Currently traveling

LA to NYC

September - December 2019
Currently traveling
  • Day36

    LA to LA

    October 23 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    What a flat feeling this is, nearing 20,000klms and it’s back where it all began.
    After the last week of driving dirt desert roads it’s suddenly back to surviving the LA Freeways.
    After seeing no one much, it’s being in super crowded LAX with more nutters than on the New York Subway.
    Here it’s a good thing though, our flight doesn’t leave until 23:00, we are spending more time at the airport than in the air so the free entertainment help pass the time.

    We spent a bit more time down in “borderland” than we expected so we had to make a late dash up to LA.
    On this drive we had to go through a lot of border control checkpoints. These aren’t on the US/Mexican border but on roads leading from Mexico.

    They are manned by about 4 or 5 Border Control Police with detection dogs.
    They were all great, very polite and they had no issues with us at all until at one checkpoint the officer asked us a few questions then said “fine, thank you, have a safe trip”.
    As we were about to drive off the detection dog jumped at our RV and went mental barking at it.
    The border police officer quickly told us to stop probably thinking he made the bust of the day till he looked over at his colleagues and the dog handler who were killing them selves laughing.

    What happened was the detection dog reacted to the photo of a dog Cruise America stick on the door along with all the other decals they have on the RV.
    US border control costs the government billions, maybe a little more of this money needs to be spent on training their mutts.

    Thank you all for following and your interest especially commenters, Nick & Jan, Nor & Kay and of course Viki, till next time, adios amigos.... sorry Mexican influence should wear off soon.
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  • Day34

    Mexico, Arizona and the Sonoran Desert

    October 21 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    There is only so much cheap Tequila you can drink, Mexican drug smugglers you can handle or how much more can you take of hearing everyone’s opinion on Trump’s Wall so to get away from it all the best thing to do is head out into the desert... where they’re smuggling drugs and building walls.
    At least there is no Tequila out here so we’ll be sober enough to appreciate all the pretty stuff.

    The quietness is deafening till the noise really is deafening from low flying fighter jets that are based just over the next hill or somewhere, we’re not sure but it can’t be too far away America doesn’t have cat swinging room from one military base to the next and with their history the next conflict won’t be too far off so they’re probably just making sure they’re match fit for the main game.

    They gave it a rest during the day so we had a chance to really appreciate the Sonoran Desert in all its quietness and isolation and as it is with these sorts of places that are so incredible it’s pointless trying to describe them.
    The nights in the desert are just as good, you sit outside with the stars, warm breezes blowing and nights sounds all around.
    Then night sounds above!
    It’s like rolling thunder, they just keep coming, no wonder they gave it a rest during the day, the US Air Force are now on night manoeuvres.
    You can see why people in war zones get so traumatised. First there is this distant rumble then the sound increases and as they go over the top of you the noise vibrates your bones.

    Just as well they aren’t bombing as well or are they?
    How far have we driven into the desert?
    We drove past a sign the other day saying WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, we try and blame one another for driving back into that area, Rhonda wins.
    For a while this was a very peaceful and beautiful place, one of the best, now we’re cowering under the RV with s couple of saucepans over our heads.

    EPILOGUE:
    They’ve gone, it’s quiet again, the warm breeze has returned along with the night sounds of all the desert critters. We sit back by the fire reaching for that nonexistent bottle of Tequila, that’s a shame the Margarita glasses were primed with plenty of salt but a cup of tea in this setting tastes just as good.
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  • Day33

    Border Wars

    October 20 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    TRUMP FOR 2020... Build the wall!

    Today along the Mexican border we ran into a couple who come down from Maine every year as volunteers in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the reason are: A: In Maine, in winter it gets to 30 below. B: They care about the place.
    It was a bizarre scene. First we saw neatly bagged piles of rubbish in the middle of nowhere then we came across them with those stick-claw things wandering all over the place picking stuff up.

