A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: MrsB

We've done it!

We've literally driven coast-to-coast!!

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1 month, 5,500 miles (or thereabouts), and 21 towns and cities later, we've arrived in Atlantic City, which is right on the Atlantic coast of New Jersey. So it's official: Paul and I have driven - in a somewhat convoluted way - across the North American continent. Here's the picture to prove it:

Reaching the Atlantic

Reaching the Atlantic

That is really me - honest - it's just that Paul didn't want to get his new Sketchers (that's a brand of shoe mum) all sandy so I said he could take the picture from the end of the little path onto the beach! If you zoom in you can tell it's me :-)

We arrived here yesterday (Tuesday 19th October), which is exactly a calendar month after I paddled in the Pacific Ocean in Santa Barbara the day after we arrived in the US. Spooky, huh?!

Posted by MrsB 16:48 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Having the time of our lives!

You'll 'get' the title when you read where we went this week!

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Hi y'all!

Well, we have been in the South :-)

After maxing out on Country music (well, taking in as much as Paul could bear!) in Nashville, we headed further east to Knoxville - where we stayed in a chain Hilton close to the interstate. There wasn't much to see in Knoxville.

However, just outside Nashville we stopped at The Hermitage - home of America's 7th President Andrew Jackson. It was an interesting and informative couple of hours learning about the life of a privileged family in early Colonial America, and how they and their slaves lived:

Me at The Hermitage - you can see the house in the background

Me at The Hermitage - you can see the house in the background

As interesting as that was, on Thursday we stopped for lunch on our way to Charlottesville at the Mountain Lake Hotel where Dirty Dancing was filmed!!! It was only half an hour off the interstate between Knoxville and Charlottesville, and initially I had to promise Paul that I would treat him to lunch there, but it was such a fab little detour even he admitted to having enjoyed it! Here are the pictures for the girls...

'Kellermans' sign, with the Houseman's cabin in the background

'Kellermans' sign, with the Houseman's cabin in the background

Me on the 'self guided movie locations tour' of the hotel grounds!

Me on the 'self guided movie locations tour' of the hotel grounds!

This is where 'Baby' first came across the Watermelons!

This is where 'Baby' first came across the Watermelons!

Paul enjoying the visit!!

Paul enjoying the visit!!

Of course - now I can't wait to watch the film again to see how it all compares 23 years on!

Sadly, the hotel is looking a little tired - not least because the lake is in the midst of a natural 'dry' period (check out the hotel website page on the level of the lake for background on this) and currently hardly exists - but also because this place is not in any of the guidebooks and it so should be. I can't even remember why I was googling the movie location before our trip, but I'm so glad that we had the chance to go there. Lunch was tasty and very reasonably priced too (and no, I did not sit in the corner!).

Continuing the road trip we crossed over the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (and yes, I did sing the first 2 lines of that song, although alas Icouldn't remember any more but Paul was very glad about that...) and now we're in true Colonial Country. Trust us though - the highlight of our weekend here so far as been the College Homecoming game of American Football that we went to tonight; the Virginia 'Cavaliers' (team of the University of Virginia) at home to the North Carolina 'Tar Heels' team.

The game in progress

The game in progress

The marching band - they were amazing

The marching band - they were amazing

Even with the fabulous marching band and our diligent support the home team lost, which was a shame, but the atmosphere was fantastic and now I get the appeal of the game!

Tomorrow we're going to visit 'Historic Williamsburg'. Part of the town exists as a living museum depicting Colonial life as it was in the early days... I think we might have a few pictures of that to post!

Posted by MrsB 20:45 Archived in USA Comments (6)

It's been nearly a week since our last entry!

We've been so busy having fun!

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From Omaha, last Thursday we motored east to a quick stop-over in Iowa City, where we stayed in the 'Memphis Belle' suite in a very cute theme hotel next to Iowa City airport (not a busy airport so we were able to get a good night's sleep!). Our suite contained original Memphis Belle memorabilia - such as signed pictures of the famous crew - which had been donated to the hotel owners by Robert Morgan, the captain of that famous bird, himself! Needless to say I loved every minute! We stayed in that night, with take-out pizza and a bottle of the wine be bought in California, as Paul did laundry and I even found a plane-related programme to watch on the Discovery Channel.

On Friday we headed to Chicago, but made a quick detour to the John Deere Pavillion to look at tractors and a small museum of their history:

Not as big as a 747 but I still love 'em

Not as big as a 747 but I still love 'em

We enjoyed yet more sunshine in Chicago - my first visit to the city - where Paul had treated us to accommodations in the Conrad Hotel, right on the 'Magnificent Mile' (which is actually rather like Oxford Street in London, but fun to be that central all the same!). We had lunch on the terrace, and then took a walk to appreciate the stunning architecture:

Lunch on the hotel terrace in Chicago

Lunch on the hotel terrace in Chicago

Paul in Chicago - on the Magnificent Mile

Paul in Chicago - on the Magnificent Mile

We were also able to catch up with my cousin Peter and his lovely wife Magdalena - they were so good to come and meet us on Friday night when they were busy moving house the next day!

From Chicago we 'turned right' again and headed directly south - for the first time - for a quick stop-over in the university town of Bloomington, Indiana. During that journey we crossed into the Eastern time-zone. Paul was quite pertubed to discover that the very next day (i.e. yesterday - Monday) we crossed back into Central Time because the line isn't straight!

We are now in Nashville, Tennessee. We spent today at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. We also took a tour to the famous, original RCA 'Studio B' where Elvis Presley famously recorded more than 250 of his songs (which is more that half of his entire song catalogue). The Studio exists just as it did when records were still recorded in one take, on analogue tape. You can imagine how much Paul loved that! The Steinway piano in that studio is the original one that Elvis played... if there hadn't been students of one of the local colleges using the facilities for a lesson we could have played that piano...

Paul at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Paul at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

The only other point of note is that it rained today. The first rain we've seen on our entire trip! It is proper 'wet rain' too - big warm splattering rain-drops with some lightning in the distance. From our addiction to 'The Weather Channel' on TV we can see that it's the edge of 'severe thunderstorms'. Even the weather over here is huge!!!

Posted by MrsB 16:06 Archived in USA Comments (5)

The Mid-West

It's surprising what you see along the road-side when you're doing this much driving!

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Hello again!

After all that wildlife-spotting in the National Parks we headed over to Thermopolis - a 4 hour drive - to check out the world's largest natural hot mineral spring. We got there a little late to use the state mineral baths, but we were able to walk around the spring itself which was lovely. Our hotel also had a spa pool fed by the natural spring waters so I was able to take to the waters in the privacy of our hotel, with my book, as the sun went down. It's a hard life!

Paul at Thermopolis

Paul at Thermopolis

From there we headed to Casper to catch up with friends, had a lovely time and stayed overnight, before a pretty long drive today to Omaha in Nebraska where we have enjoyed fabulous steak for dinner. It was 650 miles and about 8.5hours driving time - our longest single day journey of the trip - so I reckon we deserved the steak!

With all this driving it's amazing what you get to see on and alongside America's roads. I was very excited to see a real-life genuine working cowboy on horseback driving his herd along the side of the highway between Jackson and Thermopolis:

Cowboy_Picture.jpg

But we've also seen quite a few massive (and I mean more than 100m long) wind-turbine propeller blades being trucked along the interstate, convoys of dusty combine harvesters being transported on the back of trucks between harvesting jobs, as well as the usual assortment of large cranes, diggers and other 'ovesize loads' - they even transport houses by putting a half on each of two massive lorries!

Bye for now!

Posted by MrsB 21:44 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks

Death by photos!

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Today (Sunday) we had a great day - I dragged Paul out of bed before 7am for an early start that was really worth it. Giving into that old cliche that a picture paints a thousand words, here is our day in a selection of photos:

First we saw a couple of female Elk (we think) on the road up to Signal Mountain:

Female Elk

Female Elk

The same female Elk

The same female Elk



Then I took some pictures of the view from the end of Signal Mountain road, and another on the way back down:

Mountain View from Signal Mountain Road

Mountain View from Signal Mountain Road

Another mountain view from Signal Mountain Road

Another mountain view from Signal Mountain Road

Then we parked alongside Oxbow Bend because the views of the trees and mountains were so beautiful:

Reflected Trees at Oxbow Bend

Reflected Trees at Oxbow Bend

Mountain / Tree view at Oxbow Bend

Mountain / Tree view at Oxbow Bend



And while we were there a young bull moose put in an appearance:

Young Bull Moose in the distance - approaching Oxbow Bend

Young Bull Moose in the distance - approaching Oxbow Bend

Young Bull Moose at Oxbow Bend - a bit closer

Young Bull Moose at Oxbow Bend - a bit closer

Young Bull Moose at Oxbow Bend - retreating a bit

Young Bull Moose at Oxbow Bend - retreating a bit

Young Bull Moose at Oxbow Bend - closest

Young Bull Moose at Oxbow Bend - closest



And then we drove for 2 hours up through Yellowstone to see Old Faithful do her thing:

Old Faithful Geyser (of course I'm referring to the sign!)

Old Faithful Geyser (of course I'm referring to the sign!)

Old Faithful between eruptions

Old Faithful between eruptions

Old Faithful - just starting up

Old Faithful - just starting up

Old Faithful getting going...

Old Faithful getting going...

Old Faithful in full flow

Old Faithful in full flow

Old Faithful winding down

Old Faithful winding down

Then we headed down to a small road out of the town of Moose (another 2 hours, but back towards Jackson where we are staying), following a tip from another photographer at Oxbow Bend who told me that there was a bigger moose and some bears to see:

Big ol' Bull Moose (taken just down the road from the town of Moose!)

Big ol' Bull Moose (taken just down the road from the town of Moose!)

Black Bear in tree

Black Bear in tree

Black Bear (taken with a zoom lens - he wasn't quite THAT close!)

Black Bear (taken with a zoom lens - he wasn't quite THAT close!)

Well, that was our day today. Pretty fab, eh?!

P.S - photos are all my own work, and I'm reserving all rights! ;o)

Posted by MrsB 21:28 Archived in USA Comments (4)

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