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    Thread: American Roadtrip Report.

    1. Member FoleE's Avatar
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      10-13-2011 11:48 AM #1
      Okay so I've been meaning to put some actual pictures up in reference to this thread http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...6-Roadtrip-USA and now a couple of months later I'm finally getting round to it but I thought I'd start afresh.

      So one night last Christmas a friend who was back from Phoenix on time off, and I trudged to the pub through the snow (effort lol) and there it was decided upon that it might be a good idea to drive across America. All the best ideas involve beer, naturally. A rough route was drawn up overtime:



      Said route was debated here and ideas somewhat taken on board. June 29th I flew out to Phoenix, and after a couple of days dicking about trying to sort a rental due to credit history etc, finally got our hands on this beast,



      And off we set. Heading out from Phoenix we drove to Flagstaff through Sedona to the Grand Canyon National Park.



      My buddy Chris looking like he's enjoying the driving too much.


      Amazed to see some roundabouts in Sedona (but not in this pic lol).


      Eventually we made it onto the Grand Canyon itself. My pictures don't do it justice, if you want to see it you simply have to go yourself, it's fairly amazing.



      Take a step back..


      After spending some time there, we got a shuffle on in the direction of Kingman, AZ.





      And then onwards to Los Angeles, City of the Angels, or city of the rediculous traffic jams maybe. Glad we weren't there for carmageddon.





      We cruised around on Mulholland Drive for some time, fairly epic but the road surfacing was awful, plus we saw a presumably drunk driver nearly crash over the edge.

      Gimp.




      After this we basically had fun in and around LA for a few days. Pretty cool.



      Harr harr


















      Saw this being loaded onto a truck later, looked like the hydros/air broke



      We also attended the weekly, Cars and Coffee in Irvine, which I was fairly ecstatic over, but Chris wasn't due to having to get from Van Nuys to there fairly early in the morning.

      A few of the pictures I took (mercifully not all...nowhere near..)













      Afterwards we did more tourist like stuff, Newport Beach etc:





      So after LA, our next target is up the coast is San Francisco. Los Angeles was fun, the traffic irked me a little but overall we had a great time there, I would love to go back someday...onwards..
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    2. Member FoleE's Avatar
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      10-13-2011 03:29 PM #2
      So we set out up the 101, a road I've wanted to drive since forever. We wanted to hit the beach and stuff however seeming as it was July 4th, everywhere was busy as hell and the sides of the roads turned to parking lots.

      Teh europlatezzzz....oh wait that's actually real



      Someone on here's maybe? Also saw a clean black mk5 jetta too but alas no pics.



      What? I can't pay for my own shrimp?


      Santa Barbara


      Chris was interested in seeing the Neverland Ranch but it left me feeling a little underwhelmed tbh however to get there you have to drive some great roads including the San Marcos pass which was awesome. Rural California is absolutely beautiful, too bad about the speed limits though.





      Then we got onto the part of the PCH we'd really been waiting for. Again fantastic roads and parts still under construction from damage. A lot of people were intimidated by the roads here you could tell, pulling over to let us pass even though we'd always leave a reasonable gap.











      A lot of the pictures I have were from either the early stages of the road or when we'd pulled over because I drove the most epic parts and didn't fancy trying to take pics at the same time





      Did the 17 mile drive outside of Pebble Beach, golf doesn't interest me in the slightest but I know they hold a car show here and the roads and scenery were fun. Monterey where we stayed was also lovely compared to being just slightly up the coast which was shrouded in fog (Carmel).



      Stopped off in Santa Cruz, checked out 'The Mystery Spot.' Quality entertainment, still can't argue with $5



      Eventually we made it to our most Northern point out west, San Francisco...

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      10-18-2011 10:33 AM #3
      So San Francisco was awesome. We were staying pretty much right in the centre and had to dump the car at a BART station miles away but it saved us a good amount on parking.

      Alllll the touristy stuff:

      YU BREAK YU BUY!


