Road Trippin' USA
Sitting on the plane with my boyfriend Jimbo, friends Alisha and Goose and my Monocle Travel Guide dog-eared at all the sights I wanted to tick off my ‘list’, I daydreamed for the next eight and a half hours of what was to come…
First stop New York! Trying to get over the jet lag, I forced myself up and out of the apartment which was based in Brooklyn. I knew we had a busy, but exciting, five days ahead of us in the Big Apple. The Metro is definitely the best way to get around and you certainly see some interesting people there. On the first day, we managed to tick off a lot of the famous streets off our list. We visited Wall Street, the 9/11 site and Broadway, whilst sampling pretzels, hot dogs and doughnuts on our way.
We ended at Central Park where nostalgic memories of Home Alone and Friends came flooding back. Eating yummy crepes, we sat to watch people exercising, having picnics and just walking through the park. Even spotting a racoon - which was very unexpected!
Over the next four days, we found ourselves extremely overwhelmed with the sheer size of the city and felt like we’d only scratched the surface. So we made sure that we all did at least one thing on each of our lists. This included watching an ice hockey game at the Barclays Centre, taking the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, going to the thrift stores in Williamsburg and walking over Brooklyn Bridge.
After our five days had finished in New York, we all realised what an epic journey we still had to travel. We were driving from the East Coast to the West and were all super excited about our next adventure.
We flew to Des Moines, Iowa as we’d arranged to pick up a Winnebago from Forest City and I just had to hire a Chevy Pickup Truck to get us in the road trip spirit. After a short drive to the RV pickup location, we were introduced to the 31ft Winnebago, which we quickly named Winnie, then set off on our great American road trip, not knowing what we were to see.
Our mission was to drive to Los Angeles, over two weeks, in under three thousand miles. Easy! My own personal mission was to hit up all the thrift stores we could! So at the first chance we had in Sioux Falls we kitted ourselves out in vintage Levi’s jeans and I added to my already bulging collection of enamel pins!
We then drove nearly five hundred miles to the next state, South Dakota, and tried our hand at gambling in the local casinos (I was not very good!) before setting up camp for the night at the White Swan Indian Reservation Park. Our next visit was to Atkinson, Nebraska where we met the sweetest lady called Eileen. She was eighty-nine years old and owned a local thrift store that she opened up especially for us! We spent a couple more days in Nebraska, visiting Rockford and it’s big Rodeo ground, doing some fishing and camping at the beautiful Victoria Springs State Recreation Park and admiring the amazing vintage cars in North Platte.
The next four hundred or so miles took us to Colorado. We did some more fishing and camped under a massive thunderstorm in North Sterling State Park. Then, we went to a classic 50’s American Diner, rode a toboggan and found animal prints in the snow!
Driving another three hundred miles from Eagle, Colorado to Utah really showed us how crazy and amazing the American landscape can be. We literally went from snow in the morning to the super hot desert in the day - so weird and eerily quiet! In Utah, there’s a place called Antelope Island that takes a seven-mile long drive over a bridge to get to. The island is perfectly named, we saw so many antelope and bison there! Driving over the Utah/Nevada border we stopped in their largest city, Ely, and went to a good old fashioned Saloon. I tried to take some sneaky pictures of the cowboys at the bar, it was just like something out of a film! And I loved all of the motel signs and thrift stores they had around there.
From Ely, I had the job of driving the two hundred and fifty miles of Route 50 - known as America’s Loneliest Road. The drive was just miles and miles of straight open road with not a person in sight! This took us all the way to San Francisco and it’s amazing colourful houses. We drank some delicious soda and visited the Golden Gate Bridge, before sadly moving on to our final location - Los Angeles.
Taking advantage of the last few days of our great American Road trip, we took in the sights and sounds of Venice Beach and all of the crazy people on the famous Boardwalk. We ate as much as we could manage at In & Out Burger and went for a beautiful hike at Nichols Canyon, before saying goodbye to Winnie the Winnebago and getting some much-needed sleep on the flight back to London! Until next time America…