Tag Archives: Road Trip

Frisbee

I am very bad at playing frisbee.

 

 

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Weird Wyoming

Wyoming; like no place on Earth.

For this well-travelled Englishman, Southern Wyoming has the weirdest landscape I have ever seen.  Not only that, one can drive for a hundred miles in total isolation, and everything looks the same for every single mile.  I love California, I liked Utah, I’m not yet certain about Wyoming.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures taken with a Lumix,

by the girl riding shotgun

Pacific Surf

The Pacific Ocean is nothing like the cold North Sea.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Total Eclipse, Wyoming, August 21st 2017

At totality there was a strange twilight
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There was not the spirituality and feeling of other-worldliness I had expected and hoped for.  But, if you look closely, you can see sunspots.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Marmaduke Enjoying Utah

Marmaduke liked the wide open spaces.

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Long USA Road Trip

I’m beginning to recover from the 3,500 road trip I had in the USA recently.  There were some strange places on the route.  Like Beaver in Utah.

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Downtown Las Vegas.

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And Big Bear Lake.

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The girl riding shotgun did get very buzzed in Big Bear, but that’s more down to the altitude than anything else.

I would not have missed this trip for the world.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Dusk and Dawn

Morning without her is a dwindled dawn.

Betwixt sunset and dawn is a mystical place

where the warrior’s path shows its truest face

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The worst hot dog I have ever not eaten was served to me in Fillmore, Utah.  Otherwise it’s a lovely place.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

Food on Friday ~ American

Foreigners cannot enjoy our food, any more than we can enjoy theirs.  ~  Mark Twain

Go to almost any town in the USA and you will find a Mexican place, a pizza joint, and a bar selling a mixture of ‘Italian’ and ‘English’ food.  If you’re in a larger town you will probably also find a sushi restaurant, (Sakura in St. George UT is pretty good),  and likely there will be a Chinese place, and a Thai restaurant.  Sakura in St. George has a super entrance doorway.

Is there such a thing as ‘American’ cuisine, or is it merely foods borrowed from the rest of the world?  I would aver that real American food consists of steaks, burgers, hot dogs, french fries, salads, and of course lots of bad cheese and ketchup.

On my recent US road trip I ate the best steak I’ve ever had, and didn’t eat the very worst chilli dog I’ve ever been served.  The quality of the food in the USA goes from very, very good to stuff I wouldn’t give a dog.

In the same joint that served that great steak, (White Mountain Mining Co, Rock Springs WY) I also had a truly boring salad that was 90% iceberg lettuce, and a baked potato that was left over from the day before.  On the same trip I also enjoyed a really good pizza from a place called Craftsman Wood Fired Pizza, in Placentia , Orange County CA.

In California, in the western USA in general, they also have a buffet thing going.  My friend and I had a pretty good meal at a buffet place in Primm Nevada.  On the way back to civilisation, Primm, just like every other town in Nevada, is totally devoted to casinos, gambling, and gamblers.  I don’t gamble, my friend loves the slots, and that can be a little annoying for both of us.  If you don’t like gambling, don’t ever go to Nevada.

The most impressive buffet I’ve ever been to, in my whole life, was the Champagne Sunday Brunch, aboard the RMS Queen Mary, in Long Beach California.  If you’re ever in Southern California, I would strongly recommend you take your girl there for Sunday brunch.  Just don’t eat much the day before, and make certain that one of you is the designated driver, (or book a room).  There is a fabulous cocktail bar aboard her too.

A few things for the unwary traveller to bear in mind when eating at a Restaurant in the USA; try to go during their happy hour, to European eyes places close very early, remember to add sales tax to the prices when you’re budgeting ~ and on top of that the standard tip anywhere is 20%, (and I hate that).  Don’t expect to be given cutlery, (Americans are like children and eat with their fingers), and if there’s a wait for a table, you can always eat at the bar, where it’s first come first served.  (I hate eating at the bar because brash Americans will talk to you while you’re eating.)

In bars that serve food the beer is generally pretty good, but the wine and margaritas can be of very variable quality ~ they will still get you very drunk.  The food in most American bars is garbage.

Americans can eat garbage, providing you sprinkle it liberally with cheese, ketchup, mustard, chilli sauce, Tabasco, cayenne pepper, or any other condiment which destroys the original flavor of the dish  ~  Henry Miller, American Writer.

All in all, eating in the USA is a different and sometimes unnerving experience for a well-mannered Englishman.  But then eating in France, Greece, Italy, Spain…  has its own idiosyncracies.  Close your eyes and enjoy the experience.  Some American food is fabulous, and sometimes the dining experience is even better.

Just don’t eat Mexican food…

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

America is mostly empty

The clearest way into your own mind is through Wilderness

Once one gets away from the big cities, the USA is mostly wilderness.

On my recent road trip, sometimes the only thing in the wilderness was the road, a broken down fence, and a distant power line.

Sometimes there’s a road sign.  Zzyzx is actually in San Bernadino County, California, and you get there by the 4.5 mile long unpaved Zzyzx Road.  We didn’t go there, because there’s bugger-all there.  However, Zzyzx does feature in music and films, (movies).

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jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures taken by the girl riding shotgun with a Lumix

Cars for Road Trips

Nissan Rogue SUV

I’ve been on long road trips, (Tuscany, The Loire Valley, back to Tuscany, Exploring California, and driving 3,000 miles to witness an eclipse), in all kinds of cars; Triumph TR6, Lotus 7, Ford Mustang, and lastly driving from California to witness a total eclipse of the sun in a Nissan Rogue.

Although it isn’t always completely possible, the car should completely suit the trip.

And this choice of car comes down to where you’re going, how far it is, what’s the weather going to be like, what kinds of roads are you going to be driving , and exactly who is the girl riding shotgun.

For my recent trip I knew I was going to be driving up to 600 miles in a day, on a mixture of LA freeways, long desert roads, and mountain climbs.  Also I knew that the girl riding shotgun was going to want to feel safe, be comfortable, and carry an unconscionable amount of luggage.

There also had to be room for Marmaduke.

Ergo, I chose to rent a reasonable-sized SUV, and Enterprise at LAX could offer me a Nissan Rogue, which was vastly over budget, but my friend with all the luggage was worth it.

What’s good about this car?  It’s big enough for two on a long road trip, (swallows luggage with ease), it does good mileage, (we averaged 29 mpg, and that’s US gallons), it’s quiet, comfortable, holds the road well, and the engine has a lot of low-down power.  What’s bad, well, it was very over budget, and has some annoying blind spots.

Would I recommend this car to a friend?  Yes.  In a New York Second.  With definite confidence.  (Of course, you may find your dream car on a long road trip.)

Another important thing on a long road trip:  don’t have a girl riding shotgun who thinks she can drive better than you.

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jack collier

jackcollier&@talktalk.net

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