Day 11: The Grandest of Canyons

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Today we had a day off from travelling and had planned to take a trip to the Grand Canyon which was a couple of hundred miles north, which doesnt seem much to us now. We had a relaxing morning, after breakfast I sat on the terrace and read for a bit and CJ went for a trek in the woods. It was a lovely sunny morning with a slight breeze, the first day we have experienced that hasnt been intense heat all day. We needed to do some laundry today and were given a tip from the owner of the lodge that there was a laundry place in town where we could leave our stuff and pick it up later. Almost as soon as we left, the skies opened up and we drove through a downpour which meant we were slowed from 65mph which is the speed limit to around 45mph because of poor visibility and standing water on the road. About half way into the journey the rain stopped and the skies cleared and by the time we arrived at the canyon it was hot and sunny again. The Grand Canyon itself was pretty amazing because of the scale …

Day 10: Oh Deer!

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*Sorry about the delayed post. The internet connection is a bit sketchy here. Today was our longest stretch of driving that is planned and we went from Albuquerque, New Mexico across another state line and a time zone to Flagstaff, Arizona. We set off early after a pleasant stay in Albuquerque, anywhere would be pleasant after Amarillo, and after getting gas we joined the interstate. We knew we would have to stop again at least once more today for gas and planned a  stop in Gallup for this purpose. The scenery again today was breathtaking with a mix of rocky hills and vast dessert and for a long stretch a single lane railroad ran alongside the highway. We hopped on and off of the interstate driving parts of route 66 and actually we ended up driving a lot of it. We were clearly in native american country with lots of the stops along the way being themed as such. We stopped for lunch at Denny’s again in a town called Holbrook and refueled. It was pretty hot and after lunch we discovered that we had fried the GoPro and it wouldn’t switch on any more. I held it over the …

Day 9: Midpoint

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We left the hotel in Amarillo pretty early as both of us felt the area was a bit grim but we needed to get gas and ended up driving around for about an hour looking for a place to buy rolling tobacco. We visited some questionable neighbour hoods looking for somewhere open on a Sunday.  We completed our mission and got out of dodge. We decided that as Texas was pretty flat and boring and also because Route 66 seemed to run alongside the interstate, that we would just ride the interstate and get to Albuquerque as fast as possible. We set a good pace cruising the highway until CJ had a good idea to take some pictures at the Texas / New Mexico state border. As we pulled off the interstate I suggested that we looked up the location of the midpoint of the route. As we did this I could see a building up ahead that turned out to be the Midpoint Cafe, how lucky is that that we picked the exact exit. There was a small gift shop and behind the till was a lovely lady (I cannot remember her name) with her dog Brodey. As soon …

Day 8: Show me the way to…..

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Today it was my turn to do some faffing. Despite getting up early and leaving CJ sleeping I decided I wanted to go for a swim and eventually CJ was left waiting for me. We still got going at a good time and after filling up with gas ($25 = £19) we set off. The roads were fairly boring and pretty bad for most of the driving today.I drove until about 2pm when we stopped for lunch at a Taco Bell. A bit further up the street was the route 66 museum so we pulled in for a visit. The museum was a collection of old buildings set up as the would have been when they were in use. It was alright but we didn’t stay long and soon we were back on the road. CJ took over again and eventually we crossed the state border and into our fifth state, Texas. Not long after the scenery changed again and became very flat and you could see for miles in all directions. Its pretty crazy to look out and know that there is nothing for hundreds of miles, especially knowing that this is the farthest away from the coast that I have …

Day 7: We are not in Kansas anymore

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These blog posts are getting hard to write, I guess it is because of so many miles on the road. We didnt have anything planned today so after breakfast we left Springfield, Missouri, with Oklahoma City as our destination. The roads today were fantastic and seemed to change around every turn from long straight ‘see for miles’ to up and down windy with lots of rusty old truss bridges. After a couple of hours driving we crossed into Kansas and drove through some interesting towns such as one called Galena. We stopped at a bridge that crossed the Spring River took some photographs and met a young guy called Bill from Philiadelphia, who was also driving the route, he gave us some tips on what to expect the further west we go. We were not in Kansas for long before we crossed another state line and into Oklahoma. The roads continued to be amazing, the scenery and terrain changing all the time. We stopped for lunch at an Arby’s and after which, as is the norm now, CJ took over the driving although today there was no thunderstorm. I started reading a guide book I had bought previously and found …

