We enjoyed the southern states very much. The hospitality of the Americans we met was touching.
For example, Jim insisted on lending us his motorboat for a trip on the Pearl River. We sailed up the river for a while but it didn't feel very comfortable. Besides Jim, we were the only campers in a place that must have once been a beautiful campground. We spent the next two nights in the local cafeteria (because of the live performances) and met Tim who kept pouring us alcohol against our will. Anyway, it resulted in two unforgettable evenings (and two mornings with a 'slow start'...).
Even further south, we came to the town of Natchez. Natchez is the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River where plantation owners and other wealthy folks played a major role in the Civil War. So many beautiful stately homes made us muse about what it was like here, several centuries ago. We stayed in one of these stately homes and, by chance, ended up in a lively cafe with lots of ambiance in the evening.
The Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico near New Orleans. That will be the southernmost point of this part of our trip. This largest city in the state of Louisiana is well worth a visit for its colors, its warmth and its music. We stroll around for a day, enjoying the architecture of the French Quarter where a lot of French influence is noticeable. It is a lively city with lots of street musicians (we even arranged a live performance for ourselves: You Make Me Feel Brand New). There are an awful lot of homeless people in New Orleans though - I suppose the warm climate 'helps'. We also see an original paddle wheel boat on the Mississippi but a trip is no longer possible as the water level has never been so low.
In several days we are traveling to a place north of Dallas. Marc Eyckens (Landcruiser expert in Belgium) put us in touch with a Landcruiser expert in the USA. We would stop by his place to discuss whether we could possibly sell or leave The Beast there. In the end we were Krista and Joeri's guests for two days, The Beast will stay there even longer.
Sunday afternoon we left and looked for a quiet place not too far away where we could spend a few days putting everything in order, hiking, reading, resting and then visiting Fort Worth and Dallas.
Krista had given us a list of "things to do" in the area. Fort Worth throws you back in time: it seems like a typical cowboy village. On Friday we could possibly watch a rodeo but Adriaan was no fan. He thinks the horses are mistreated for man's pleasure. In Dallas we visited the sixth floor (from which JFK was assassinated) and the aquarium.
We have enjoyed the road trip across the United States during the last few months. Being in contact with other cultures is educational. Each encounter provides new insights.
We spent the last weekend of our trip back with the hospitable Joeri and Krista. Joeri took us to the airport in Dallas on Monday. We were very timely and baggage drop-off and border control went so smoothly that we relaxed in the lounge. We managed to get checked in 3 hours in advance and still miss the flight! The airline didn't make a big deal about it and the flight was rebooked pretty quickly and we spent several more hours in that lounge :))
We safely arrived in Zavemtem and the reunion with Andries and Jacky was very nice. Adrian's suitcase had gotten stuck somewhere (but was promptly delivered to our home later). The first few days I especially enjoyed seeing the boys again. Unfortunately, we had caught a small souvenir on the plane ride: we both had Covid-19 (and had to cancel the appointment for our 5th injection due to illness). We recovered after two weeks.
I will go back to work in January. We have no idea what the future holds for us. The Beast remains with Joeri patiently waiting until we find a replacement for him or until he is shipped to Europe (or South Africa!).
We will readjust. Because honestly: I kind of miss living in the wilderness.