A Travellerspoint blog

USA

March 23rd

Washington

sunny 12 °C

Today we drove 400klms and arrived into Seattle around lunch time. We checked in early to our hotel room, freshened up and headed of to Boeing. As it was only 8 miles from where we were staying it didn't take long to get there. I grabbed some lunch and we checked out the tourist shop from whence we all purchased a Boeing t-shirt . Then at 2pm sharp the Boeing factory tour began. We first viewed a video presentation regarding boeing and the boarded a bus which would take us approximately 5 minutes to get to the actual factory.
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We were led underground into one of the many 1/3rd mile access tunnels and into a service elevator. From there i think we were shown the 737's in each stage of completion from above and the rolling platform they were being assembled on. After this we were led back to the bus and taken to the other end of the 98.3 acre factory. We werr then taken up and shown i think the 767 and 787's in the process of being built. The whole plane shell is made of composite material which is all pop rivited together. I cant remember all the deatils but it take approximately a year from order to delivery of your plane and it will cost between approx $150 Million and $380million depending on what you want. After the tour completed which took apprimately 90 minutes we headed back to have a look at an area called future of flight which showed how the engines work etc. We had a lot of fun horsing around in the cockpit. We then headed back to the hotel to freshin up, and enjoy a couple of drinks and food compliments of the hotel management. We headed into seattle central and found a free parking place quite near the Seattle Space Needle. We paid the $17 and joined the que waiting for the elevator. It only took 20 seconds or so to reach the top of the Space Needle. It was just on sun down so we could still see the entire city and harbour in daylight. After taking hundreds of pictures we headed in side for a hot drink and enjoyed the view whilst the dark slowly settled across Seattle. The lights slowly tuened on and before long Seatlle was lit up like a christmas tree.
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We headed back out for a few more pictures before checking out yet another gift shop at the base of the Needle. We walked back to the car and drove along the harbour looking for somewhere for me to wet my feet but after getting lost a few times we realised that there was no where to do this as it was all built up or harbours or containers yards. I remembered the videos i have seen where cars go racing down the steep slopes getting airborne at the intersections. I still cant get over how many homeless people we saw begging, at shelters and just walking around. I still don't get modern age begging. They sit there listening to mp3's on there cell phone whilst begging. Alec and i grabbed a double cheese burger from one of the rudest and fatest Mc Donalds employees i have yet encountered. We headed back to our hotel and packed our bags ready for our departure in the morning. We swapped photos and hit the hay.

Posted by classique 16:08 Archived in USA Comments (0)

March 22nd

Utah / Nevada / Idaho / Oregon / Washington

sunny 13 °C

Wow!!! Today was a day filled with adventures. We hit the road at 6am to get an early start to what was a 1200Klm day. We drove through Salt Lake City at about 7am and as it was still pretty dark we didn't really get to see much. By the time we got to the Salt Lake we were ravenous but there was only salt and more salt on offer. Approximately 8:30 we arrived at the first Bonneville Salt Flats sign along side the highway. However after reading the sign it turned out that we were still about 7 miles away from the actual location.
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As I have watch the movie "The Worlds Fastest Indian" where it showed Bert Munroe drive right up to the actual location. We decided to make further investigations and as we were running periously low on fuel we took the first available exit and put in $10 of overpriced gas. After finding out the actual location was within 3 miles we dove into the car and tore off down the deserted road. We were going reasonbly fast when we realised that this road ended up ahead which wouldn't be an issue in summer, but as it is winter the whole of the Bonneville Salt Flast is cover by an inch or two of water. Needless to say we pulled up with plenty of room to spare. Well, just as I thougth things couldn't get any better, Alec and Andy sugested that we let some of the fireworks off. We sent about twenty sky rockets off, blew up 100 fire crackers and a bunch of the M-98's and Silver Salutes. With plenty of smoke, high pitched squelling (from the sky rockets - not Alec and Andy) and bangs we took a few more pictures and hit the road again.
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We drove to the next town which was on the border between Nevada and Utah to get fuel and breakfast. The border crossed right through the middle of town. You could tell which side Nevada was as there were three casino's starting from the border and going back. We stopped off at Mc Donalds wanting to buy the standard bacon and egg mc muffin which they suprissingly didn't have on offer. So we all ordered a sausage and egg mc muffin meal with bacon. We hit the road and after discussions over the exorbitant fuel prices it was decided that we would look for fuel at the next town. We drove and we drove and we drove and there were no more towns. Needless to say, the $10 of fuel we put in at Bonneville went down and down. The fuel light came on... we dropped our speed to 80kph in an endeavor to make it to the next town which according to the sign boards was only 11 mile away. We passed a sign saying "No hitchhiking zone - Federal penitentionary area" and then finally... we ran out of gas! So there we were in a no hitchhiking zone, 6 miles out of town with a gas tank that was drier then dry. We managed to conect to the local network with Alec's phone and after a mass of incoming messages we called 911 and mentioned our issue. They then gave us the number for road side assistance and within 20 minutes and $90 later we were back on the road.
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We cover the last 6 miles quickly and fueled right up without really worrying about the cost. We went from one terrian to another, crossing between Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon and eventually Washington. We arrived at our location at about 8 pm and after driving over a couple of cool bridges and the GPS getting its way we headed to DQ for a couple of thickshakes and a sunday. We then checked in at our best western and Andy and I headed to a Wallmart Super store which sold about three times as much stuff as the Warehouse or twice as much as Big W. We rested our weary heads and fell asleep quite soon.

