It's amazing you can keep all our straight roads in order to. I'd be like "hhmmm which picture is next? This one is straight, looks good to me."
Anyways. Carry on.
Again, really great thread thus far. Top notch.
-How many days in total did this trip take? Approx 6 weeks? How many miles? How many driving days?
-What's the breakdown of lodging? How many night in hotels, how many camping, etc?
-Total cost of the trip? Hotels, rental car, excursions, gas, etc. I imagine it was atronomical.
-Did you go with "just" a friend? Or a friend with benefits? She looks cute.
-Did you happen to go to Glacier Point while in Yosemite? I always rave that it's the best single spot to catch the greatest view you'll ever see in the US.
-The top of the Stratosphere looked awesome. Wish I had gone up there.
-Always wanted to drive on the Extraterrestrial Highway. Jealous. And the Aleinn! That's awesome. Pretty much the only thing out there though, right?
-Agreed with your thoughts on the Hoover Dam. I don't see the appeal of it either. When I drove through there in 2009, is was all a huge traffic jam and that bridge was still under construction. When I drove through there this year, the bridge was finally completed and was a very welcome clear passage right through the area.
-I can't believe you went to Zion but not Bryce Canyon National Park. Zion has nothing whereas Bryce has... well... everything. It's my favorite place in the world. Promise you'll visit if/when you come back to the area.
- Yep, lots of Germans in German-plated RV's. It's very strange. Lots of tourist busses have French people, oddly enough. Or at least was my observation.
-You didn't really stay in that log/mud house, did you? Looks knarly.
-I've heard of Salt Lick before. Now I'm craving BBQ.
-What were your experiences with Texans?
-Lots of Aldi's on the east coast.
-If you want to really see some freaks at WalMart, visit a 24hr Supercenter in the middle of the night. It's like a Halloween haunted house in there.
-What did you think of Arkansas? Anything interesting at all there?
-Overall impression of Memphis?
-Anything to do in Orlando other than Disney? I was under the impression that's all there was and drove right by.
Really looking forward to seeing the rest of the trip.
Costs wise I don't have an exact figure, but I suspect it to be around £3000 ($4800ish) but that includes flights at £500 and car rental at just over $2000 (split between 3) so in reality I don't think I could've saved more money. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity so I felt the cost was justified.
Trip was 47days long give or take a few time zones and we had the car for 40 of those days but we managed to split the driving quite well. The longest duration was about 8 hours of which I've just chronicled from Orlando, FL to Fayetteville, NC. Outside of NYC the only time the car wasn't at our beck and call was in San Francisco where we had to park miles away due to the cost of parking in the city.
Break down in lodgings is approximate but roughly 21 nights spent in motels (not as bad as some would make believe), about 9 days in hostels, 3 days in a hotel, 4 nights only were spent camping and one night in the Indian hogan....yep we actually stayed in that thing , 7 nights were spent in the villa in Orlando, plus 2 nights initially in Chris's apartment in Phoenix.
The situation with my travelling buddies in complex but in a sadly uninteresting way. Chris is one of my closest friends from back home and as part of his college course he had the opportunity to live and work in the US for a year and ended up in Phoenix with sharing an apartment with someone else from said course, Julia. Anyway she was supposed to head off at the end of the year with her bf to do a similar trip however naturally they split up and she and Chris hooked up unbeknownst to myself untill I flew into Phoenix . Julia didn't accompany us during the first week and half due to being in Hawaii with a friend, neither did she come to Florida as it's not really her thing which I can understand. So yeah no benefits.......for me at least .
-Unfortunately after googling it I don't think we hit glacier point but frankly I found every view there stunning and as I said would've liked to have spent more time exploring.
-Area 51 is the ONLY thing out there. I'm amazed places such as Rachel where the Ale'Inn is even survive. There's not even a gas station there.
-I'd love to go to Bryce, I'd of loved to go to Nashville too, sometimes time isn't on your side but I'll be back for sure.
-Texas was awesome, BBQ is awesome and the Salt Lick epically good, great atmosphere too. Never had a problem with Texans, they were very polite and friendly, not trying to rub anyone the wrong way but the rudest people we found to be in NYC, it was like being home again
-Walmart is awesome. I love it. A supermarket that sells t/y/ires? F**kin smart.
-Drove through Arkansas in a day, stopping once for lunch, therefore my experience is extremely limited. The local Sheriff's message came across the radio and it was one of the strongest accents I ever heard. Therefore in my imagination now I see Arkansas as a kind of Dukes of Hazzard type place with corrupt deputies and good 'ol boys driving orange cars however I have no evidence to corroborate this.