      Did ALOT of this,










      This guy was doing a little photoshoot of his car:






      Big-ass trees,


      We booked into Alcatraz on an evening/night tour. It was quite atmospheric but unfortunately the gift shop was closed and we were a little rushed, still good though.







      Had a great time here, the weather is fairly unpredictable in San Fran though. The level of homeless people surprised me too, I haven't seen so many in a long time.

      After this we packed up our stuff and headed towards Yosemite...
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    4. Member FoleE's Avatar
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      10-18-2011 11:12 AM #4
      Drove through cowboy country and all the vineyards to reach Yosemite.

      It's a stunningly beautiful place, not that you could tell from my pics







      We drove out of Yosemite on the Tioga Pass. This is up there on another of the best roads we traversed, climbing up over 9000ft, the scenery is stunning. I wish we'd had more time to maybe do some hiking here but the clock was always ticking unfortunately.

      The mean machine third from the left.


      The road down towards Bishop, CA.


      This was the closest I came to getting a speeding ticket on the whole trip, cops were everywhere on the 395 and I saw him only due to an Audi's brake lights sharply coming on in front. When your descending from 9000ft, you can't help but break the limit, cruise control doesn't slow you down. I was over the limit when I passed him and got the evil eye, but luckily no flashing lights :greatsuccess:

      These things are everywhere out West, living the dream. In an RV park in Bishop were we stayed the night.
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      10-18-2011 11:28 AM #5
      So the morning after the night before we headed back out onto the 395 away from the happening place that was Bishop, CA. Going south it's pretty obvious where we'd end up.

      Death Valley of course.





      I actually feel we were fortunate when we were there. The temperature barely topped 100F so was probably unseasonably cold (but hot enough) and also there was a marathon (lol) going on so there was plenty of folks about. I was amazed by the amount of car testing they do out there, every other car was a mule or camo'd bmw or audi, pretty mental. Mainly German vehicles though.



      On our way out:




      Little bit of driving later and what's that in the middle of the desert? Oh yeah...

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      10-19-2011 09:22 AM #6
      What can I say about Vegas that hasn't been said before? Not a lot really . We had a lot of fun though, it's like pretty much nowhere I've been before but different to how I thought it would be.

      Where we stayed, definitely downmarket, even in Vegas terms but nice enough for me, employees became super slutty at night...awwww yeaah.



      Top o'the tower (free admission).


      Other end of the strip






      I don't want to bore with photos but we had fun. Cirque du Soleil Mystère was awesome too, I highly recommend it if you're ever in town.

      Being in Vegas also meant we were close enough to doing something I'd been interested in for a long time, therefore we headed out north one morning.

      After a bit of driving we started getting there,



      And eventually Groom Rd itself.





      Yep this is the legendary 'Area 51', we dared take some photos against the best wishes of the sign, although the original has been plastered over now.

      Car got filthy,


      We bein watched? Yes, yes I think we are



      And back to the land of tarmac'd roads.



      Thought it would be a wrong not to check out some of the local attractions.

      'Black' Mailbox,




      Rachel, NV, of course.



      Headed back to base after our 'Alien' burgers, a good day out all round, glad to have not been taken out by wandering cattle, camo guys or extraterrestrials

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      10-19-2011 01:50 PM #7
      Looks like so much fun. I can't speak for everyone but I love hearing about experiences from people from other countries enjoying our fair country.

      Looking forward to the rest of your journey.
      Quote Originally Posted by ktk View Post
      Car enthusiast: One who harbors an inexplicable fascination with a relatively mundane mechanical device that goes beyond appreciation of its intended purpose and basic functionality, in some cases bordering on obsession.

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      10-20-2011 02:30 AM #8

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      10-20-2011 12:45 PM #9
      Thanks guys

      Anyway after we trekked out to Groom Lake we had one day left in Vegas and then once again hit the road.

      Dirty





      First thing we did was head for the Hoover Dam. It's a fairly iconic structure but honestly maybe it was just the extreme heat or something getting to us but we left a little underwhelmed. Can't really explain why.



      New bridge was good though.


      After this we headed out of NV into sunny Utah.



