A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: luluandstone

Moonshine, Guns and Ghosts

It’s been so long since I have blogged so there is so much to write about! It might have to be a two or three part update.

We go back to where we left off – just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Today we arrived at Kara’s house in Chattanooga, Tennessee and Laura was there as well. We met these two lovely ladies last year when we were on our way to Greece, we were all making our way to the islands but didn’t really have any plans so decided to travel together (along with Danielle and Fred who we visit later in this blog!).

When we arrived we went out to dinner to a delicious brew house that served local Tennessee beers and great food. After dinner we headed to a bar where a band was playing and were introduced to the local Chattanooga shot – the ‘Wet Pussy’! It came out in a huge glass and we had to skull it rather than shot it as it was that big! It was delicious and we may have had a few rounds! We somehow made our way home – in a taxi we think and had a lovely sleep in Kara’s guest room – it was nice to sleep in a real room rather than the RV for a night.

The next day we drove up to Kara’s Dad’s house which was about an hour and a half up in the mountains. He lives on acres and acres of land that backs on to a state park. He was cooking us a delicious meal of deer, pork and turkey, all of which he had freshly hunted the day before. He had a large smoker which had all the meat in it as well as some amazingly tasty beans.

1 - Mountains

1 - Mountains

While dinner was cooking we took some of the 4 wheelers out for a ride. We drove through a river and I forgot to lift up my feet so came out the other side with soaked shoes – it was freezing! We stopped for a beer at a little watering hole and then headed back.

2 - River ATV

2 - River ATV


3 - Destination

3 - Destination


4 - Muddy Feet

4 - Muddy Feet

When we got back to the house we set up the keg and got warm around the big bon fire in the backyard. Before long there was about 15-20 people there and also a band – Bob and the Electric Bananas. We spent the night around the campfire listening to the band, eating delicious food and even got to drink some moonshine from a mason jar! It was a great night and we even set off some fireworks that we had bought near Niagara Falls – my favourite was called the Roman Candle which you hold while it shoots out balls of light! We didn’t have any big ones that went up in the air but it was still great fun.

5 - Bonfire

5 - Bonfire


6 - Moonshine

6 - Moonshine


7 - The Band

7 - The Band


8 - Fireworks

8 - Fireworks

Later that night we decided to take one of Kara’s friends Suzuki Sidekick into the bush for some 4 wheeling – it was so much fun and then Flynn took me out on one of the 4 wheelers! Was a bit scarier riding around in the dark!

The next day we went to see the tallest waterfalls on the east side of the Rockies. It was a nice hike down and the waterfall was beautiful. We then headed back to Kara’s and had the chance to shoot a target with one of their guns! The noise was so loud! I wasn’t very good at hitting the target but Flynn did alright – not compared to Kara though!

9 - Waterfall

9 - Waterfall


10 - Hiking

10 - Hiking


11 - Flynn Shooting

11 - Flynn Shooting


12 - Emma Shooting

12 - Emma Shooting


13 - Targets (Kara's is the top one, Flynn and I shared the bottom one!)

13 - Targets (Kara's is the top one, Flynn and I shared the bottom one!)

After gun shooting we made our way back to Kara’s house to get ready for Halloween. I was a witch and Flynn went as a pirate. Kara’s costume was great; she went as pregnant Bella from Twilight. We took the RV to one party for a few hours and while we were there we got introduced to the game of Flip Cup – it was so much fun and we were better than we expected! We then headed to another party and parked the RV in a friend’s driveway so we could easily get into bed later that night! It was such a fun night and a great experience for our first ever Halloween!

14 - Dressed Up

14 - Dressed Up


15 - Flip Cup

15 - Flip Cup

The next morning we went out for brunch and got $1 mimosas that were delicious. Then we said a sad goodbye to Kara and her lovely friends and stopped at a haunted market before making our way to Nashville.

We made it to Nashville around dinner time and caught up with one of our friends from camp – Gaga. It was great to see her and she gave us a tour of her college called Vanderbilt. We went out for a dinner and I had some delicious garlic wine mussels. Gaga then showed us the main street of Nashville which was lit up and looked like a lot of fun to go out and listen to the live music that Nashville is famous for. We then said goodbye to Gaga and stayed just out of Nashville for the night.

The next day we went straight to Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland, in Memphis. We got the platinum tour which meant we could tour around his house as well as his airplanes and a few other exhibits. His house was set up just as he had it in the 70s and was so interesting to see. His private jet was amazing as well and was even equipped with a bedroom!

