25 March 2012

Farewell Gil ol' buddy

Last night saw the occurrence of an extremely tragic event, we said goodbye to Gilbert the Gulfstream (and yes there were tears, but I'm not saying whose).

Over the last not quite 365 days, he wasn't just our mode of transport and home, Gil was the third member of this little adventure of ours.

And on that note, we'd like to share a little tribute to our partner in crime.

All the best old man, you know it wouldn't have been the same without you.

21 February 2012

Everything really is bigger in Texas

When we were leaving Florida, we spotted this guy who we thought had all possible land based transport options covered:
In case it's not clear from the above photo, that's a motorbike in between the RV and car:
But then (in national park in Texas I might add) we spotted this guy: 
Very handy for covering that other essential holiday pursuit .... hauling a container of merchandise for Wal-mart. 
Yes, that is indeed a semi with bike mounted on the front, towing a "fifth wheel" as they are called over here, with a jeep in the middle. And before you suggest that the owner uses this semi in his occupation, please note the writing on the door:
Mounted on the back of the fifth wheel was a pair of bicycles and a full size ladder which we later learnt was to climb onto the roof and set up an array of solar panels.

We also saw this model of motor home (or bus as we like to call them) in a campground the other day (these next two are images I've borrowed from here, in the event you wish to acquire one all of your very own):
What's so special about that you ask? Well it's a Roof Patio 390! And we'll admit, we're just a little bit envious.

19 February 2012

Must remember to pay closer attention to weather warnings in future

On our way from Florida to New Orleans, we decided to spend the night in Mobile, Alabama as it was conveniently located and there was something appealing about staying in a place pronounced Mo-beel.  One night became two when we woke in the morning to rather ominous skies, and spending the day "at home" proved to be one of our more sensible decisions. The morning progressed, the rain got steadily heavier and the wind more violent as we caught up on email etc and Gil sprung a new leak forcing Brad to make a mad dash outside with paper towel and duct tape while I mopped up inside with a real towel.  Shortly after we heard a siren and a spot of Googling revealed it was in fact a tornado alert and one had touched down just a few blocks from us.      

At our campground in New Orleans, Louisiana, we met a couple from the UK spending 9 weeks travelling in a camper van.  They were the first couple we've met under 30 during our trip (truthfully, they're probably the first couple we've met who haven't been old enough to be our parents, but that's a minor technicality) proving that life on the road is not just for the retired as we'd though.  A fun and rather boozy night was spent with them on Bourbon Street, I provided slightly more entertainment than I wish to recall and shall not be divulging further details of my downfall.  However, I did wake up the following morning with an assortment of unaccounted for bruises and Brad with these:
(that "fish bowl" once contained alcohol)
Bourbon Street itself was lacking the style/class we expected and was far more seedy and drunken (no, it wasn't just us) with a much older crowd than you'd normally see getting gross at bars.  Frenchmen Street where we ventured after I'd got over my hangover a few days later was much closer to our expectations.  

Here are some my favourite photos from the French Quarter.  

Mardi Gras was a week or so after we visited

We hear street preaching is hard work

15 February 2012

Average time to probable death: five years

The title of this update was Brad's exact words on returning to the car after a solo trip to the supermarket shortly after we arrived in Florida. I'd like to give the situation the benefit of the doubt and suggest it was pension day, but I'm not sure. 

Why then did we go on to spend over a month in Florida, for the most part engaging in unremarkable activities such as reading books on hiking the Appalachian Trail (don't worry, I've got no plans to do that at this time) and all of Jane Austen's works for me and apocalypse/dimensional travel/espionage books for Brad (actually I'm not really sure what he's been reading, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't Jane Austen)?

1. It was warm;
2. The sun was out;
3. Winter had quickly descended further north; and last but certainly not least
4. The small matter of a Delta IV rocket launch scheduled for 19 January 2012 (in case you've missed it, like all good boffins, Brad likes space and stuff). 

In pictures, here are some of the slighly remarkable things we got up to in Florida.

Brad at Astronaut School
Christmas in the Florida Keys
(how un White Christmassy of us)

Another successful Susanna-&-Gil turkey roast
(only minor surgery from Brad was required to fit it in the oven)

The Everglades

Just an alligator or two
(I think this bird is a touch overly ambitious)

Kayaking the crystal clear Rainbow River

Susanna meeting the second love of her life

For more of these photos click here and for video here

Brad convinced me I should give theme parks another try 
(on virtually the tamest ride at Universal Studios)

... and Brad on the wildest
(you probably can't tell from this photo, but he's in the front row seat closest to the camera)

Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), Cape Canaveral 

Inside the VAB
(the photos don't do the size justice as everything is on size a huge scale ... that's a semi) 


Brad and a Saturn V
(Why are there so many spaceship photos?)

(finally we can leave Florida, but not before one more visit to the beach)

St Joseph's Peninsula, Florida Panhandle