2011 Trip to USA

2010 Planning - Where it all started.

November 2010, we had both decided independantly we should aim to "DO" Oshkosh, and yelled 'SNAP' when we brought the subject up -click here later to see where we were headed. So many interesting things were lining up for 2011. Thursday was to be Burt Rutan day and as Virgin Galactic's first space ship was being tested that Christmas, we got the feeling that they may try to pull their first space flight from OSH. It is the sort of stunt that designer Rutan likes to pull and his mate Branson would go with it. So after deciding that we needed 3 weeks in the US we started quietly roughing out a plan.

We booked V Australia mid November and were committed. By departure from Oz, all interconnecting flights had also been booked via the web, same with our accomodation before we left. A couple modifications on the fly in US when we changed plans..

Below we have set out the rough intentions of each day while away, it will be interesting to see how close we get to target. We are travelling with minimum clothing so we can buy each three or four days to suit the hot or cold weather as we go, dumping used clothing at motels. We are not coming this far to spend time washing clothes. We will stay Mon, Tue, Wed in LA, then Thursday move north to Milwaukee, and Friday - on to Osh - accommodation was a problem as we wanted to be there ON SITE for 10 days from Friday thru' to Monday week to watch the 10,000+ aircraft arrive and depart. Then there are the 'Dawn Patrols' somedays with old WW1 Camels, Spads and Fokkers other days WW2 Mustangs, Spitfires etc. As well as all this, most nights go 'till 10.30 or so with concerts, movies and forums (Hoover, Rutan, Melville, other Astronauts), so we decided to camp there on the airport, and we can see as much as we can stand.


Arriving at Osh Friday we will go to Walmart to collect our (bless the web) pre-bought Tent, air bed, etc. and after having an erection we will be set. There is wireless internet, so each night we should be able to post a report of the days events - well 'till the 'puter goes flat. The camping gear will be donated to Kids EAA as we leave. If you are looking at that weather radar map for Oshkosh, Osh is about 4 mm below Green Bay.


As you can see we are then off to Vegas to see if we can win back the cost of the trip. We-e-ell not really, but it sounded good. There are lots of things to do there (Hoover dam, Gr Canyon, Indians, art) plus as many live musicals as Broadway has without going to Noo York.

Rough Schedule


Day

Date

Watcha planned

1

Mon

18-Jul

Out of Bed 4.00 - drive to Mackay for 6.40 dep Bris arr 8.00am for V Aust dep 10.20 for LA

2

Mon

18-Jul

After 14 hour flight arr LA 6.25am same day Mon 18th. Maccas Brekky (Hi Karin) then into Motel for catch-up

3

Tue

19-Jul

LA sightseeing

4

Wed

20-Jul

LA sightseeing

5

Thu

21-Jul

Fly to Milwaukee and o'night

6

Fri

22-Jul

On to OSH then get camp gear and set up camp

7

Sat

23-Jul

WATCHING all the planes coming in - plus Mass arrivals - Bonanzas, Cessnas, Mooneys

8

Sun

24-Jul

Many more coming in plus mass arrival Commanches. Continuous movies showing @ Skyscape Theatre

9

Mon

25-Jul

Dawn Patrol - DAY - Oshkosh the show, Forums, evening concerts, Nightfall Free Aviation Movies - Free Popcorn - That's American

10

Tue

26-Jul

Dawn Patrol - DAY - Oshkosh the show, Honour Bob Hoover Air Show, Forums, evening concerts, Aviation Movies

11

Wed

27-Jul

Dawn Patrol - DAY - Oshkosh the show, 100 Years naval aircraft Air Show, Forums, evening concerts, Aviation Movies

12

Thu

28-Jul

Dawn Patrol - DAY - Oshkosh the show, Honour Burt Rutan Air Show, Forums, evening concerts, Aviation Movies

13

Fri

29-Jul

Dawn Patrol - DAY Watermelon Lunch @Seaplane Base, Air Show, +Warbirds Extravaganza Forums, evening concerts, Aviation Movies. Will Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic pull Space flight? Lish wants a welding forum.

