Reflections on the US

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Lucy

I love America because it has Disneyland.

We looked at sea lions, they were funniest things ever, they made me giggle out loud. They went “owh owh owh”, were super stinky and kept on pushing each other off the floating things.

I liked Yellowstone, it was covered in yellow stones. We saw lots of Bison. Once loads came across the river into our campsite. Alisha and I stayed in the truck to keep safe. The bison were just one foot away from our camp, we were having s’mores that night but we had to wait for the bison to go.

I am a really good walker, once I walked 13km in one day. My legs were quite tired after that.

I loved the princesses at Disneyland. We went to see Merida from Brave first, then we went on Dumbo. We saw two shows with princesses in them.

We are going to Mexico next.

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My painting of sea lions

Alisha

I also really liked America. My favourite bits were Disneyland, Las Vegas and meeting the dogs Dillon and Lily. I really loved Disneyland, although I did not like the Mr Toad ride or the Finding Nemo ride. I loved meeting the Princesses and seeing the special shows. I also loved Las Vegas the lights and the noise. Whilst I love living in the truck I liked having the big bath at the hotel and also the big pool.

We also met two lovely dogs, Dillon and Lily at Daddy’s friends. They have been our imaginary friends as we have been out walking since then. I also liked Yellowstone National Park but I wanted to see some wolves.

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Merida from Disneyland

Gilly

I thought there would be few surprises when we came into the US. After so much exposure in books, tv and movies, lots of American friends plus a couple of visits years ago it was almost like I felt I knew the country as well as my own and certainly better than Czech Republic and Russia where we have lived over the last 15 years. However, bits of it certainly surprised me. Yes there were the usual cultural stereotypes which Europeans get terribly snobby about: very loud voices in peaceful places, a general lack of interest in the world beyond their borders and don’t get me started on portion sizes (our record was a KIDS meal with an enormous pile of chips and 10 fish fingers!!!). I wasn’t expecting the sheer beauty, proliferation and isolation of the national parks. That was a definite highlight, until they were unexpectedly closed down. They are all so well organised and maintained, so people really get a chance to enjoy the splendour of their surroundings. The people we met were generally incredible polite, kind and certainly in places like the national parks more internationally minded.

The truck is still an object of fascination for the people we meet. Here the most common question is about its fuel consumption, where as in Canada we were frequently being asked where we were going to in such a beast. People here rarely ask where we are going to, most people assume that we have imported it here once they heard it is from Germany to drive around the US only. “Sweet Rig” seems to be the most frequent moniker we hear about it, which is nice.

The Size of RVs has really surprised us here, initially we pointed out the exceptionally large ones to each other when we were on the road. Now however, it seems common place to see massive caravans of 12m or so which are so large they can only be pulled by huge pick up trucks. So called 5th wheelers are often 14m long when hooked up to a vehicle on the road. They all have “slide outs” too, up to 4 different sections of the body that come out to give more space when stationary. The coach type RVs are also surprisingly massive at between 10-12 m long and as tall as us with their 3 air-con units on the top and they all seem to pull a car behind then for when they park up. Not some little polo sized city car though, often they are massive jeeps or pick ups behind. We feel comparatively tiny and agile beside them.

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20131020-203348.jpg This one with a built in loft is just bizarre.

We’ve all settled into our life on the road. We’ve slowed considerably down since Canada with 8 weeks in the US. It was inevitable I suppose that it would take a while for us to change from our usual home pace. It’s been good to have more time to do things as well as not be in too much of a rush to get things done.

Steve

I imagined the US would be just a warm up before we really started traveling but I have to admit I have really enjoyed our 7 weeks here. The scenery, particularly in the mid- west is stunning, and the National Parks are a real credit to the country. The scenery is stunning with some great campgrounds. They are also very well run and with the junior ranger program had great things for the kids. They are also great value. It was a shame they were closed down in the recent government shutdown but we were lucky we managed to visit 9 parks and only really missed out on Yosemite.

It’s 25 years since I last did a road trip in the US and it’s a bit different with your family than with 2 mates. A number of things have changed most notably the beer. The beer is now very good with the explosion of craft beers everywhere. I have not touched a Bud since I have been here and have become very fond of “Fat Tire” brewed in Colorado.

People have been very friendly and helpful and this is particularly true out in the countryside and when camping in the National Parks. We have also had fantastic weather with the only rain in 7 weeks been in Colorado when there was so much a federal emergency was declared.

We are all now used to living in the truck and find it very comfortable. On cold nights it’s much mor pleasant climbing in the back than into a tent. We can also have a decent shower too. Living together 24/7 is going pretty well although I am sure we would all admit the odd break from each other would be welcome but we are managing well. It’s not all one long holiday though. Planning the trip and doing all the chores takes time and we do need to think ahead for things but these are hardly great stresses.

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2 thoughts on “Reflections on the US

  1. Dear Gilly, Steve, Alisha and Lucy,
    I am so enjoying reading your news and following you around, very jealous and so looking forward to meeting up in Belize
    lots love to you all Else

    • THanks Else. We are looking forward to seeing you too. After the Autumn weather in the UK I bet you are ready for Central America, your trip itinerary looks really interesting . Gx

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