In 54, days, hardly stopping for breath, we traveled 30,000 miles (see, I'm measuring like an American now!)
Texas- Arkansas- Mississippi- Tennessee- Louisiana- Florida- Maryland- Virginia- Massachusetts- Connecticut- New York- Arizona- Nevada- California.
From the subway to the sky, we traveled by plane, car, bus, train, trolley, ferry, airboat, bicycle and foot.
From Venice Beach in Florida, across the country to Venice Beach in California
From the Southernmost point of the USA at 0 ft above sea level to the Grand Canyon at 7000ft
From the density of Manhattan to the emptiness of the Mojave Desert
From the mania of the Interstate to the tranquility of the Natchez Trace Parkway
Along Beale St, Bourbon St , Duval St, Times Square, Hollywood Boulevard and Rodeo Drive.
We're fatter but fitter than we've ever been. Geoff ran through the streets of Austin, down the Riverwalk of New Orleans, along the Southerly border of Key West, through Disneyworld in Orlando, around the National Mall in Washington and Central Park in New York (and he hiked the Grand Canyon with Sophie!).
We walked the length of the Brooklyn Bridge and the breadth of Disneyworld, Disneyland and Manhattan.
|Washington war memorial|
We drank a fair bit of iced tea, root beer, Budweiser and very cheap bourbon.
It was hot enough for me to swim (88 F in Key West) and cold enough to get Geoff out of his shorts and into his thermals (24 F at the Canyon).
We were hustled ($10 for a shoe shine in NOLA) and conned ($60 for tea leaves), road raged and abused by a taxi driver (he so didn't deserve a tip) but mostly we were welcomed and were happily surprised by the warmth and friendliness of the American people.
We paid $450 for a hotel room one night in NYC and $45 including breakfast (and taxes) in Melbourne FL. It was cheaper to eat out there than it is to cook at home here. So we did.
The shopping was crazy, Nike shoes for less than $50.
By the time we left we'd sorted the difference between nickels and dimes and almost collected an entire set of quarters from each of the states.
We ice skated in DC, shot guns in Key Largo, rode bikes in the National Mall.
Twice we were enveloped in human traffic jams.
We drove at 80mph (130k) on the i35 and were passed by trucks as if we were standing still.
We 'went early, stayed late & wore orange' with $90 000 passionate Longhorns fans in Austin and watched a game of NBA in NOLA.
We saw more Starbucks in the USA than there are houses in Mortlake.
We encountered countless homeless people and we stood outside the gates of the White House. We ogled the grand antebellum homes in Louisiana and wondered at the endless brownstone apartment buildings in NYC.
|Visiting the Obamas|
We shopped at the Quincy Market in Boston, the Farmer's Market in LA, Macys, Bloomingdales, Saks, Walgreens and Whole Foods.
We held wild alligators and were bitten by fish!
We fell in love with squirrels.
We stopped noticing the sirens.
We celebrated our first Thanksgiving and our coldest Christmas. We learned to say 'Y'all', and 'Baahston'. I loved the different American accents but I also came to appreciate our own. The Aussie accent sounds so sweet when you're away from home.
We took 2000 photos - on our iPhones!
Every day was a new adventure and every day we had to pinch ourselves to remind us that we were still in the real world.
Living out of suitcases in such close confines for so long, we all got along remarkably well. It was family memory making at its best.
|New Year's Eve at the Grand Canyon|
My top 10 trip highlights, in no particular order;
- The Washington Mall- history in a nutshell
- Kennedy Space Centre
- Visiting the graves of the Kennedys, Elvis, Paul Revere
- The World Trade Centre site
- Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge
- Fireworks at Disneyworld
- The red rocks of Sedona- I'm still not sure I believe they were real.
- Key Largo- Islamadora
- The New York subway- constant entertainment and transportation at a reasonable price
- The Everglades- wild alligators!
- The Longhorns football game ( I know that's 11 but all that passionate patriotism can't be ignored)
- The Natchez Trace Parkway ( yeah, yeah, that's 12)
- Phoenix and the desert (I could go on and on)
- .........and the sunset over Santa Monica on our last night reduced me to tears
America is a beautiful place and it's people are friendly and inviting. The flip side is that the country is self combusting (and as a consequence ripping up our ozone layer at an alarming rate) with gross consumerism and use of fossil fuels. The things that people can use to kill themselves and other people (cigarettes, alcohol, fast food, guns, cars, tanning salons!) are ridiculously cheap and accessible. Those things are so much more expensive in Australia that we tend to think twice about using them. On the other hand, life saving medical care and decent housing in the US is expensive and the economy is in trouble. I was a tourist in the US, not a judge but it did seem obvious to us that taxing the bad stuff might help people access the good stuff. Just an observation.
It's true that being overseas increases your appreciation of what we have here. I loved the USA and I can't wait to go back for another visit but I was very glad to get back to human sized portions, fresh salad, coloured money, $1 coins, speed limits, bike helmets and vegemite!
Thanks to everyone who followed our trip and commented here or on Facebook or Fodors. It was great to have your company and your feedback :-)