16 - Graceland

16 - Graceland


17 - Living Room

17 - Living Room


18 - Pool Room

18 - Pool Room

We then drove to Ole Miss in Mississippi where a few of our friends from camp go to college. We made ourselves dinner in the Wal-Mart car park (how classy of us!) and then met up with Delta and Stretch and they took us on a tour of their college. It was a beautiful campus and all the fraternity and sorority houses were huge. We got to see inside Delta’s sorority house and it was beautifully decorated. There was a massive dining hall where all the girls eat their meals – they have a chef who makes breakfast, lunch and dinner. They also had a frozen yogurt machine so we got dessert! We stayed the night at one of Delta’s friend’s condos and it was great to hang out with them.

Then next morning we drove down to New Orleans, on the way there we went over the longest bridge we have even seen – it was about 23 miles long! As we were crossing the wetlands there were houses on each side of us that were only accessible by boat – it was like we were in a different country as the scenery was so different. We found our RV Park and then chilled for the night, but not before watching the local news and finding out that there was a shooting the night before we arrived in Bourbon Street – needless to say I was a little bit nervous!

Our first day in New Orleans started with a 30 minute bus ride into the centre of New Orleans and then we jumped onto the tram car which took us down to Bourbon Street. We walked along Bourbon Street but it was very quiet as it was only about 2pm. We also checked out the French market and bought some Cajun spices. We then we visited a restaurant that was recommended by the RV Park owner and Flynn had a sandwich that is famous in New Orleans called a Muffaletta – it is filled with three different types of meat with olive salad and a few more ingredients. For desert we headed to Cafe Du Monde for their famous French donuts called Beignets. They were absolutely delicious. We decided we needed to get ourselves the famous Hand Grenade drink before heading home so stopped at the original bar to get one – they were so strong and tasted very much like midori. As we walked back to the bus there was a group of about 15 people playing brass instruments on the street corner – they were great.

19 - Bourbon Street

19 - Bourbon Street


20 - Muffaletta

20 - Muffaletta


21 - Beignets

21 - Beignets


22 - Hand Grenades

22 - Hand Grenades

The next day we went on a swamp tour. We got to see an alligator, a few birds and even a rabid racoon. The swamp was a really interesting area and the tour guide had lived on the swamp his whole life so had some interesting stories. After the tour we caught the bus into town and went out to dinner for Flynn’s birthday. Flynn had a soft shell crab and it was weird to learn that you could eat the whole thing – claws and all! After diner we went to Paddy O’Brien’s and each got a hurricane drink that the pub is famous for and then we went on a ghost tour. The ghost tour was really interesting – there were so many crazy stories about torture and haunting around the streets – luckily we didn’t run into any ghosts! We finished the night with a walk down Bourbon Street – which was pumping! We had a drink in a little jazz bar and watched their band play for about an hour – they were great. Then we headed home.

23 - Swamp Tour

23 - Swamp Tour


24 - Racoon

24 - Racoon


25 - Hurricanes

25 - Hurricanes


26 - Most Haunted House in New Orleans

26 - Most Haunted House in New Orleans


27 - Sign on Bourbon Street

27 - Sign on Bourbon Street

The next day we drove to Austin, Texas to catch up with some more friends we met in Italy and travelled Greece with – Danielle and Frederick. I will upload this adventure soon!

Love you all
XXX

Posted by luluandstone 17:44 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Cake, Fist Pumping and Bull Riding – what more is there?

So I am pretty sure we drove straight through the middle of downtown New York in an RV.... Oops! The GPS directions took is around the city, however there were signs on the freeway that said the upcoming tunnel clearance was 9ft – not tall enough for us! So we had to get off, and into the city. Flynn did an amazing job; people were beeping their horns left, right and centre. We finally found a tunnel that would take us over the water to our RV Park in Jersey City when we were stopped by a policeman. He said that we couldn’t take the van though the tunnel because we had propane on board. So we had to find yet another way! It took us a lot longer than we expected, but after some craziness we finally made it to the closest RV park to New York City. It was the most expensive park we have stayed at and also the most basic – it was a concrete parking lot! But we could see the Statue of Liberty from our site!

Once we parked (in RV storage for the first night!) we caught the train into Hoboken and went to Carlos Bakery (from the TV show ‘Cake Boss’). There were quite a few people inside and everything looked delicious. We bout 4 cupcakes, a lobster tail pastry and a chocolate mousse cake! We didn’t see Buddy though.