Posted by classique 14:35 Archived in USA Comments (0)

March 20th

USA - Utah

semi-overcast 7 °C

Thanks to everyone for all your happy birthday emails and messages! After breakfast we headed off for Park City in Utah home of the 2002 winter Olympics. We tanked up with 16.405 gallons of fuel which cost $44.61 and crossed between Idaho, Wyoming and Utah several times.
Utah Sign

Utah Sign


We finally ended up in Evanston where Andy was to get his favorite fast food for lunch, KFC. He ordered a bucket of chicken, potato and gravy, and coleslaw. The potato and gravy come in separate buckets and as per what we have been finding, KFC also tastes better in NZ. As we were leaving from KFC I saw a jaw dropping site. An entire warehouse dedicated to fireworks. Well, I couldn’t let that opportunity slip, so I reversed back up the road, drove in and parked up. Andy and I walked in and were overwhelmed by isle after isle of fireworks. They had sky rockets, fire crackers, mortars and piles upon piles of other stuff. It was a buy on get one free sale so off we went. I found a box that was taller then me of fireworks for $699.
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The mortars looked like the thing to get but they where $60 for a box and my budget is running out. I bought 2 packs of fire crackers for $1.99, a box of M-98 crackers, a box of Silver Salute crakers and two packs of small sky rockets which came to a grand total of $20. Still buzzing out we hopped into the car, turned down a wrong road and ended up on the old highway, half of which was dirt road. After about 15klm’s we found an onramp and were back on the I90 again. We arrived into Park City at 2:30pm. As our room wasn’t ready yet we took a drive out to Deer Valley to check out the ski slopes. We ended up have a couple of ales on a huge balcony looking over the ski slopes. We then headed back to our room where we unpacked and freshened up. We then headed into town and checked out a few ski shops and had dinner and drinks which was I was kindly shouted as a birthday present from Alec and Andy. On the way home I let off a few M-98’s which weren’t as loud as I thought they would have been. I set the last one off in a walking tunnel and that was several times louder then we expected. :-)

Posted by classique 20:40 Archived in USA Comments (0)

March 19th

USA - Wyoming

sunny 2 °C

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This morning we had cereal, eggs, ham and toast for breakfast. We drove out to Jackson Hole ski slopes as Andy and Alec were going skiing. I was still trying to decide whether I wanted to go as well as I was feeling a bit afraid that I might break my wrist again. Three spring break students came up and offered there day pass tickets to us for $20 which saved us $70 each for the day. However it turned out that they only had two tickets so I left Alec and Andy to ski and headed back to Jackson. I went for a horse and cart ride into an elk reserve. There was a herd of at least 1000 elk and they were all around the cart as we slowly drove through.
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There were bulls sparring with each other, some were missing one antler others where missing both as they shed there horns every year. We got to ask lots of questions regarding the elk and I learnt quit a lot. I then headed back to the hotel and called Hertz to find out what the go was with getting the wind screen fixed. It turned out that they don’t have a free windscreen replacement here as they do in NZ and as we have a $500 minimum policy we will have to pay the first $500 towards the replacement. Finally, with that sorted out, I went and got some lunch… from Wendy’s. I drove back out to Jackson Hole and met up with Alec and Andy. We then settled down for between and hour and two in the spa at the hotel and chatted with an American bloke. After freshening up, we headed back to Jackson Main Street where Andy and Alec bought some t-shirts. We have been trying out the USA fast food chains to see how they compare with NZ and Australia. So far we have found that Wendy’s and Mc Donald’s are much better in NZ and the Aussie Pizza Hutt pizza’s taste way better then the US ones. Needless to say, Alec had Mc Donald’s for dinner and Andy and I had Pizza from Pizza Hutt.
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Posted by classique 20:39 Archived in USA Comments (0)

March 18th

USA - Idaho

sunny 2 °C

Today we were headed to the town of Jackson which is a ski resort town. We wolfed down our complimentary breakfast, tanked up and hit the road. For at least half an hour we drove around the shore of a massive lake which really reminded me of the old US summer camp movies I watched many years back. We eventually ended up on the Interstate 90 (I90) which we followed for several hours. Idaho_SIgn.jpg
After some time we left the I90 and headed down a side road for Yellowstone national park with the aim to the the Old Faithful Geyser. When we eventually arrived at Yellowstone we found out that everything had shut down on Monday the 15th as Yellowstone National park closed then and wouldn’t re-open until the beginning of April. All of the roads leading to Old Faithful and some of the roads leading to Jackson were closed due to snow coverage. We found a map and took an alternate route towards Jackson. We crossed from Montana into Idaho and drove alongside an enormous frozen dam. Sadly, as we entered one of the towns in Idaho we were pulled over by the state police. Apparently we were doing 35MPH in a 25MPH zone (Mile per hour). It took the officer quite some time to check that the car was indeed from Hertz and he finally returned to give Alec a fine for $75. Writing_up_the_Ticket.jpg
Just before we entered the town of Jackson we climbed yet another range of the Rocky Mountains and as we came around one of the corners there were lots flashing lights. It seems that someone had crossed the centre line and had a head on. Here is a picture of the accident. Jackson_Hole_Accident.jpg
We arrived into Jackson at about 4pm that afternoon. We checked in, had a shower and drove into town. We had a look at what T-shirts were available and found a show that sold taxidermy as well as t-shirts etc. The most expensive thing I could find was a big grizzly bear which was 7 or 8 feet high and was for sale for $22000. We had dinner at an American diner. It was flippin freezing when we headed back to the car.

Posted by classique 20:35 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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