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

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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.

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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.

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Adventure Travel

Hammock vs Tent Camping

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Camping with a hammock is slowly but surely becoming more popular in recent years with new and improved hammock designs being preferred by some campers, compared to the traditional tent.

In this article we will discuss some of the key benefits and drawbacks of sleeping without a tent, and analyze key criteria so that you can choose your preferred shelter choice!

Weatherproof

Most tents work well in the rain; however, you’ll need to bring a tarp if you’re using a hammock. Traditional hammocks are not waterproof, and are generally open at the top, allowing water to find itself inside if you don’t have an adequate tarp. Moreover, a decent under quilt is also a good idea so that you can stay warm and cozy during cold and stormy nights.

Packing up your hammock after a long night of rain isn’t too bad, whereas packing up a soaking wet tent is always annoying. You almost always get wet in the process.

Setup

For first time campers, pop-up tents are the simplest to setup. All you need to do is find flat ground, and bam, your setup is complete! The beauty of pop-up tents is that you don’t need to worry about figuring out where to insert the poles and erect the tent. Although, traditional tents are usually more robust, and have a longer life span.

Essentially, a tent is simple, but a hammock can become a little more complicated for first timers. You’ll need to find 2 trees facing a good direction and tie each end of the hammock to them. If your hammock setup is too tight, you will generally wake up with sore ancles, but if it’s too loose, you run the risk of the hammock touching the floor, and insects crawling in with you.

If your campground doesn’t have many trees, or if the trees are dead (they could break and injure you), hammock stands come to the rescue! Basically, hammock stands allow you to pitch a hammock if there are no trees nearby. They are portable, adjustable, and are easy to setup. The only drawback is that the ground should be relatively flat, whereas if you were to hang a hammock between 2 trees, there won’t be any stands touching the ground, so a rocky floor wouldn’t be a problem.

Comfort

One of the main reasons for choosing a hammock is the comfort that it provides you! It has a basically has in-built seat which is arguably more comfortable than a standard blow up mattress. You need to pick your tree’s wisely though! You don’t want a pinecone falling on your face mid-sleep.

If you have constant back pain and find it hard to sleep inside tents, you should give hammocks a try as they cause you to sleep sideways, similar to a banana shape, which a lot people find much more comfortable.

Price

Hammocks are usually lighter and don’t include a wealth of poles and gear that tents do. Depending on the type of hammock that you purchase, they are usually quite similar to tents. You can however, find very cheap tents <$60, but they most likely won’t last long.

A good tent or hammock can cost between $200-500 without accessories. If you need a hammock stand, that will add to your cost, just like a mattress and other tent necessities will to its cost.

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Adventure Travel

Yacht Charter Destination Of The Month: The Middle East

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Mysterious and exotic, the Middle East is full of surprises, blending fascinating cultural heritage with stunning contemporary architecture. What’s more, with guaranteed sunshine and warmth, the winter months of November and April are the perfect time to visit. That’s why we’ve made the Middle East our yacht charter destination of the month.

What makes the Middle East such an exciting yacht charter destination?

Dubai: Glamour and shopping

An ideal starting point for your luxury yacht charter, Dubai is famous for its tax-free designer shopping, five-star resorts and world-class gastronomy. Thrill seekers can head into its vast desert for four-wheel-drive adventures across the dunes, while families will love the Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo, Legoland, or the magnificent water park at Atlantis on The Palm.

Abu Dhabi: Art and architecture

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi offers a more relaxed yacht charter destination – here, lovers of art and architecture will appreciate the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi, which boasts some 9,200 m2 of galleries within its striking contemporary design.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is one of the world’s largest, and its open-door policy encourages visitors from around the world. The elegant Qasr Al Hosn museum, former home of the ruling family, is Abu Dhabi’s oldest standing structure, and displays artefacts dating back to 6000BC.

Oman: An understated gem

The understated, hidden gem of the Middle East, yacht charter destination Oman has an abundance of natural beauty, from spectacular mountains and wind-blown deserts to a pristine coastline.

At its northernmost tip, visit the red-hued fjords of the Musandam Peninsula. Action-seekers can admire the rugged Al Hajar mountain range by microlight, while land-based activities include desert sand-boarding, jeep rides and quad biking.

Capital city Muscat is steeped in history, with centuries-old souks where you can pick up fine pashminas, spices and frankincense, or even dazzling jewellery in the Gold Souk.

