Packed and eager, the Townsend family embarked from Stuart, Florida, on what would later become known as The Grand Tour 2005. We headed north on the Florida Turnpike and were passing through Ocala, when the van began to shutter and shake. Concerned, my father pulled into a GNC dealer that happened to be in town. It turned out to be an easy problem to fix, so we were back on the road by 5 p.m. By the time we passed Tallahassee and were 60 miles west on Interstate 10, it was night and raining. We made camp in a small, country town in the Floridaís Panhandle.
The next day, we cruised through Alabama and Mississippi into Louisiana. We ended up camping near New Orleans for 3 days. The historical city was fun, eclectic, and had some of the best food Iíve ever tasted. It was among the favorite of our entire trip. After New Orleans, we made our way southwest into bayou country in search for some real Cajuns. We found them in Houma, where Zydeco bands would play all night long and the old timers sang in French. We had a blast learning the two-step and sucking on crawfish. Itís sad to think that three months later, Hurricane Katrina would wipe out the whole town.
After our fun in Cajun country, we headed north through Arkansas and then west through Oklahoma and the Panhandle of Texas. This was the most barren region I saw, and there isnít much to write about.