14

Sat

30-Jul

Dawn Patrol - Night Airshow

15

Sun

31-Jul

Final Day with Airshow starting early 2.00pm then watch 'em fly out.

16

Mon

1-Aug

More departures including us - back to Milwaukee, to Overnight Aaahh Motel again, great bath.

17

Tue

2-Aug

Fly to Vegas

18

Wed

3-Aug

Vegas Sightseeing

19

Thu

4-Aug

Vegas Sightseeing

20

Fri

5-Aug

Vegas Sightseeing

21

Sat

6-Aug

Vegas Sightseeing but If too hot back to LA / Santa Catalina

22

Sun

7-Aug

Sightseeing Vegas or Catalina

23

Mon

8-Aug

Lunch time depart for LA, Midnight depart for Australia

24

Wed

10-Aug

Lost a day (Int dateline) arr Wed Lunch and catch a VB for Mackay. Aaahh East - west - home bed's best.

 

Monday, July 18

Excitement

Once Lish saw the Boing 777 waiting for us she got much more excited than she was last week even, so I grabbed a quick shot or two as seen below

Plane tucker


We arrived LA at 6 am and by 8  had penetrated the SS got to our hotel and crashed. Just had some GREAT chinese tucker for dinner and as soon as we configured the new netbook organised this update, tomorrow sightseeing. We have really enjoyed the folks we have met so far ( uh-h-hn ignoring the SS) and will rip it up tomorrow.

 

Tuesday, July 19 Day 3

LA Impressions

 
All are friendlier than Sydneysiders and Much friendlier than Melburnians. They all respond to a '"G-day" with a smile and reply. 
All the bus drivers are Afro-mericans, VERY friendly, helpful and cheerful, they ALL drive like demented, squeezing a bus in where I pull in my sides as we go thru'. 
First pic is of Lish in downtown LA, the City (and people) makes you think of Brisbane (just a big country town). 

I am not impressed with the general appearance of buildings here. Almost no awnings, blocks and blocks without any shelter from sun or rain.
There are an even higher percentage of grossly bi-i-ig people here. After looking around I think I'll hang onto Lish a bit longer yet. Spotted a magnificent paddlewheeler, it does harbour cruise dinners on weekends, we'll be in Oshkosh then (sigh).

Lisha Says: I too am keeping eyes open, but have not found a better pilot yet, however next week @ Oshkosh...............

We have toured much of LA in general using bus and train (preferred), enjoyed Long Beach. Going back there tomorrow to do the Walmart thing (running out of clothes), harbour cruise, Queen Mary, Russian sub, then zapping back north to Science Museum. 

See the Queen Mary behind the paddlewheeler?

The days are too short on this side of the Pacific. G'night.

 

Wednesday, July 20

Day 3 Observations & Changes

Men's urinals in LA are small and set at about shin height, so you need a sure eye and a steady hand.
Well Lish WE also wanted to see the famous Petersens Auto museum, so having slept in, we decided to tackle that first, as it was a long way from the harbour. We stuffed our transport and got there around 1:30 - then there was so much to see - anyway we headed home about 6pm having really enjoyed the time spent there 370 pics taken but below you see Lish's favourite - the Red Cadillac Convertible. We will see if we can upload the rest to Picasa for the car buffs among you. If we don't get to, you will have to wait 'till we return and have more time. Gotta keep our eye on the ball.
Must be up early t'morra to visit the SS again, then if they have not slung us in the can we fly to Denver, then on to Milwaukee for an overnight  (about equals Perth to Darwin).

 

Thursday, July 21

Day 4 - off to Milwaukee

To Milwauke via Denver
Yesterday at a little supermarket I pulled out a handful of small change, and asked the (Mexican) storekeeper if he could use any shrapnel. He stared at me and my handful then queried what I said so I repeated. He asked where I came from and the meaning, afterwards Lish said "he will spring that on all his customers now, he loved it".

