Here is the latest on the whereabouts of our cars. We left them with the auto-shipping company in Savannah to be transported overland to California. We heard at the end of last week that they had been loaded on to a transporter and delivery was expected to be at the end of this week. I didn't think that was too bad at all, considering the distance from Savannah to Malibu is about 2,500 miles.

Well, last night, I had an e-mail from my son, Edward, to say the truck driver had just called him to say he was intending to deliver the cars at 8am today (4.00pm London time).

I'll post a photo of the two cars parked up after they have been unloaded. It will definitely signal the end of another great experience. So now we have got to start planning the next adventure. News of where and when that will be will be revealed in the next couple of months.

Here are the cars, safe and sound!

Savannah to Atlanta

Today started, as yesterday, with cloudless skies, making it even more difficult to say goodbye to Savannah. The city has a great feel to it and we all agreed we are coming back here. We had a late breakfast and then drove a couple of kilometres to Hertz, where I had booked a one-way rental car to drive to Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson international airport. I drove the rental car and Wendy followed me in the Landcruiser to the shippers, Jax Auto Shipping. Their yard is stacked out with wrecked cars that are being shipped to the third world, where they are broken up or repaired.

I hate to think of people driving some of the repaired wrecks!

We took one final look at our 'trusty steed' and said farewell to it. That is, until we see it in California in a few weeks time.

As we drove back to the hotel, we went past several buildings that had the famous Savannah College of Art and Design initials, SCAD.

Once back at the hotel, we collected our bags and checked out of the Bohemian. It has been a great hotel for the last couple of nights of the drive.

I couldn't resist posting one photo of the diabolical-looking Hyatt Hotel, which is next door to the Bohemian. How the developers got permission to put up such a monstrosity is beyond me.

The hotel was close to the Savannah Cotton Exchange. I liked the composition of this photo, taken by Wendy, with the building framed by trees with Spanish Moss hanging from the branches.

Initially, we drove out on I16, the freeway that runs all the way to Atlanta, about 400 kms from Savannah. After about 100 kms, we decided to take to the side roads, and what a good decision that turned out to be. We drove through beautiful country with wooded areas and open farmland. We came to an area with lovely-looking cotton fields. We pulled off the road by one field that was a dazzling white. Wendy took these close-ups of the fluffy cotton buds.

This cotton bud looks like it has been carefully tied up like a parcel.

Our rental car, a Nissan Sentra, parked by the cottonfield.

I couldn't resist posting a photo of this car. The driver pulled out from a side turning without even looking in our direction. I had to do an emergency stop to avoid hitting the car.

The road took us to the Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, which we drove through without seeing any wildlife at all!

Once out of the Refuge, we came to this large lake that turned out to be formed by a dam. We saw a number of eagles soaring high above, unfortunately too far away to take good photos.

We reached the freeway leading into Atlanta at about 5pm. We saw this Lexus with an interesting number plate. I wondered if the driver was one of the Shuttle astronauts.

Our flight to London was leaving at 9.15pm, so we had plenty of time as we drove the last few kilometres to the airport.

We took the car to the Rental Return area and the Hertz manager, seeing us struggling with all our bags, offered to drive us to the terminal, rather than using the shuttle bus. So, thank you Hertz.

We checked our bags in and learned that the seats I had paid for were not available. I was annoyed to think I had wasted £60 to guarantee our seat locations. I told the check-in staff I was very unhappy, but all she said I could do was to contact BA customer services in London!  Not much help when you have a flight to catch in a couple of hours. We went through security and then to the gate, where we had a two hour wait for our flight. Ten minutes before boarding, I heard my name being called and I went to the gate desk. To my great surprise and delight, we were told we had been upgraded to Business Class. Sleeper seats, what joy on a night flight!!!

Thank you BA. My faith in you is restored.

It was the perfect way to end our drive and what a great drive it has been - one we will remember for years to come.

So, I can finally sign off. Thanks to all those who have posted comments and sorry to learn that, for reasons beyond me, some have not been able to do so. Still, maybe that's a good thing, especially for one particular person, who will be nameless, who usually posts derogatory comments about my journalistic skills!

Here's to the next drive, wherever it may be.


My cousin, who lives on Salt Spring Island, Vancouver, has just noticed that my technical knowledge of bridge construction is not quite what it should be! He picked up on the fact that where I described the two bridges we crossed in Charleston and Savannah as suspension bridges, they were in fact cable-stayed. Full marks to you, Basil!

I have now amended the postings accordingly.

Savannah, Georgia

After all the driving of the past three weeks, we are into our last day of the drive. Tomorrow we fly out of Atlanta for London. I can't believe it has gone by so quickly. I suppose it's an indication of how much we have enjoyed the drive.

We woke to another beautiful day with cloudless skies and a perfect temperature. What more could we ask for as we finish the drive?

