The following post relates to Week 4 of mine and Adela’s road trip from Jasper in the Rocky Mountains across Canada into America and back to Vancouver covering a total of 18,068 km in just 7 weeks.
Day 22 – 25/09/2010 - We spent the morning relaxing around the camp ground and taking it easy as we watched the tide roll in. It was really foggy so watching the tide continue to rise, and rise, and rise was pretty creepy as it covered about 15m in height up the shoreline in a matter of hours. We had thought about walking along the beach but were glad we hadn’t as we could easily have been stranded around the base of one of the cliffs very quickly.
Our car is at the top of the 12m high bank which the tide rushed up within 2 hours
We finally headed away about 11am and drove through some beautiful areas with all the trees in full Autumn colours. It was a great end to our drive through Canada. A grand total of 9,100 km through Canada in just 3 weeks. I couldn’t believe our car was still going strong.
We crossed into America in the late evening and pulled in to Walmart to replenish our stocks and sleep before heading to New York tomorrow. It was actually incredible that in the space of about 50 km from the border the size of everything had increased exponentially. Now I don’t like to be stereotypical but it seemed that the cars, houses, food portions and unfortunately some of the waists were quite significantly larger!
KM travelled = 767 km.
Spending = $55 (petrol), $12 (USA visa), $11 (food) = $78 total.
Day 23 – 26/09/2010 – We had planned on spending the afternoon in Boston but were anxious that we had accommodation booked for 5 nights in New York starting from tomorrow so drove on instead decided on stopping for a bike ride at Wompatuck State Park in Massachusetts. A nice afternoon out with no plans was exactly what we needed.
New York City skyline by night
Stopped in Jersey City for the night and checked out the New York skyline for the first time. What a sight! Unfortunately our cheap motel option was not as good as the views and I am pretty sure they must have been charging by the hour rather for the entire night considering the noises we heard coming from above and resulting lack of sleep… Just a recommendation, don’t pick a motel at 10pm at night based on the nightly rate advertised by the huge neon signs.
KM travelled = 761 km.
Spending = $48 (petrol), $13.75 (bridge tolls), $18 (dinner), $40 (petrol), $70 (hotel) = £188 total.
Day 24 – 27/09/2010 - NEW YORK CITY. Once we worked out the one-system it was easy enough to find the hostel we were staying at so parked the car and high fived (not really but I wanted to) since we didn’t have to do any more driving for another 4 days! We were staying on 104th St which is located quite far from down town and in what looked like a dodgy neighbourhood. However since we had no place to store our bikes we had to leave them chained up on the back of the car… Surprisingly that’s where the stayed the entire time. Very impressed.
Hot Dog time in Times Square
Headed down to Times Square and were blown away by the bright city lights and the number of people milling around. Definitely a surreal feeling after spending so much time in a small town and driving for 3 weeks just the 2 of us. We decided to rest up early that night as we had brought 3 Day New York City Passes (highly recommend) which would get us into 55 attractions for free. Kind of costly for $155 each but we knew that we would get our moneys worth if we saw on average 3 – 4 sights a day which was easily do-able.
KM travelled = 19 km! (Woo hoo).
Spending = $54 (subway pass), $8 (bridge tolls), $492 (4 nights accommodation), $24 (food) = $578 total (Whoops).
Times Square – mental
Day 25 – 28/09/2010 - I love hostel breakfasts. Most of the time they are free or you pay a few bucks and just fill up on muffins, fruit and toast or cereal. Always a good way to make it through the morning without having to spend extra on snacks which is a sure fire way to spend your hard earned pennies. However, this one was pretty disappointing with only stodgy muffins and croissants, but free is free.
Super jam-packed on the subway for rush hour traffic. Felt a bit out of place amongst the suits heading downtown to work through the recession. Got to love travel. Spent the morning around Times Square again just enjoying the atmosphere before getting all cultural at the American Museum of Natural History to take in “one of the largest and most innovative museums in the world”. Heaps of cool exhibits.
Wandered through Central Park to the opposite side to the Metropolitan Museum of Art located on the Museum Mile. This place is enormous with some 2 million pieces of art and 5,000 years of different cultures. I am not usually a fan of these sorts of museums but I must say the modern art section was pretty cool and I would have loved to be able to afford some of the pieces for a house I may someday own and I am pretty sure the armoury section would look great in anyone’s house! Adela was more of a fan of the older Greek sculptures (I think for all the rude bits on display) and the European paintings.