The domestic air terminal at LA was as dingy and uninspiring as their international side. We flew Frontier after  the wooden faced guys permitted us to hobble shoeless into the lounge. Frontier are a great crew handing out warm choc chip cookies and soft drinks on a run thru' the cabin. then we got to the hub airport at Denver and found a totally different experience. Light airy and a good range of shops, it was great. Had to comment on the folks at Frontier Airlines, what a cheery mob, we travel back to Vegas with them too.
 

The locals are great where ever we go, we have Aussie flags glued on our backpacks and we get greeted from behind with a call. Other times as walking along you call G'day to folks and they light up and say "where you framm?" A reply of Australia has them telling of an 'in law' there or similar with an effusive promise that they will get there one day.

Had a delay leaving Denver, courtesy of a thunderstorm and are in Milwaukee late, off to drum up some tucker, but if we can't find that, will try for 'food'.

 

Friday, July 22

     

Day 5 The best laid pl................

     
All this way to be beaten by a thundery. Any of you who have played the 17 minute video (link under the weather panel) may have heard the statement that arriving by light aircraft is considered a "rite of passage". When we were planning this trip we looked at renting an aircraft and flying across the country to do just that, but time --- . So we thought maybe from Milwaukee. This morning woke to rain and low cloud, so we cancelled. There are two more thundery's forecast for tomorrow, one Sunday. We are going on to Osh by bus Monday, hoping the ground is not too soggy for that planned erection. So today we started exploring Milwaukee and of course found some incredibly good eating. We also toured the city centre with running commentary in a bus disguised as an early trolley car. The town has some fabulous architecture and impressed us with its' cleanliness. Very friendly people, we are striking plenty of them everywhere. Taxi drivers, fast food stalls tickle our fancy, everybody is on the hustle. Stores offer tastes, taxi drivers encourage side trips for a few extra bucks. Not just here, ever since we hit America.
 Lish walking on the shore of Lake Michigan At this stage Sunday may be a lay day, but we somehow feel it will fill up too. We are still having a ball even if it is not running to plan.

 

Saturday, July 23

 

Day 6 Lay Day

 

Well today we woke at 9.30, and said "We doan want anymore holiday today", so by 10:30 declared it is a Lay day.

After that, we decided it was Walmart time. After getting to a Walmart, some serious shopping started. We had bought some extra  gear at a K Mart in LA, but we are about ready to dump most of what we brought over. Off we went and bought a chuck away cell phone for $30 including 120 minutes of talk time, enough for all our taxi calls before we leave. 5 daks each (over and under), plus shirts etc, so tomorrows' pix of Lish will be as the "all american girl"

Have not needed/bothered to buy any warm clothing yet. Then got some fabulous tucker, (GOOD tasting Bananas 46c a pound - yep $1 per kilo). Mexican mango (don't bother) choc coated peanut butter wafers (yumnm) beautiful grapes and apples plus old fashioned SWEET strawberries. We have had incredibly good tucker but were hungering for something plain. Used the mobile to whustle up a taxi, and scuttled home to feed on bread and butter for a change. Top gear. No Vegemite !


Tomorrow in accordance with our travel light plan we will dump most of what clothed us to here as we head off to the Italian festival.

Remember that boat trip we missed in Long Beach, well tomorrow we go on a ride down the river through the harbour and onto Lake Michigan. Then we plunge into the Italian festival. This is known as the town of festivals. Next week is the German festival. Each one runs a full week, there are 8 consecutively in all which takes up their summer, then they are back into the cold conditions.