Carlos 1

Carlos 1


Carlos 2

Carlos 2


Carlos 3

Carlos 3

Early the next morning we caught a ferry from the RV park to Wall Street, Manhattan. We booked a tour of the Statue of Liberty for the following day and then got on a hop on hop off bus tour. There were four different bus routes on the tour so we started with the Downtown one. We got off at Times Square just in time to make a 2pm Broadway show. We originally wanted to see How to Succeed in Business with Daniel Radcliff but because it was classified as an ‘on Broadway’ show it was very expensive. The shows considered to be ‘off Broadway’ where about half the price so we saw one called The Prophet’s Son. It was quite good. After the show we did the Uptown bus tour and then went to a comedy club – we got completely ripped off here! We bought the tickets for $20 each to see 7 comedians. When we got there we found there was a two drink minimum for each person and the cheapest drink was $8. So with tip included (they included it on the bill for us) we paid another $20 each! And the comedians weren’t even that good! Oh well!

Times Square 1

Times Square 1


Times Square 2

Times Square 2


Times Square 3

Times Square 3

The next day we did the tour of the Statue of Liberty in the morning. We caught the ferry out to her and did a walking audio tour which was very interesting. She was a lot bigger than I imagined.

Liberty 1

Liberty 1


Liberty 2

Liberty 2


Liberty 3

Liberty 3


Liberty 4

Liberty 4

After seeing Lady Liberty we went on a bus tour around Brooklyn and then went to Grand Central Station before going for a long walk around Central Park. We were going to do the night lights bus tour but got a little lost in the park and didn’t make it to the bus stop in time!

Grand Central Station 1

Grand Central Station 1


Grand Central Station 2

Grand Central Station 2


Central Park 1

Central Park 1


Central Park 2

Central Park 2


City Street

City Street


City Street 2

City Street 2

Tonight we went to see Avenue Q which I have wanted to see for ages. It was great – very funny!

The next morning we left the RV park and found a parking space near the train station. We caught the train in to see the Empire State Building and then went back to Central Park to go to the zoo.

Empire State

Empire State


Zoo 1

Zoo 1


Zoo 2

Zoo 2


Zoo 3

Zoo 3

We then found the original Tiffany and Co. Store which was 6 floors – we explored all of them. I definitely found some things to put on my Christmas list.

We drove to Allaire State Park, which was half way to Jersey Shore. We couldn’t find somewhere to stay near Seaside Heights (where Jersey Shore is filmed) that had public transport, so we looked online for a cheap motel and found one for only $55 per night AND it was around the corner from Karma (the club they go to in Jersey Shore). We got there early in the afternoon and the town was completely dead. We did some laundry and then rode our bikes around. We found the Shore Store (where they work in Jersey Shore) and may have bought a few things! Then we had a beer in one of the bars that features on the show.

Jersey Boardwalk

Jersey Boardwalk


Shore Store

Shore Store

That night at around 10.30 the streets started to fill up. As we walked to the clubs, all the car parks where full and there were people everywhere. The club was packed as well, and it was massive. We were surprised to find that a vodka and a beer was only $7!

Karma

Karma

The day after we were a little hung over so we watched a few movies in the morning and then drove to Bass River State Forrest for the night.

It was another beach and boardwalk day the next day as we headed for Atlantic City. We rode our bikes around again and went into Trump Taj Mahal and Ceaser’s Palace. It was just like a mini Vegas but on the water.

Atlantic City

Atlantic City

We continued our trip towards Washington DC and on the way we found a flea market. We got a bag full of herbs and spices – including gravy and curry mixes – and everything was only $1. We also bought some of the biggest avocados I have ever seen! Flynn finally got his wish of having a Philly Cheese Steak – they were absolutely delicious!

Avocado

Avocado

We finally made it to a state park just outside Washington DC. I was a little worried as their website and all the bulletin boards around the camp warned of ticks that carry lime disease. Apparently Maryland has one of the highest rates of lime disease in the US. We are pretty sure we don’t have it.... yet!

Washington DC was so clean. All the buildings were beautiful and massive. We went to the Whitehouse but didn’t see Barack – he must have been out. We also visited the Lincoln memorial but the reflecting pool in front of it was under construction.

Whitehouse 1

Whitehouse 1


Whitehouse 2

Whitehouse 2


Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial


Lincoln Memorial 1

Lincoln Memorial 1


Reflecting Pool

Reflecting Pool

The next night we stayed in Pocahontas State Park – it’s such a nice name for a park I think, and it was a beautiful place. The next day we completely cleaned the van and then drove to North Carolina.

We arrived in Greenville, North Carolina to see Mist - a friend from camp. We went out for dinner to Mexican with her roommate Emily and had delicious frozen margaritas. Then we went downtown and hit a few bars. It was so much fun to meet her friends and hang out. Before we went home they showed us their version of the late night souvlaki – a place called Supdogs. Flynn was in heaven – he absolutely loves hotdogs and he ordered deep fired jalapeno hot dogs!