-Memphis was okay for a day or two, any more than that would of been pushing it. Realistically we only went there to meet another of Julia's friends. It was sooo hot and stuffy there though.
-Orlando is Disney. Obviously there are other things to do than theme parks (Disney have 4 parks plus 2 water parks, Universal have 2 parks I believe, and Sea World have a park and a water park too I believe) but not that would justify going there in respect of that. If it's not your sort of thing stay well clear, I kind of walk the line, I love getting out to nature, hiking and stuff but I also love being a bit of a kid again. I've been to Orlando an insane 4 times now but I'd still go back.
So an 8 hour trip from Florida to North Carolina commenced, originally we'd wanted to stop in Wilmington but time constrained us and we stopped over in Fayettville where we encountered the craziest motel receptionist of the trip who wanted to 'party with us'...ok then .
There was a massive thunderstorm that night for which they put out warning messages on the radio, the first of the whole trip. We tried to find a Walmart but the satnav directed us to a Walmart distribution centre instead we found one eventually though. Another thing about NC is the military presence there, I know the welcome signs said America's most military friendly state but wow there's alot of squaddies out there. The storm knocked out our TV signal when we returned with our spoils from Walmart so we had a boring night. No partying.
Next day got on the road to D.C of course, the nation's capital.
Naturally we programmed the satnav for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and it tried to take us right to Barack's doorstep.
We settled for parking nearby and set out to investigate on foot.
After saying bye to Barack and his security detail we headed over to the State Capitol building. There was a military band playing outside, it was nice.
The next day we decided to take the train in and plonked the car in some fairly ghetto-ey area near the motel.
Where we ended up,
We walked all the way along, it was another hot, humid day. Fairly draining tbf.
It was so hot that the reflecting pool had evaporated
The man himself.
After this we decided to head back up to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. This place was awesome and even better, it was free, something I had become unused to in the US.
The freaking moon capsule, sat right there.
Anyway they had much more than that, I could've stayed all day but as ever time constraints blah blah. I'd recommend it though to anyone interested in that sort of thing.
Last thing we did was to visit the Pentagon.
Weren't exactly supposed to take photos....sssshhhhh. You can't tell it's a pentagon from close up (duh you say) and there were lots of important and serious looking people about.
That was pretty much it for D.C, we had an evening and a day and spent it fairly wisely. We wanted to check out Georgetown too but just ran clean out of gusto and made a tactical retreat to Olive Garden (it was okay) then back to the motel. Enjoyed Washington though, it was educational.
Aah coming to the end game now. The day we left Washington was a sad day, the last with the car, so the end of the 'road' section of our trip and the last motel stay, they had served us honourably.
So for the last time we got a hustle on and hit the road. We had two options, go with the toll roads or without, we decided to go with to save time but fml I spent so much on tolls that day lol.
More long, straight roads, so much busier by the point though. I remembered reading somewhere on TCL that this area was pretty bad for speeding fines and the like so we took it easier.
The states flew by, the traffic got worse.
I like this, with the cop car
We made a criminal mistake in Jersey and tried to pump our own gas and got yelled at I don't really get what the thinking is behind that, and if the attendee thinks he's getting a tip for being rude, frankly he can go f**k himself. Stupid regulations.
Eventually we crossed over a bridge and we could see the big apple itself. The final destination.
We dropped the car off at JFK because none of us were keen on driving in New York understandibly and we knew there was a flat rate taxi charge from the airport.
Once again dropped the car off but with more sadness this time, probably more due to the fact that the roadtrip was over as opposed to being sad at seeing the back of the Sentra. It served us well all the way from Albuquerque and for that I give it a
One flat rate charge +toll +tip () taxi ride and we were in New York eventually, staying at some fleabag 'hotel' in the Bowery area. If you guys thought Motel 6 was bad you should've seen this place haha.
We had these city pass things and we decided the first thing we should do that evening would be to go up the Empire state building. We wanted to catch sunset but didn't factor in queuing and security by which time we had missed it. The view was still great though.
We were pretty beat after but decided to check out Times Square all the same.
This guy kept circling the square...he loved it.
The next few days we spent being tourists doing touristy things I'm afraid.
Spotted this bad boy in Brooklyn. OHH **** DAWG.
Went to Ellis Island and my name is on the list (Thomas Foley). I'm assuming I'd be distantly related to alot of these people because the level of immigration from Ireland where the Foley name is originally from. Apparentely my name is also on the list of people who died on 9/11 also.
Parking in NYC is bad like Paris and London, not sure I'd be wanting to be parking my Porsche on the street (the Prius's bumper was touching it )
He got so many comments in that shirt go Walmart!!