Day 6: Release The Hounds

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Today we had some miles to cover so we decided that the morning would be a ‘no faffing’ affair and we would get up early, eat the complimentary continental breakfast and hit the road. We got up and CJ went to the gym then Facetimed his folks. Eventually we set off heading to St Louis which is situated on the banks of the Mississippi which also denotes the state line between Illinois and Missouri. This was our first state crossing and there was no fanfare to say we had crossed but the bridges were cool old looking bridges so the drive into St Louis was enjoyable. We parked up near the river and walked for a short time to visit the St Louis Gateway Arch which is a free standing arch 630feet high. It was built to celebrate the expansion of the city which was once the final stop for supplies for river travelers heading west. There are tours where you depart from 50feet underground in a tram inside the arch which is designed like ferris wheel to take you to the top. After a short ride we arrived at the top where there are several observation windows giving amazing …

Day 5: Shoe Carnival

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After a poor nights sleep, I am starting to wonder if I will ever sleep well on this trip, I got up and went to the lobby to try and get yesterdays blog post to publish. The hotels WIFI was pretty poor where our room was and last night I was was having trouble uploading the photos. This morning I couldnt access the site on the WIFI at all, the site was up but I couldnt reach it for some reason so in the end I published the post on my phone which broke the picture gallery. While I was doing this CJ headed out to visit a gym that was free for hotel guests and soon met me in the hall for some breakfast which today consisted of a bowl of Cheerios and Fruit Loops (vile). Due to the intense heat of the previous few days we had been changing clothes more regularly than usual so we took advantage of the laundry facilities and did some washing which I had been advised takes about 30mins. While we waited I went for a refreshing swim in the outdoor pool. The laundry took at least 1hr30 which meant we were late checking …

Day 4: Go West

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*EDIT: Fixed Gallery Today we traded the sky scrapers of Chicago for the corn fields, farms and the open road as we headed for Springfield, Illinois. We started the day at a diner called Lou Mitchell’s which is a Route 66 themed restaurant that pride themselves as being a place that provides hearty meals for weary travelers who have done the route west to east. The meals we had (eggs and sausage) were definitely hearty and pretty tasty. We returned to the hotel, packed our bags and checked out. The traffic in Chicago was really heavy at this time so we carefully picked our way through as it thinned out until we were virtually alone as far as you could see. CJ took his turn at the wheel today and was doing well for the first 10 minutes then he decided to pull out in front of an 18 wheeler and unused to an automatic, didnt have the acceleration that he expected causing the truck to blast us with its horn. He claims it wasnt as close as I thought it was and that he needed to get used to the car. I just would rather he didnt do it …

Day 3: Just popping out for breakfast….

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Last full day in Chicago today and again it begun with an early wake up at around 7.30am. We headed out to get some breakfast at a place a few blocks away called Meli Cafe where we both had eggs, bacon and toast. The cafe had some table and chairs out on the sidewalk so requested a table outside so we could watch the Monday morning city hustle and bustle while it was still cool out. After breakfast we decided to go for a walk and we ended up walking all the way up to Lincoln Park where we chatted to a guy who said he lived in the park and had previously been in a coma for the last 90days.  He seemed like a nice guy but we didnt hang around for too long. We walked back in the direction of the hotel, trying as best we could to walk in the shade. Every now and again we would use our trick of going to shops to cool down.  We tried to head back to Millennium Park again as we were starting to get hungry again but ended up in and adjacent park called Maggie Daley Park which is …

Day 2: Another Hot Day in the Windy City

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Woke up early this morning, still jet lagged I think, at around 4am. Stayed in bed until about 6.00am when I grabbed my phone and did some browsing, we have really good internet in the hotel, 140mb down which pleases CJ  who woke up soon after. We decided to go down to smoke and as it was pretty cool at this time in the morning  we took a stroll along Michigan Avenue. We stopped at a breakfast place called the Yolk and had a really good but fairly expensive breakfast.  By the time we had finished, it had begun to get hot even though it was still only around 8am, so we walked back to the hotel to take advantage of the air conditioning and to work out what to do. Eventually we decided to go for a drive round the city, this would give me some more driving experience and allow us to get out of the hotel but the air con in the car would mean we were out of the heat. Again, I drove, I find it OK actually, everyone drives so slowly here you have plenty of time to work out whats going on although I …