Impressions of our 2nd year of travelling the USA

As our 2nd year of travelling the USA comes to an end it would be fair to say that our impressions of American people have only improved.  American people are the nicest people you could ever hope to meet.  We are not so naive to think that everyone here is nice, but everyone we’ve met are, and that’s a lot of people.

 

This year of travel got off to a bad start for me with a torn meniscus in my knee putting me out of action for weeks.  We stayed in Florida much longer than intended, a whole month so we could be close to the surgeon, but we enjoyed Florida apart from the Yellow fly, we hope we never see another one of those blood suckers again. While travelling up the east coast we enjoyed New England but it wasn’t as dazzling as we thought it would be, I think this is because it would look particularly beautiful in spring and autumn, and we were there in summer, and we are so spoilt at home with such a fantastic coast.  We did enjoy lobster rolls, hmm could eat one (or two) right now!  Washington and Boston were great highlights of our trip.

 

Travelling up into Canada was interesting.  It’s very French which I wasn’t expecting. The Bay of Fundy was a long way to go so see a little bore running down the river but I’m glad we went there, the tides are incredible even though it’s hard to appreciate and observe them from the land.  Quebec,  Montreal and Toronto cities were breathtakingly beautiful and a cultural and historical joy to explore, it was just like being back in Europe, I enjoyed that very much. I’d like to revisit those cities again one day, but the eastern side of Canada may have been a once-er-it’s a long way to travel!

 

Niagara Falls was very impressive.  The way America moves and uses water is very interesting.  Much of this country is dry land, but they have built dams and irrigation systems that water and power huge cities like Vegas, it’s all done on a very large scale. Where there is no water the land is barren and good for nothing-known locally as ‘the Badlands’.  Dust devils twist through the flat dry land and the horizon can be a days drive away.

 

As we left the Niagara region we drove through the rust belt of the US-Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana.  This was pretty country and the cities were great to have explored, some nicer than others but all very interesting to us.  We loved Tennessee, exploring the Smokies and staying longer than we intended-very nice.  Loved visiting Graceland.

 

 

Then our big drive across middle America, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.  We experienced some high winds and some amazing lightening storms through this area and got a sense of what it’s like to live in tornado country-very intimidating!  To think that this area was once an ocean, looking out at the great expanse you can see it’s an ocean floor and now the winds whistle through as the ocean currents once did.

 

Eventually over into the Arizona desert which I love, especially being in the Sonoran Desert with it’s Saguaro cactus.  I feel very at home in this environment and love the weather. We stayed too long in Lake Havasu, it’s pretty but we got bored as we had a week there, it should have been 3 days. On our way to Vegas we drove past Joshua Trees which have as much character as the Saguaro’s.

 

Vegas has been great-we didn’t like the ‘strip’ much but love the city.  This is a great place for us to come and go from NZ, especially this resort, it’s lovely and recently got ranked the 9thbest luxury motor coach in the US!

 

The one common factor that continues to surprise and endear me to this country is the people we meet.  They are genuine, kind, affectionate, caring and interested in us, as we are of them.  It’s refreshing that there’s no ‘tall poppy’ sentiment here-people just don’t think that way here, American’s just want to get to know you for who you are, not what you do or what you have.  We have made some very special friends on this journey, some people really stand out from the crowd-Mark, Marshall, Woody, Sandy, Betsy, Misty, Jimmy, Dave, Big Jim, Dan, Gary, Robert, Ron, Jerry-but we have made friends in just about every place we have stopped in, and if not friends, we have had smiles and waves from everyone.  A lady that came up to us in Cincinnati sums it up-she approached us and asked if we were enjoying her city?  Was everyone treating us well?  Are American’s being kind to us?  We meet people like her all the time-she could have ignored us… we’re just more tourists taking photos after all.

We discovered pickleball on this trip and have loved playing it-it’s a cross between tennis and badminton.  Most RV parks have courts to play on and there are always games being played that you can join in with.  We are hoping to continue playing in Auckland as we believe its played here but called Paddle tennis.

We have not eaten out more than 10 times in our 5 months here.  It’s expensive to eat out and the portions are so huge you end up gorging yourself to get your moneys worth.  We prefer eating my cooking on the coach and I’d like to think that contributes to the fact that we are both going back the same weight as when we left.

We’ve seen a lot less wildlife here this year which is a shame-no bears, no moose or bison but we did see a tarantula, tortoises, snakes, alligators and lizards so that’s not so bad, and lots of beautiful birds.

 

This is the route in red we took this year:

Next year we are travelling north from here back up into Yellowstone and up into Montana’s Glacier national park and eventually up into Canada’s Rockies, as far as Jasper.  We’ve done things differently next year in that we have prebooked the RV parks so anyone that want’s to can join us in their rented camper, or car/tent-whatever they please.

For now we are looking forward to going back to NZ and seeing friends and family and enjoying the summer there while we fondly reflect on our 2019 travels here.

Flying to LA over the Nevada desert: