Three weeks across America

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-03-13 04:20am

For some reason one photo is refusing to orient correctly, despite having fixed it.

Alyeska wrote:Moose Drool. Nice, they make that right here in Missoula (Montana). Did you make it up to Glacier Park?


Unfortunately, we just didn't have time. A big regret.
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby Thanas » 2011-03-13 05:39am

This is an amazing thread.
Last edited by Thanas on 2011-03-13 06:24am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-03-13 06:09am

And not quite halfway through! Cheers!
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby Iroscato » 2011-03-13 07:55am

tim31 wrote:And not quite halfway through! Cheers!


Why not just move there, and keep supplying us with these awesome pictures? :D
And will you post any of Australia in another thread? Love to see some of that.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-03-14 06:50am

Refer to this old archive

Will post Montana & Beyond tomorrow!
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-03-16 07:36am

More words, less pics on this one.

SEPTEMBER 10

There's a truism about business that even if your product itself is spectacular, disgruntled customers will still drill it into the ground if they've been dealt poor service. I've opened with this by way of telling you about my experience with Billings, Montana. I don't have any photos of it; in fact, the reason we pulled off the interstate after only having been driving for an hour was for me to try and buy a charger for my camera battery. I had forgotten mine(of all the things!) and the indicator read 50%, which had me worried. I needed juice. So we wandered around the streets of Billings looking for a place that sold cameras. The first thing I found was actually a photographer's studio. The gentleman owner was sympathetic to my plight, but was a Nikon man, and unable to feed my Canon. However, he did call a Target store and ask if they had any universal chargers in stock, then gave me the directions. So we drove to this Target, went in, and asked a clerk. 'No, we don't stock those.' This is why we got back into the car and hit the road, with me declaring 'fuck Billings.' It wasn't the place, which seemed nice enough. Just the floor staff.

After some driving we came to the main event of the day.

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I had woken up excited to be seeing this; I had known the phrase 'Custer's Last Stand' since childhood, even though it was related to the history of a foreign nation. I had only read up on the specifics of it during university years, and was looking forward to it. But as the saying goes, a thousand books aren't worth one real experience.
People died here. Terrified, outnumbered, and for a questionable cause. For the Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho who fought and died here, they were making their own stand, winning a battle in a war that they would eventually lose.

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Garry Owen indeed.

We returned to the road, and dad asked quietly if he could drive. As we returned to the interstate I asked if he was alright, and he replied that the memorial had left him feeling a bit down, and that as a result he was having trouble accepting a few truths about his own life over the past few years. My father suffers from depression which he treats with medication, but you can't kill it all with drugs. I also endure the same condition, as well as having possessed an irrational guilt complex since childhood. The two of us together in a car on a highway after being at a mass gravesite was less than ideal. So we talked our way through it as we passed under the Big Sky.

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It was ten days since leaving home - eleven really, if you include the transit, and I had only been able to speak to my children once. I was beginning to wonder if this would set the tone for the rest of the trip. Then he put on the radio. As luck would have it, the first station we hit played FIVE! Van Halen tracks, back to back. By the time we got to [i]Jump/[i] I was feeling my cheer return, and the road banter was a bit more positive.

Driving back through the northeastern corner of Wyoming, I had to convince dad, who was still not at 100%, to take a detour. It was a hard sell because I was asking for a one hour side trip when we had already seen plenty of interesting geology. Yet when we got there, he agreed readily that it was worth it.

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The Devil's Tower is amazing to look at. We walked all the way around it; it seems small and huge at the same time. There were climbers up there, at their own risk of course. I would have liked to have waited there until after nightfall. As I took the wheel and headed back toward the I-90 I kept looking at it in the mirror. Truly captivating.

As night fell we passed into South Dakota. Dad actually started to get excited, because he had been hanging out to see the place we would stay the night: Deadwood. We got a room in a place that looked kinda genuine, ate dinner at some restaurant where the pack of twenty-something girls at the next table giggled as they looked at photos they had taken of one of their party wearing no pants in public the night before. Dad wanted to experience the night life, but I wasn't up to it; I was tired, and desperately wanted to call my kids. I actually regret this in hindsight, because after that day I bet all he wanted was to have a few beers with me and shoot the shit. But on the other hand, I got to talk to Charlotte and Ethan until they got bored of me and went back to watching television. Hell of a day.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby Mayabird » 2011-03-17 11:50pm