    If you go through any official entry port into the United States the security is insane, many razor wire manufacturers have built their fortunes on America’s border control paranoia yet get away from those points and the fencing is woeful or non existent.

    Right up against, like touching the actual border line with no barriers are Mexican houses that run drugs or just enjoy throwing all their shit over to the American side, this then blows all over the country and that is what the couple we met were doing, picking it up.

    The border is so easy to cross, every night they bring drugs across from Mexico, sometimes leaving them close by or up to 5 miles inland. Then they take a GPS readings, give those coordinates to people in someplace like Phoenix so they can come down and locate the stuff.

    Everyday this couple, along with the rubbish they collect uncover drugs. Today the showed us cocaine and marijuana they discovered, the place is lousy with it, it’s like a shotgun approach, keep throwing enough rocks and eventually you’ll hit something or in this case get some drugs through.
    For the people around the border it isn’t about stopping improvised people seeking a better life, it’s about the drugs, the crime coming over and the trashing of the place so now many that were once against building the wall seem all for it.

    Building Trump’s Wall they haven’t logically started at one end and headed for the other, they’re hitting hot spots and this is one of them though it’s Monty Pythonesque in a way because alongside a known drug runners house with no other new wall construction either side for hundreds of miles they’re erected a piece of Trump Wall.
    You can imagine their reaction...“oh Pancho! what weez do with all our drugs now? zee Americanos build zee big wall in our backyard, weezs dumb Mexicans too lazy and stupid to walk next door”
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  • Day32

    So You Think Your Cactus!

    October 19 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    The country we’re in reminds us of those silhouettes of a sleeping Mexican, sombrero pulled down, leaning up against a cactus as part of a decorative house number on a 60’s fibro beach shack.
    Those were much better than the giant metal butterflies people used to stick on the side of there place, they were real shockers.
    Actually my favourite is the swan carved out of an old car tyre especially if they went to the trouble of painting eyes and a red beak on it.

    All that stuffs pretty good but now to be amongst the giant Saguaro Cactuses in the Sonoran Desert is something special. We’ve seen that type of cactus shape cliched so often that now, driving through a desert where your amongst thousands of them it feels very surreal especially in the early morning and late afternoon light, they’re huge and spectacular.

    FUN FACTS ABOUT: Saguaro Cactuses
    Have to be 65 years old before they grow their first flowers so they’re probably the only species where you get a 64 year old virgin unless you’ve got a big L tattooed on your forehead.
    They have to be 90 before they grow their first arms and live to be about 200 years old. They probably make that age because no one wants to mess with them, the spikes are vicious. Except for Woodpeckers, they drill holes in them and live there. Now that’s real Darwinian, imagine how many inaccurate pecking between the spikes woodpeckers these big boys would sort out.
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  • Day31

    LA to NYC to LA via Mexico

    October 18 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    If this road trip gets anymore out of hand there won’t be enough room to write the footprint title but what can you do when one of us has a sudden itching to go via Mexico.
    Mentioning no names we’ll just call him the insane one.

    Crossing over into Mexico at some tin pot border town you certainly know you “your not in Kansas anymore Toto” , this part ain’t no fancy pants, Cancun holiday resort area, there are plenty of Margaritas here but they’re served with far more dust than salt.

    We went to a restaurant and for our drink, asked for water.
    What do they tell you, “don’t drink the water!”
    But this place was recommended, the water came with ice and the straw had a little plastic protective bit on it.
    What do they tell you “don’t have ice!”
    But this place was recommend so how come the beautifully presented, ice cold water with its hygienic straw tasted like how warm sewage smells. (Please see bottom of blog for last will and testament).

    What got us sniffing on Mexico was, we followed the border for a good distance looking for Trump’s Wall and can sort of see his point in a way.
    What we saw dividing the two countries for hundreds of miles through remote desert areas is something any ninety year old, with a good run up and the wind behind them could leap with ease.
    This is probably the reason most of the traffic we saw along the road was the Border Patrol, sometimes just cruising along, other times screaming past us obviously after a report of a possible breach in security.