Supdog

Supdog

The next day we were all a little under the weather so we relaxed and then went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner – Americas Australian restaurant! It was very amusing to see all the things on the menu and there was definitely shrimp on the barbie! The steak was actually really nice. We then got ready and went into town with her two roommates, Emily and Betsy. We went to a country bar that had just opened up – there were even people line dancing on stage. We met up with another friend from camp, Hoot and all did the footloose dance on stage! Everyone loved it! I then rode the mechanical bull with Emily. All the other girls who rode it before us where trying to look very sensual – I don’t know how they managed because we couldn’t stop laughing – it was hard! We then ended up at a BYO beer strip club! Considering you could take your own slab of beer, it was a very cheap night!

Bull Ride

Bull Ride


GAC Reunion

GAC Reunion

The next morning we drove to Raleigh (the capital of North Carolina) to meet Mist’s family and catch up with another camp friend, Tangled. Mist’s parents were so welcoming and friendly, they cooked us a delicious dinner and we met her brother, sister and their partners as well. It was so nice to be involved in a family dinner – it’s been so long since we have been able to do that. They all gave us some great tips on where to travel as well. We slept in the spare room upstairs and it was the most comfortable bed! They even insisted that we sleep in and let ourselves out of their house. It was such a nice weekend.

We went Halloween costume shopping the next day and Flynn bought a pirate costume and I a witch costume. We stayed in a place called Morivian Falls so that the next day we could drive to Asheville along the Blue Ridge Parkway (a suggestion from Mist’s family). The Parkway was beautiful, it wound in and out of the mountains and all the trees where beautiful shades of yellows, oranges and reds.

Parkway

Parkway


Parkway 2

Parkway 2


Parkway 3

Parkway 3



We stayed in Asheville and explored the town in the morning. It was a beautiful town that looked like it hadn’t been changed for hundreds of years. I really wanted to visit Biltmore Estate which is Americas largest home, but it was too expensive for us. Maybe next time!

Now we are staying in Graham County, just outside Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Where Flynn practiced his rock climbing.

Flynn Climbing

Flynn Climbing

Tomorrow we will see Kara, who we met in the Greek Islands last year. We are very excited!

Word comparison:
Australia America
Jumper Sweater
Trackies Sweat Pants
Thongs Flip Flops
Skull (your drink) Chug
Stubbie Holder Coozie
Petrol Gas
Cordial Cool Aid (but its powder...)
Bathers Swim Suit
Tomato Sauce Ketchup
Ute Truck

Love you guys XXX

Posted by luluandstone 08:54 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Frat Parties and Waterfalls

Two friends we made at camp live in Michigan, which is just near Chicago so we decided to visit them for a few days. We started in East Lansing where Gator lives. The first night there we stayed in the RV park and had an early night. The next morning we went shopping in town and Gator picked us up from the RV around 6 and drove us to his house (Blondie was there as well!). He lives in a fraternity house just near his college. The house was massive – they had a kitchen and living room downstairs where a cook came and cooked them lunches and dinners, they also had a formal room that they use for meetings, and the rest of the house is divided into bedrooms. We had a few drinks in Gators room and then went across the hall to a room that was set up like a club!

We then went to the homecoming football game – the homecoming game is where all the past students from the local high school are invited to the game to catch up with new and old students. Unfortunately it was about 4 degrees and raining outside so we didn’t stay long. It was funny to see the cheerleaders in their wet weather gear though!

We then went back to Gators house to drop off our stuff and then walked to 3 different parties. The whole experience was exactly like the movies! Beer pong, red cups for the keg, keg stands etc. It was the norm for them but we were all very excited!

Early the next morning we drove with Blondie back to his college town, Ann Arbour. We parked the RV at the back of his house and could actually step from his back door into the van! We got ready and then headed to the college football game. The home team was the Michigan State Wolverines and they were playing Minnesota. As we walked through the streets to the game, every house along the way was full of people partying (it was 10am!), and we were able to go into any of the houses and have a beer – it was crazy!

Streets

Streets

At the game there was 110,000 people in attendance – it is the largest stadium for college football. There were two types of cheerleaders – pom pom dancers and also the ones who do the flips and the pyramids. There was also a massive marching band who provided half time entertainment. The atmosphere at the game was incredible! That night we bought a keg and had a party at Blondie’s house.

Stadium

Stadium


Marching Band

Marching Band

There was a dodge ball tournament the next day so we walked to that and watched the boys play. We also won a gift certificate in the raffle so went to a Japanese restaurant for lunch. That night we went to a delicious burger place that is known for the best burgers in town – they definitely lived up to their reputation!