I remember that big sky. The only time in my life that I've felt any sort of agoraphobia was when I was driving through Montana on a clear day. I kept feeling like I was going to fall upwards and get consumed by it.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby FSTargetDrone » 2011-03-21 04:28pm

Great thread, though it makes me somewhat irritated at myself that you have seen parts of my country that I haven't been within 1000+ miles of. I've driven as far west as Columbia, Missouri. One of these days, I need to go the whole way. There is so much to see.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby Alyeska » 2011-03-25 07:13pm

Tim, you did something that most American's don't even do. So far your trip has been amazing and your commentary certainly gives it a lively spark and intrigues the imagination. I look forward to seeing your future posts and comments on places we have yet to discover.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-03-27 10:57pm

I'm ashamed to admit that I've only been to the eastern states of my own continental nation; something I intend to rectify.

Will post another day this evening(AEST)
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-03-28 08:39am

SEPTEMBER 11

Woke up to a startlingly sunny day. Ideal for visiting national monuments. But unfortunately I hadn't taken any photos of Deadwood the evening before. It didn't quite look as... Vibrant, by day. Reminded me a bit of Jackson, WY, come to that.

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So we drove on US 385 towards Keystone. It was markedly different countryside to the plains of the previous day; dense pine forests and a labyrinth of hills and valleys. And then before you know it, despite knowing where you're heading, and plenty of signs telling you where you are, BAM! Good morning gentlemen!

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I took a staggering amount of photos here, and it's tempting to risk blowing my photobucket bandwidth to show off the work that went into this thing. If you haven't read about it, do so. Oh, and in case you missed the date stamp at the top of this post:

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Dad said he could have easily spent all day walking the trails around the area, but by lunchtime I was urging him back to the car to see something else I'd read about. Further south on the 385 was this:

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The story behind this was, in its own way, more fantastic than Mount Rushmore. I feel a mix of admiration and bewilderment that the reservation has refused to accept government coin to get this project finished. They're looking at an approximate 100 year build time, of which they're halfway through. If they finish it to spec, the Crazy Horse Memorial is going to be spectacular.

A day like this one meant we had the roof down nearly everywhere we were driving. So it was through Custer State Park, where people were camping out by the river, fishing, swimming, cooking burgers on grills. It all looked like wholesome fun. I bet when the sun went down they all got drunk and shot beer cans off tree stumps.

Eventually dad, the Mustang and I found our way to Rapid City, but didn't dwell there. An amiably drunk man at the hotel in Red Lodge had told us to visit the Badlands. Insisted, even. So we cruised southeast on State Route 44, across farmland. It was getting late in the afternoon/early in the evening and I was wondering if the detour would pay off. Then the scenery changed.

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Something felt familiar about this place. As the moon rose, and the bugs splattered on the window, I started to... Bugs? KLENDATHU! I actually shrieked aloud in excitement at the revelation, though dad wasn't quite as enthused as I. I grinned like a cheshire cat the whole way through and was still smiling when we hit the town of Wall on the I-90.

But more on Wall in the next installment. We got a room in one of the many motels in the small town. The room next to ours was occupied by a Minnesotan couple, Craig and Aleis. Their young daughter was already asleep, and they introduced themselves in short order and offered us beers. Eventually dad would retire to our room, Aleis went off to theirs, and Craig and I sat up until 3am talking comparative politics and history between our countries, and he shared his guitar with me. It was the first time in nearly two weeks that I had both laid hands on a guitar and talked to someone my own age at length, and it wasn't until I pointed out that a belt of stars that had appeared on the horizon earlier was now high in the sky that we agreed to call it a night. I went to bed satisfied with the day's events; there are few satisfactions in life greater than making new friends.
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby The Yosemite Bear » 2011-03-28 11:34am

wait you came to my domain and you didn't drop me a line?
repeat any SDNers visiting the park, send me a PM and I'll send you some contact info.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-03-28 07:50pm

I kept an eye out for you Bear, but every second person was in DNC gettup.
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby The Yosemite Bear » 2011-03-28 10:12pm

me too.

The Devil Needs Cash, crew is a part of the landscape.l

Also I work at the Ahwannee Kitchen and I am one of two Colins in the park.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby Beowulf » 2011-04-04 09:34am

This thread is too good not to end up in the Gallery, even half finished as it is.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-04-09 08:29am

The sentiment is appreciated!

