Howdy Y’all! 😀
I’m back from my road trip across America and excited to tell you about it!
It was mostly a really relaxing trip, just coasting the roads and reconnecting with friends. We did of course mix some sightseeing in as well but it was nothing compared to past trips where every day was packed with sightseeing.
For starters, I think I mentioned that the reason for the trip was to see American friends that I had made with my girl Claire whilst we were in England together. This meant that we skipped some of the big attractions on our way to make it to their places on time but it also means that we got to see parts of America that without these locals, we would never have thought of to go!
In order to tell you about the trip I have divided it into the main cities/states that we visited. San Francisco, Oklahoma, Tennessee and New York. Here begins the four part series that is my American adventure!
Claire and I started off in San Francisco for a few days with Maria and Li who took us to all the interesting areas in the city like the Castro which had rainbow flags everywhere and is constantly in gay pride mode. We went to Haight and Ashbury where the summer of love happened in 1967 and the area still has the feeling of a hippy commune. We cycled the bay area, including across the Golden Gate Bridge and took a ferry back to the city just in time to watch the fog drifting in, a San Fran classic. In San Francisco we were also fed to our limits on burgers, biscuits, scones and sandwiches. We were about to find out that we would never go hungry whilst in America.
|Hearts scattered around the city, a tribute to the song ‘I left my heart in San Francisco”
As we travelled across the country a lot of Americans said to us that San Francisco was their favourite city and “wasn’t it just so beautiful and different?” Like a breath of fresh air they said. It was certainly beautiful but I thought it was very similar to Sydney in terms of the feeling we got from the people and the neighbourhoods. I think a lot of Americans differentiate it on being such a Liberal city (gay marriage is legal, we even saw someone naked walking down the street?!) and whilst it is obviously not AS Liberal, Sydney is not a conservative city. The beauty of the streets and setting of the city is wonderfully individual but I don’t think that visiting Australians get a culture shock from San Francisco.
Claire and I did something neither of us have never done before this trip. We hired a car as our transport across the USA. Flying would have been quicker and possibly even cheaper but we felt that a trip across the USA had to be done right, and what felt right was a road trip. We hired a Chrysler 200 black convertible for about $1200 AUS for two weeks which we thought was a very decent price.
Driving on the wrong side of the road was something I was very worried about; I can be quite a nervous driver if I am in unfamiliar places or situations, but my fears were unfounded and I had only one moment of ‘road fear’ where it was 1am, raining and we came across about 6 different traffic lights in Memphis that were blacked out. In the end I think the experience has really helped my confidence in driving and that I have come back with more confidence in myself in general!
We drove from San Francisco to Oklahoma in 4 days, roughly 3,000kms. We drove almost solidly for those 4 days, getting up at 6am and stopping at a motel when it was about 8pm. On the way we visited the Grand Canyon which was grand and really hard to take in just how big it is, we drove though Las Vegas at 8am and even that was impressive and happening enough for us. We visited Meteor Crater outside Winslow, Arizona and enjoyed the desert scenery and in Albuquerque we experienced alien interference in the traffic leaving the city when it took us an hour to move about 5 miles, spooky!
We only stayed in one strange location on this leg of the trip, on the first night when it was getting dark, Claire researched some hotels whilst I drove and she booked us into one that was still half an hour away, but was cheap. It was called Whisky Pete’s and when we drove into the little town of Prim Valley what we saw was certainly not what we expected. The town consisted almost entirely of three huge casinos, the little valley they were it was lit up with huge neon figures and flashing signs and as we drove into Whisky Pete’s we realised that it was modelled on a Disney castle with turrets and balconies bedecked with fairy lights all over it. We were laughing walking into the place, at the decor and at the people huddled around the slot machines in this seedy feeling casino. Our room was very bare and only half the lights worked but we were only there to sleep so it was ok. When we got up again at 6am we walked out through the casino again an ogled at the people who had either been there all night or who had come to start again at the crack of dawn. It was a fun experience!