Jet Planes and Paddlesteamers – The “Going to Extremes Tour 2011”

6th June 2011…… A semi dream state followed me for the first 10 days…it was a bit like I was following myself around, watching over my shoulder…semi reality passing me by in somewhat of a rush…

Hit the road, hit the skies, hire a car, set it up for the chase, stickers, aerial for the Internet connection, Streets & Trips, wires everywhere still to be organised, the Kansas paper atlas came out again to be used as a desk, the inverter sorted, with a sense of growing anticipation – six weeks on the road, chasing the weather…catching up with old friends and meeting new,  exploring more of the country- photos to be taken, reports to be written…adventures!!!

It takes a pretty special brain to keep an extensive library of the images and maps and events of a trip such as this, and it’s not my brain….I take photos – lots of them, thousands in fact…. to be able to reconstruct events and days….from breakfast in a blur of hotels to which highway we took after lunch on what day ….Clyve’s analytical mind can do this with ease. I’m envious of his ability!!

The American people we meet on our travels are in the main, incredibly pleasant and unfailingly polite – and family is important over here. Small town America is sleepy in stark contrast to LA and New York – things will get done but it might take a bit of a chat – but it will get done….

The currency? Took a while to remember that a dime (10 cents) is half the size of a 5 cent piece….and this year we worked out the house numbering scheme (102 will be in the first block from the main street, 307 will be on the 3rd block and at the end of the block the numbers go up another 100 (now you know how they manage to have addresses like 19240 1st street!!)

We have a good breakfast most days in the hotels…there’s a choice of cereals, eggs & bacon, toast and jelly (choice of grape, strawberry, fruits of the forest) with fruit juice, tea and coffee. A couple of breakfast frustrations in the 6 weeks, but overall pretty good – forget the grape jelly that refused to spread, just rolled around the toast thumbing its nose at all attempts to spread it, then there were the green eggs and ham (literally!!)…. For the rest of the day there was morning tea – coffee and donuts/cake, lunch was a hotdog or a corndog or a sandwich (no margarine on sandwiches), afternoon tea, coffee again and tea was either takeaway or a TV dinner with double the range in Australia at a quarter of the price …. at the most!

We explored more of the American foods this year, but drew the line most emphatically at gizzards!!!! Ribs in Duluth were astounding and we tried out a couple of diners too with pleasant results.  This year it’s s bit easier to buy cappuccino with no flavoring (or have I just learnt to ask for it in the right way?)

On a trip like this we’re always doing something, going someplace…there’s not too much time for one of those breaks where you just stop and absorb your surroundings and catch your breath, and so even at the end of six weeks there’s still a sense that there is something to be done even though we’ve ‘be been sitting on this V Australia flight for 13 hours – mind numbing because it’s been a long day and we are flying through the night all the way.

…..then there’s always next year to look forward to…



In the words of J K Rowling..... ” I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It’s totally for myself. ” if you enjoy what I write, I'm delighted...if you don't...then I'm delighted..... I'm a retired business manager chasing storms and weather in Australia and the USA, photographing anything that takes my eye, and catching up on my reading from the last 23 years. I've finally got the chance to share my thoughts with the world.
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