Every so often, we have heard a loud horn blast from a ship leaving port. This morning we heard a horn and Wendy took this photo of a giant container ship steaming out of Savannah and past the hotel.

We had a late Sunday brunch in the hotel and then went for a walk through the streets of the historic old town. Savannah has lovely tree-lined squares, which give much-needed shade from the sun. This one is called Telfair Square, named after Mary Telfair, a famous resident of Savannah and benefactor of the Telfair Art Museum. The museum faces the square and you can just see two of the five statues at the museum entrance. Each one is of a famous artist. The only one I can remember is Rubens.

We went into the museum to see two works of art that we had seen when we visited over ten years ago. First was the statue of the Bird Girl, made famous by the cover of the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". Photos were not allowed in the museum, but we managed to take this one as we were on the doorstep. You can just see the statue behind the balustrade on the first floor of the building. Following the enormous success of the book, the statue was removed from the grave in Bonaventure Cemetery, where it had been placed in 1976, because so many people were driving into the cemetery to see it.

The second work of art we had come to see was a picture by an English artist called Arthur Hacker, Relics of the Grave. It is a very powerful painting of a young woman grieving over the news of the death of her husband in the Crimean War.

We spent a very enjoyable hour in the museum and I bought a large print of a painting of the Black Prince's victory at the Battle of Crecy. The painting was by the Victorian artist, Julian Edward Story.

On the way back to our hotel, this horse and carriage went past us.

When we returned to the hotel, we went up to the rooftop bar for a drink. Looking down on to the riverfront, I saw the tram that goes alongside the river. Bob, being the ultimate train buff, had told us that it was an Australian Melbourne tram which was powered by bio-diesel.

The view from the rooftop bar.

We met up with Bob and Thelma and took the car for a drive to Bonaventure Cemetery, which is where much of the book, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" is based.  On the way out of the city, we went along roads lined with trees full of Spanish Moss hanging down.

Our first stop was at the Gingerbread House, an example of Gothic Steamboat Architecture.

Lovely tree-lined Savannah roads.

We reached the cemetery and drove to see the grave of Johnny Mercer, the writer of many famous songs, including "You must have been a beautiful baby", "That old Black Magic" and  "Moon River".


The cemetery is a very beautiful place and we were given lots of information by a lady from the visitor centre. We then saw her watering some of the small plants around the graves and she told us more about the people who are buried in Bonaventure Cemetery.

We left the cemetery and drove the few kilometres back to the hotel. In the evening we went to a local restaurant, Alligator Soul, for our farewell dinner. How sad that this has to end!

Tomorrow morning, we go to Hertz to pick up a hire car and then deliver the Landcruiser to the shippers. Once we have dropped the Toyota off, we return to the hotel, collect our bags and drive to Atlanta for our flight back to London.

Charleston, South Carolina to Savannah, Georgia

Before I post about today, I would like to mention the fine meal we had yesterday evening at Husk, a restaurant in the centre of Charleston. We had been recommended to go there by a friend of our daughter-in-law. It certainly lived up to the recommendation.

Turning now to today. Why is it that, whenever we are away, it seems that the UK has fine weather? When we did our Baltic drive in May, there was a heatwave in the UK and now we hear that the UK is having record temperatures! We checked the forecast for when we go home next week and the weather is returning to October norms with temperatures in the low teens. I might have guessed it!!

Good news on the rugby front, with England beating Scotland and going through to a quarter-final clash with the French. Having yesterday read the plaque under the George Washington statue that mentioned the French naval blockade that effectively sealed the defeat of the British at Yorktown, it's time for a gentler form of revenge on the rugby pitch!

Our last day of driving has arrived, with a short drive down the coast to Savannah. Bob and Thelma will be delivering their car to the shippers today, as they won't have time on Monday because they are leaving early to get their flight to Washington. From there they will take the evening flight to London. We, on the other hand, can keep our car till Monday, as our flight to the UK doesn't go until 9.15pm. We are flying out from Atlanta and have arranged a hire car for a one-way rental from Savannah.

We had a good breakfast and then walked down to The Battery, which is at the southern tip of Old Charleston, where there are plenty of reminders of the War of Independence, as well as the Civil War. There were four giant 13 inch mortars, with their cannonballs placed beside them, that were used in the attack on Fort Sumter during the Civil War in 1863.

Nearby was the memorial to the Confederate soldiers who died in the attack on Fort Sumter.

We then walked back towards our hotel and went past a woman selling sweetgrass basketware. We had seen it at the market place yesterday but, as it was very expensive, we didn't buy any. I saw a small basket which I bought for $20 and the woman, Ruth, posed with me holding the basket.

