All posts by Martin

A drive around USA

We are on board the ship right now. Internet access has been spotty (satellite issues) and expensive ($$ issues), so we’ve been offline for most of the time. More info about the ship coming real soon.

In the mean time, if you were wondering what it is like to travel 7,000+ miles around USA by road but never had the time to do it, here’s a quick 3 minute version that will give you an idea of what it’s (kind of) like…

Harvey the RV for sale

Tomorrow is our last day in the RV. We will arrive in or near Los Angeles and then we have a busy few days arranging to sell the RV and also offload all it’s contents. After that we prepare to board the ship on Saturday.

There probably won’t be any updates here for some time, until things settle down a bit, this is going to be a busy few days ahead. We’ll get you all caught up down the track a bit.

In the mean time if you have been at all inspired and would like to make your own journey, consider buying Harvey the RV, which is for sale at a wholesale price. It only has 45k miles. This is your last chance!

Arizona

From Santa Fe, another long drive – this time into Arizona. Our final destination, Seligman, is a town in the middle of the desert, and we only chose this for logistical reasons – half way to Los Angeles.

Another day on the interstate, but this time we have some great cloud formations and interesting terrain.

At lunch time, we found a chance to deviate to a scenic area 10 miles off the freeway. Harvey goes off-road.

Our lunch spot with a view.

It doesn’t look like it, but there’s a huge cliff behind them, we were all being very careful and practicing good listening skills.

An impromptu show performed at the cliff’s edge – why not?

Typical lunchtime antics

Milo get in on the action. He has his meals in the passenger seat, which swivels 180 degrees. This is the only place we can put his booster seat.

At camp in Seligman, AZ.

We had a fantastic sunset with great cloud formations.

Santa Fe with Malachi

We took a rest day today in Santa Fe.

The main purpose of this whole RV trip is to visit family and friends, so that’s why we stop in certain places and miss other things completely. At this stage, every day ahead of us is allocated, and we have just enough time to make it to LA and board our ship. We maximized the time on the East Coast, as well as a few stops here and there on the way over and back. This trip back to LA is intentionally a fast one. We’ve even stooped to the low level of just using the interstates which I dissed in an earlier post. But, you gotta do what you gotta do, and so we are doing it – and that ship won’t wait for us. So hopefully that explains the speed of the journey so far. But one of the stops we had planned from the start was one in Santa Fe to see Malachi and family.

We spent the day today with Jody’s cousin Kevin and son Malachi, who was featured in a previous post as we also saw them in Connecticut. Shakti, Malachi’s mom, was working all day so we only saw her briefly.

Not really any photos to share except these snapped from an iPhone from a breakfast we shared.

A car park cousin farewell.

Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico

Sometimes we stay at KOA campgrounds, and sometimes these KOA’s try to compete with other campgrounds by offering various special “attractions” to try to draw people in – especially people like us, who are suckers for this type of marketing. (warning, previous sentence may contain sarcasm, reader’s discretion is advised).

At this particular KOA they had a jumping pillow, which is something like a trampoline. The kids loved it. The pillow is large and all sides are buried into the ground. Underneath they pump in air. So you climb on top and start jumping on the pillow, and this is what it loos like…

A caged buffalo near the campground. This was apparently to attract the interest of prospective campers.

Today’s route was across the Texas Panhandle, into Santa Fe – where we had plans to meet up with Jody’s cousin Kevin and family.

The view from a roadside rest area. A lot of the drive today was flat and, well, let’s just say a little monotonous.

Milo, the birthday boy today, spent his birthday mostly in his carseat. Swimming in Juju’s pool and eating blue cupcakes is but a distant memory now as the Texas heat takes hold.

A lot of the scenery today looked like this…. until we got into New Mexico.

In New Mexico, starting to get a bit hilly

Close to Santa Fe, things started getting a lot more interesting.

Oklahoma

From the musical, Oklahoma! (circa 1955)
(video: 1 min 43 sec)

We are getting about as close as we’ll get to the middle of America. As I write this we are in Oklahoma, near Oklahoma City. It is hot – very hot. The temp topped out at 105 F today (that’s 41 Celsius). Nobody is bursting into song like the guy in the above video. Hot winds blew in from the South all afternoon, it was like being in a blast furnace. In the RV we ran the generator as we traveled, so that we could run the main air conditioner as well as the one built into the dash, neither could keep up with the heat. There were wild fires in Oklahoma City suburbs and we were diverted off the highway due to low visibility. Numerous suburbs were evacuated. But we pressed on and made it to safe ground for the night, we are a long way from those fires now.