      More specifically Zion National Park. This hadn't been my idea and I knew little of what was there but it was very beautiful all the same.





      The black hole in the cliff above the car is part of a tunnel that runs through the mountain. At the time the traffic could only be travelling in one direction through it due to the level of RVs around.



      So we spent the night just outside of Zion in an RV resort and got back on the road the following day.



      We found another dam en route and were more impressed, don't know why





      Eventually we ended up twisting back into Arizona where we had started this little escapade not so many weeks before and then back into Utah again.





      So anyone who knows this area will be little surprised that our stop off was Monument Valley, a stunning place.







      You have to pay to drive around the dust roads in the valley which we were unsure of because people mentioned the surface was dodgy (worse than LA?-no ). Being the fearless idiots we are, we went for it even as a thunderstorm rolled in.





      The road surface was bad in places and I wouldn't take my own car on it, but hey it's a rental right

      Could have a worse view to wake up to.



      We camped this night and it was the only time camping I had trouble sleeping due to the heat. Any RV park we ended up at from Yosemite, to Zion to here seemed to be populated by Germans in hired RVs, was an odd trend.

      I watched a program few days back with Billy Connolly, the Scottish comedian, travelling Route 66, he stopped off in Monument and said something along the lines of, 'I wish you could be here to see this' and I can totally relate. It's amazing in person. However we had to press on.

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      10-20-2011 04:25 PM #10
      So we carried on East managing to tick off 4 states in one day....slightly cheated though

      Swiss bikers at the gas station.



      One of my gripes about buying fuel stateside is that you either have to input a ZIP code, which obviously foreign cards don't have, or pre buy the fuel. Not exactly earth shattering but slighly annoying, luckily Chris had a Bank of America account which card we used instead.

      Dipping into Colorado, lovely as ever.



      Then,



      Here's the cheating. Four corners monument, CO/UT/NM/AZ all in a few steps, although we did drive through all four too.



      After that we headed south to our stop off point, Canyon de Chelly back in Arizona now for the final time.





      Where we stayed the night



      An American Indian Hogan, can't say I liked it that much but I'll try anything once (within reason), and it was something to remember.

      Our stop here would be the last in Navajo land, which I had mixed feelings about, we'd met lots of interesting people but I wouldn't get bored of people trying to flog crappy jewellery to us at local beauty spots or stray dogs oddly.

      This is also the last day we spent with our Corolla. The oil light had come on just outside of Monument and we organised a swap for the day after. In some sense I now regret this decision however at the time we hoped to wrangle some sort of upgrade, which never happened of course



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      10-22-2011 12:19 AM #11
      Ack....where is the rest of the trip?!?!? Looks like you guys a having a blast!!!!

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      10-22-2011 04:05 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Dlvdegg View Post
      Ack....where is the rest of the trip?!?!? Looks like you guys a having a blast!!!!
      I'm getting it done fella and thanks yeah it was awesome .
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      10-22-2011 04:51 PM #13
      So after an arduous 1 hour trip down a dirt road with no cell coverage (thanks sat nav ) we finally made it onto a main highway and crossed into New Mexico. Here I saw something that I'd never seen before, a McDonalds gas station! Amazing huh . Again bumped into a bunch of Germans, I swear they are everywhere in the south-west!

      We rolled into Albuquerque after a while and sadly but really quite unemotionally said goodbye to the Corrolla, swapping it for a Sentra of exactly the same colour. The Toyota was a good car but an appliance and that's how I felt as such. That evening we went downtown and caught Transformers 3D at the cinema, I love US movie theatres because of the reclining seats, we don't have these in the UK.

      Morning after we headed up the 2.7m Sandia Peak Tramway to an altitude of 10,378ft which we were grateful for as the temperature at ground level was 113F, and that was just killer.

      View from the top was pretty epic.







      Alot of the trails up top were closed due to fire risk which was slightly dissappointing but needs be.



      Unfortunately on the way back down someone fainted in the tram car due to the height, hope they were okay.

      After this we headed South East to our next stop off point.