Dodgeball

Dodgeball

Niagara Falls was the next destination – it was about a 5 hour drive and we stayed in a RV park where tours left from the front entrance. We did a tour of the Canadian side as we had been told that was the most beautiful. Unfortunately Colby could not cross the border without his passport so he did the American side tour. Our first stop was going on the Maid of the Mist – we got handed ponchos as we walked onto the boat and they said that if we didn’t want to get wet to stay on the bottom floor – so we went to the top! The boat went right up to the bottom of the falls which was amazing – we got completely soaked! Lucky we had our ponchos!

Maid of the Mist 0

Maid of the Mist 0


Maid of the Mist 1

Maid of the Mist 1


Maid of the Mist 2

Maid of the Mist 2


Maid of the Mist 3

Maid of the Mist 3

The next part of the tour took us behind the falls. There are tunnels you can walk in that have viewpoints of the water from behind the falls!

Under the falls

Under the falls


Under the falls 2

Under the falls 2


Under the falls 3

Under the falls 3

We also saw one of the largest whirlpools as well as a massive tourist shop where we bought lots of homemade fudge!

Whirlpool

Whirlpool


Gift shop

Gift shop



As we drove back to America, the view of the mist from the falls in front of the city was beautiful.

View of falls

View of falls

The next day we dropped Eddie at the airport as he was going to visit New York before heading back to LA. It was sad to say goodbye as we had so much fun with him in the van. We then drove to Boston and had a long sleep in Wompatuck State Park.

We headed into Boston and went on a walking tour around Harvard University which was massive. It is actually considered its own town with their own police.

Harvard Library

Harvard Library


Harvard - the streets

Harvard - the streets

We then visited the bar from Cheers and then had dinner at the first Italian Trattoria in Boston.

Cheers1

Cheers1


Cheers2

Cheers2


Cheers3

Cheers3


Cheers4

Cheers4


Desert time

Desert time



After dinner Croakie headed to the airport as he was heading back to LA early in the morning. This was definitely a very sad goodbye – he had been with us for about a month and we had SO much fun together! Will definitely catch up before we leave.

The next morning was another sad day when we said goodbye to Flik at the train station. All of a sudden it was just the two of us. We were really lucky to have had such a great group of people travelling with us, we never had any problems, even being squished into such a small space. We will definitely miss all of them.

We then caught a Ferry into Boston and walked around the city. We found a big indoor market with food stalls as far as the eye could see – it was very difficult to decide what to eat for lunch. We then went to the movies – unfortunately we walked into the wrong cinema and ended up seeing a different movie than the one we paid for! It was still good though – but we weren’t really satisfied, so we decided to see another one, maybe on the same ticket.....maybe not!!!

Some guys on the Ferry had suggested to Flynn that we visit Cape Cod – a beach area just out of Boston. So that’s where we headed next. We stayed in a small town called Brewster and went to the local festival the next day as well as some lighthouses and the beach.

Beach

Beach


Lighthouse

Lighthouse

We then stayed in a town called Sandwich and played Frisbee on the beach and went swimming (Flynn swam while I watched!).

The next destination was to be New York. We decided to stay in a place called New Haven for the night (about an hour out of New York) so we could do some laundry and rest before we hit the main city. It was a good idea until the washing machine stole all our quarters and jammed the machine! Unfortunately I had already added the detergent and a few days later when we got the chance to do our laundry again, the clothes that had been soaking in the soap had some lovely bleach marks on them!

Random Fact: I cannot find pate anywhere here...... my craving is increasing by the day and there is no way to satisfy it!

Love you all xxx

Posted by luluandstone 16:16 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Drive to Chicago!

Wow, so much has happened since I last posted! I think I will have to do this one on two parts or it will be much too long.

We started the next part of our trip heading towards Chicago. The drive was going to take us about 19 hours so we broke it up into a few days. Our first stop was Rapid City – a small town just near Mount Rushmore. We stayed at a KOA which is a large chain of RV parks in the US. They had all you can eat pancakes for breakfast in the morning so we took the opportunity and ate as many as we could. While we were eating, the cook came out to speak to us – turns out he was a poet who used to catch rattlesnakes in the desert for money when he was younger! It was so interesting hearing his story and he even recited one of his poems for us!

After breakfast we went to a Dinosaur park!

Dino 1

Dino 1

Dino 2

Dino 2

We then drove to Mount Rushmore and before we even saw it we were excited – the RV we parked next to in the carpark was exactly the same rental as ours AND they had Australian stickers in the window! New friends! We placed some vegemite containers against our windows in hopes that they would notice and we could become RV buddies, then we headed in to see the monument.