I didn’t think to mention it until now but we’ve definitely been in the Bible Belt for some time. Ever since we entered Virginia, we’ve noticed a staggering number of churches of all descriptions, not to mention many billboards with Christian themes, billboards promoting the various churches, and a plethora of Christian radio stations to choose from. In fact between Christian radio and Country music, there’s not much room on the dial for anything else.

We started our day near Memphis, having breakfast with The King of Rock and Roll.

This is the kind of thing that Milo gets up to when we look away.

Our campsite near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

We’re in farm country – this is a locust that stopped by to visit our campsite. This photo was taken on the tree in the far left of the photo above.

Alabama The Beautiful

It was a sad yet upbeat farewell in Atlanta. We enjoyed spending some 5-on-1 time with Juju. For our goodbye, the waterworks were tuned to a minimum. Not that there couldn’t have been a major eruption at any moment.

Saying goodbye to Juju in Atlanta

Our trusty GPS took us through some of Atlanta’s richest, then sketchiest neighborhoods as we made our way to Interstate-20, which took us out of Georgia into Alabama.

“Alabama The Beautiful” is how the welcome sign reads. We passed through Birmingham, then on to Memphis, Tennessee.

Alabama The Beautiful

Milo in sleep mode, snacks still crusted to his face.

Hollywood #1

Hollywood #2

Alabama has lots of trees, but relatively flat.

Mississippi

Truck jam in Memphis

Our campsite in Arkansas (just on the outskirts of Memphis)

Sunset near Memphis

Juju’s Compartment

We had a rest day, naturally, in Atlanta. It was natural because Atlanta is the home of Jody’s sister Jennifer (known as Juju to the kids).

Juju lives in an apartment, however when he was younger Riley always used to refer to it as a “compartment”, so we’ve often talked about “Juju’s compartment”. In fact, we have talked about it for years with Riley and now Talia too, so it was nice to finally all be there to see it in person.

She has a 1-bedroom apartment but there was no problem fitting three adults and three children in it. We spent two nights and one full day there.

Juju’s compartment is beyond comfortable and even has a stunning rooftop pool with views to the city. The pool was a great location to celebrate Milo’s 2nd birthday, which is actually on September 1st, but on that day we’ll be probably somewhere in Texas, like Amarillo, and [with sincere apologies to any Texans here] its probably just not as fitting for a celebration as Juju’s rooftop pool.

Milo enjoyed his birthday, but more than that he enjoyed riding on Juju’s elevator, which he calls “the alligator”. When we jumped back into our RV and pulled out of the driveway, he was calling out “bye-bye alligator”.

Juju’s compartment

At Juju’s pool

Pool

Pool

Milo’s Party

Milo is TWO

Blue icing, blue teeth. And 12 hours later, something else was blue too.

Cake anyone?

Mandi and Talia

Milo in boots

With friend Mandi

Heading South

On Saturday we re-boarded the RV, back in the saddle with the pedal to the metal. As hurricane Irene bared down on the East Coast of the US, we mapped out a slightly inland route to our next destination, Atlanta. We successfully avoided almost all of the storm and had a smooth ride all the way to Atlanta. It took two days and mostly on Interstates, however the last part was amazing and more on backroads, through some beautiful parts of the Appalachian range, the Natahala National Forest in North Carolina as well as north-eastern Georgia. The only photos we got were snapped on the iPhone from behind the wheel.

1030 miles after leaving Connecticut, and after passing through nine different states (Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia) we finally pulled into our stopping over point at Jody’s sister Jennifer’s apartment close to downtown Atlanta.

Rain as we pull out of Connecticut ahead of the hurricane

New Jersey

Welcome to Pennsylvania

Occasional rainy patches

Hot on our tail

Welcome to Tennessee

North Carolina, near Asheville

Nahtahala National Forest, North Carolina

Spaghetti Interchange, Atlanta

Rock Cats Baseball

Riley and a few cousins had a great treat and got to go to the New Britain Rock Cats baseball game. The Rock Cats are a minor league team. It was Riley’s first baseball game and he loved it. Most of his energy was focussed on getting the various mascots to sign his shirt.

We had great seats right behind home plate.

Riley and Corrina in the stands. Riley has one of the balls used in a previous game, and had it signed by a few mascots – this ball in now a prized possession.