2. February 2024
Around the world USA South East
As it become apparent during our road trip to the north-west that the border to Canada would not be reopened so quickly, we consider to ship the car from the US East Coast to Europe rather than from Canada as originally planned.
In order to organise this better, we want to make another short stopover in San Francisco. We also want to pick up the vehicle documents that were sent by post and wait for confirmation of our visa extension, the Satisfactory Departure, which will allow us to stay until 23 July 2020. However, as it takes longer to confirm the visa this time, after a few days we decide to head east anyway and set off at the beginning of July.
For the long journey, we again use the FreeRoam offline app to find overnight stops along the way. Special spots include sleeping under the stars at the southern entrance to Joshua Tree National Park, among the giant cacti of Ironwood Forest National Monument, in the moonlight at Indian Bread Rocks Recreation Area, or with the sound of the ocean at Surfside Beach.
Along the way we come to El Paso, where we can see Mexico on the other side of the border fence, which, according to the original plan, we would have visited long ago on our way to South America.
Shortly after leaving El Paso and heading east again, we have to stop at a border checkpoint. Since we left a few days ago from San Francicso, we still haven't heard anything about our residency status regarding the Satisfactory Departure. The first question of the border police officer:
"This is Customs and Border Protection. I am Officer John Doe, ID number 12345. Are you an American citizen?"
- Border officer
After briefly explaining our situation, that we want to ship our car from the East Coast and that our visa status is still being processed, the border officer lets us go with the words:
"Just make sure you can leave the US before your visa expires."
- Border officer
San Antonio is the next major stop, where we stroll along the River Walk, past the San Fernando Cathedral and Fort Alamo. Unfortunately, the latter is closed for visiting. At a public WLAN hotspot we check our emails again and are finally relieved to see that our visa has been confirmed until July 23, 2020:
We bypass the big city of Houston on our way to New Orleans, where we stay two nights at Hotel Villa Convento in the old district of French Quarter. There are few people on the streets due to Corona, but occasionally we can hear the sounds of jazz-style street musicians, watch fortune tellers reading cards and palms, and can even have a Voodoo Daiquiri and a New Orleans Hurricane in one of America's oldest bars.
The next day we stroll through the Garden District and visit the National World War 2 Museum. Masks are compulsory, the interactive equipment such as monitors can only be operated with pens and only a limited number of people are allowed in the rooms. Other than that, we can visit the museum without restriction.
On our way to the southernmost point of the USA we visit the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. It is very impressive to see the Space Shuttle and the space program of NASA. Unfortunately, we cannot use the shuttle buses to see the rocket launch pads due to Corona restrictions.
After about two weeks on the road, we book three nights at the Bars B&B South Beach Hotel in Miami Beach. We take it easy on the first day to organize the final details for shipping our car from Charleston, South Carolina to Germany, Europe and spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach. We have a great dinner at Finnegan's Way on Ocean Drive.
On the second day we drive to Key West, the southernmost point of the continental USA. From there it is only 90 miles (about 145 km) to Cuba. On the way back, we get caught in a heavy thunderstorm, as has been the case here almost every evening.
On our last leg from Miami Beach to Charleston, South Carolina, we pass Jacksonville, where we spend one of our last nights in the car next to St. Jones River.
We have already prepared all the formalities online or by phone so that we can hand over our car to the shipping company in Charleston on July 20, 2020. We will leave the next day, two days before our visa expires.
Click the map to see all the mentioned Points of Interest:
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