Arkansas to Florida

SMS received 4th November 2008 8.53
We are in Hot Springs, diverting to New Orleans to get Panama visa as it will take a month to process
Epos gestuur: 5 November 2008 :5.15

Ons het ons planne verander en het vandag gery tot by New Orleans (900km) om my visa aansoek vir Panama more in te handig. Het die embesade gebel en hule se dit vat 'n maand om goedgekeur te word! So nou sal ons so bietjie die ooskus van die VSA verken terwyl ons wag. Ons beplan om twee aande hier te bly
Sms received 9th November 2008 11.10.09am
We are 200km from Memphis, refuelling in Leland. Plan to stay in Graceland RVpark for 2 nights. The weather is chilly 12'c

Epos gestuur 10 November 2008 5.40pm
 
Voor ek begin wil ek graag van die geleentheid gebruik maak om vir die mense by Outdoor Warehouse in Kaapstad dankie te se vir die pragtige nuwe tent waarmee hulle ons gebless hetCampsite Morgan City Louisiana. Dit was gepos na ons en ons het dit in ontvangs geneem tydens ons verblyf in Mena. Baie dankie, ons waardeer die nuwe tent geweldig baie, aangesien die ou tent redelik moeg was na 4 harde jare se diens in alle denkbare omstandighede en terein, selfs die buite winde (85mph) van 'n Tornado. Ons tydjie by Mena, Arkansas, was fantasties en ons het daar weggery as nuwe mense. Mena is waar CMA begin het in 1975. Dit is steeds die hoofkwartier van die organisasie. Na die CMA Changing of the Colors rally waarvan ek julle in 'n vorige epos vertel het het ons deel gahad in die 'International Leadership Conference'. Ons het spesiale toestemming gevra om deel te he aan hierdie byeenkoms, aangesien ons ons wil toerus vir waar ookal die Here ons volgende gaan plaas. CMA is regoor die wereld en dit was interesant om die getuienisse te hoor van die verskillende leirs hoe hulle te werk gaan in hulle lande. Dubai was heel anders as enige van hulle, aangesien dit een van die min lande is waar dit teen die wet is om te evangeliseer, so ons moes maar meeste dinge 'undercover' doen, sonder om af te wyk van ons christelike lewenstyl en standpunte. Na die Konferensie het ons 'n week en 'n half gehad tot die Fast Lane Rally plaasgevind het. Fast Lane is 'n afdeling van CMA hier in die VSA. Aangesien meerderheid van die CMA lede Toer fietse en Cruisers ry, het hulle die nuwe afdeling gestig om die lede met sportsfietse en dubbeldoel fietse te akomodeer. Fast Lane 'spesialiseer' dan om uit te ryk na daardie deel van die motorfiets kultuur. In die VSA is daardie klas 'biker' in die minderheid, maar tog aan die groei. Ramon (CMA Suid Afrika) het hier vir die off road manne 'n kursus kom aanbied, en dit was baie goed verteenwoordig en ontvang. Tydens die rally was daar feitlik geen aktiwiteite op die kamp terein nie, die rally gaan oor ry. Hulle het 5 groepe gahad wat die Vrydag en Saterdag gaan ry het in die pragtige landskap. Ek het saam met die maklike dubbeldoel groep gaan uitry, wat meeste maar op die grond paaie gery het, behalwe vir een rivier kruising, wat almal (behalwe een ou) laat val het. Dit was pret, en die terein was prentjie-mooi. Met die omvalery in die rivier (wat kniediep was) het ons kamera ook gegaan vir 'n doopsessie. Jy kan self dink wat was die gevolge daarvan. . . . . . . Hy werk, maar nie meer so lekker nie. . . . . . . . . .en net waneer hy wil. . . .
 