The walk towards the mountain was covered in the flags of all the American states – it was a very large and American feeling entrance. The mountain was very impressive – I was amazed that that kind of carving into a mountain was done with mostly dynamite. We visited the museum that showed how it was built and described its story.

Mount Rushmore 1

Mount Rushmore 1

Mount Rushmore 2

Mount Rushmore 2

Mount Rushmore 3

Mount Rushmore 3

Unfortunately when we returned to the RV, the other Aussies had not returned so we never got to meet them.

We then headed to a place called Wall Drug – our Lonely Planet guide suggested it as a must see attraction in the ‘Weird and Wonderful’ section. It was a small shopping complex that was set up like it would have been back in western cowboy times. We even saw some real cowboys buying genuine cowboy boots – very authentic. I bought a dream catcher that was made by Sioux Indians. Out the back of the shops there was a large robotic T-Rex and some water fountains. It was all very odd but interesting. Wall Drug is most famous for providing travellers with free ice water – there are signs for hundreds of miles advertising this – so we got some water! We also found ourselves 5 cent coffee! Yes please!

Wall Drug 1

Wall Drug 1

Wall Drug 2

Wall Drug 2

Wall Drug 3

Wall Drug 3

Wall Drug 4

Wall Drug 4

Wall Drug 5

Wall Drug 5

Wall Drug 6

Wall Drug 6

That night we stayed in Albert Lea, Minnesota at a State Park – we didn’t really get to see the park as we arrived around 1am.

Our drive then continued towards Chicago – it was the last day of the trip. Along the way we saw billboards advertising the biggest water parks in the US – Flynn has wanted to go to a water park for years so we stopped just to have a look. The town was called Wisconsin Dells and it was a town of theme parks! There was one long road with hotels along both sides, and every hotel had its own water park and roller coasters! But because of the time of year, it was cold and everything was closed – almost everything! Flynn, Croakie and I soon found ourselves running around an indoor water park, even though it was about 10 degrees outside – it was so much fun!

Indoor Water Park 1

Indoor Water Park 1

Indoor Water Park 2

Indoor Water Park 2

We then met Eddie at Chicago airport and continued driving to our campsite. We could not find anything close to Chicago but we did find Indiana Dunes State Park which was close to a train station which would take us into Chicago. Before we got there we stopped at Whitecastle and got some of their mini burgers – they were actually pretty good!

We rode our bikes to the station – there were only two bikes and four people so I was sitting on handlebars and so was Croakie, it was also raining so it wasn’t a very nice ride. We caught the train into Chicago – it took about an hour, and we went to a bar which had batting cages upstairs. There was no one else there as it was a weekday so we got the cages all to ourselves! Once we got back to the station near our campsite it started raining heavily and a policeman turned up. Croakie decided to ask him for a lift back to the RV and his reply ‘Do I look like a taxi service to you?’ then stared at Croakie for a few minutes! He came back about 5 minutes later to tell us a shortcut to get home – we got drenched though!

Chicago Sign

Chicago Sign

Batting Cage 2

Batting Cage 2

Batting Cage 1

Batting Cage 1

Today was a lay day – we got up late and went exploring in the sand dunes. There was a beautiful beach and we played beach volleyball for a few hours before making dinner.

Beach

Beach

Beach Volleyball

Beach Volleyball

Flik re joined us today! We met her in Chicago and were all very excited to have her back with the gang. We found the original deep dish pizza restaurant that made this Chicago pizza famous and had lunch there. The pizza was more like a quiche or a pie! It was delicious. We also went up to the top of the John Hancock building for a view of the whole city. The observatory was about $20 each but there was a restaurant which was free to go up to – you just had to buy one drink each to get a table. So we did that!

Pizza 1

Pizza 1

Pizza 2

Pizza 2

Restaurant

Restaurant

View

View

View 2

View 2

I’m going to leave it here for now but next we head to Michigan to catch up with some mates from camp! Love you all
XXX

Posted by luluandstone 08:34 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Redwoods Forrest to Yellowstone National Park

The Redwood Forrest was amazing; so much of it looked as though it was from the set of a movie and not a real forest! Where we were exploring was one of the sites where they filmed some of Jurassic Park! Huckle, Croakie, Flik, Yorkie, Oz, Stone and I wondered the forest and beach area for a few hours.

Once we had finished exploring the forest we came back to our campsite for the night, which was definitely the nicest yet – we had our own little sectioned off are with a balcony overlooking the pond, a fire pit and even a picnic table and camp chairs! Surprisingly it also included free wifi internet and cable TV!