    There weren’t too many other vehicles using this road so the Border Patrol got used to seeing us traveling along and started waving.
    We didn’t want to lose our new found friends by carrying illegal cargo so seeing we had gone right up to the border a few times, we made sure when we got back onto the highway we’d get up a bit of speed then slam the brakes on to throw off any clinging on aliens.
    We also checked the shower cubicle in the RV for any stowaways.... “ooh my god there is someone in there Rhonda”..... “that’s the mirror you idiot!”
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  • Day30

    New Mexico

    October 17 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    New Mexico is a very beautiful state so when you drive through places with names like Los Lunas, La Luz, Pinos Altos or the very evocatively named town called Truth Or Consequences it makes it feel even more exotic till you get to a place called Pie Town.
    Either some idiot who didn’t have a clue named this place or some enterprising person set up a famous bakery there.

    It could have been a prototype for all the other tourist stops that have sprung up around some trivial activity that went so viral they’ve forgotten what originally started it all.
    A good example is, New Mexico grows a lot of nuts. Now I Iike my nuts, so when we saw a sign for a place called Pistachio World we didn’t hesitate to call in.

    They’ve really ramped this one up, they have some sort of train type thing that does, as we are constantly told “tours of the orchard on the hour, every hour”
    At least they have an orchard this is a good thing and out the front they have a giant sculpture of what we suppose is pistachio nut but looks more like something excreted by a not so well animal.

    What attracts people to these places is beyond us as we look around and see all the fools who have been sucked into yet another highway tourist trap... ooh hang on, thats our own reflection in the big glass window pane of the Pistachio World Gift Shop.
    Anyway now we’re here we decide to quickly grab a bag of farm fresh pistachios and hit the road.

    The gift shop is huge and full of every unique to the area souvenir you could imagine so we were going to grab a few but the prices were too expensive, probably because shipping costs from China are so high.

    Because of the shops size we decide to split up and search for some actual natural nuts.
    Two hours later we manage to meet up again both having no success though Rhonda found a interesting little snow dome where two little pistachios nuts are sitting on a bench smoking pipes and when you shake it, they’re in the snow.
    I told her it was stupid.
    She said “but the eyes make them look so real”. I think she was right and now regret not buying it.

    What helped us get over our snow dome disappointment is, for the next couple of nights we found some beautiful and uncrowded camping sites, in the US this is very rare, plus they were very cheap, in the US this is even rarer.
    The quietness at night was the first we have experienced here though Alaska is a different deal.

    Few places can you ever get away from the howling highways or a sort of constant muffled background roar but sitting out at night, gazing up at the stars, even though most are moving because of the obscene amount of aircraft in the sky at anyone time here, we could almost hear nothing at all,
    Then a f#*#ing dog starts barking.
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  • Day28

    Ya Gotta Love Texas

    October 15 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    It took us roughly eight hours to drive through Oklahoma to the Texas border and that was seven hours and fifty nine minutes too long. The only good thing we found to photograph was, while going through monstrous Oklahoma City, a place which rises out of the plains and goes on forever was some US Airforce fighter jets.

    These were real mean looking mothers, but, and this has happened here before with military stuff, the camera image was scrambled into psychedelica when we tried to take a photo, how do they manage that? We don’t know and don’t care, than can keep their military secrets it’s not like I’m going to steal any ideas for the Stealth Bomber I knocking up in our backyard shed.