SEPTEMBER 12

I'd read about Wall Drug. I didn't know what to expect, but basically if it weren't for Wall Drug the town itself wouldn't have as many motel beds as it does. Wall is in the middle of nowhere on I-90, but people stop there. Hell, at dinner in Deadwood the girls at the next table had been talking about the massive night of drinking they'd had in Wall the previous evening.

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Or something like that.

It was cheesy but I tip my hat to them; they're obviously managing to run a successful tourism based business and employ half the county population. It was like a town within a town(so you can shop while you shop), with a lot of small retailers within the complex. I wanted to buy an old Winchester that had been deactivated, but it'd be too much trouble to take home. So we hit the road and left this...

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...behind. Today was going to be a big driving day, which was a hard ask when I'd been awake half the night chatting to my new friend. So the hours of driving ticked by, and we even crossed a name-brand river.

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I was behind the wheel at the time, and dad felt a bit cheated. I promised him we'd switch over so he could drive across the Mississippi when we got there. There was nearly half of SD and all of Minnesota to get across first.

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I include the above photo because honestly, I didn't take many this day. This is a touch misleading because I actually snapped this frame the next day(You got me. It made me snigger), but it segues us into a side story. We pulled off the interstate somewhere before the Minnesotan border for fuel and drinks. I felt almost hungover from the night before, so instinctively I took us to a McDonalds. I was served by a short black guy with an amazing shock of hair whose day was made by the fact that he was meeting an Australian. I told him it was even better, because I was also Tasmanian. Thus prompted, and to my amazement, he initiated a discussion on the current plight of our iconic little carnivore. Turns out Discovery Channel had done a piece on it. I like that. I retreated to a table to consume my quarter pounder and dad, who had been delayed by conversation with some rando, then approached the counter to make his own purchase. I heard him sing out, 'Hey Bethany, get this! I got to serve two Australians in one day!' I am extremely gratified to have been the highlight of his shift.

Minnesota passed without event and I'm afraid I have no photos I feel worthy of posting. It was dark when we crossed the Mississippi - with me behind the wheel, to dad's chagrin - and we found a room in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and ate at a nearby Taco Johns(I actually used Google Maps to confirm these details, the things I do for you). Summary of the day? Two major rivers, nearly 500 miles driven, and a lot of fast food. Oh, and I ate a Twinkie and drank a Dr Pepper while lying in bed. Winning.
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby Iroscato » 2011-04-09 08:46am

Cracked my up, the little anecdote about the McDonalds guy.
Have you considered travel writing as a proffesion? You're good lol...
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby Dalton » 2011-04-13 02:39pm

Did you hit up NYC?
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-04-14 03:38am

Yes, I'm getting to you :D
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-04-24 01:01am

SEPTEMBER 13

And now on to one of the most frustrating days of the trip.

The problem with a trip like this is that you're never going to see everything. Even with three to six months to spare, and a very healthy budget, I still would have been flying back homing regretting not seeing some locale or feature that I had read or heard about.

But it really burned that I got to spend all of three hours in Chicago.

The problem started in the morning when dad announced that we would take the back roads to avoid the turnpike. My experience with this kind of strategy is that you cannot determine how successfully you are going to navigate a backroad by looking at a map where the scale places you at a virtual height of 20,000 feet. I didn't argue though, because we had spent virtually all of the previous day eastbound on the interstate, and there would be more of that to come. So from La Crosse we rejoined the I-90 for a short while, took an early lunch at an Arby's(Wow. Cheese.) and at some point in rural Wisconsin left the interstate and took the back roads. I can't even remember where, and as I'm writing this dad is on a motorcycle riding around rural New South Wales, so I can't at present contact him to jog my memory. All I can tell you is that we passed through a lot of small towns, and as we passed into Illinois they started to look consistently like this:

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I was conflicted by these places. They looked very idyllic and charming, a good place to raise children... But they were so homogeneous. I don't know if I could handle that. In Australia we only hang out flags at that rate on January 26th, and people even cringe about that.

It took hours, and eventually we wound up rejoining the I-90, which was frustrating. Finally, Chicago hove into view.

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In that shot you can see a turnoff to get to Addison Street. I knew that even if a game was on, we wouldn't have been able to get tickets, but I still would have loved to have at least seen Wrigley Field with my own eyes. But it was already the afternoon, and we hadn't even got to the city. I kept quiet.

At last we made our way to the shore of the lake and found a carpark. This was the first time we'd been downtown in a big city on this trip.

