66 days, 24,076 miles, 45 states, 5 cars, 53 motels/hotels, our journey in the USA had come to an end….it had been a blast. Whilst we enjoyed every second, here are some of the highlights…
- The NFL draft in Philadelphia
- Washington DC..all of it
- Canada with no sat nav or internet
- The Late Late Show with James Corden in California
- Nitro World Games in Salt Lake City
- Indy 500 practice in Indiana
- Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam Distillery tours
- High ropes in Louisiana
- Top Golf in Texas
- Camping in Yellowstone
- The Grand Canyon
- Seeing the largest animal on the planet…the blue whale
- Polar Bears and Panda Cubs at the zoos
- Pike Place Market in Seattle
- Vegas!!!! Not that we won anything
- JFK assassination spot in Dallas
- The views we have seen including Crater Lake in Oregon, Tunnel View in Yosemite, the view of LA from the Griffith Observatory and Horsehoe Bend was insane to name a few
- Getting pulled over for speeding in Oklahoma
- Tornado watch in Kansas
- NASA in Houston
- Monument Valley in Utah
- Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado
- Being in four places at once
I could go on and on and on, there have been so many incredible things we have seen and done. It truly has been a remarkable experience and have loved all of it and that’s not an exaggeration. Even the weather, such as the fact we have had nearly every different weather system in Texas, or the hottest place on the planet in Death Valley, everywhere has been different, unique, fascinating, breathtaking and most definitely had the WOW factor. So what have we learnt?
- The grid systems in the big cities is fantastic for pedestrians, not so much for cars getting stopped at every single red light just down the road
- Never ever enter or leave a city at 5pm
- The traffic in LA is constant there is never not traffic
- They sure like their roadworks over here, there were roadworks everywhere we went
- Always carry water no matter how short of a distance you’re walking
- You can turn right on a red light and if you’re unsure wait until the car behind you beeps, then you can go
- It is better to reserve campsites instead of just rocking up else you’ll end up leaving disappointed and broke once you’ve found a motel
- Motels/hotels aren’t cheap over here, not even the absolutely grotty ones such as Super 7 or Motel 6 chains
- Gas is cheap, unless you’re in a minivan
- Take clothes for every weather. It changes quicker than in England
- Make sure you check the road statuses in national parks so you don’t drive all the way there to find out 99% of it is closed
- Make sure you slow down to the appropriate speed before you hit the sign so that you don’t get pulled for speeding
- Do laundry more than every 16 days
- There’s a place you can be in four places at once!
- The time zones go mental in the Dakotas, we had no idea what time it was
- Weed. It’s everywhere. Smells great!
To name a few. If you’ve been keeping up with our adventures over the last 66 days then you know all of the places we have been. We’re very lucky to have been able to have done this. So what better way to finish our last day than a trip to Hollywood…
Friday started with a lazy morning and finding a post office to send stuff home. The guy was really thorough but it took forever. As we left the post office it was like 230pm and we had to get up to the Griffith Observatory, then Hollywood Boulevard and then Beverly Hills, before taking the car back to enterprise at 8pm. Sure it’ll be fine right? Wrong!!!! The traffic!!! We have never seen anything like it! Bumper to bumper the whole way pretty much from our grotty motel to the Observatory and it was only something like 40 miles.
It was worth it though. The view at the top, would have been better if there was less of a haze, but epic nonetheless!This is the view from the road parking up near the observatory. There is parking actually at the observatory but it gets full quickly. We parked on the road and walked up for $4 and hour and a bit of a workout! Some people, due to the amount of traffic congestion were able to stay in the through traffic lane their co pilot jumped out snapped away and got back in. I probably wouldn’t have been quick enough and ended up running down the hill after the car. Oh yeah, it atop a huuuuuge hill and there were actually crazy people walking up right from the bottom!The Griffith Observatory The view was epicThe hazy Hollywood sign
It took an age to exit the parking lot and head down to Hollywood Boulevard. I had read reviews on the Walk of Fame and they were bang on. It was horrible! Ok maybe a slight exaggeration, but it seemed so neglected compared to the rest of the USA. It was dirty, full of homeless people, the stars were graffitied and cracked, the air stank of marijuana, it was crowded with people dressed as movie stars trying to get your money for a photo with them. It was disappointing. We parked easily, on the road for $1 an hour I think then walked along the Boulevard. There are maps telling you where the stars are but it costs $10 and was 2016s issue. Rip off! We were walking along when we realised we had no idea who any of the people were in the stars so we turned round and walked eight blocks down. It got busier and busier. It was so hot and we were in a bit of a hurry so that didn’t help. We fought our way to a few stars outside the Dolby Theatrebefore heading back along the other side of the road.Our final stop was the be Beverly Hills. The ETA on the sat nav was 8pm…the time we were due to drop the car back. It was going to be a rush. We drove down Santa Monica Boulevard and it was beautiful. All of a sudden the houses suddenly transformed from small crumbly buildings to gated, huge, luxurious style bedroom a plenty type. Because we were only driving through I couldn’t get pictures but eventually we came to the sign. The sun was setting in the sky and on our time in the USA. Now it was time to fly to the car rental place, dump the car, grab the shuttle to the terminal, drop off the bags, pass through security and chill. Aaaaand relax. Or so we thought.
Traffic still hadn’t died down so we were late dropping the car off silting in extra hour charge. Good job we’re not paying for it! Thanks enterprise. We still had stuff to pack in our bags. We missed two shuttles and then locked the keys in the car. When we eventually got on a shuttle we didn’t know which terminal but eventually found out it was 3. The journey to the airport took ages as traffic was just insane. We got to Delta terminal 3 at half nine, it was the wrong terminal so we hotfooted it to terminal 2. Thanks tickets…you’d think they’d have the right information on it!! The queue for Delta went past two other airline check in desks!! Luckily we had already checked in so just needed to dump our bags which meant the queue suddenly got ten times shorter for use
A large family with two annoying children running around and getting in the way were in front of us. As we got to the desk the woman behind said “is it wrong I’m hoping those kids get run over by a luggage trolley just a little bit?” Nono it wasn’t. Even when we were at the desk they were running around getting in everyone’s way, then they had luggage too big but didn’t want to pay for it so in the end I told them to move out the way so we could put our luggage on the scales. The check in guy thanked me 😂!
We probably should have asked where we were going as we headed all the way to the other end of the building, got into a lift and headed down. Out. Of. The. Building. The lift only went down. No one could tell us where to go they kept sending us back to Delta check in. We got to the middle flashed our boarding passes and headed up the escalator, hoping we were going the right way. Nathan thought it was Gate 38, I thought Gate 36 so we just followed everyone else to passport control. Took our shoes off, loaded up the trays and in through the scanner. We both got felt up by TSA guards and then my bag decided it needed to get searched. I had packed it so well 😞. There was nothing in there yet for some reason my bloody travel guides flagged up! I then thought I lost my other bag with passports and money on but it was on me. We had finally made it through. Now to find somewhere to eat. There was nothing around! There was a shake shack which we chose and had a hotdog and burger which was delicious, then we headed to the gate. It was 36.
After ten minutes or so there was an announcement, “can Emma Simpson and Nathan Fry please go to the desk at gate 36.” Uh oh. We were secretly hoping they would put an announcement out asking for people to change flights in exchange for money, but sadly this didn’t happen for our flight. Dammit. Instead they needed to know our onward travel plans for Belize as we only had a one way ticket.
Boarding finally commenced as we shuffled into cattle class and got ourselves seated. Not comfortable. Just seated. Row 30. No window seat. The plane took off and we were in the air. I watched ‘split’ and ‘before I fall,’ had a hot tea and zero sleep. That didn’t bode well considering we landed at 630am and couldn’t check in until 3pm.
The one time we didn’t need to rush and it was the quickest airport ever encountered. We were in and out within twenty minutes. Heading out someone asked when we were going and before we knew it we had fallen into the trap of porters and taxi drivers. There was an upside though. It was grey clouds and raining! Just the weather we wanted. Not. The porter pointed out $2 per luggage piece so we were duped out of $8 before we knew it. Then being bundled into a taxi where the porter told us to only trust green stickered taxis and it would cost no more than $25 to the motel. Stupidly I didn’t ask the taxi driver and he told us it would be $30. Stupidly I also didn’t check how much money I had and I only had $28 I asked for an ATM. They don’t stop anywhere. So he had to do it for the $28. It was about 8 miles took twenty minutes max. He’s raking it in!
We took a chance and asked the lady behind the desk if they had any rooms at all available for early check in. She flicked through the diary whilst the other woman barked that they didn’t. Hopes were fading when all of a sudden ‘room 109 is.’ Thank god for that! It was 730am, we needed a shower, we needed sleep and we were able to check in 8 hours early.
On that note…
Until next time…