Sunday, 22 June 2014

American Roadtrip

Well, it's nearly a month ago now, but right after Hong Kong I travelled to America. I know, I don't travel enough, I'll try and sort that out. Anyhow, I have american relatives (indeed I myself am a yank believe it or not....) including a Grandmother, and so knowing her 90th birthday was approaching, last year I booked tickets for the whole family to travel over for the party. Only after this was booked did I realise that my work forces me to take at least one ten day holiday per year (shucks), so I tacked HK onto the beginning of it. Thus it was that I undertook one of the longest days of travel I can remember, with 12 hours back to London, a five hour lay-over, and then another 9 hours to the midwest. It would have been quicker to go over the Pacific, but the US ticket was non-refundable and so I met the family back at Heathrow - the long way around. God knows what time my body thought it was when we finally arrived in Cleveland, but somehow I got through it. Having left HK at 11pm on a Friday, I arrived in Ohio at 4pm on a Saturday, but about 28 hours later. I was compus mentus enough to argue for one of these though.....

Oh what fun, a massive (though small by US standards) SUV with a monstrously inefficient engine and a petrol gauge that you could actually see dropping. It easily took the whole family and a pile of luggage, and was pretty much the perfect vehicle for a mini roadtrip. The party to end all parties wasn't 'til Thursday, so we had five days in which to see a little bit of America, and above all introduce the kids to all things american. Although I've only had a one major stint living there, I nonetheless feel a lot more american than you might think - the country music and love of bourbon is just one facet. We Brits love to be rude and cynical about it, but it's a great country. If you can forget about the guns and some of the more absurd ignorance involving Charles Darwin, then you will find americans some of the nicest people around, living in one of the most wonderful places on earth. And I really mean that. 

The plan was to drive to Cincinnati and take in a ball game, to visit Buffalo Trace in Kentucky, to slow it down in the Amish district in Ohio, and be wowed by Niagara Falls in New York, and finally to spend a few days in the lovely college town where my Grandparents live, and which is such an integral part of my childhood.

 And to play the licence plate game....

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