We cooked a roast pork and roast beef with mashed potato (this was difficult without a potato masher, so Oz and I went at the potatoes with two forks each!) and even peas! It was amazing. After dinner the couple next door invited us over to their campfire to talk RVing – they were a really nice couple who also gave us some of their left over dinner earlier in the night! I think they were shocked when the five of us bought chairs to the fire – they were imagining only two!

Redwoods

Redwoods

The drive to Portland was not too long and we found a campsite with a view of a mall! Tonight was Flik’s last night in the RV so we decided to go into the city for dinner. While everyone was showering and getting ready, Croakie and Stone decided to pull out the BB guns and chase each other around the RV shooting at each other! Quite fun to watch but I am glad I didn’t get hit like Flik did!

We took a train and bus into the city and walked around Portland trying to find a restaurant, we ended up at a nice Italian pizza and pasta restaurant that served cocktails. After dinner we found an indoor glow in the dark pirate themed mini golf course – it was amazing! We played 9 holes in the dark and skeletons and such were jumping out at us the whole way! Then we walked down to the water – we almost ended up going into a ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ but they didn’t serve alcohol so there was no point in going there! We found a nice Irish pub instead and after a couple of drinks took the train and bus back to our RV site with a view!

Mini Golf

Mini Golf

Today was a sad day – we had to say goodbye to Flik as she left on a train bound for Vancouver. We found out today that she may be re joining us in Chicago so we are very excited about that.
As we were walking out of the train station we found a statue made of rocks and decided to have a rock climbing competition – we all made it to the top! Then we headed into Portland city centre to do a spot of shopping, I finally got my first pair of Toms which I absolutely LOVE (they are shoes!). Then we headed for Jimi Hendrix’s memorial which was really cool to see and then made in to Seattle.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix (2)

Jimi Hendrix (2)

We stayed in Seattle just outside the city and in the morning we parked at a sporting arena and caught a train into the city. Our first stop was Pikes Market which Seattle is famous for – think of people throwing fish and that’s where we were! We bought some fresh mussels and smoked salmon – delicious! Then we had a look at some hostels for Croakie (as he could not come with us to Vancouver without his passport), the one he had made a reservation at did not have his reservation until the following night so we walked around until we found somewhere with a room, then we headed over to the Space Needle to have a look. We left Croakie at the Space Needle and caught the mono rail and train back to the RV and said a sad goodbye to Yorkie – He was flying back to LA that day and then home to England the next.

Space Needle

Space Needle

Pikes Market

Pikes Market

Oz, Stone and myself then jumped back into the van and started for Vancouver. The border crossing was very easy – although we had to wait for them to check out visa restrictions (they were confused as our work visas end date was in August but the conditions of the visa state that we are allowed 30 days of travel after this – which was not printed on the visa!), the process was quite quick – they did not even ask if we had any fruit or vegetables! As we were waiting for them to check our passports, we met a guy who had just been on a train riding journey for his 30th birthday! He made his way across America by jumping onto cargo trains and hanging out with other ‘train jumpers’ – it sounded crazy but very cool!

We then found an RV park called Brownsville Pub/RV Park – it seemed as though it was one of those moments where we walked into the pub and everyone stopped talking to stare at the out of towners! It was a very local place as the majority of pub goers actually lived at the RV park and we were the only overnighters there! Lucky for us there was a live band playing that evening so we went in for a pub meal and a beer while listening to them. As we finished dinner an old cowboy looking guy came over and asked if he could sit with us – he took a seat and started telling us about his life (every sentence ended with ‘ey’ of course!). His name was Larry and he was a native Canadian Indian (Cree People) who had lived in the RV park for the last 12 years. He even asked Stone permission to dance, so we had a groove to ‘Black Magic Women’ up the front of the pub (no one else danced all night!). He then invited us back to his trailer for a beer – as we walked in I was very surprised to see a small fluffy dog called Puxies (meaning mouse in his native language) and Charlie the tiny little kitten – it was strange to see such tiny animals in this large cowboys trailer! We had a beer and he gave us the tour of his home and then before we left insisted on giving us a gift – an old oil lamp – he said that he wanted us to carry the light of his people back to Australia and keep it living – we still have the lamp in the RV!