 

Sunday, July 24

     

 

Day 7–More sightseeing of Milwaukee

   
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Dressed in our new all yankee clothing, we took a bus to the art museum. There were 3 floors to cover from early 14th century through to modern art and photography with everything in between including the china dishes, sculptures, chairs and furniture. Even found a Picasso sculpture. There was a good crowd in to see a Chinese exhibition and performances, so we grabbed a quick bit of Chinese tucker, before racing off to catch the 2pm 'river and harbour cruise'.
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The ferry we boarded was a reasonable size and the bridges across the rivers in Milwaukee are low, so each time we had to duck under a bridge, the traffic was stopped and the centre of the bridge was raised. Milwaukee is famous for its’ beer, Harley Davidson’s and coal (yep we came all he way over here to see more coal).
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After a relaxing cruise we headed off to the Italian festival for a feed. We were taken under the wing of a yankee who is married to an Italian and he gave us a history on the Italians in Milwaukee. It was the final day of the festival with plenty of great entertainment.
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Once again everyone has been friendly and helpful, wanting to chat and listen to our Australian accents. Everyone seems curious and excited by these visitors from down under, it is great to see how popular AUSSIES seem to be.

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Termorrer we may not get to do a blog, after getting to Osh, collecting gear and building a ‘quickie house’ we may flop and crash. We will see.

 

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Gotta tell you about this chair lift we are on. It runs non-stop continuously. To get on we are pointed to two Xs on the ground and told as a car passes to "jump on them NOW". You do that and the next car hits you behind the knees - popping you down on the seat and away upward it swoops with a bar descending in your lap to keep you in.

It is a great scene below as it progresses, then comes the descent. The safety bar lifts and you see a brawny lad each side, shouting to "hold out your hand" and you guessed it - as it reaches ground level they yank you forward and out and you run down a ramp! ! WHEE-OOOH.

 

Monday, July 24

Day 8 - At Osh–Monday

Uurgh.14 cartons!

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We are at Mecca. Finally arrived about 4 pm, started building a home as aerobatics went on over head. All the systems worked as we had planned and as our battery powered pump inflated the 20” high Queen sized airbed, Lisha who has only known motels since she met me paid me a great compliment when she said “ Call this camping – I like your style”.

Very hard to find Wifi, need battery for saving pics will not do any more blogs ‘till Milwaukee Monday night

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Success.

 

Sunday, July 31

 

Day 9 to Day 14–Osh

Wow, walking, walking, walking. It is big and there are buses, but still there is much walking. We are tired and feel we have seen about 2%. People are great and very friendly, but even EAA is like every American organisation, rigid and unbending. They smile at the Aussies as they so ‘no you must walk there’. The motor vehicle is still God, even here. The campsite we are on is around 60 acres, tents are crowded cheek to jowl and there are 4 or 5 other camp sites. Still the Yankee love of motor vehicles carries on. Long, long wheel base vehicles roll up towing long, long caravans, with a 5m x 3m trailer hooked on the back carrying gators or golf carts. Inside the caravan will be 2 or 3 little motorbikes, so even kids ride. Every driver has horns grow out of their heads as they mount up. They are everywhere.

There are little stand up push scooters with motors on them, most push bikes have motors too and we have even seen an arm chair rolling down the road going putt putt.

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Our feet are worn out from walking and queuing. Had a superb day on Saturday at the seaplane base, it was so restful with lots of shade, there were probably only 10,000 people there. Long queues for lunch, long queues for ice cream.

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Lots of good bits too. Got some great photos of Lisha yarning with Burt Rutan as he signed our books. He recalled a trip to Sydney, but enthused about Cairns so Lish invited him to the Whitsundays. Mike Melvill first ever commercial CIVILIAN astronaut also had time to yarn about Australia as he too signed the books (different day, different venue).

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The museum was spectacular. Exact to the mm replicas – of the first ever airplane – the first ever privately built space vehicle and really everything in between with a focus on experimental. If you want to know how a jet turbine works – or a piston engine – or a propeller – or the new electric aircraft motors – there is a cut away of it here and full explanations and videos on how it works. While we didn’t ride it, Ford motor company will give you a ride in a carrier catapult shot simulator.

