The road to the south

by | Jan 28, 2022 | Articles, North America, United States

After a two-week drive and 1,300 miles, we left for good the heavy New York winter and arrived to the eastern coast of Florida wearing our t-shirts only. At a maximum speed of 50 mph…

text & photography: Akis Temperidis

It was in the evening of January 26th when we kissed goodbye our good friends Lefteris and Minya, who let us stay in their cosy Harlem apartment for three weeks, and all the other friends we had met between Manhattan and Queens, and drove smoothly the 200 miles to Baltimore at the wheel of a rental Kia K5.

We had booked the smaller Soul model and we were provided instead this 180 hp sport sedan we didn’t even know it ever existed. It proved a magic carpet on the Turnpike and Interstate 95 motorways. Since this car was provided with Apple CarPlay connectivity and fitted with e prepaid toll card (yes, you need to pay tolls in New Jersey), we arrived safe and sound at a Motel 6 close to Baltimore and checked-in.

We paid 65 usd for a triple cockroach-ridden room and a filthy WC that couldn’t flush properly. We made fun of it instead of getting angry simply because we were excited that the following day we would receive our Iveco camper from the port. Exactly one month since the day we had parked it at the port of Antwerp. 

At 9 am the following morning we arrived first in the office of Pride Inc. to receive the custom documents. We were obliged to hire a local escort service for 50 usd. The lady who arrived at the office welcomed me in her Subaru and the first thing she said was “do you believe in that thing, covid”? A typical pandemic and vaccine denier and supposedly a Trump supporter.  “It’s just a cold, none in my family is vaccinated – they are useless”, she told me trying to see my response, which was zero. My mind was on our vehicle, not on changing the mind of a misguided American middle-aged woman. 

The procedure was straightforward. The battery was weakened after so long, but the Noco booster was charged and resolved the issue of starting the turbodiesel engine for the very first time on American soil. When I started driving the camper out of the Dundalk port, I felt nostalgic. The day was freezing but sunny and all the roads were open again ahead. I remembered the day – back in June 2009 – we had received our Discovery from the port of Los Angeles after a month-long trip in a container from Sydney. But this is a different story, so let’s stay focused on our east coast route from which our American adventure commences this time.  

Before returning the rental car to the airport, we took it for a short drive downtown Baltimore. The city, which is notorious for its high crime rates, was clean and calm in the afternoon. I had read that in 2015 the murder index was 14 times higher than in New York with about 350 homicides in a year! One per day. So an hour was enough to visit the city and walk around the Washington monument. We could now say we visited one of the most historic cities in the US.  

Test drive

Δοκιμάσαμε και ένα Ford Bronco με το που φτάσαμε στη Φλόριντα. 

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