Going from Florida to Alabama

January 5, 2021 My Solo Trip, The most beautiful places in North America

This journey began several weeks before I started driving. Despite having a final destination, I had many options for reaching my goal.

Map from Florida to Utah

I traced the route many times on the map, reviewing the advantages and disadvantages of each option. I finally found one that satisfied me, but this was not easy. My goal was to travel almost 3,000 miles from St. Petersburg in, Florida to Salt Lake City, Utah, in the shortest possible time. I wanted a route that did not have too many highways but rather secondary roads to enjoy the landscape and to get to know the different regions. I did not want to travel too far north, so I could avoid the possibility of snow or ice on the road.

Playing Tetrix with my luggage
Each object has its own place.

Going on a trip is not easy, and it is harder if you leave for good. When you have to take everything you have, plan what you will wear for the next few months. Think about food, work, and everyday necessities, and pack everything in your car. It is a juggling act. These were my main challenges:

Traveling with my son
  1. Accommodate different types of luggage. My son Martin will be with me for the first three weeks of this trip. He brings his luggage for college, his suitcase, his backpack, and his viola, which is even more delicate than my cameras, which is saying a lot! It is a delicate instrument and cannot be subjected to cold or hot temperatures.
  2. I use cameras, lenses, tripods, computers, and hard drives to edit and save my images and videos.
  3. Food. This is a complex issue. We will be sleeping in hotels for the first seven days, so we must limit ourselves quite a bit in preparing meals. We will have to eat well with very few items, avoiding restaurants because of Covid. Although I have many things in my luggage to cook, it is not practical to pack and unpack them daily.
  4. I plan to prepare or buy from supermarkets instead of going to restaurants, especially because of Covid. I know the risks, so I don’t take risks. I always wear my mask whenever I leave my car or room.
  5. My job: I have worked for a special client for the last few weeks. He asked me to paint the house where his mother grew up, to give it as a gift to her. All this from some small old pictures, his memories, and a sketch of how the elements were distributed in space. This project has been a challenge for me on many levels:
My client’s memories of the place
The first rough sketch of the house
  • I am working based on the imagination and memories of another person. My recollections of my mother also play a role here. This is a very emotional project, and I have tried to imagine how my mother would have liked something like this and what would have been important to her.
My painting still needs work.
  • It is a very large painting, 36 x24 inches. I paint in watercolor, and it is not easy to work on such a significant piece of paper, so I decided to attach it to a wooden canvas.
  • I am traveling through the country with a box that proportionally occupies a large space in my luggage. The artwork must arrive safely at its final destination. So, this project will go with me too. I hope that seeing all these beautiful places during the trip will bring new ideas for my painting.

As you can see, there are a thousand details that I must think about. 

Now let’s go to what this first day was like:

A big storm stayed with us for much of the day

We left Saint Petersburg in Florida early morning. We drove several hours straight north through I-75 to the city of Atlanta. The highway was very congested and a very strong storm lasted several hours. This journey, which should have lasted 8 hours, turned into 11.

Trapped inside a traffic jam in Atlanta

Then, the sun came out, and we could enjoy a beautiful sunset.

Bright sunset after the storm

During the trip, despite the rain and fog, we saw the changes in the vegetation, from the lush and tropical greenery of South Florida to the reddish hues of the north and, finally, the desolate fields and leafless trees in Georgia and Alabama.

The bright green tropical vegetation in Florida
The changing colors of autumn in Florida
Leave-less trees
Bare trees under the cold rain


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