Boeing chose Airventure for the first public showing of the new 787 Dreamliner, certification is not yet complete so it too has ‘EXPERIMENTAL’ across all doorways and in the cockpit. Inside, one side has seats, the other is full of gauges, and hundreds of valves so they can turn things on and off to simulate problems. People flooded through.

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We have had thunderstorms, sweaty, humid days. Being the incredibly spoilt animals that we are we long for our little air conned hacienda at home, but relax tomorrow night (Monday)we are in a motel.

Airshows, airshows, airshows, everyday 3pm-6pm, this airport is closed to all other traffic up to 12,000ft. Not that it matters, from 6am propellers start, airshow performers go and practise what they are going to do in the arve. They can fly anywhere they like doing loops, barrell rolls, so long as they don’t infringe on the ultralight strip down the end, where ultralights and paragliders fly continuously whenever the wind is favourable and the sun is up which is till about 8.30pm. At the other end of the strip is the third flight path, where people get rides in helicopters, first airliner built, world war II bombers. All 3 streams of aircraft flying continuously.

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Thursday, August 4

 

Day 15 & 16 Out of Osh in to Vegas

Monday we left Osh for Milwaukee to overnight before flying to Vegas.

They do NOT have as good a computer as Aussie. We fronted the Greyhound for the 84 mile trip (135 k) to Milw. Wow, a bus and a half of customers all trying to crowd on (all with tickets and getting nasty). I said to Lish “we will wait they must send another, and an hour later 25 of us got a bus to ourselves. Went to the Motel and relaxed

Tuesday, Flight from Milwauke uneventful – “Take off your shoes and belt’ – terrible temptation to drop the strides, we had a 3.15 flight arriving 1.15 after departure.

NO DOUBT we were in Vegas. Poker machines at every step thru’ the aircraft terminal!!

Booked in feeling exhausted, today Wed our scheduled day to shake and rest marred by me having a cold. Better me than Lish, they really knock her about, I normally get 1 per winter, lasts me a day. This one seems determined, but ME TOO – I did not come this far to play footsie with a cold. Dumped the second lot of clothing, went to Walmart to buy the final batch of new gear. Tonight at twilight (8 pm) we stood among all the lights watching the choppers flying people over the lights. They fly a set path, I counted 20 seconds between one then another, continuous stream.

Tomorrow we do the big canyon tour. Canyon from above by bus, Hoover dam, chopper down 4000 ft to the canyon floor, pontoon ride the Colorado river, back up to Indian lunch and traditional performances, (if they do as well as our indigenous at Kuranda we will be pleased. Nothing scheduled tomorrow night, reckon we will be looking for a camp.

Have taken a total of 8 gigabytes (2336 pics)of pics so far, all now stored in the clouds as well as this computer and backup chips. Very tired MAY organise pics tomorrow, hitting the sack, 6 am start tomorrow.

 

Friday, August 5

Day 17–Grand Canyon Tour

This morning we were whisked away in an airconned coach for a full day tour to the Grand Canyon. The trip started at 7am and returned at 4pm. We had 3 1/2hrs at the west rim of the canyon, where we took a chopper ride down 4000ft to the bottom of the canyon, had a calm water pontoon boat ride on the very fast flowing Colorado river then back up to lunch with the Hualapai Indians.

It was a warm 45 C today, but for most of the outdoor adventure it was a dry heat, so it felt reasonable. The only part that was hot and a bit humid was down at the bottom of the canyon, even so the water of the Colorado flows so quickly that it is still very cold from the snow melting in the Rockies, this irrespective of the heat of the surrounding country. We were amazed by the strength of the current. It goes like the clappers.

