Connect with us

Adventure Travel

East, South, West, North – 18,068km through Canada and USA (Week 4)

Published

on

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.

If you like road trips, there are many amazing U.S. destinations which are a must-see. Check out an article describing ten U.S. destinations that would make a great road trip: 10 Places You Need to Drive to Truly Appreciate the Experience.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

Continue Reading
3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. diablo 3 classes

    September 19, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    Saved like a favourite, I genuinely like your weblog!

  2. Low Sing Ngan

    October 9, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    Hi,
    I am retiring next year and my wife and I plan to buy a car or minivan to tour USA.
    I understand you bought a van for your travel in Canada and USA.
    Could you give me some advice on how to do it.
    I know absolutely nothing about repairing cars.
    I need a very reliable car and if possible, sleep in it if I am not camping or staying in hotels.
    Appreciate if you could advise me on the procedure for buying the vehicle and the insurance.
    Thank you very much.

    • Cole and Adela (fourjandals)

      October 10, 2011 at 9:19 AM

      If you want to get in contact with us to ask more questions then we are happy to help. Just send us an email from our contacts page. Cheers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Adventure Travel

Tips for Planning Your Uluru Tour

Published

on

Located in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the magnificent sandstone of Ayers Rock or Uluru stands tall at 1,142 feet above ground. The natural formation is widely known for being one of the most sacred places to the indigineous peoples in Australia. At the same time, it is also popular for attracting tourists from all over the world to the land down under.

If you want to visit Uluru in order to pay tribute to this wonder of nature, then doing so through the right tour is in your best interest. It’s not only because Uluru is located at least a few hours from civilization, but it also because such a tour allows you to enjoy the picturesque sights that come along the way within the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

So what sights are there to see along the way and what other general tours suggestions you should keep in mind while visiting Uluru? To help you answer these and some other important questions, here are 5 top tips to keep in mind while visiting Uluru.

Don’t Climb the Monolith

First things first, while it is legal to climb atop Uluru, it is recommended that you do not attempt such an action in order to show your respect to the indigenous peoples.

It is a pretty easy rule to follow when you pay attention to the emotions of the indigenous tribes who have recommended time and again for people to not climb Uluru.

But that doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy the natural beauty that Uluru has to offer. In fact, you are encouraged to visit the sandstone and take in its natural glory by standing right beside the formation. That’s why 4WD tour is highly recommended. The tour guides would be able to tell you what you can and can not do.

Visit During Sunset

Ask anyone who has visited Uluru about the best time to see the formation, and you will instantly get the answer as “sunset.”

It’s because Uluru is not an ordinary monolith, but one that is formed through arkosic sandstone. This allows the rock to actually change its color according to the position of the sun. As a result, you can expect the formation to sport a different color depending upon what time of day you reach it.

At sunset, Uluru projects an amber glow that is surreal to take in, especially when you are seeing the formation in person for the very first time. That’s why, it is recommended that you time your trip in a way that allows you to experience this magnificent sight.

3. Take Your Time to Plan the Trip

Perhaps the best way to visit Uluru is through the nearby town of Alice Springs, which has various amenities and accommodation options for tourists who are making their way to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru can take around 5 hours, which is why it is recommended that you arrive at least a day before you are planning to tour Uluru.

This way, you can reach the national park while feeling fresh and rested. This also gives you time to plan longer trips to the park in order to enjoy all that it has to offer.

4. Take in the Sight of the Rock Art

Uluru is not just a wonder to look at by itself, but it also holds several little pieces of wonderful art within it.

The caves at the bottom of the formation hold several pieces of rock art that can only be found at Uluru. If you love learning about other cultures through their art, then this will be a must visit.

Just make sure that you take the time to learn about this art through a local tour guide or via the information provided within these exhibits. This ensures that you have an immersive and informative experience which you can remember for a long time.

5. Don’t Forget the Natural Attractions Around the Rock

Enjoying the breathtaking sight of Uluru sounds rewarding enough for a trip to the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. But it’s not all that you can do during a tour of Uluru.