Meet a few celebs on our way back in to the heart of New York…
The final museum of the day was at the King Tut exhibition which was travelling the world at the time and were lucky enough to have it included on our pass. He was made the King of Egypt when he was only 9 years old and ruled for a whopping 10 years before dying when we was just 19. Although it took a wee bit longer to stumble across his remains some 3,200 years later.
Our New York pass got us into the Empire State Building, although no line skips were allowed. Luckily by going at night there were not the horrendous queues we had heard about so managed to get up in about half an hour. Some amazing views over the city with thousands upon thousands of twinkling lights. It was really peaceful being above the raw City.
Strolled back through Times Square as Adela was obsessed with the atmosphere. I think it was more to do with the bright lights attracting her in like a moth. Stumbled into bed absolutely buggered at 11.30pm that night.
KM travelled = 0 km by car (heaps by foot).
Spending = $11 (food).
Day 26 – 29/09/2010 - Beautiful weather today which we were stoked about as we had woken up early to beat the tourist stampede to the Statue of Liberty. Even the ferry ride across was a highlight as it gave some impressive views along the waterfront of Manhattan.
We love all the informative signs and displays at museums and tourist attractions, so while other people are basically rushing around snapping photos and whizzing off to the next destination you can usually find us meandering along getting in everyone’s way as we learn why the Statue of Liberty was built and the meaning behind it all. (By the way, it was a gift from the French to America as a token of friendship and designed as a woman welcoming immigrants to the New World with her flame lighting the way).
The Ellis Island guided museum tour was informative as well and the little bits you pick up from the guide are pretty neat. We couldn’t believe that 5,000 immigrants a day were flocking to America, and they only had about 10 immigration officials! I get sick enough of airport queues so glad we didn’t get stuck in one of this size.
We wandered the city taking in Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange in the Financial District before heading to the moving tributes at the site of 9/11. They are currently rebuilding there so unfortunately we couldn’t see a lot happening. I still remember hopping out of the pool and being told about it after swim training on the morning it happened.
Finished the informative day at the New York Police Department museum learning about the different gangs and criminals throughout the history of New York.
Before we jumped on a 90 foot sailing boat to cruise the harbour and watch the sun set over Manhattan. Such a relaxing way to finish another day on our feet with cocktails and amazing views across the water. A definite highlight so far.
KM travelled = 0 km.
Spending = $20 (drinks), $7 (lunch), $10 (lunch) = $37 total.
Day 27 – 30/09/2010 – Really muggy, windy and low cloud this morning but were just glad it was not raining especially as we headed to the Rockefeller Centre first thing to go to the “Top of the Rock”. We were looking forward to checking out the daytime views over the city but with the low clouds sitting right at viewing platform level we had no luck. We were photographed by some journalists though that were reporting on the stormy weather. (Can’t have been that bad as we were still in jandals…)
Top of the Rock
Jumped on a tour of Radio City, which is the largest theatre in North America, and home to the world famous Rockettes who are legendary for doing the high-kick can-can in sync. I was more impressed by the actual stage though and the mechanics behind it which allows the stage to move up and down and round and round. It was also the first tour I have been on where the take you into the bathrooms. They were nice though!
Lounge and powder room in the girls toilets at Radio City
Had to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral of New York, but unfortunately our volunteer tour guide turned out to be a local old man who basically just loved to give free tours but didn’t know too much about the actual Cathedral. Quite hilarious though as we wandered around asking questions and he just diverted a lot of them to talk about other bits and pieces. We did learn though that it’s the biggest in North America (typical) and could fit the entire Statue of Liberty in it standing up!
Queued up in Times Square at the half-price ticket counter to get some tickets to the Addams Family musical. Ended up getting prime seats and was well worth lining up for an hour and a half as the show was very funny and a bit of a different take on the usual genre and theme of the Addams Family movies and TV shows. Gomez had to be the highlight.
Day 28 – 01/10/2010 – Rubbish weather again this morning and unfortunately time to check out of our hostel back to the car. We had planned on riding around Central Park for the rest of the day but was way too wet unfortunately so pigged out at the free breakfast and said goodbye to New York City.
As a recap, my three favourites would have to be:
1 – The Addam’s Family on Broadway;
2 – Times Square and the atmosphere around the heart of the City; and
3 – Surprisingly the Modern Art Gallery at Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Adela’s favourites were:
1 – The Cruise on the 90 foot sailing boat (and cocktails);
2 – The Addam’s Family musical; and
3 – Time Square.
All in all a great start to our road trip across America. Plus we managed to knock off 3 states, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as we drove straight to Ohio.
KM travelled = 660 km.
Spending = $26 (car parking), $30 (petrol), $24 (food) = $80 total.
Weekly KM travelled = 2207 km total.
Weekly Spending = $1245 total.