18 May, 2006

USA Overview

TBC :)Our USA tour is now over and after our 6 hour flight from JFK Airport in NYC to Heathrow, me and Zena are now back in lovely Somerset!

I thought I would do a quick overview of our trip through the United States of America... After a lovley 12 hour flight from Fiji to LAX, I was stopped by the Federalos for an hour long Passport check.. I thought my US trip was gonna be cut right down.. No problems though and we were picked up by Danni, and given a quick tour through Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Downtown LA whilst we suffered from jetlag!

After a day around Orange County, and of course a free day out to Disneyland where we went on all the main rides - Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain,  Indiana Jones,  and the Disney California Adventure Rollercoaster we headed off on our 10 day Cali Roadtrip.. with La Rue the dog!!

Our first stop (after outlet shopping in Barstow) was Las Vegas, and as we didn't go out until midnight we found ourselves wandering Ceasers Palace at 3 in the morning!!  The next few days were spent downtown Vegas, and also around the main Casinos themselves. However, we had to get out of Vegas for a while, so went and had a look at Red Rock Canyon. This was before our detour to the Grand Canyon via Hoover Dam and a small section of Route 66...

The Grand Canyon was really impressive.. if you ever get the chance, try and book ahead and do a mule ride to the bottom of the canyon. We didn't though. All we saw was the impressive views, from numerous viewpoints.. We headed back to Vegas, and after finding that we had no chance of a room anywhere we slept on a casino bars floor at the entrance to Death Valley!

Death Valley was overcast the day we went through, but you can see why it can get so hot. The lowest point in continential USA is here.. We drove on through a Naval Bombing Range and onto the Sierra Nevada mountain Range. Home to the Giant Sequioa National Park, it was amazing to see some huge trees and feel so insignificant. General Sherman, the biggest tree in the world, is over 2300 years old!!

We didn't have time for Yosemite, instead we headed to San Francisco. The Golden Gate bridge, Chinatown, the Worlds bendiest street, and Alcatraz were all on offer here. We also saw Barry Bonds hit his 710th Homer when we saw SF Giants vs NY Mets.. We all love San Francisco. Its a wonderful city. After a few days here we headed back to LA via the Pacific Coast Highway...

After saying byeee to Danni and Mr La Rue, we headed to collect a driveaway car, unfortunately our Toyota Matrix was not ready for a few days, so me and Zena went to Hollywood and then to Venice Beach. The next day we left LA for Route 66!!

Route 66 - I have wanted to do this for ages. I believe its iconic of the USA; small town America, cars and apple pie! 2319 miles through 8 states. We had to deliver a car from LA to Rochester NY via Chicago under a deadline - 9 days and 3000 miles!! The first night was spent getting out of LA and into Barstow CA. Stayed in the Route 66 motel! The next day we saw hundreds of Harley Davidsons on our way to Flagstaff AZ. We headed through the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert NP, which was really picturesque as well as very old! A night in Albuerqueque NM was followed by a look round the Route 66 Auto Museum, and we also reached the midpoint of our journey to Chicago.

I bought some genuine cowboy boots the next day in Amarillo TX, closely followed by some lunch at Arnold Burgers... mmmm! 1 1/2 lb of burger which I tried damn hard to finish! We drove onto Clinton OK that day, and woke up early to see the Route 66 Museum. It was great!! Most attractions along the route are free, but the two museums were $5 each.. Bargain!! Oklahoma interstates were toll roads, so we took Route 66 through some lovely towns. We stayed in Baxter Springs KS, and in the morning headed to Galena. It might as well be a ghost town. Hardly anyone there, but it was a wonderful place to have a look around. Missouri wasn't that great, so it was straight through to St Louis MO for the international bowling Museum..

The last stretch of our trip along Route 66 was started at the Chain of Rocks Bridge on the Mississipi River. A little bit of history, which hasn't been in use for over 40 years! It was a nice straight road ahead all the way to our Pit Stop, and the end of Route 66 in Chicago.. We stayed in a hostel in Lincoln Park, and spent the day there on the El, sighseeing and some shopping!! Leaving early the next day was our 500 mile dash through Detroit, Canada and on to the Niagara Falls. This tourist trap was pretty spectacular, its actually three waterfalls. The most famous being Horseshoe Falls. However we couldn't spend all day here, and we drove onto Rochester NY to return the car to its rightful owner! :)

After an eventful night in the Greyhound Bus Terminal, we caught an all nighter to NYC. Our hostel is on 23rd Street, which is in the Chelsea area of Manhatten Island.


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