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On a road trip across the USA

19th December 2013


In the summer Joan suggested a road trip in the USA. Joan herself doesn’t drive but that didn’t seem to bother her. And so it was that last month we flew to LA, picked up our mid-range Toyota and set off on what Douglas Adams might term the adventure of a liff-time.

Here’s a short video I made during our stop-off in Philadelphia.

View from hotel window in Beverley Hills ($30 for the underground car park. We didn’t do that again).

berverly hills

Hollywood sign from Hollywood Boulevard.

hollywood sign

Tour of Warner Bros. Studios. Joan seemed to find the Batmobile somewhat amusing.


After two nights in LA we motored across the Mojave Desert to Las Vegas.

road to vegas

Here’s proof in the form of a road sign.

vegas road sign

Vegas itself is of course a horror. We stayed at the MGM Grand because of its association with boxing (Joan’s a big boxing fan) (no she’s not).

vegas street

The hotel corridor reminded me of The Shining.

vegas corridor

…right down to the mysterious note left on a stranger’s door.

vegas note

Next up we drove to the Grand Canyon. I got pulled for speeding. It was a classic sting. I blame the parents.

The Grand Canyon was well nice, as people used to say.

grand canyon 1 grand canyon 4 grand canyon 6

From there we drove to Flagstaff, didn’t realise we’d crossed a timezone and missed dinner. Thence to Sedona and more blistering vistas. Due to the panorama effect on my iPhone Joan appears twice below.

sedona vista

Jeep tour into Sedona’s mountains was thrilling, despite mild dispute with an Aussie concerning the suitability of Michael Clarke as Australian cricket captain.

sedona tour sedona view

Next day up at the crack o’, drive to Phoenix, dump car, fly to Charlottesville, connect to Nashville, alight, wash face, pick up kick-ass Chrysler, check-in to crap motel, head into Nashville and honky-tonk it up.

nashville nightlife nashville bar

Next day to legendary RCA Studio B where Elvis recorded ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight?’. Frustratingly it was closed to walk-ins.

studio b

…so we walked on and happened upon a Norman Rockwell exhibition which we like todally loved. Here’s Joan in Nashville.

joan nashville

Second phase of the trip was as much about covering the miles as sight-seeing. The driving itself was enjoyable; stunning views, and how we laughed at the casual racism on satellite radio (nwe didn’t). There was an excellent route called the Blueridge Parkway which took us North-East up through the Appalachian Mountains.

Amusing sign.

green knob

We couldn’t stick on it for long as it meandered and we were losing time and miles, especially following a puncture. One evening we ran over a fox. I can still feel the double bump. Sad times.

Onwards to Washington, and the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Jack the Zipper is buried at Arlington Cemetery as is his brother Robert. Naughty Edward is elsewhere. If you don’t know what I’m talking about google Chappaquiddick.

(note the eternal flame as requested by Jackie)


Here’s RFK.

RFK arlington

Joan doing her Carl Bernstein impression outside the White House.

white house

The final day’s chauffeuring, I mean driving, was arduous: from Washington to Arlington, onto Philadelphia and an homage to Rocky, before taking the New Jersey Turnpike into New York. We stuttered over the Brooklyn Bridge in near-gridlock and finally parked up in Manhattan around 7pm. 2,000 miles in 10 days. Glad to hand over the keys.

Three nights in New York city. Here’s Joan outside the Seinfeld diner.


During our stay everyone had it in for Obamacare.


A couple of dafts in Central Park.

central park II

Man telling very bad jokes for money (we found out the hard way).

joke man

On the third night we attended a ‘wine dinner’ with some friends ($80 for food and all you can drink – no photos survived).

Shameless selfie as we got ready.

NYC selfie

Next day to Peekskill, upstate New York State, to stay with Tara and Stephen and hang with Leslie. American footballs were hurled, Merlots quaffed.

Last day and train back into Queens. Suitably drizzly for our departure.


So there you have it: from sunbathing in Sedona and freezing in Flagstaff to gambling in Vegas and gamboling in Central Park, we couldn’t have crammed more into two weeks. Barely a vegetable passed our lips until we reached Washington, the West apparently kept afloat on a sea of Starbucks and Subway, but we survived and then some, loving every minute bar maybe 23.

Still, when I close my eyes all I see is this…

more more road


(Joan’s name’s not Joan. It’s Jo. If you meet her call her Jo, not Joan)