The Kingdom of Bahrain: Home of diving

It is said that diving was invented in Bahrain, and pearl diving is considered the quintessential Bahraini experience. Expect to find up to 30 types of coral and over 200 species of fish, too, making this yacht charter destination ideal for underwater enthusiasts.

Bahrain’s rich trading history is palpable in the Qalat al-Bahrain fort and museum, a registered UNESCO world heritage site. The Bahrain National Museum, found next to the Art and Cultural Centres, blends cultural heritage with contemporary ambience. Or, to indulge in some retail therapy, enjoy a traditional shopping experience at the Manama Souk, selling natural-oil perfumes and incense, fabrics and handicrafts.

The Red Sea: Reefs, diving and beaches

The Red Sea is another popular Middle Eastern yacht charter destination due to its year-round sunshine, warm water, coral reefs and incredible dive sites, including one of the world’s best wreck dives, the WWII British cargo ship SS Thistlegorm. In the south, the relatively undiscovered Marsa’ Alam promises incredible shore or beach diving around its natural fringing reef.

Mysterious, timeless and alluring, the Middle East is a yacht charter destination full of contrasts and surprises. Better still, it’s best visited in winter. What are you waiting for?

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Adventure Travel

Hiking Adventures in Bryce Canyon National Park

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If you are on the lookout for the perfect environment for an adventurous and challenging hike, look no further. Located in the Southern Utah region is the best park that is most suitable for your hiking adventure, the Bryce Canyon National Park. This is a great option to relaxed after you are through playing in $5 minimum deposit casinos.

This park hosts hike lovers from time to time and people even come from other countries in the world to experience the wonder of this park. The landscape and beautiful trails make this a choice venue. There is a rental service at this location if you love to stay behind.

You can enjoy the priceless glimpse of the sunrise and sunset from the different landscape. The part also permits visitors to create traditional camps at different locations for a more adventurous experience.

There are a couple of trails that you can choose from for your hiking adventure, and no matter your level of experience in hiking, you will find a track that matches your taste. Even if you are totally new to hiking, there is something for you at the Bryce Canyon National Park . Below is a list of some of the trails to try when you take a trip to this park.

The Rim Trail

This is the most accessible trail at Bryce Canyon National Park. It is suitable for those who just want to have a good time walking around and savoring the magnificent scenery of the park. From any part of the park, you can connect to this trail as it goes all the way around the park.

When lodging at the Bryce Canyon Lodge, it is a good idea to start your hike from the place known as the sunrise point. Just as the name implies, if you wake up early to start your walk, you’ll be able to watch the sunrise. If you have a camera with you, you’ll take some fantastic pictures.

Also, you’ll get a clear view of the Bryce amphitheater from this point. Just like in an adventure movie, you have to find a way to link up to boat Mesa, and on your way, you walk through some sites like the Mormon temple and Queen garden. This hiking trail is easy, and all you have to deal with is a total of approximately 200 feet elevation. You will surely have a nice time on this trail.

Navajo Loop Trail

On the order of difficulty, this trail comes next after the rim trail. The starting point of this trail begins from the sunset point around the southern area of the Bryce Canyon Lodge. Just like for the rim trail, the trail presents a nice view of the sunset, and with a good camera, you’ll be able to take exciting photo shoots.

Walking this route involves a visit to the Silent City, which is an aesthetic combination of limestone and urban expansion. During the hike, you will also walk through Wall Street, which happens to be a distinctive attraction at the Bryce Canyon park. You won’t ever want to miss the narrow walls. From this point, you may decide to go back to the sunset point or take other shorter hikes like the Peekaboo loop trail and Queen garden trail. Both routes are challenging and adventurous, but you will enjoy every bit of the challenge. After you have done this, you can then go ahead to have some fun in a $5 minimum deposit casino.

Mossy Cave Trail

This Trail presents an entirely different sight than the one that we have previously mentioned. From this trail, you will be able to catch the view of the towers in the park nearby without descending to the amphitheater. This hiking course begins at approximately 4 miles from the entrance to the Bryce Canyon park. However, if you visit this park and would like to enjoy something completely different from the other common tracks, then this is an exciting hiking trail for you to try.

Hiking is more than a walk, it is a fun and adventurous experience. All trails at the Bryce Canyon National Park are worth trying on your next visit. Whether you seek to have some fun or you just want to catch some beautiful scenery and feel close to nature, you will find the right place that suits you. Get ready to have an amazing hiking experience.

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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...

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