Tydens ons verblyf op Iron Mountain (Mena) het ons geweldig baie geleer van CMA, noem dit maar ons het nou die 'bigger picture' ervaar. Die grootste ding wat ek geleer het van die lede hier in die VSA is dat hulle 'n geweldige dienaars-hart het. Die hele kampterein met geboue word bedryf en instand gehou deur die lede se gratis harde werk. Vat Ann as 'n voorbeeld, dis 'n dame wat ons daar ontmoet het wat in die kombuis gewerk het tydens die internasionale Konferensie. Sy bly 1000myl (2 dae se ry) weg vanaf Mena, en het net gekom om te kom werk in die kombuis vir 5 dae! Sy kry geen vergoeding of erkenning hiervoor nie. Sy (en al die ander) doen die werk nie vir erkenning of vergoeding nie, sy doen dit vir die Here. Sy was nie die enigste een nie, ons het klomp sulke mense ontmoet wat geweldige groot opofferings maak vir die 'ministrie'.. Hulle harte is geweldig nederig en doen al die werk op die perseel vir die saak van die Here. Soos ek gese het, ons is daar weg heeltemal vernuwwe in ons harte, en bly om deel te wees van so 'n wonderlike wereld wye organisasie met sulke wonderlike lede as ons familie. Van Mena af is ons reguit oos in die rigting van Liitle Rock, die stad waar oud president Clinton van daan kom. Die plan was om die dag te ry tot by Memphis, en dan af na New Orleans om aansoek te doen vir ons Panama visas, en dan Texas en Mexico. Wel, soos dinge mos maar gaan met so toer, verander dit gedurig. Halfpad tussen Mena en Little Rock bel ons die embesade van Panama en vind toe uit dat dit 'n maand neem om goed gekeur te word! Dis toe dat ons besluit om reguit af te ry tot by New Orleans en die aansoek so vinnig moontlik in te handig, wat ons ook toe die volgende dag gedoen het. New Orleans is gelee in die staat van Louisiana, geboorteplek van so baie bekende Amerikaners, veral in die musiek bedryf. Soos ons ry en die groot Katoen velde sien langs die pad speel Tina Turner (en CCR) se 'Cotton fields back home' liedjie in my kop oor en oor. Man, dis darem lekker om te leef en die lewe te geniet met sulke ondervindings soos die! Ons het een dag so bietjie rondgery in New Orleans, wat 'n pragtige stad met vriendelike mense! Dit was net mooi die teenoorgestelde prentjie as wat ons verwag het om te sien. Ander Amerikaners praat glad nie goed van New Orleans nie, en baie het ons aanbeveel om nie hierheen te kom nie? Die French Courter in New OrleansEk dink hulle mis uit, want net soos New York, is dit 'n stad met geweldig baie karakter. Die ou deel van die stad wat bekend staan as die 'French quater" is duidelik oud met nou straatjies soortgelyk aan die wat ons in York (Engeland) gesien het. Daar is baie pubs en clubs, so dis duidelik dat dit die uithangplek is vir die nag-ape. Ons het deur strate gery met verskriklike groot huise, net soos jy in van die films sien met sulke lang drive ways wat voor die huis draai. Ek stel myself voor as jy die voordeurklokkie lui dan kom maak die 'butler' die deur vir jou oop, en die baas sit seker agter langs die swembad en doen so sy besigheid van daar af

Dis darem interesant watse indruk films op mens se gedagtes speel. So gepraat van films, ons het ook gaan fliek kyk, maar laat ek jou vertel dis 'n storie om 'n fliekplek te vind in die land. Eers ry ons na die naaste winkelsentrum, maar hulle het geen flieks, en so ook die volgende? Naderhand vra ons iemand, wat ons toe verduidelik na 'n gebou wat eintlik lyk soos 'n gewone gebou met geen film advertensies buite op nie? Baie anders as by die huis of selfs in Dubai. Ons het die film
Fireproof gekyk, dis 'n nuwe Christen romance film, of ek noem dit sommer maar 'n romance film. Dis 'n film wat ek aanbeveel vir enigeiemand, veral christene. Van New Orleans af het ons wes gery deur die Swamp Area van Louisiana.Toppie sit op 'n straathoek in New Orleans Die natuur is soos geen ander wat ons al teegekom het nie, hoe beskryf mens 'n swamp? Dis pragtig en nat. Ons het ook aangedoen by die Tabasco fabriek in Louisiana. Alhoewel ek geen Tabasco fan is nie, was dit 'n besonderse ondervinding om die geboorteplek en fabriek van die wereld bekende peper sous te besoek.

Ons het gisteraand in Memphis aangekom na 'n lang dag se ry al langs die Mississippi rivier met sy katoen en suikerriet plase. Memphis is bekend vir sy musiek legendes, veral in Blues & Rock 'n Roll, en ons hoop om so bietjie van die musiek- geskiedenis van Memphis te herleef, aangesien ek baie lief is vir daardie oudtydse Bues en Rock. Ons kamp ook nog stapafstand vanaf Graceland, Elvis Presley se wooning. . . . . . . . .

Sms received 12th November 2008 10.07.46am
It's raining and we are waiting for the weather to clear, then we will go to Atlanta Georgia...Graceland and Museum of Rock 'n Soul was fantastic. Saw Elvis Pink Cadillac Oh yes we got a picture of Johan standing next to the Cadillac......Still raining, we will only leave for Atlanta tomorrow.
Sms received 14 November 2008 5.41pm
Safely at CMA'ers Karen & Ed in Fayetteville Atlanta Georgia...Cold and misty but no rain.
Sms received 15th November 2008 8.59am
Going down to Macon to stay with the Banjo Lady.We met them at South Dakoto......http://www.banjolady.com/
Sms received 17th November 2008 7.33am
Leaving Rhae & Russ and heading South East to the Okefenokee National Park
Sms received 19th November 2008  10.27am
We're freezing in Florida! A wonderful -2.9'c at 7am this morning.......Heading for Miami

Email sent 20th November 2008 4.20am....Florida
We are safely in a town with the name of Titusville, near the Kenedy Space Center. So much for sunny Florida, as we had our coldest temperature last night (-3) on the entire journey! Colder than Prudhoe Bay! We drove about 400km today and were freezing the entire day.Okefenokee Swamp Aligator
We had a great time at the Okefenokee Swamp and took a boat ride to experience it better., there were some Alligators too!
Email sent 21st November 2008 ....Miami
We are safely in Miami, southern Florida. Weather is a lot warmer here than the north. We plan to visit the Florida Keys the next 3 days and will be back in Miami Monday.
Email sent 23rd November 2008 .....Key West
This is just a short mail to let you all know we are still safe and enjoying our adventure tremendously. We have yet again reached a milestone on our journey, the southernmost point in the (continental) USA, the town of Key West down in Florida. It is very beautiful here and reminds me a lot of the East coast of Africa, very similar indeed.
 Key West
We were supposed to be in Mexico but are held back for one month by the Panama Embassysy, as it takes 30 days to get a Panama visa. We escaped the cold weather of the north and came down to the Florida Keys, where the weather is just awesome this time of the year, 20degC at night and 27 during the day. We will send you a more detailed update in a few days time. I have uploaded some new movies on youtube (Grand Canyon etc), just search jc4ever2 and you will find it on youtube.

Email sent 2 December 2008: Memphis to Miami

As we stop at a Love's fuel station (local fuel station brand) after riding through the northern part of Alabama on our way East I told Charmaine that it is unbelievable that one country can be blessed with so much natural beauty. We’ve cris-crossed the country since mid July and have seen the most gorgeous natural scenery and wildlife on our entire journey so far.

When they heard that we are from Africa, most Americans reckon that we are blessed and must see lots of wild animals in Africa. The truth is just the opposite, especially if you travel with a motorcycle. The sad fact is that you will travel through the entire African Continent and see no wild animal, unless you pay top dollar and enter a Game Reserve, which is sometimes nothing more than a big safari park. And on a motorcycle, forget it china, you aint going in. . . . ....
 

We found North America to be far wilder than Africa when it comes to Animals and Wilderness. The ride between Memphis and Atlanta was no different. This Southern Part of the States is regarded by some locals as "overpopulated" with little wilderness' but all we could see next to the big Interstate was woods and trees with the most beautiful autumn colours as far as the eye can see. We enjoyed the dry weather after a few days of extreme cold and rain in Memphis. Memphis is another story, and if it wasn't for Graceland it would not be a town to visit at all. Graceland was a highlight' and we spent most part of the day learning about the life of the world's most famous singer' Elvis Presley. His home (Graceland) is so popular that it gets over 600,000 visitors per year' second only to the White House in DC. We've seen the house with a lot of his awards in' his cars' his Army career and his private airplane. His plane' Lisa Marie' is far more luxurious and nicer that the old Air Force One we've seen in Seattle' and both planes are from the same era. Memphis is also apparently famous for Beale Street. Beale Street is known for the home of Blues' so we went there for the evening' and visited the Rock 'n Soul Museum. This is a museum dedicated to Rock 'n Roll and Soul Music. The Southern part of the USA is where this music types originated from. It was also interesting to learn that this part of the USA had a very similar history than us in South Africa. They too had government rules that segregated black and white from each other' in exactly the same way we had. It was the music of the poor communities (black and white) in this area that brought the cultural differences together, and lets face it, no other country in the world loves music like the Americans. Beale Street was nothing to write home about, and was sadly infested with chances and beggars who made our Beale Street experience unpleasant' similar to the locals in Tanzania. One guy wanted to "sell" his dirty "black" jokes to us' when we told him we are not interested he still told us these jokes and asked for "donation" afterwards. His jokes were not funny or amusing, it was just plain stupid, and I felt like telling him to get off his arse and get a job to earn honest money. Instead, we just shacked our heads and walked on ignoring him. He was not the only one, there were a few others too that has nothing to offer, but want money from you. They are all the same over the world, and use the same technique so that you can recognise them easily, these chances, their first approach is always friendly, and most of the time they will address you as their "friend': even though they've never met you before. Then they will pretend they know something about your country when they find out where you"re from. It seems the only thing they know about South Africa is Nelson Mandela' and nothing more. Then they'll tell you a sad story and that they need money to feed their children or a hospital treatment or something in these lines. We were relieved to be out of there and for the first time in America felt a bit intimidated by the "bad element".

