A tale of two countries

Posted by on 9, Jun 2018 in 2018 - Florida to Canada, Tilly the Tandem, USA

A tale of two countries

Leaving the bikers and noise behind and with the weather set to be stormy we continued North inland away from the predicted rain along the coast. By and large we managed to avoid most of it, but when it rains it RAINS! The weather channels were full of flood warnings and a small town nearby got washed away by a wall of water wiping it out for the second time in 2 years in a ‘once in a thousand years event’. Climate change my arse!

It’s impossible to cycle in this rain – it’s just too heavy so we had to hole up for a day at a hotel waiting for it to pass in Jackonsoville, another soulless military town. With the rain gone and the tropical storm petering out we took in the pretty small town of New Berne – the birthplace of Pepsi and ended up in Plymouth, via Bath!

Our progress is good, but cycling is not the best way to do this trip.

The Car is God here and a road trip in a car zipping along the interstates from landmark to landmark, taking in the wonderful National Parks, the gorgeous beaches, the colonial cities like Charleston and the lovely small towns like New Berne would leave you with an impression of a really modern progressive and prosperous country where the streets really are paved with gold. Doing the same thing on Tilly, keeping as far as possible to the small roads leaves you with a completely different view.

We’ve now cycled through dozens upon dozens of identical towns and villages where the centres are the derelict and boarded up remains of a once quaint high street and the shopping and restaurants that once lived there have been replaced by fast food chains and strip malls on the edge of town, usually along a huge dual carriageway. They have the same shops and restaurant’s as the last town and look as crappy and depressing as the next one will. And don’t mention the plastic cutlery etc.

Occasionally a small town like New Berne has somehow survived the arrival of these soul destroying developments and you get a feel for how nice these town centres used to be. There will be a nice cafe, clothes shops and people actually walking about. But for every one town that has become a tourist attraction there are dozens of others that have been wiped out and all that remains are vacant shops and an ugly mess of spaghetti like wires that always seem to run along streets here. Many of the shops aren’t even for rent, they are falling into disrepair and the feeling of hopelessness is tangible. Roofless hulks stand testimony to the businesses that have disappeared.

For all the gorgeous sophisticated and upmarket Charleston’s and Savannah’s there are dozens of these identitowns littering the countryside.

And it’s not only the town centres that are dying – the surrounding countryside seems to be dying too. There are hundreds of abandoned homes, gracious old country houses with roofs collapsing, half vanished back into the woods they once replaced. The people have moved away and in many places the main type of dwelling is the trailer home many of which look more like squatters accommodation than family homes.

We had thought that with the prosperity of Mrytle Beach we’d be back in a more prosperous area, but we were wrong. The landscape changes but the dying towns, the strip malls, chain restaurants and trailer homes are the same as they were 3500km back in Florida. It’s definitely the coast to tour with a car not a bike.

We’re beginning to feel a bit Europe sick!

One Comment

  1. These unpatriotic observations will get you both deported and on Trump’s birthday too. Why the f##k do they spend millions on invading countries to bring freedom from the greatest country on Earth when they’re not exactly far from being zombie towns? Sorry a pointless rant. And is it a forerunner of what will happen post BREXIT?

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