Top Tips… The USA!

Top 3 Reasons To Visit  ·   Jack’s Bucket List 6  ·   Tales From The USA

The United States of America. A country that kick-started my love of road trips, as well as opening my eyes to some of the single-most impressive geographical features on planet earth. From the sprawling conurbations in the East, to the great plains of the centre, to the sun-drenched National Parks of the West; America is a country where you will never be bored – or hungry.

Top 3 Reasons To Visit

1. Incredible Road Trips

Where on earth do I start? Route 66 (more details below), California’s Route 1, Highway 61 (New Orleans to Wyoming), US Route 30 (Oregon to New Jersey) and the Blue Ridge Parkway are just some of epic roads that zigzag their way across the states. Load up the classic American convertible with supplies for a few weeks and speed off into the sunset – driving in no other country is quite the same.

2. National Parks Aplenty

Fifty-nine to be exact. Mainly concentrated in the Western states, American National Parks are usually well preserved and provide a welcomed escape from the rowdiness and noise of the cities – with the exception of the overly-crowded Yosemite. Yellowstone (more details below), the Everglades, Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Redwood are just some of the National Park’s worth visiting this vast country to see. Make sure you do before a certain president turns them into fairground attractions.

Yosemite National Park, CA

3. Giant Things

America does ‘big’ like no other, and the list of old, pointless attractions dotted around the country is rather extensive. From the world’s largest ball of twine (in Cawker City, Kansas), to the world’s tallest filing cabinet (in Burlington, Vermont) – visit just a few to experience the great American spirit of the past.

Jack’s Bucket List 6

1. Visit Yellowstone – Wyoming (1 week)

Whilst some American National Park’s leave a lot to be desired (in terms of over-crowing and organisation), Yellowstone is not one of them. Maybe due to its location (not as accessible as the Californian NP’s), the first designated ‘National Park’ in the world provides you with a real sense of remoteness, plus you don’t have to drive around for two hours looking for a parking space when you get there. Depending on the time of year you choose to visit, bears, lynx, bison, moose and mountain goats can all be spotted in the back-country. Old faithful (see right) is also worth a visit, but don’t try to soak in any of the hot springs, or you may end up like Colin Scott: dissolved. (https://www.nps.gov/yell/index.htm) $30 for a seven-day pass

2. Listen to jazz – New Orleans (1 weekend)

New Orleans is special, and when we visited, it felt like nowhere else we had been to in America. Relaxed drinking laws, incredibly friendly locals and music on every street corner, we could have stayed there a fortnight (or perhaps a lifetime). Some call it the birthplace of jazz and, whilst it wasn’t a genre I would usually listen to on the radio, an evening in a New Orleanian nightclub gave me my jazz awakening – La La Land style. Whilst I wasn’t quite dancing on the grand piano, I challenge any right-minded person not to have a fantastic time in this city. Visit between February and May to avoid hurricane season, and the sticky heat and crowds of the summer months.  (http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/music/)

3. Experience real football – Most American cities, but Philadelphia is best (1 day)

For those who think this is not for them (if you don’t like sports for example), hear me out first. Going to an American football game is more than just sitting in a cold seat and watching twenty-two players run into each other for three hours. It’s a full-day experience, which begins around 9am in the adjoining car park! The ‘Tailgate’ involves fans from both sides getting together for a giant party involving bbq’s, beer, marques, games and all manner of attractions to keep the casual supporter entertained. When the game starts, everyone filters into the stadium for a ‘break’, before continuing the festivities outside after the final whistle has blown. A modern-day American experience. (https://www.ticketmaster.com/nfl) from $40 depending on which ground you are going to

4. Take the Bourbon Trail – Kentucky (3 days)

Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey to name but a few – Kentucky is built on bourbon. Don’t confuse this with whisky, as a native Kentuckian will almost always be offended – bourbon is distilled from corn whilst whisky uses malted barley – so now you know! It’s so popular in this part of the world that you can now undertake a tour that takes you to every distillery in the state, with samples included! You could even choose to extend your own tour, like we did, into neighbouring Tennessee to incorporate Mr. Jack Daniel. Once you’ve successfully tried samples from all the distilleries on the tour, you are awarded with a t-shirt and a fully-stamped bourbon trail passport! Try getting into Saudi Arabia with that one. (http://kybourbontrail.com/from $149 for a one day tour

The Road Trip. Drive Route 66 – Chicago to Los Angeles (1 month)

The iconic ‘Mother Road’. A symbol of prosperity in early 20th century America, the road offered dreamers the first chance of a new life on the west coast. Many travelled, building fantastic things along the way: Cadillac Ranch, Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park, the Milk Bottle Grocery and the Blue Whale of Catoosa (see left), amongst countless other grand attractions! Towns we now consider infamous Route 66 stop-offs, popped up along the road and, to-this-day, provide a fantastic time-capsule of a bygone era of dusty gas stations and neon-lit motels. Don’t rush your trip, rent or buy a cheap American car and meander along one of the most famous roads in the world. (http://transcanadahighway.com/index.asp)

Wildcard. Visit hidden beach paradises – American Samoa (2 weeks)

As this category is the wildcard, I like to choose somewhere that wouldn’t immediately spring to mind, and American Samoa certainly doesn’t. Located almost in the centre of the Pacific Ocean, ‘AS’ is not high on the list of American tourist hot-spots (not even Pacific island hot-spots), and that’s exactly why you should consider visiting here. The National Park located on its central island, Tutuila, is included in the fifty-nine NP’s of America, but none look quite like this. Explore the five volcanic islands that make up AS, or dive amongst the near-pristine reefs that surround them – who would have thought that America could be so idyllic? (https://americansamoatourism.com/from $770 flight return to/from Los Angeles

American Samoa

Tales From The USA

New Video: 1 Year – 50 States – A Journey through America

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Flood

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308 Negra Arroyo Lane

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Rags to Riches

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Drought

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Redwoods and Golden Gates

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Updated: Winter, 2017.

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