage of her intriguing “Drag Strip” mode.
Still, she was a very comfortable car to cruise in and the switch to a base model Mitsubishi Mirage to save money hurt a lot. We’ll sorely miss the pony over the next few days.
After crossing 3 different state borders (Alabama, Mississippi and finally Louisiana) in the span of only 160 miles (250 km), we finally arrived in New Orleans, LA. The multitude of french words randomly popping out of banners, signs and street names are weirding out the french citizen in me. This doesn’t look like France, this doesn’t smell like France, this doesn’t sound like France, and yet french names are everywhere. Interestingly, I experienced the same uneasy feeling in Montreal where the culture definitely is North American while people speak and write québécois, a close sibling to the French language with some intonations and a local vocabulary that sound funny to Metropolitan French people.
We went out to eat in the French Quarter of New Orleans and I entertained myself with the idea that I maybe was the only actual French thing in the so-called French Quarter tonight.
Tonight we sleep in a brightly painted 1-story house with huge ceilings and multiple rooms, all rented out through Airbnb except our host’s. The neighborhood around still bears the scars of hurricane Katrina’s 2004 terrible visit with destroyed pavement and condemned houses.
Continued next page.