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On the trip home we photographed the Joshua tree forest, a fussy tree that only grows between 2000-4000ft in the Mojave desert, and we drove past and over the famous Hoover dam on this incredible bridge that gives a “flying over” feel. If we wish we can return to the foot of the dam tomorrow (included in price) but we feel we’ve “bin there, done that” so will pass, too much else to see and do
All in all a great trip. Tomorrow we will explore the famous Vegas strip, starting with a monorail overview so that we can eye off potential targets. We have booked our "night lights" tour by bus 7pm to midnight which includes stop offs at fountain shows. Will report on these t’morra.

 

Sunday, August 7
 

Last blog from the States

Wow have we been on the go in Vegas.
Putting up some pics, not much words, some statistics blow your mind, 2 million visitors last year, divide that by 50 weeks.
Holding an electronics expo in a few weeks time expecting 200,000 for it.
Suggest Tourism  Whitsunday try one, we just need to find the beds for them. See the hundreds of Casinos – all with beds above, top one has 5,000  beds many, many, many others just below that number.

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The Venetian Casino, Gondola rides outside (46C yesterday) or inside on 2nd floor – Airconditiopned 1 kilometer long canal with Venice style shops lining the bank, and artificial sky with light clouds above.
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The night stuff has been incredible.
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Domed screen covering 2 city blocks (Fremont Street), playing music videos as the throng parties below. No vehicles permitted.
Went to :LAS VEGAS THE SHOW” last night, tonight “JUBILEE” tomorrow on the move, to LA, depart there Midnight Monday arrive Brisbane Wed, then ride a Virgin to home. NO MORE BLOGS from the States.

 

Wednesday, August 10

Home again, Home again jig a jig jig

Wednesday, Back in OZ, So its tucker shopping, then home. I am half way through "Impressions of USA".  May not get posted for a few days yet, got to sort the tucker first then "air our bodies" in pure OZ air.
Thursday. East is east, west is west, the bed at home's BY FAR the best. Last night was a great "catch up sleep" looking for another like it tonight.

 

Friday, August 12

Thoughts and Reflections on the USA (or the bits we have seen)

LA - Hmm-mm-mn Everyone we met at our first stop in USA impressed us with their friendliness. USA the land we try to emulate "Everything is up to date in ---- " Maybe, There is still plenty of the out of date too.

MILWAUKEE One great city with much history, that we enjoyed studying during our four days there.

OSHKOSH – OSHGOSH alright. We knew it was big, but huh, it was enormous. Gigantic area, everything you want to do next is a quarter mile away. We walked and walked, then some more. Wild storms on a couple of days, tents galore flattened. Ours not, we erected next to a tree and had ropes to the tent, a couple next to us lost but we were lucky. We had great equipment, but, I am now done camping. If a next time, would still want to be on site, but definitely a Winnebago. Everything we got to was tremendous except the food and transport. Motorised settee for US next time, the “on site” tucker ranged  from very poor to atrocious. Still, what an incredible show, we were glad we had been delayed at Milwaukee tho’, for we greatly enjoyed the time exploring there and at the end of Osh agreed that three more days at Osh may have felt “too much”.