Just before we reached our hotel, we went past Husk, where we had eaten yesterday evening and Wendy took this photo as a reminder of a very enjoyable evening. We ate our dinner on the outside porch on the second floor, or first floor for the English readers of the blog.

We returned to the hotel and checked out. We loaded up our car and started the drive to Savannah. We took Highway 17 which went close to the coast, though we never actually saw the sea.

The road went through some lovely tree-lined countryside and then wetland areas with egrets and water fowl. It was a cloudless day with the temperature in the mid-twenties.

The journey was only about 150 kms and, just before we reached the bridge that crosses the Savannah River, we entered our fifteenth and final state of the tour, Georgia.


Once over the bridge, it was a short ride to the auto-shippers where we had agreed to meet Bob & Thelma.

Bob and Thelma loaded their bags into our car and we went in to see Raymond, who was organising the shipping to California for us. Raymond told us he was Lithuanian and, when we said we had been there in May, he told us he came from Klaipeda. When we said we had stayed at the Navalis Hotel in Klaipeda, he said his mother worked there!! What a small world it is.

We then drove the short distance into Savannah and our hotel, The Bohemian.

The hotel is located on the riverfront and our rooms have wonderful views across the river and towards the cable-stayed bridge we had just driven across.

We had made it all the way from St. John's in Newfoundland to Savannah, Georgia. We have driven 6,200kms, nearly 4,000 miles, in three weeks. It has been the most wonderful fun and it was completed without any major problem, which in itself, I think, is quite an achievement.

We all went up to the rooftop bar to have a celebratory drink. We asked our waiter to take a photo of us enjoying the moment.

Later on, we went for walk along the riverfront, which was crowded with people, as Savannah is having its annual Oktoberfest.

We have a final rest day tomorrow when we will be able to enjoy the sights of this lovely city, which we last visited more than ten years ago. I'll post more photos then.

Asheville, North Carolina to Charleston, South Carolina

We were both very sad to leave Asheville and promised ourselves we would come back! The Inn on Biltmore Estate is definitely one of the best hotels we have stayed in on this drive.

We had a drive of over 400kms to Charleston and decided to take the quickest route so that we would have time to see Charleston this afternoon. It was a very good drive through some beautiful Carolinian countryside.

After about an hour we reached our fourteenth state, South Carolina.

We have seen several of these road work warning signs and this was the first one Wendy managed to photograph. We liked the phrase 'let 'em work, let 'em live'.

These two motorcyclists drove past us and then the one behind caught up with his buddy, who gave him the thumbs up.

We had seen signs on the freeway to an antiques mall in a small town called Little Mountain.  So, when we came to the exit, we turned off and drove a couple of miles to a really excellent antiques place. I bought a large print of General Lee to remind me of our visit to Gettysburg. Wendy bought a very pretty sugar bowl made in Buffalo in 1919. It was a fun stop and I also was able to get my daily dose of caffeine from the coffee pot available for customers.

We continued our drive south and just before we reached the outskirts of Charleston, we passed the 6,000kms mark of the drive. Another milestone reached!

We drove up to our hotel, Charleston Place, at exactly 2.30pm, five hours after we left Asheville. The entrance lobby of the hotel with its giant chandelier and curving staircase.

Our hotel courtyard.

We unpacked quickly and then walked the streets of old Charleston. We both liked this art deco cinema, The Riviera, just around the corner from the hotel.

Next, we went to the Market Place and had a snack lunch. Wendy did some shopping before we walked down to the waterfront.

On the waterfront was this impressive fountain, another one where children were running through the jets of water.

We walked out on to a jetty to look across Charleston Harbour. To the left of us was the magnificent Arthur Ravenel Jr cable-stayed bridge.

As we admired the wonderful vista, a large cruise ship pulled away from the quay and headed out of the harbour, in front of the bridge.

On the other side of the harbour I saw this aircraft carrier. I asked one of the people on the jetty if they knew what it was and they said it is the USS Yorktown, which is now a floating museum.

We left the jetty and walked through the waterfront gardens where we saw this impressive pineapple-shaped water fountain.

I walked round the fountain and Wendy took this photo of me. It was only when I was looking through her photos that I noticed the girl lying sunbathing on the fountain surround. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!!

A furry creature in one of the trees.

Close to the waterfront is the area of old Charleston known as Rainbow Row. These are renovated houses which are painted in lovely pastel colours.

We walked down some lovely tree-lined streets.

Who would have thought we would see a London taxi parked in one of the driveways?

We ended our walk going along Meeting Street, which went past Washington Park, so named for its statue to George Washington in recognition of his visit to Charleston after American Independence.

It was just a five minute walk back to our hotel to meet up with Bob and Thelma, who took a different route from us today. We are eating out in Charleston this evening and then tomorrow we have our last day of driving when we head for Savannah. Our great drive down the eastern seaboard is very nearly over.