The next morning was another sad day – we drove Oz to the Vancouver airport as he was headed back to Banff, Canada where he works for the winter. We then found the nearest mall where I attempted to get my terrible regrowth fixed – after a quote for $150 to do my hair, I settled on the next quote of $50 and although it is a little orange I think I have finally decided it is a little better than before! We then drove to another RV park in East Vancouver and to our surprise, as we drove into the park there was a wedding taking place in the front gardens! Two thoughts entered my head as we saw this – the television show ‘My Bog Fat Gypsy Wedding’ and ‘ohhhhhh dear, perhaps that will be us in a few years’....... We decided to ride our bikes around the park to check it out – it took us about 11 minutes – 1 was spent looking over onto the freeway as it was right beside us, 2 minutes to ride to the wedding venue, 6 minutes gawking and trying not to laugh at the buffet set up in between the lovely outdoor gazebo and the orange construction fence of the freeway and another 2 to return to the RV! Needless to say, although the venue was lovely, I don’t think we will be returning there to get married one day!

It was time now to return back to the US, however this border crossing was slightly more stressful! First of all, as we were waiting in a car line to get through the gates – we may have run over ad completely flattened a witches hat, then the guy at the booth told us we needed to go inside the building so we were directed into a parking area where our keys were taken from us and we were sent inside. While we were waiting in line I got cold so went back to the van to get a jumper – there happened to be four customs officers in our RV and they would not let me in to get a jumper... We were then entertained by a guy trying to avoid customs – he was arrested and dragged into a back room by another four officers. Then it was our turn – the process was easy until he asked if we had any fruit or vegetables (we had just stopped at a flea market and bought 5 capsicums and 6 sweet potatoes for $5!) – he called over the horticulture officer who then went and searched our van – she took all our capsicums, lemons, limes, garlic and sweet potatoes – it was a sad day! We were then able to leave and headed back to Seattle.

We found a parking space in Seattle city that was close to Croakie’s hostel – we were parked in a regular car park that had an overnight fee of only $10. We then caught up with Croakie and got some delicious teriyaki chicken for dinner from a dodgy looking take away place! That night the hostel was running a pub crawl so we joined in for the night and walked around Seattle’s pubs – the first place we stopped was the last place Kurt Cobain was seen alive in public.

After a nap in the carpark, we woke up early and drove a few hours to a truck stop and had another nap. We woke up to a delicious Subway sandwich each and then headed for Glacier. Glacier was about an 8 hour drive from where we were so we stayed a few hours out in a town called Core D’Arlene in Idaho. We cooked a delicious roast chicken for dinner and played a game of yatzee before heading to bed. The next morning we hit the local thrift stores and picked up some essentials – a garlic crusher and a potato masher, as well as three new board games! We made it to Glacier by late afternoon and found ourselves a campsite – its much nicer to camp in the national parks as the camp grounds are in the bush with no electricity and a campfire and picnic table for every site – much nicer surroundings and much cheaper! We then took the bikes to the general store for firewood (very uncomfortable sitting on the middle bar of a bicycle – but definitely worth it as we were all able to go), cooked some risotto for dinner and played one of our new board games!

Glacier Lake

Glacier Lake

Glacier Campsite

Glacier Campsite

At every point possible in the national park there where signs to warn us of grizzly bears – I was petrified that one was going to smell our risotto and try to get the leftovers. I woke up to a low rumbling noise followed by a grunt – I quickly woke Stone to see if he had also heard it and then soon enough I heard it again, and again, and again, coming from the bed at the other end of the van – it was Croakie snoring!

Bear Warning

Bear Warning

The next morning we rode our bikes down to the visitor centre and were told that the nearest glacier was a really really long hike so we were directed to a shorted hike to the top of a lookout. The hike was 3.9 miles one way (6.2kms) and was uphill – I am pretty sure I died on the way up! But the view from the top was amazing.

Hike View

Hike View

When we got to the bottom of the hike, the boys decided they wanted to go for a swim. As they were playing in the water, I spotted a furry black head sticking out of the bushes on the other side of the river. We all ran to the closest point and there was a black bear eating berries – we had wanted to see a bear all day!

Bear

Bear

The next day we headed towards Yellowstone National Park – we got there very late so found a campsite just out of the park and headed in early in the morning. We slowly made our way through the park, stopping at many geysers – they were such bright colours and the water was so hot. We saw so many bison (buffalo) and a few elk before stopping at the most famous geyser, Old Faithful for a tour. Old Faithful erupts every 1.5 hours every day and it was amazing to see it go off. After the tour we made it to our campsite at Grants Village where we cooked stuffed capsicums for dinner – they were delicious.

F & E Yellowstone

F & E Yellowstone

Geyser

Geyser

Geyser 2

Geyser 2

Geyser 3

Geyser 3

Old Faithful

Old Faithful

Elk

Elk

Bison

Bison

The next stop on the trip is Chicago which is about 19 hours away – we are going to make it a few day trip and we are meeting Eddie and Flik there! It will be so much fun!

Love love love to you all
Xxxxxxxxxx

Posted by luluandstone 21:14 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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