      That stop off being Roswell, of course. This was Chris's idea and a hilarious one at that



      I've never seen so much UFO based stuff, maybe unsurprisingly as it is Roswell after all but damn there's a lot! Naturally we had to go to the UFO museum...



      Yeah we messed about- quite alot actually









      We are sophisticated people I'll have you know.



      After the Roswell experience we headed back into the vast landscape that is this area of America. I want to call it nothingness however I'm not wanting to offend people at the same time.



      Just before leaving the state we dropped by the Carlsbad Caverns, I would recommend a visit, they were great.





      And then onto the big one, the one I'd been waiting for.

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      10-22-2011 06:03 PM #14
      So yep we skipped into West Texas. Against my expectations here we found some of the most polite drivers of the whole trip and the highest speed limits .

      Still vast scrubland though,



      Stopped over in Odessa. They have the world's largest jackrabbit don't 'cha know.



      Yeah? Well you do now anyhow.

      Day after we headed east once again.



      Slowly the scenery starts to change, and things just become greener and greener.



      Anyway we rocked into Austin, TX on the 21st of July. What a cool city, it has a great mixture of different cultures and political persuasions that make it fun to hang out in.

      Realised I hadn't put up a pic of the Sentra yet.





      Love the country stores.





      I bought a cowboy hat here, which obviously I preceeded to try and wear as often as possible. The prices for the nice hats, boots and buckles are something else though, bit too much for a souvenir probably, although that didn't stop us trying to get as much kit as possible.

      We ate lots of BBQ, really good stuff.



      My favourite place was the Salt Lick just outside the city, great BBQ food, freshly squeezed lemonade and fantastic mustard based sauce. Sooo good, plus live music whilst you waited, this place was in high demand.



      A cheer went out when it was found some people 'all the way from' California were visiting. Not being attention seekers we kept quiet

      Yeah had a good few days in Austin, went kayaking on the lake (got sunburnt )



      Ate out of a lot of caravans,



      Saw the largest urban bat colony in America, went to a cinema that served food to your chair (genious idea) and generally had good times all round.



      Yeah, Austin was really great
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      10-24-2011 01:57 PM #15
      Loving this thread!

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      10-24-2011 06:01 PM #16
      Thanks mate

      One of the things I notice about the US is the state of some of the vehicles on the road.



      Took this in the motel in Austin, think the bumper was tied on and about one snap away from falling off can't imagine a pedestrian coming off well in a collision and I'd imagine running over it when it does fall off wouldn't end well either. Also saw a car parked in Denny's that had a severe side impact, I was surprised it could've even driven in a straight line and I assumed it was dumped there but I later saw somebody drive off in it. Seems crazy to me but hell, land of the free right

      Anyway we left Austin after a few days and made our way on the I-35 north to Dallas. There was alot of queues due to roadworks on this section of road and I was impressed to see people in trucks/SUVs drive off the highway through drainage ditches or whatever to reach uncongested roads running parallel to the highway. Very intuitive

      We arrived in Dallas getting towards the evening, off the highway it was pratically deserted.



      It felt kind of morbid but obviously as we were just passing through we wanted to head to the place where JFK was assasinated.



      Obviously the building he was officially shot from is very famous now and the sixth floor has been turned into a museum about JFK and the assasination. Unfortunately they don't let you take pictures from where he was shot however, I don't know why.

      X marks the spot as it were.



      A lot of conspiracy theories concern the 'grassy knoll'.





      There was lots of interesting graffiti on the fence







      Anyway after all that we left to get back to the motel and to try and find a Domino's or something. When we were looking we found an Aldi. Awesome never knew they existed stateside lol.

      This would be our last whole day in Texas, the day after we had a long drive North East. I was upset to be leaving, I'd wanted to go to Texas for ages and it lived up to my expectations. Don't get me wrong being a tourist and residing are two seperate things altogether but I had a great time whilst we were there.

      So day after we carried on up the I-30 headed towards Little Rock, AR whilst taking in the last of Texas.

      Got stuck behind this guy for aaaages. Then once we passed he overtook again fml.