    Aahhhh Texas. We pulled into a beat up old gas station for fuel and hopefully get water for the RV.
    So while I’m refueling Rhonda goes in to ask about water.
    There she finds a cliched group of bow legged, cowboy booted, Stetson wearing Texans all sitting around having a bacon and beans breakfast.
    In true Texan style with all the manners of “yes ma’am, surely ma’am, you just drive that there RV right round back now ya hear were you can give her all the water she can drink”

    So while filling up our tanks a couple pull in and park beside us.
    Friendly as, the wife hops out and says in a Ma Kettle type voice “where y’all heading”
    “California” I say.
    “Californie! whooow that’s some kinda distance ya traveling” she says.
    “Wait” I say “that’s nothing, we picked this RV up in LA, drove to New York and are on our way back to LA”
    “Get outa here” she says “
    “No it’s normal, we’re use to driving long distances” I say.
    “So where y’all from?”
    “Australia”
    “Australia!, I would love to go to Australia”
    I tell her I think she would love it there and she says she knows she would.
    Then she says “I sure do love the way you talk” I tell her I love the way she talks too, which is true, great Texan accent, then she goes off into the gas station.

    While driving that morning we had experienced horrendous winds, the RV was getting buffeted badly along the highway so the woman’s husband who was still sitting in their pickup next to us says as I’m filling up with water “y’all adding ballast?”
    “Yeah” I say “I tried feeding Rhonda up a bit but it didn’t work, so maybe this will add more weight”
    “Had the same problem once with a thanksgiving turkey” he says, “had her real plump then four weeks before thanksgiving darn thing stopped eating, ended up being skinnier than a scarecrow in a cornfield”
    “That’s a shame” I said.
    “No worked out well” he said “had a neighbor who I didn’t see eye to eye with. He needed a fat turkey cause he had family coming, I sold him that nice plump bird just four weeks before thanksgiving”.

    We really like Texans because of their friendliness and hospitality but again, in America you keep running into the same extremes.
    Along the interstate highway from the the state line to Amarillo we saw more State Troopers in that short distance than we have seen in the whole trip and they were doing the full Hollywood move police thing.
    Three or four police cars, lights flashing, guns out, surrounding one car.
    Suspect in handcuffs or spread eagle over bonnet, contents of car being ripped to pieces, reinforcements arriving.
    Surely there can’t be that many felons on that one strip of highway at the same time.

    Admittedly on the Texas Panhandle there isn’t too much to do so maybe they get a little bored.
    We had one patrol car following us for awhile then drove along side checking us out.
    We’ve done nothing wrong except drive on some guys grass, we don’t speed and obey all the road rules so I’m getting a little annoyed by any suspicion.
    Rhonda notices this and says “don’t say or do anything, for once in your life just shut up”

    Sound advice, since June in Texas there have been about eight fatal shooting of innocent people by police, no excuse but maybe because it’s legal to openly carry firearms in this state the police are a little edgy and feel they need to hedge their bets.

    Sorry forgot to mention the sights.
    We stopped off at the Cadillac Ranch. Years ago some farmer decided to nose bury ten Cadillacs on his property. Back then they were in really good condition, stuff art I thought what a waste but it did make an statement.
    Now they are basically wrecks and the latest thing to do is for everyone to graffiti them with spray cans.
    Some enterprising person has set up a stall from their van selling spray cans, American flags and Trump for 2020 banners, you’ve got to hand it to them.
    The effect is not the same because it resembles a junk yard, not the contrast between exquisite auto design and quality machinery ploughed into the ground but it is still impressive in a way.
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  • Day27

    American Graffiti

    October 14 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    We’ve been staying too long at all the good stuff we’ve found, that wasn’t the plan, this is supposed to be the ultimate road trip so a few practice donuts to warm up the RV tyres and it’s back on the road again.
    Also after visiting Graceland and driving down Elvis Presley Boulevard we’ve had enough culture for awhile too, though out along the highways we keep running into more and more of it everywhere, this is pretty annoying because again it’s delaying us from the senseless blood shot eyes, diesel fume dash across America and back again trip we planned.