 

During our time in Memphis we got to meet Tetsu, a Japanese RTW traveller on his Africa Twin. He was the brave type, as he was heading north to Montreal, Canada while we were heading south trying to escape the cold weather. In Atlanta we stayed with another lovely CMA couple, Ed and Karen. We got our Mexican visas at the embassy in Atlanta in record time, the same day, so we headed further south and stayed with Russ and Rhea Ward in Macon, Georgia. Rhea is better known by the local CMA'ers as "The Banjo lady". She plays Bluegrass music, and we got to go with them to one of her shows the one evening in a opry near Macon. An opry is a place where local musician's get the chance to entertain the locals with their talent. There was a dance floor with some folk dancing on the tunes.(Hear Rhea’s music on our New York and Sturgis youtube videos, search jc4ever) From Macon we went down to the Okefenokee swamp in southern Georgia, where we went on a bout ride in the most amazing waterways and alleys through the swamp. It was stunning and we got to see our first Alligator, a local water tortoise and the local Turkey Vulture. Everglades The second night we endured our coldest temperature  so far, even colder than what we had in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska! It was time to get seriously south. . . . . . so we got on the Interstate and head for Miami and the Florida Keys. Miami and the East coast seem like a place for a person who like the city buzz, in other words not really our cup of tea, but interesting though. Our time down on the Keys was awesome, and we loved it down there. Temperatures was very pleasant and the scenery of the Tropical waters was top class. We stayed on Long Key, a State Park right on a beach that reminded us a lot of Zanzibar. At night we were entertained by Racoons trying to steel some of our left over foods, and they succeeded in steeling our neighbours whole dinner right next to him. We thought it was funny and amusing, but he did not agree and was out there looking for the "bandits" till late in the night. Back in Miami we got to meet Bill and Nancy, and stayed with Bill a few nights. We got to learn from them what it is like living in an area that has Hurricane treats every year.  Bill told us how Hurricane Andrew changed his whole life when it flattened and destroyed all his belongings some 15 years ago. He is still busy building a house with steel structure that can withstand 150mph winds, a massive and expensive task indeed. Both Bill and Nancy agreed that Miami is a lost paradise, as like most cities with a financial boom, it gets overpopulated and a big foreign cultural influence that is not always desirable and acceptable to the born locals and conservative folk.We heard the same argument in Dubai from long time residents and locals there too. . . . .We also visited the Everglades National Park, and saw some beautiful water birds, alligators and the endangered American Crocodile up-close.

Epos gestuur 5 December 2008 ..............Texas hier kom ons!

Ons is weer terug in New Orleans.................Ons was by die embesade van Panama, en word toe meegedeel dat die visa eers dalk in Januarie sal deurkom! Ons moet teen volgende week uit die land (VSA) wees, en kan nie langer hier wag nie. Ons reel toe met die ou om ons aansoek te forward na die embesade in Costa Rica, waar ons hopelik die visa kan optel. Intussen kyk ek ook na moontlikhede om Panama te skip, ons sal maar sien. . . . . Die embesade is egter baie vriendelik en ons word goed behandel, die openhoud is te danke aan 'n klomp vakansie dae in Panama.Florida
Nou is die plan om vanaand in Baton Rouge te slaap en 'n plaaslike CMA Christmas party by te woon. More sal ons die pad vat en ry tot by Huntsville in Texas, waar ons so 3 of 4 dae sal bly.  Van daar af sal ons gaan na Austin, waar ons 2 CMA friende optel wat saam met ons Mexiko toe gaan. Aangeheg is 'n foto van ons by die vriende van Florida waar ons gebly het. Wel, ons dink aan julle en wens julle 'n lekker dag toe

 

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