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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

NYC To West Palm Beach: Day 5

After five years of living in New York City, I've taken a job in West Palm Beach, Fla. For the next week or so, this space will serve as a diary of my convoluted trip down south, which will include stops in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Louisville and maybe Atlanta and/or Savannah.

When I'm not on an official or formal schedule, I tend to be on John Wise time. Clocks often become irrelevant.

If I say I hope to hit the road by noon, that usually ends up being the time I start packing my bags. But I was pleasantly surprised when I rolled out of Pat's driveway before 11 a.m. on Sunday, June 5. I issued a callout on Facebook and Twitter for food/photo op tips for Knoxville, Asheville and Charleston. I'm thankful to all those who replied, but I made pretty good time getting to Knoxville a little after 2 p.m. I wasn't necessarily starving, and, having been directed by the BlackBerry Maps function to bypass the downtown, I had little incentive to stop and wander around the city. So I kept on driving.

A few hours later, I felt the same way while driving through Asheville, which I've heard is a neat place for a guy with a camera. Not terribly hungry and still with plenty of gas, I kept on truckin'. I rolled through Spartanburg, S.C., and Columbia, and it was still slightly light out when I pulled into Charleston at about 8:30 p.m.

All told, I drove more than 600 miles in less than 10 hours all by myself, a career-best for me. I only made one quick gas/food stop. And to boot? There was still time to bounce outward for a minute to see a little bit of Charleston.

A nice gal named Rhett at the Charleston Visitors Bureau let me steal her wireless signal so I could look up a cheap hotel, which ended up not being too far away. I checked in, made a nice comment about the hotel desk girl's earrings and earned a free room upgrade.

Armed with my Canon 60D, I got lost a little, but, even after dark, got directions from nice, friendly folks eager to set me back on course. I ended up at a joint called Mac's Place, the type of bar and grill that could be found in any other city. Not sure why I didn't try harder to find a Charleston staple, but the food was good and Kofa and Pat behind the bar were quite friendly, as were Pat's parents, who were leaving just as I was arriving.



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