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It was neat. We went for a bit of a wander around, sat down for a beer and some snacks, but in the end we were just pressed for time. The subject of whether to stay the night in Chicago came up, but dad was worried that if we didn't get some miles done that afternoon, there wouldn't be enough time to see the Appalachians. So wistfully, we headed back to the car, which was parked near this thing:

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Which is brilliant for getting photos. I have a self portrait taken from underneath it that looks like I'm trapped in a mobius strip.

We drove south on Michigan Avenue. The neighbourhoods we passed through were populated by black people and seemed so much more alive than the towns we had passed through earlier in the day.

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If you're wondering why I posted a picture of a police car instead of the vibrant block party I've implied above, the truth is that I was one of two white guys in a convertible driving through a black neighbourhood. To have openly snapped away with my Canon just seemed touristically crass. Yet as we drove down one last urban stretch before rejoining the I-90(AGAIN), a bunch of kids playing in the street waved to us and cheered. I wish I'd gotten a photo of them.

As the late afternoon set in we ventured south onto the I-65. This made me snigger:

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...and feel a long way from home and my children. We drove south for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening, and my hypothesis is that one day the entire Midwest is going to be one enormous wind farm.

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Well after dark we stopped at a Red Roof Inn on the eastern outskirts of Indianapolis. I tried to find somewhere nearby to do some much needed laundry, but nothing was open. I can't quite remember, but I suspect we ate McDonalds, drank some whiskey, and went to bed.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-06-10 06:47am

SEPTEMBER 14

...And back to the Interstate. First, I bought some fruit and essentials at an Aldi, surprised by how grubby it was compared to the stores I'd been into in Australia. I don't know whether this is the exception or the norm for the chain in the United States, because it was the only one I went to. At all events we hit the I-70 and soon crossed into Ohio. Before you get excited and ask if I visited the Air Force Museum, the answer is no. Dad and I made an agreement that I wouldn't ask him to visit any military hardware museums, so I didn't even ask. This is the only photo of Ohio I will show you:

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As we drove across the state I would look at the drivers of other cars, wondering if any of the chubby, bespectacled persons were Marius Roi. My conclusion was that around one in ten people on the Interstate in Ohio looked like pictures he has posted on this board. At all events, Ohio just kind of flew by... And then things got wild.

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All I have ever heard about West Virginia is how poor it is, and that's the mindset I was in as we entered the state at Wheeling and immediately vectored southeast. The notion, I would discover, is true in the econmic sense, but as a countryside it is splendid, especially after days of driving across the flat midwest.

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The road we took - a state highway the number of which I do not recall, sadly - undulated through ridge, then valley, then ridge, then valley. The weather was flawless, not too hot, plenty of sunshine, and in one of the valley towns we stopped for cold drinks. Dad went inside to find a toilet and make the purchases, while I sat on the door of the car and conversed with three locals. They had worn, leathery faces that didn't give any clues as to their ages, and the guy who did most of the talking had about five teeth that I could see. I was suprised when one turned out to be a woman. They were amiable and friendly, and I confirmed a few suspicions they had about Australia, mainly a.) kangaroos are real, and b.) you can eat them. They were counting change out of a pencil case to see if they had enough for a case of Budweiser. One of the few regrets I have on this trip is not asking them to pose for a photo, nor anyone that I met for that matter. People are such an important part of the landscape, and these three were a stark contrast to the natural beauty of their state. I would have given them enough to get some better beer, too.

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Through the terrain in almost a sine wave we continued. I can't remember where we stopped for lunch; I have a feeling a just snacked through the day as we drove. At one point dad consulted a map to find a place to stay the night that would be a suitable launchpad for our assault on Virginia the next day. That place turned out to be Elkins, just east of a geological discontinuity that marks the onset of the Appalachians. As we drove into town dad saw what looked like a biker bar and said, 'oh hell yes, we're eating there!' or something similar. We got a room in a hotel that I'm fairly certain had previously been a hospital, did a bunch of laundry, then dad proved he wasn't kidding by driving us back to the biker bar. We walked inside to the byproduct of the five people sitting at the bar smoking. Dad quietly complained about this to me, but I insisted that he had chosen this place and so we would eat there. I ordered a cheeseburger, he ordered nachos. At this point I need to explain that in Australia when you order nachos, they're a small side dish, more of a snack. On the menu it was priced as such. But the plate got carried out with both hands and went CLONK as it touched the table. I had to help him finish it, but that was okay because we were there for hours, playing pool, drinking beers, feeding the jukebox. I got talking to one guy at the bar who was the brother of the owner. Upon finding out where I was from he cried 'Australia?? What the hell are you doin' in West Virginia??' This is an excellent way to end this entry, because the truth is West Virginia was a fantastic leg of the trip. I couldn't wait to see more of the Appalachians the next day.
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby PhilosopherOfSorts » 2011-06-13 03:29am

