- This is a short version of the trip. We traveled for three weeks and I took about 60 pictures on the trip.
It all starts
As the tradition states, we upgraded to a bigger car, this time to a Toyota 4-runner. It’s Japanese but it’s also 4WD and big! The first night we stayed in Springfield which surprised us by being very nice. A beautiful downtown area with a very impressive capitol building.
We drove like crazy past St. Louis and Kansas City and didn’t stop until Wichita. This years first stop at Hooters!
Visiting cool people
The next day we drove through Oklahoma City and Dallas. Very disappointing that we couldn’t find Southfork. Not marked anywhere. Continued to Texarkana instead. The day after we stopped by in Hope where Bill Clinton was born. We checked out the house where he was raised and a restored train station, now a museum in Clintons honor.
We continued towards Memphis where we checked out the Kings mansion. It was kind of disappointing that Graceland was in the middle of a commercial area, not a very posh neighborhood in contrast to what you might expect. Anyway, everything was excellent when there, we checked out the planes, costumes and Graceland itself all under the influence of the Kings fantastic music.
Visiting cool places
After stopping in Jackson we drove through Nashville heading for Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, TN. That wasn’t an urban area I can tell you! We got lost and could almost hear banjo music playing everywhere. The tour at the small distillery was first class. I bought a collectors bottle even though I hate Jack Daniels.
Drove through Chattanooga before stopping in Cartersville, GA.
In Atlanta we went to The World of Coca-Cola, with everything you need to know about the king of drinks. I tasted more soft drinks than I can remember but I do remember that we had to stop pretty early afterwards to find a rest room. After that stop we drove like maniacs towards Florida past Jacksonville all the way to Daytona Beach. It’s the nicest beach ever.
We bought tickets to Pepsi 400, the NASCAR race that weekend. Later that day we saw the practice for the race. The legendary Dale Earnhart died earlier that year on that very track so everyone showed their respect in different ways. I even saw a guy who had shaved a 3 (Dale’s race number) on his extremely hairy back, I would have taken a picture as proof but he didn’t look like someone to mess with!
Friday is qualification day. We were there of course, the fastest car ran 183 mph! Later that night we went to Razzles, a popular night club with gorgeous girls. One that looked just like Pamela Andersson let you suck a Jelly Shot out of a test tube jammed somewhere, like in Silicon Valley. I have never seen that before.
Saturday is race day. We slept so late so that we missed both breakfast and the cleaning of the room. Oh well, we had fun last night. The race turned out to be kind of a modern fairy tale where Dale’s son won on the same track his father died six months ago. The 180.000 crowd went crazy. Britney Spears was the grand marshal of the race and there were F16:s and a B1 bomber flying over the track. The fireworks after the race beats everything I have ever seen, they even had 3’s lighting up in the sky.
We moved up the eastern coastline, stopping a couple of days in beautiful Myrtle Beach where we had a lot of fun. The last night we ate at Tony Romas and had a steak combo, it’s a 7 oz steak and baby back ribs with fries, sallad, bread and a Beringer Merlot. For dessert a gigantic brownie with icecream. We barely made it back to the car.
When we got to Washington D.C., we first checked out the Pentagon, we drove around it and it’s really huge! We then drove into the heart of D.C. and parked not far from the White House. We tried to park right next to it but they didn’t like that. Hey, we’re tourists! Do you expect us to walk?
We ended up walking to the White House anyway and continued to the Washington monument and then to the Reflecting pool on the way to Lincoln memorial. We also saw the Vietnam wall before having a pretzel on the way back to the car. We drove by FBI:s headquarter which was really ugly.
The Capitol which we drove around several laps, not intentionally, was very beautiful on the other hand. After that we had some trouble finding our way out of D.C. through the not so fortunate suburbs.
The next day we arrived in Providence where we met Jennifer’s parents Arthur and Beth. Arthur showed us around Pawtucket and Providence, we saw Brown University which is very well regarded and had some fantastic icecream at Ben & Jerrys.
We also visit Newport, a very upper class town with enormous houses. They have hosted Americas Cup several times and the Tennis Hall of Fame is located here.
Next day we’re on a bus to New York. We checked in at the so called hotel Alladin which is more like a hostel, and a bad one that is. We walked past Times Square, The United Nations HQ, Empire State Building and Macys. When we walked past the studio where the Late Show with Dave Letterman is taped a guy offered us tickets. What are the chances of that? You’re supposed to write a letter to them a year ahead.
The coolest buildings are Chrysler and Flatiron but there’s so many. We also checked out Wall Street before going to the Late Show. The show was hilarious and there’s so much more than what’s on TV. We weren’t on TV though.
We tested the subway system when we went to the World Trade Center. We went to the top of the south tower. The view was spectacular, I could see in all directions and it was totally silent up there. Unbelievable that they are gone, and just a little over a month after we were there!
On the road again
When we left Providence we drove through Boston and somehow missed all the universities. We looked for them and still missed them all, it’s a mystery. Well, we drove up to Kennebunkport in Maine where we had some fresh lobster and checked out George W. Bush’s cottage. Then back to New Hampshire and up to Vermont where we stopped in Brattlesboro.
Drove down to Pennsylvania and right through the Amish settlements. Kind of weird, like traveling back in time. The road through Intercourse leads to Paradise, believe it or not. The next day we went to Gettysburg. It was amazing to see the place and being able to walk the same ground where over 60.000 people died in three days. After that we went through the green hills of Virginia and didn’t stop until Charleston, West Virginia.
Headed north for Lexington and Cincinatti on our way to Detroit to visit my cousin Csilla. The next day we went to Windsor for dinner with my cousins parents, Vali and Laci, her brother Tibor and my uncle Erwin. Vali is a wonderful cook and made cabbage rolls and a fantastic peach cake for dessert. Csilla spoiled us with the best breakfast omelette I have ever eaten, after that we got it every day. She’s the best.
We also visited Mackinac Island, a wonderful little island with no cars, only horses and bicycles for transportation, very peaceful. They also make fudge everywhere so we tasted it in several places for free. The next day we checked out Csilla’s new house in a nice and quiet area of Detroit. It’s very nice and has a two car garage. The next day we went to the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, it’s General Motors headquarters. They had a cool exhibition where you could see almost every model in their lineup. They even included the Batmobile! I spent most of the time sitting in a Corvette Z06.
Later that day we went to Canada again to meet with everyone in a chinese restaurant. We had a nice dinner and then went for icecream at Slinkys before checking out some really huge houses. Oh, and I ate some more peach cake too.
Next morning we left for Chicago in good time and there were no problems on the way but in Chicago there was these horrible traffic jams. We spent two hours moving maybe a mile or two. We were sure that we were gonna miss the plane at that time. We came to Alamo less than an hour before the plane departed. We jumped on the next bus to O’Hare and with less than 30 minutes left we came to the checkin desk. We explained the situation and got escorted all the way past the first class lines to check in the bags and then rushed to the gate. Do I need to say that we were the last ones to board that plane like five minutes before takeoff. First class service even to bums, thank you American Airlines.