      Texas's last stand. We went to one of those super Walmart type things here and boy were there some freaks about, got alot of love for the accents though.



      Finally,





      From what we saw of Arkansas, it was green with straight roads but we just passed through. Although it was here I embarassingly managed to pull onto the wrong side of the road after coming off the highway. It was the only major incident I had all trip and I'll just put it down to tiredness I think .



      Back home I live 5 minutes from Malvern, it's where Morgan cars are made. A constant source of interest was seeing British place names show up unexpectedly.



      In Arkansas we hit a bad thunderstorm, spray from the wheels of semi trucks really gets bad and it annoyed me that they didn't seem to slow down much when it got heavy. Was kind of funny to see rain again as well, especially considering the drought they were having in Texas.



      Eventually we made it to the other side though..



      Awaddup Memphis!
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      10-25-2011 10:31 AM #17
      Sooo Memphis, damn it was hot in Memphis. Whereas out west the heat was a dry one, here the humidity really kicked in and it's energy sapping.

      Didn't know too much about the place so obviously the first thing to do was to head to Graceland, Elvis's house.



      The house decor is still much the same as when Elvis passed.





      Obviously some stuff has changed though becoming a shrine to the King.



      Elvis and some close family members are buried here too which I didn't know.



      Some of his vehicles in the museum.





      Didn't know the guy had a tractor



      The famous one,



      His plane. Yeah they have his plane here too. Infact both his planes, he had two



      Left Graceland with more respect for Elvis Presley. The guy certainly achieved alot in his life and the quantity of awards he had is amazing. Plus when we were queuing to get on the bus the Google Streetview car went passed, so I'm hoping to be embossed in the place for a while

      The rest of our time in Memphis was spent doing a variety of things.
      Headed down to the Mississippi river,



      They have a scale model of the river down in the park alongside the real thing.



      Beale Street, home of the blues.





      Chromed out biatch!



      Ended the day on a more sombre note. The National Civil Rights Museum has been built within the motel where Martin Luther King was shot on the balcony. Some images inside the museum seem so alien now and are hard to comprehend.







      You go into a reproduction of the last room he stayed in and it's quite saddening. No pictures from the balcony though. You can also go across the road to the bedsit where he was shot from, I had no idea the assasin was caught in England till we read it here.

      Day after we visited the graveyard in Memphis that has many graves from the Civil War.



      We had intially planned to go to Nashville but being it was 3 hours there and 3 hours back we decided to give it a miss, I'm sure I'll make it someday though. So we headed south to our next destination.







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      10-26-2011 08:45 AM #18
      So drove down to Louisiana through Mississippi on the I-55 south passing a huge Nissan factory alongside the road. We joked that the car was coming home but I googled it and it seems they make mainly trucks there, damn .

      Driving over the swamps of LA,



      Eventually we made it New Orleans and decided initially to look over the more touristy parts aka the French district.











      Diplomat?





      Anyway the day after we decided to head off the beaten track and maybe search out some of the areas worst hit by Katrina in 2005 to see how the areas had been rebuilt.

      We downloaded a little map off the net and got underway, however as we started our little 'tour' we were surprised to see the amount of devastation still present 6 years later.







      Where the levees had broke and the houses been completely washed away new modern pieces of architecture have sprung up but go a couple of blocks down the road and the story can change completely. Obviously some people just never returned.

      Some of the roads where the levees broke were absolutely awful, I can't believe they hadn't resurfaced them but I won't even pretend to understand the engineering or political issues here.



      Pretty bad all round.



      We had intended to stay another day in New Orleans then drive onto our next destination, Orlando FL, in one day however after looking at the length of time we decided to split it into two more managable segments. So once again we hit the road.

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      10-26-2011 01:54 PM #19
      Great pictures. Thanks for sharing.

      I had a business trip to San Francisco a few years ago. Someone out there mentioned that S.F. voted to pay a monthly stipend to homeless people. That only caused a great influx of homeless people to S.F. looking for a handout.

