Monday, 21 October 2013

Miami by sunrise

✔ Mountain Dew
✔ Most sugary doughnuts available
✔ Full tank of petrol

All set. So what is it we’re doing? Oh yeah, pulling an all nighter and driving to Miami. So let me explain how this all started: many moons ago when we were planning this roadtrip we’d figured out that Florida was just too far to go and that I wouldn’t be able to afford all the extra miles. So way back in February we were forced to tell our friend Krystyne that we weren’t going to be able to make it. At the exact time of us telling her, a plan was concocted that involved us surprising her at uni down here in Miami by pulling an all nighter and getting there. Partly as homage to how we came up with the idea for the trip and partly because we thought it would be cool. So that’s exactly what we did.

Our last update saw us hit Savannah, Georgia in the morning – what we didn’t say is that the rest of the day was spent eating up some more miles south-bound in preparation for the jaunt down. Once again we got ourselves on the interstate, this time the 95 as mentioned in the rather fitting Less Than Jake song ‘Five State Drive’, which pleased me greatly. There was very little to report, we had the air conditioning cranked up as it was hot day and we’d spotted a place on the map to aim for. This was another amusingly named state park: Faver Dykes. Many giggles were had. We turned off the interstate and a two lane road shortly turned into a dirt track as we snaked our way through yet another new terrain, this looked more like jungle to us! It had lush green plants springing up in between tall trees and the vegetation was absolutely crammed in. We made it to the campsite and paid for a night’s camping whilst cooking up some more rice and soup, trying to avoid the army of mosquitoes that noticed our tasty looking selves. With food cooked and eaten as quickly as possible we got into the ‘burb early in the hope of getting a good night of sleep in preparation for our night drive. Unfortunately, we have to say it was an awful night! A number of mosquitoes had found their way into the Chevy so we spent a good amount of time trying to splat those and once we were satisfied we came to realise that it was hot in there, very hot. It was also horrifically humid and we were sweating buckets, we managed to get to sleep some four hours or so later when the temperature started dropping but both of us were dipping in and out of sleep all night.

To add insult to injury, we awoke the next morning to a nasty surprise – one of the trees we had parked under in the forest (jungle?) had dropped a nut in the night, right into the bottom corner of the windscreen! So we stood there, cursing the large crack that had appeared overnight. Unfortunately, it didn’t look like just a chip we could get away with: a few hard bumps on the journey down would see this bad boy split right across – so it was going to have to be replaced. We had been chatting to the park hosts Paul and his wife that morning beforehand and so we stopped in to ask if they knew where we could get a replacement. Unfortunately, all they could do was point us in the direction of a nearby motor-home dealer to find out if they knew. The sat-nav actually came up trumps this time though and there was a windscreen repair and replacement place not too far away. We tried our luck and they had one in stock and could fit it that afternoon thankfully, so we took ourselves off to get some lunch at a nice sub shop just down the street. With a quick turnaround the windscreen was replaced and all that was left to do was buy ourselves the copious amount of Mountain Dew and doughnuts mentioned earlier and hit the road.

Unfortunately, we wouldn’t be driving constantly from there on – we found we had too much time on our hands and had to wait out another four hours or so until it got dark so we got into a rest stop back on the interstate and waited for the sun to set.

As soon as midnight hit, we poured some Mountain Dew down us and hit the road, the first priority was to get some fuel. There was a petrol station not too far away, Ben brimmed the tank and finally we were underway! All the time we had the GoPro on taking photos every 5 seconds, with the purpose of making a timelapse of the whole 5 hour journey. Hopefully this can be seen below in Figure 1.3.1:

Figure 1.3.1 – Timelapse of all night drive.

This lead us nicely into Miami to catch the sunrise on South Beach, sort of. We missed the first bit of it because we were about to burst unless we found a toilet very soon. There was literally nowhere on the beach or nearby, despite our very best efforts so we had to take off to a Texaco a few blocks away and finally enjoy some relief! Then we headed back to the beach to watch the sun come up and record the timelapse shown below in Figure 1.3.2:

Figure 1.3.2 – Timelapse of the second half of a sunrise. South Beach, Miami.

So now we were in Miami, the first thing we had to do is kill a bunch of a time before we could meet up with Taub’s roommate Chelsae who Ben had messaged on Facebook a few weeks earlier to try and get an insider to the surprise. We went and got ourselves a large amount of breakfast from Denny’s and wandered round some of the nearby shops. We weren’t feeling too good though and we believe that staying up all night on Mountain Dew and doughnuts is not a particularly healthy thing to do to your stomach! We met up with Chelsae that afternoon and she checked us in to their dorms where we could shower and get some sleep, which was very gratefully received. It was weird actually being in Taub’s room while she wasn’t there but we also found it hilarious that she would come back later that day to get changed in between class and cheer practice and have no idea that we had been there. We went out to grab some food at Denny’s again that evening and then when the coast was clear, we headed back up to her room with Chelsae to wait until 10 that night when Krystyne should be finishing cheer practice.

Then came the big reveal, we went down to the sports hall where they were practicing and cautiously peered in through the windows to watch our friend practicing with the rest of the cheerleading squad. After they had finished, Chelsae helped us complete the surprise in front of the whole cheerleading team, where Taub proceeded to explode inside or something. Not quite sure what was happening to be honest! She seemed relatively happy though. Huge thanks to Chelsae for not only helping us plan this, but for giving up her bed for a week so that we could stay with Taub and all the numerous times she checked us in and out! What we did in Miami on the way from Ben, stay tuned folks!

[Taub's reaction video coming here soon]

Chris =)