From seeing the red kangaroos and other marsupials to spending some time with the camels, and from seeing the one of a kind formations of Kata Tjuta to taking a walk by the Valley of the Winds, there’s so much to see and do around Uluru.

That is why, it is recommended that you take your time at the park and put aside at least two days to enjoy all of the unique activities that the area has to offer. It would give you a well-deserved break from the hustle and bustle of daily life while also allowing you to make the most out of your long journey to the sandstone.

Continue Reading

Adventure Travel

Best Time to Visit Panama and Costa Rica

Published

on

The fact that Costa Rica and Panama are close makes both countries perfect for visiting. During your holiday there, it’s easy to travel back and forth between the two countries and enjoy all the wonders they have to offer. Keep in mind that the timing of your holiday will influence what sorts of sites you can visit and what activities you can make part of your plans. By understanding a little about what to expect, it’s easy to determine the best time of year to visit both countries, based on what you would like to do.

Learning More About the Dry and Rainy Seasons

If you’re the type who prefers the hustle and bustle that comes with holidays during the tourist season, plan on being in Costa Rica and Panama during what’s known as the dry season. Expect plenty of sunshine and warm weather during this part of the year. Many of your activities will be outdoors, although you will find a number of indoor sites that you will want to include in your plans.

The dry seasons in both countries overlap. The dry weather for both typically arrives during the first to the middle part of December. In Costa Rica, the dry season usually lingers until sometime in April. Panama enjoys a slightly shorter dry season, with it usually ending sometime in March.

Keep in mind that since this dry period is the height of the tourist season, the cost of visiting from December to April will be higher than at other times of the year. Even so, if your plans include spending a lot of time exploring the rain forests or soaking in the rays on one or more of the beautiful beaches, the dry season is the only time to consider.

Making the Most of the Dry Seasons

During the dry season in both nations, do expect the weather to be more humid and the day temperatures to be a little higher. There is some variance depending on which regions you plan on visiting. As a general rule, locations nearer the coast will include warmer weather and higher levels of humidity. By contrast, the more mountainous areas will offer slightly cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels.

During this time, do plan on enjoying the lush greenery found in the rain forests. During much of the dry season, the abundance of rain from what’s known as the rainy or green season ensures that the forests are at their best. Consider adding some variety to your holiday by spending time at the beach, soaking in the nightlife along the coast, and doing some shopping at many of the open air districts. This is also the perfect timing to enjoy some of the local cuisine while dining outside.

There are special events to celebrate during the dry season. President’s Day in Costa Rica occurs during this period. Along with locals, you can enjoy a number of celebrations, open-air festivals, and just about any type of entertainment that one can imagine.

Since the dry season does attract more tourists, it pays to book your lodgings in advance. Along with President’s Day, there’s also spring break and the Easter Season to consider. While you could look at different hotels and other properties near beaches, there are also hostels that make perfect places to sleep. After all, how much time do you plan on spending indoors when there’s so much to do?

Things to Do During the Rainy Seasons

In spite of the name, it isn’t always raining during the rainy or green season. Most days, there will be brief periods of sunshine that do allow you to spend some time at the beach and other outdoor venues. Do expect the evenings to be cooler. At times, the temperature may make wearing long sleeves or possibly a sweater a good idea.

Even if you’re out and about while it’s raining, there are plenty of things to see. Towns and cities in both nations offer indoor concerts, a number of restaurants catering to all sorts of tastes, and clubs and other settings for entertainment. You will find museums that will tell you more about the history of indigenous peoples and the complexity of their cultures.

What are some of the activities you can enjoy during this time of year? Both Costa Rica and Panama offer options to go horseback riding. Generally, this will happen during the morning when the sun is most likely to be out. Walking tours are also a great way to learn more about the culture and possibly find some interesting places that you will want to return to a little later. Don’t overlook the opportunity to get in some fishing when there’s a sunny morning coming your way. There are changes to engage in freshwater fishing as well as charter boats that will take you to some of the better places to enjoy salt-water fishing.

