...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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September 01, 2005 || 10:17 am
Back in Alabama

We are back in Alabama! After a hard nights drinking in Austin, Texas, and a night's camping on the eaastern-most point of Texas' coastline, near the strange oil town of Port Arthur, yesterday we headed straight through the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Initially curious, in a slightly ambulance-chasing way, our foolhardiness was paid off when we started to run out of gas in the middle of the wasteland - with everything destroyed around us on the near-deserted interstate, we crawled our way to Hattiesburg where we finally found gas on the edge of the town, with huge queues and rationing in force. Our gas ran out literally yards from the pumps - we were incredibly lucky not to have gotten stranded.

Hattiesburg itself was a ghost town, with wrecked buildings, fallen trees and no power anywhere. All the way to Meridian the interstate was covered in fallen trees, sometimes reducing it to a one-lane road, and Meridian had a curfew in force. Obviously we couldn't get into any of the coastal towns but seeing how bad the damage was even that far north, the scale of this disaster has begun to set in. Meanwhile, everyone is panic-buying gasoline, prices are going up astronomically and we are only glad that we did our road trip when we did because now it would be unaffordable.

It's strange, because everywhere on this trip energy has been such a massive part of the landscape. From creaking oil wells in Wyoming, the gas wells in Utah, the enormous wind farms of California, to the rigs of the Gulf, and the constant search for the best pump price for gasoline, I have never been more aware of the energy economy and the physical impact of it on the landscape. It does seem strangely symbolic that at the very end of the trip this huge crisis hits, making us feel like perhaps a dying breed of roadtrippers, having completed a full circuit of the USA. I'm back where I set off - at the Red Barn in Newbern - having covered around 10,000 miles since I left exactly one month ago.

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