    Luckily we’ve hit the Mid West again and there’s not much to entice you to stop in places like Little Rock, Arkansas unless taking a photo of the sign telling you President Bill Clinton was Governor here is your thing. We don’t mind a good sign but that one made us speed a little faster through Little Rock.
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  • Day26

    Mississippi Revisited, Memphis Tennessee

    October 13 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Despite ducking bullets, over zealous rangers and nearly becoming cast members of a Deliverance movie we’ve hung around Memphis, Tennessee mainly because of the Mississippi River.
    If you could fence off all the crazies, you’d probably need a pretty big fence though, the rest of the people are brilliant.

    Another thing is you get used to seeing the gun section next to the fruit and vegetables isle in a Walmart store, it’s going to make our supermarkets look a little naked not seeing that when we get back home.
    Speaking of guns, though not being Elvis fans we still had to visit Graceland because any guy who would shoot a TV if he didn’t like the show that was on is alright by us.

    Obviously we are in the non fan minority because the whole complex is massive, there are acres of land just to house the infrastructure and the shuttle busses that ferry the adoring fans from the car parks to the property.
    The fans have graffitied lampposts, footpaths and the fence of Graceland itself with their personal messages to Elvis.
    All the “hop on the bandwagon” businesses around Elvis Presley Boulevard have his music blaring out onto the street and tacky images of “The King” are everywhere, our favourite is the souvenir shop right next to the property itself.
    Forget the Museum of Modern Art in New York, that’s an aberration or Niagara Falls, that’s a natural phenomenon, right here, right now is the real America and we are lucky enough to be traveling right through it.
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  • Day25

    Down South in Dixie

    October 12 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    QUESTION: What is missing from this photo? (Answer at bottom of page)

    Just been travelling some Tennessee backroads and we’ve run into a few “good ole boys”.
    Compared to what we’ve met it makes the movie Deliverance look like a lighthearted travel documentary.

    A few things that let you know you really are in southern fried chicken country and entering Nutbush City Limits are:
    If it ain’t a bashed up, paint peeled pickup, it ain’t on the road.
    If it doesn’t have a gun rack on the back, well then you’ve been naughty and maybe Santa will bring you one next year.
    If you weigh under 200 kilos, you ain’t human.,
    If your chest size is bigger than your neck size, you need more bacon.
    If your house has less than ten broken down wrecks parked all around it, you’re not a true native.
    If you don’t talk like Dolly Parton then you’re not a real local, this goes for the women too.

    Speaking of which on the interstate we passed huge billboards for Dolly World, it sounds as corny as Wayne’s World only with breasts.
    And then there were signs for Loretta Lynn’s Ranch, apparently she’s a country singer too so all the yee haa’s can boot scoot themselves stupid at her place, for a price.

    America charges a price for everything. New York had one last go at us as we were leaving on the New Jersey Turnpike and now we have been rounded up in Tennessee by rangers who tote guns bigger than the ones Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry character uses.
    We were committing one of the worst crimes you can here, free camping.
    They escorted us to a campground where seeing it was Friday night every “Weekend Wally” had arrived with their screaming brats, barking mutts and their personal arsenal of firearms.

    This is at a State Park on the Mississippi River just outside of Memphis with a very beautiful campground, the sort of place we have where most things are protected but as we write this there are guns going off everywhere.
    Who knows what they are shooting at, there is no wildlife left, that was blasted into oblivion years ago, it seems like it’s an addiction they have, just like a chain smoker has to have a cigarette these people have to fire a gun off every five minutes.

    To be quite honest they are all f#*!*ing crazy here but then on the other hand we’ve found that southern hospitality and manners everywhere.
    The people are extremely polite with hell of a lot of “excuse me honey” “pardon me sir” and “thank you ma’am, y’all have a great day now ya hear”. Also no one would lets a door close on you if you were within 50 feet of it, they will wait, holding it open.

    We suppose they must save all their bad manners for the wildlife. We can’t imagine some hunter out in the woods saying “excuse me y’all so god damn cute, y’all mind staying still for just one moment while I take a might friendly shot at ya ....bang! Why thahkee y’all have a great day now ya hear.

    Answer to our quick quiz: The sound of gunfire that you don’t see on a photo.
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