Heh, Wheeling is only about an hour from me. Let's see, you were on a state highway in WV going southeast from Wheeling? West Virginia route 250 is probably the road you were on.
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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-09-17 11:23am

It's been a while, largely thanks to hardware disasters and data recovery, as well as plain laziness. It's now been a year since the trip, so the time is ripe to carry on and finish this thread.

SEPTEMBER 15

We left Elkins early in the morning and headed east into more mountains. Dad was seriously looking forward to today, because we would be heading into the fabled Blue Ridge. Getting into the Appalachians was one of his key objectives of the trip, and had we had the time, he would have liked to start further south and see the Smokies.

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After crossing into Virginia we stopped for an early lunch at Harrisonburg. I don't have any good photos from the first part of this day, because the early stop in Harrisonburg allowed me to find a camera shop that could charge my battery, having neglected to bring my own. We ate at a Mexican place - a real Mexican restaurant, owned and operated by first generation migrants, with Mexican news on a tv in the background. This itself instantly broke preconceptions I'd had of the state of Virginia. Before long, we were on the road and up into Shenandoah National Park.

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It was at this stage that it was really hitting home how much we needed another week on this trip. The weather was perfect, and it would have been sensational to spend a night or two up here and walk a small portion of the Appalachian Trail. But instead we cruised along Skyline with the roof open and took it all in as best we could, and before we knew it we were at Front Royal.

After the previous day in the hills of West Virginia it was something of a shock to return to busier highways once again, and as such we hastened along with the traffic, at one point no more than sixty or seventy kilometres from the most powerful locations on the planet. I would have liked to take some time in Washington, but we had both been before, and time was being more and more squeezed. The museums and memorials can wait until next time.

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We crossed into Pennsylvania and found ourselves here.

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It was at Gettysburg that I realised how little I knew of American history. I thought I had a reasonable handle on it thanks to years of appropriate media exposure, but I really only had a broad picture. Dad had asked me questions but I directed him to read the plaques, because I really had no idea of what was happening on the ground. We were visiting another battleground, another place where soldiers had fallen en masse. It is my intention, before I die, to travel to Europe and see places like the Somme, Gallipoli, Normandy, Bastogne, other places where men have died because enough people believed it was the right thing to do. We have no idea at this stage whether, in another fifty, or a hundred years, tourists will visit the Baluchi Valley, or Fallujah, so that they can see where the difference was made, because it's too early to tell if there will be a difference, and whether in the long term anyone will care. All I know is that the Gallipoli campaign was a shitty mess, and yet it's a national holiday of equal importance to Australia Day. So we'll have to wait and see.

Dad and I finished the day in York, twenty miles up the road. We ate in a roadside diner where the waitress did the usual song-and-dance of being impressed by our accents, then we retired to a hotel. Dad was exhausted and went to bed early, but I went back out to the car for a drive around town. Had I known that Three Mile Island was a modest distance(though not in the direction we would be taking the next day), I would have driven up to take a look. Instead, I drove aimlessly around York, where apparently a fair was on because there we flashy lights, a ferris wheel and other rides, and a lot of drunk teenagers around. On my way back to the hotel, stopped at a set of lights, two young guys on motorcycles pulled up behind me. One of them stared at the back of the Mustang, and flipped up his visor to address his friend.

"This guy's driven all the way from California!"

The other shook his head. "Fuuuuuuuck that!" and the light went green.

They don't know what they were missing. Tomorrow would be a big day.
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby tim31 » 2011-09-21 08:45am

SEPTEMBER 16

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Aren't I bloody awful, taking photos of them like that and stealing their souls. Not respect. However, I should point out that they were the ones who named the town Intercourse, so who started it? We had driven early from York to Lancaster County to get some breakfast and just because why not. It was a fairly short drive from York and as such I groaned when I spied barn-style Pennsylvania Dutch restaurants which we could have eaten in the night before, instead of a roadside diner. The breakfast we had was, by all respects, a decent compromise on that situation.

