Friday, June 06, 2008
It's not my fault - the map said there was camping
Staying at a hotel is a guilty pleasure. It's so nice to be able to do useful things after sunset, to go to bed without first constructing a bed out of raw materials, to have an air conditioner and a shower. Is it worth paying 5 times the price? Throw in internet access and perhaps yes. But tonight the only reason I'm at a hotel (Madison, Florida - I've never heard of it either) is that the national forest campground near Tallahassee turned out not to exist. The nice lady who runs the gatehouse talked my ear off for a good long time, telling me a story about crazy "herpologists" who do primitive camping in the forest and look for snakes. I told her that I myself am a crazy botanist looking for trees, and she said all God's creatures are beautiful and I was glad I chose botanist instead of evolutionary biologist this time. Then she told me another story about a guy who killed a woman right there in that forest and she later recognized him on the news as someone she'd chatted with and who had done various (in retrospect) suspicious things. The end result of this story was, no way was I primitive camping in that forest tonight, thank you very much. The next closest campground was more than an hour away, the sun was fading, and worried hubby advised a hotel so here I am. I again am vastly amused by cadging a hotel's free wireless signal and using it to search for cheaper hotels in the area.
Had good success today along the Chattahoochee River, although I was mystified by the decision to make various parks either free or not free and I refused to visit not-free parks. If I were boating or whatever, fine, but I'm not paying to walk around for ten minutes and find out there are no basswood trees. Luckily, the free parks worked out okay.
Mississippi was generally lovely, Alabama was mostly less so. Alabama actually looks an awful lot like southern Michigan except with cattle ranches instead of cornfields. The state seems to suffer from an excess of privately owned land, however. There are whole swaths of the state with no parks at all.
The thermometer reached 99 degrees today. I think I would have to shave my head if I lived here.
Saw catfish farms in Alabama, pecan groves in Georgia. I have seen approximately 1 zillion Baptist churches. Sometimes they are sweet little 150 year old white buildings nestled into the grass; sometimes they are multi-million dollar Mega Complexes. One in Louisiana had a sign with a rather graphic depiction of a crucified Christ and the legend "This blood's for you!" Very tasteful.
Tomorrow hopefully I will do my Gainesville site and turn northwards toward the next site and joyously, eventually, toward home.
A few more pics are up: