Author - Grant
From - Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada
To - Santa Barbara, California, USA
Miles Driven - 1379 (That’s One Thousand Three Hundred and Seventy Nine)
Photos - There are none...we just drove
So after nearly 22,000 miles (that’s just 3000 miles short of circumnavigating the globe), half a million calories and a smidge over 7 months on the road, we have finally called it quits. Despite not seeing everything we set out to see (most notably Yellowstone Park, Mount Rushmore, The Wild Wild West, Chicago and Michegan), we are using the excuse of the impending sprog to cut short our travel plans and do sensible things like buy a house, get a job and generally stop living like a couple of hobos. It’s a shame though as we were so close to reaching Platinum Royalty Double Diamond Elite status with the La Quinta hotel/motel chain. In fact, I’m fully expecting a call from their CEO in the coming weeks just to make sure we’re OK as our absence may worry them.
Now whilst this final blog entry is supposed to cover our final days on the trip, I don’t really want to part on such dull terms because no amount of spin could translate our 25 hours spent driving in just three days into anything remotely resembling interesting. As such, what I want to do is to reflect and try to summarize what we have learnt in 31 points on what clearly should be a life changing journey. So, in no particular order...
- It might sound obvious but I’m going to say it nevertheless - this country is beautiful. From the oceans, to the praries, to the mountains white with snow. God Bless America, my home sweet home. (They’re the lyrics from a particularly patriotic song just in case you think I have turned completely Yank).
- According to Kate, there is no scenario under which it is funny to call Kate ‘fat’. I am not so sure.
- Whipping out a camera in a restaurant when they put the plates down never fails gets strange looks from co-diners and staff alike.
- There isn’t a museum in the country that can’t be fully explored in 30 minutes...including a visit to the cafe.
- Petting animals in this country will either kill you or out you in a coma for a month.
- “What kind of dog is that?” is the single most asked question we have been on the receiving end of and, coincidently, the most dull.
- Doing 72 mph on a 70 mph road is considered speeding and will get you a date with an officer whom you must address as sir or ma’am (be sure to get this the right way round) who will still undoubtedly issue with a ticket and a fine.
- The more a hotel room costs, the less is automatically included. For example, a La Quinta room costs $80 per night on average and includes wifi, breakfast, pool, gym (apparently) and all cable channels whilst $80 in your average upscale hotel will barely cover the tip for the guys that take 20 minutes to deliver your luggage.
- The best place we visited was...actually it’s not quite that simple. Firstly our best memories are usually in the places that had the best accommodation (like Asheville in NC where we had a detached cottage for a week over Christmas) but it also completely depends on what you’re into. If you love roller coasters or wrinkles then you’ll love Florida. Like meat? Visit Texas. Enjoy shivering and leaves? Hit New England. Pueblos? New Mexico. Cacti? Get a life.
- It doesn’t matter if a once in a millennium cosmic event is happening, John & Kate Plus Eight takes priority.
- The definition of “Dog Friendly” ranges from “dogs completely welcome” to “we’ll happily charge you $50 for your dog staying but we’re also going to impose some unrealistically restrictive rules”.
- Never, ever, ever order more than one starter between two people in any American chain restaurant else you’ll have to buy your clothes from speciality circus stores.
- 4D cinemas are shit...no exceptions.
- Kate’s version of sharing the driving is to only drive when I am drunk or too hungover to drive. That works out best for everyone.
- It’s possible to distinguish between country music songs if you listen to about 100 hours of Country Music Radio.
- Don’t buy CDs from bands in bars as you’ll never listen to them ever again.
- Of the Food Network stars’ restaurants we sampled, only Michael Symon provided us with a decent meal. Conversely, Paula Dean made bulimia look tempting.
- The best way to maximise the amount of skiing you do on a skiing holiday is to get your other half up the duff so she can’t ski thus leaving you free to explore the mountain at your own pace.
- Conversely, the best way to avoid the laborious chore of packing and unpacking the car is to get yourself up the duff.
- There may not necessarily alway be meat available to buy, even at the World Championship Barbeque Contest.
- 99.9% of Americans think that our accents are Australian. That’s just 11,000 miles off target.
- No one should die before trying the Apple Pie A La Mode from Cold Stone Creamery. For a bonus dollar, they will sing your favourite jingle...but none of them know the Eastenders theme tune.
- Cycling is for poofs...unless you are dodging alligators just half a meter from your pedal.
- The most pleasant way to start the day is with a Bloody Mary at the Top Notch resort in Stowe, Vermont.
- The worst way to start the day is under gunfire in New Orleans.
- A good way to avoid car crime is to buy an unappealing car...I suggest the 2009 Dodge Grand Caravan with Stow & Go seats.
- There is nowhere to hide once you’ve had a row in a car.
- If you take your dog on a 4 hour walk up a mountain, she will limp the following day.
- An afternoon at the baseball is an all round family winner. For me there is sport and booze and for Kate there is sun and men in lycra.
- Both Brett Michaels and Donald Trump picked the wrong people.
- Any road labelled “scenic” might as well come with sick bags.
Seven months well spent if you ask me.
So now we’re in Santa Barbara and we’re already deep into house hunting. Firstly we have found a massive, haunted rental place for the first two months that we move into today and secondly we have found a couple of houses that tick all our boxes and fit our budget. In fact, I have to finish this entry because we’re off to the the realtor’s office to sign an offer. How grown up is that?!
So that’s it from Eating America. Thanks for your patronage and come see us soon.
Grant, Kate, Molly & The Bump.