We didn't have a firm plan for the day besides an endpoint to the northeast, and so we wandered towards Valley Forge for another slice of early American history to contrast the previous day at Gettysburg. A short film in the visitor center was instructional insomuch as it confirmed that at Valley Forge the main enemy was winter. Then we went for a drive around the park.

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While at the main visitor center I fought the urge to buy toy muskets for my children and instead took the opportunity to call a fellow whom I had never met before and ask if he wanted to meet an Australian who hadn't shaved in a fortnight. His name was Matt and he instructed us to meet him at an Irish bar in the college town of Narberth, which was surprisingly close by. Shortly thereafter I was spilling Guinness on myself and eating, for the first time, a Philly cheesesteak which was both delicious and messy. I was familiar with Matt's political and social background already, and so dad wound up asking a lot of the topical questions, though he had to have terms like 'lolbertarian' explained to him. As the afternoon was moving on we were bound to return to the car, but not without first posing for a photo.

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(if the above image is incorrectly oriented, fucking photobucket)

Dad had been keen the whole trip to avoid turnpikes, but after the Chicago experience of driving through miles of suburbs I voiced my concerns. Thus we availed ourselves of I-76 and in turn, I-78. You can guess where this is going.

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I'm afraid to say I don't have any more pictures for the day beyond that sign, because the overcast conditions combined with Interstate speeds and my lack of photography skill meant that any frames would have been a blurry mess. Instead I can tell you that when I first spotted New York City, it was early evening and it was sparkling.

I had been slightly begrudging of New York as the end of our road trip, since I had been there previously and the original destination was to see a shuttle launch. Yet when I saw those buildings, the bridges, the instantly recognisable sights, I didn't want to be anywhere else. We passed Newark, where I had first arrived into the area in 1992. Dad had originally planned to find a place to stay in Jersey City and ferry or subway over the Manhattan the next day, but he must have been hypnotised as well because then he said "I'm not driving all the way across the U.S. to not drive down Fifth Avenue." And so we made a beeline for the Holland Tunnel. As we emerged into Manhattan, there was a brief stop at a red light and dad seized the chance to open the roof, even though it was evening and raining lightly. The man was possessed, and I can understand. I had lost all sense of direction and could suddenly only look up.
"Start looking for places to stay that don't look expensive" dad instructed. We drove through Chinatown and before we knew it we were on the Manhattan Bridge, because shit, why not. We recrossed the East River on the Brooklyn Bridge, and he asked once again. "See any accommodation?" I shook my head. "I'm sorry, dad. All I can see is New York."
We drove around for another twenty minutes before suddenly, a few blocks east of Times Square on 44th, dad pulled the car over. He left me with the car and came back roughly ten minutes later as I was fighting to contain the pints of stout I had imbibed some hours ago. I asked him if he had secured a room. "Just bear with me a minute." I have come to recognise this phrase and the tone it comes out in over the past three decades. It essentially means that he has caved into himself and paid more money than he was hoping to for something, and can't wait to see my impressed reaction. We drove around the block - literally, because we pulled up fifty metres short of where we had been stopped, outside the Sofitel. As valets fussed over us we pulled packs out of the Mustang, and I saw a well-dressed middle age couple smiling at me. I must have looked a state; unkempt beard, stained t-shirt, a hiking pack, but this couple noted the licence plate on the car and cheerfully commented, "you boys must have done some stuff!" or something. Either way, I felt instant cred, but a sudden pang of sadness. This was the last time we would be getting out of the Mustang for the night. We were still several days short of returning to Australia, but the road trip itself was at an end.

After finding our room we changed and headed out to eat. It was natural to head to Times Square and almost inevitably we ate at the Hard Rock, lured like insects to the lights. I had ribs for the first time on the trip. Then afterwards we wandered around, stopped for beverages in a few bars, and I realised I was exhausted. Dad stayed out a while; I returned to the room and the ridiculously soft bed. Big plans for tomorrow.
lol, opsec doesn't apply to fanfiction. -Aaron

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Re: Three weeks across America

Postby Phantasee » 2011-09-21 11:40am

tim31 wrote:On my way back to the hotel, stopped at a set of lights, two young guys on motorcycles pulled up behind me. One of them stared at the back of the Mustang, and flipped up his visor to address his friend.

"This guy's driven all the way from California!"

The other shook his head. "Fuuuuuuuck that!" and the light went green.

:lol:

I'm glad you've gotten around to finishing your travelogue.

Nice beard, by the way 8)
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