Coffee and rum tours are also something to consider during the rainy season. These tours allow you the opportunity to see different facilities and how they produce their products. As a bonus, you get to enjoy some taste-testing at many of the places that you visit along the tour. Some of the sites will also have bistros or restaurants included, allowing you to enjoy a nice meal or snack with your coffee or rum.

In terms of museums to visit, San Jose offers some of the most interesting museums in Costa Rica. Many of them are located in or adjacent to what’s known as the Central Market. It’s a great way to enjoy time indoors during the rainy afternoons and early evenings.

In Panama, check out the Panama Canal Museum in Casco Viejo. You can make use of headphones that offer the guided tour in multiple languages. If you happen to be proficient in Spanish, feel free to check out each exhibit on your own. You can also check out the Biodiversity Museum, which features exhibits on the over 1,000 species of animals and plants that are found in the country. Make the most of the discounts offered on Sundays. Retirees also get to enjoy discounts when visiting these museums.

Which season is the best time to visit Costa Rica and Panama? It’s really up to you. For those who prefer a slower pace and don’t mind rain during the afternoons and evenings, the raining season is ideal. Those who thrive on activity, sunshine, and plenty of tourist activities will enjoy going during the dry season. Whatever your choice, plan on coming back a second time. It’s rare for anyone to see everything they want to see during a single holiday.

Continue Reading

Adventure Travel

Most Underrated Travel Destinations

Published

on

Everyone knows about Paris and Rome and London but there are so many other beautiful travel destinations that are amazingly underrated. The fact that so many beautiful countries go unexplored by travelers is a tragedy. Not only because so many people are missing out on rich cultures and picturesque views, but also because a lot of these destinations tend to be a lot cheaper to travel to than popular cities. 

A majority of Americans, when asked about traveling abroad, will likely shake their head and say they can’t afford such trips. Many people deal with multiple monthly bills, such as mortgage or rent, student loans, and title loans, which are all stress inducing. 

But what a lot of people don’t know is that there are gorgeous, underrated foreign cities one can visit for a fraction of the price of touristy European cities. Forbes recently published a collection of the ten most underrated destinations you should consider visiting. 

Here are a few of them:

Yerevan, Armenia

Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, is known for its magnificent sights of Mount Ararat, historical monasteries, and its many striking temple ruins. Armenian cuisine is other worldly with classic dishes like rabbit stew, sautéed eggplant rolls, and lamb tartare. 

Telč, Czechia

Telč is a colorful town with Italian influences in Czechia. It boasts of Baroque-Renaissance architecture and has a castle of its own with exciting tunnels and passageways that you can explore underneath the town.

Santiago, Chile

Santiago is the capital of Chile and features gorgeous architecture from the neoclassical era. There are towering cathedrals and, of course, plenty of quality Chilean wine. Plus, the city of Santiago is a great place to kick off your exploration of Chile’s wine country. 

Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Rotterdam is often ignored due to the popular neighboring city of Amsterdam, but it is a bastion of underground music and street art. The architecture is strikingly modern since the city was heavily bombed during World War II and thus had to be rebuilt from the ground up. The city is filled to the brim with amazing cuisine and museums.

Lagos, Nigeria

If you are looking for a big city destination, Lagos is a metropolis that has plenty to see and do so that you’ll never be bored. And whenever you need a break from the urban marketplaces, private beaches are just a short drive away.

Con Dao, Vietnam

Con Dao is a Southeast Asian island that makes an excellent beach destination with two resorts and tons of fascinating history. Once host to a brutal French prison, the island is also home to the tomb of the Vietnamese martyr Vo Thi Sau. 

Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay

This is one of the oldest cities in Uruguay dating back to the 17th century. The city has a vibrantly decorated historic quarter and a three-century-old convent. It’s also only a short trip away from the bigger city of Montevideo.

Continue Reading

Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

New on Four Jandals

What Are You Looking For?

Subscribe

Trending