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      10-28-2011 01:12 PM #20
      ^ That would make sense then I guess.

      Anyway we soldiered on towards Florida passing through Mississippi and into Alabama, through Mobile where I got road raged on for the first time by a guy in a Tiguan from Texas.

      We took a little detour to visit a place of my namesake.





      Yep I'm a douchebag.

      The skies really are blue in Alabama..



      Anyway just before passing into Florida we rolled through a little nondescript place called Seminole on the Old Spanish Trail. It was here that the Top Gear crew got stoned on their US roadtrip by good 'ol boys. We didn't stop for fear of death....I kid, I kid, the place was just like any other small town in the south .

      Carried on and passed into Florida and into our final time zone whilst in the US.





      Made it to our stopover in Tallahassee and then the morning after onwards to Orlando



      Hmmmmm.
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      10-28-2011 01:29 PM #21
      Really surprised you haven't been getting more replies. Only got through a few posts so far, I'm saving the rest of the thread for later when I can kick back with a beer in hand. Really phenomenal pictures!!! Many are even better than mine, and I took a LOT when traveling the country myself. Can't wait to finish the thread later.

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      10-28-2011 01:42 PM #22
      This thread reminds me of a friend we have in Germany. She's seen more of the U.S. than we have.

      Looking forward to a lot more pictures. Great thread.

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      10-28-2011 01:47 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by LG6R View Post
      Really surprised you haven't been getting more replies. Only got through a few posts so far, I'm saving the rest of the thread for later when I can kick back with a beer in hand. Really phenomenal pictures!!! Many are even better than mine, and I took a LOT when traveling the country myself. Can't wait to finish the thread later.
      Means alot mate thanks, and I'll be sure to check your's too, I love a good roadtrip thread hence why I'm writing this one up .
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    24. Member FoleE's Avatar
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      10-28-2011 01:53 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by Cooper View Post
      This thread reminds me of a friend we have in Germany. She's seen more of the U.S. than we have.

      Looking forward to a lot more pictures. Great thread.
      The fact that she's German doesn't surprise me at all, they're bloody everywhere

      I met some of my buddy's co-workers in Phoenix and many hadn't even seen the Grand Canyon, a few hours away and one of the 'Seven Natural Wonders of the World'. I had trouble understanding that
      2007 Volkswagen Golf GTi Edition 30
      US Coast to Coast Roadtrip Jun '11.

    25. Member FoleE's Avatar
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      10-28-2011 02:32 PM #25
      So into Orlando. I'm not gonna try and pretend this was some sort of cultural experience it's basically theme parks and cheap eats although you can of course head off the beaten track as ever. It's not my first time here, in fact I've been on 3 previous occasions but it was odd for me to drive there

      What it's all about:







      The only Opel Corsas in America? I'm not sure how much Corsa was left in them however, stripped out with bike engines in the back powering the rear wheels.





      The car parks always crack me up. They're gigantic and you have to take a little train thing to get to the actual parks, hell in one you take a monorail. The beast in situ,



      One day we decided to head over to the Atlantic coast, Cocoa Beach to be precise and took in some air boating en route. Our trip to the beach also meant I'd been in the Pacific and the Atlantic within the same trip.



      This was just before I wrestled the 14fter



      After all our time spent in motels, hostels and camping, Orlando was our little bit of luxury, private villa in a 'gated community'....hell yeah!







      Best thing evaaaaar



      Sadly eventually we had to get on the road again after a great week in Florida. During our time there we came the closest to stacking the car after a taxi minivan decided he wanted to be in our lane whilst we were occupying it. A lucky swerve avoided disaster as we were alongside him when he pulled that s**t. Wing mirrors are there for a reason jackass



      Our next stopover was to be Fayetteville in North Carolina which meant crossing through Georgia and S Carolina in one day, not a fun task but it could've been worse.

      Still made time to stop off in Daytona though,



      I'm sure the Sentra would've decimated all on track...



      And onwards up the coast!

      2007 Volkswagen Golf GTi Edition 30
      US Coast to Coast Roadtrip Jun '11.

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