Our last day in America was on the 15th August and we would depart from Newark in the evening. It had rained literally the whole day and night before and we felt lucky to have the morning to walk around again, therefore we headed to the park.
Now we'd been to where a third person was killed
Not wanting to leave our hats in the fleabag 'hotel' luggage drop off we elected to wear them the entire day
We looked like such mugs but I didn't even care, and they all liked it in security at the airport later....NOT but then again they don't like anything.
Literally the last thing we did was to visit the American Museum of Natural History, the dinosaur exhibition was great, the rest so-so.
And that folks is that, after this we picked up our bags, took a shuttle bus to Newark, caught the plane in the evening and landed in London Heathrow the next morning. Ever felt out of place? Try wearing a cowboy hat through a major British airport (or in Chris's case the whole outfit, including Texas belt buckle and boots).
Overall I had a total blast in the US and would love to do another trip sometime. I loved the people, the food, the CHEAP gas (yes it is cheap), the weather, the scenery and so much more.
I didn't enjoy tipping or adding on taxes when you get to the counter, so f**king annoying lol but apart from that..
I feel that many Americans don't get out and about enough to see their own country which saddens me as there is so much to see but that's their prerogative. I'm just glad I was able to when I had the chance.
Much love, Tom
Last edited by FoleE; 11-01-2011 at 08:19 PM.
Did you tip gas station attendants in NJ? A work colleague from Australia mentioned tipping the gas station atttendant. We told her that they don't get tips.
"No wonder they are always so happy to see me!"
In Oregon it's against the law to pump your own petrol( ) but they let you pump it into Motorcycles and they also let you pump your own deisel as well. Some stations I've stopped at will be "full service" and clean your windows and check your oil as well.
We also don't have a sales tax so if something costs $1 it's actually $1.
My family and I took a fifth wheel (truck and trailor) cross country one summer. I think it took about two months. We took a northern route east and dropped down throgh the Carolinas then west through Arizona and up back to Oregon. I'd like to do that again.
Next time you should take a Northern route. If I tried taking a road trip in the UK I don't think I could trust myself not to drive the wrong way down the roads. Did you keep having to tell yourself "keep right, keep right"?
Anyways, amazing trip and write up.
Cheers for the feedback chaps
He seemed surprised that we'd been able to get it to work even though it was no different to the multitudes of other pumps throughout the states that we'd used
Never did totally understand tipping for services anyhow, with a meal it's 15% but when a guy shows you to your camping pitch
Of course I'd still love to travel to more places, people mentioned along the way that they felt the midwest was kinda dull but I guess you never know till you see it for yourself, surely couldn't be worse than driving through the CA desert with nothing but trains and pylons to see . I'd also love to visit Canada too.
As for the driving I got into the swing of it pretty quick, in the US it's not too difficult but I'd imagine in the UK it would be harder due to the level of single carriageways and roundabouts. The only time it caught up to me was in Arkansas after driving on the highway for like 3 hours, turned off up a sliproad then onto the left side of the road eeeechhhh. Quickly resolved that one though . When I got home it was actually then I had more trouble remembering, I'd just get confused, I recall a few days after being home driving out of a garage on a quiet road and trundling along the right hand side
Thanks for all the nice comments guys. Been reminiscing the past few days about the trip, playing the tune from the Fresh Prince loud with the windows down outside the actual house in Beverly Hills, hitting up Walmart all the time, waving at the 'camo guys' at Area 51, dodging shredded truck tyres on the highway and trying to split taxes and tips 3 ways , great memories.
I'll be back...
Great post and perspective of the US. Thanks for sharing your trip with us!
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Merry Christmas to all! Tom
Thanks for the write up Glad to hear you had a great time.
Question. Did you have any problems driving a LHD car on the right side of the road? I guess a lot of Brits go travel to continental Europe so it might not be much of an issue for you. But I don't think I could drive in the U.K. RHD, left hand side of the road, shifting with my left hand and negotiating a round-a-bout
And yeah, like you said, I need to get out more often. I think I could count on one hand the states I've been to for any extended period of time.
Can't say I had much problems driving the car tbh, this was the first time I've driven on the right in a LHD, hell it was even the first time I'd properly driven an auto, if it had been a manual box it would have been a lot tougher I imagine, a lot of rental cars in the UK are autos for this reason.
Frankly I think US roads are fairly easy to understand, with intersections and multi lane roads, whereas in Europe obviously there are random laws, roundabouts and smaller single carriageways, I only slipped up once when tired and at night.
I was far more wary of cops in the US, they seem more focused on handing out tickets and can get you even if you're both travelling in different directions whereas in the UK they haven't this ability and most the time you just have to look out for a big yellow box lol.