LAS VEGAS – Wow some like it hot. The blast of heat anytime you walk outside is exactly as I remember my twenty years in Mount Isa. But in Isa our shops had awnings, you walked in shade not in the open.  What an enormous city to put underground, but that is what they have done. Every casino you see, has a small city built underneath (Lightning Ridge pay attention) 15 – 20 foot ceilings, a great circle of maybe 60 to 100 shops down there in the catacombs. You can wander for hours looking to escape. Then to move on to the next casino is an oven like experience a 1 kilometre walk with the heat magnified by sun on concrete and blacktop(Most casinos are about a klick long).
Many bits amuse – other bits – we-e-ell, the casinos all have great entertainment in their built in theatres. To get to a theatre you first go into the smelly smoky fug (smoking permitted in casinos, cigars encouraged) past slot machines galore, past the tables – Blackjack, Poker, Roulette, Craps, every spare gap filled with Pokies, to the escalators near the back, down into the catacombs, trek past twenty shops, regardless of the tickets being prepaid, you must report to the box office one hour before the show or forfeit.
Where is the box office? in yet another bar, I forgot to mention that every 30 feet in the casino is a bar, anyway with an hour to burn they want you half turped before you get in. When they open the doors a roped off queue-way runs you past a background where you must pose for a piccy, then you eventually get in. GREAT shows, worth the $75 – $100 you pay, – but every chair has a cup in the armrest and waitresses wander around selling booze all thru’ the show. God knows, Lish and I must have broken a few hearts asking for soft drink.
On exit – HEY another queue-way leads you to high pressure people try to flog you a not well taken (blurry) photo, – Buckley's, then it is back out into a reverse trip to get home. One show we attended finished 8.30 pm, it was still 10.30 home (two blocks away by taxi).
The bus tour of the night lights was definitely a highlight of the VEGAS time. The raconteur was even older than I, so we got some good chaffing going, at one stage we hit the wedding chapel strip and he said that now you did not have to leave your car many were “Drive Thru” weddings. There are at least 7 “Elvis” preachers and for extra money, you can get a circuit of the strip in a pink Cadillac convertible.

“LOOK, LOOK, there in that one, a couple getting married” and sure enough the preacher was leaning out his cashiers window with a prayer book, a black sports car listening intently? Vegas is the wedding capital of the world, over 200,000 weddings a year. He said it must be good, Mickey Rooney got married here 7 times. Put me in my place with only three.
TIPS – if you line up outside a casino to get a taxi, the guy organising this gets his $3.00 for putting you in. If the meter shows $6.00 you can get away with a ten. We took one somewhere, the meter showed $11.10. I handed a twenty and asked for $5.00 back, I got it with a nonstop tirade about lousy bloody Aussies, tightarsed etc. Buggar him, I took it and left but after wished I had dropped it on the back seat and left the door open(some good ideas are 30secs late). Everyone else expects a tip for doing their job. At the end of the canyon tour $250.00 a head, the guide suggested that the norm of 10% was in order (‘nother $50.00 for the two of us – Buckleys again). I asked a question as I descended the steps; he was reaching for money and keeping an eye out for dodgers, ignored the question, so I fed the left hand to him; it had a wad of five single dollars. YAIRS some days are better than others.

MOST LASTING IMPRESSIONS – hustle, hustle, my first beggar caught me within 4 hours of arrival in USA. Hustle, distance, big (not necessarily better) pushy, storekeepers call you in, offer food samples on toothpicks, push, push, every executive you pass has his I-phone out reading? messages, they pass each other reading, or they meet and finish reading before looking up and “HI “ then head on. It is NOT white America anymore, African Americans and Mexicans are in the ascendency for ALL levels, from bus drivers to executives and small / large business owners and they all hustle you.
Conclusion. We have had a hell of a three weeks. We have enjoyed everywhere we went. One cannot help comparing to home of course as does everyone travelling, We miss the open space of Oz. Everywhere we went we had to queue for things, with their enormous cars you get puzzled when many people cram into a small area. We only visited 4 (large by our standards) cities, so are not experts on USA. Like all cities one walks long distances. Have we enjoyed it – YES! Would we do another three weeks 4 cities – NO. 3 Months maybe. Next? We have a great country at home too. I have travelled much of it with lots to go. Lish has ‘done’ Sydney and Melbourne with me but the best bits are yet to come. She developed a love of the west with me early on and there are lots to do yet, so the next few years will see us exploring many of my old haunts plus plenty new ones. We have a fabulous country and much to go.

It is GREAT to be home. We look out the window at the Lake of Lakeside Airpark, and peace and quiet envelopes us. We crawl into our waterbed and LISTEN - No roar of 12 lanes of traffic, no Harleys revving, and no sirens screaming URGENT, URGENT, - YES it is great to be home - listen to the silence - peace.

Thank you for reading of our travels, we have enjoyed sharing, - The USA itch has been somewhat scratched. Well most of it, we may need another little look.

3,665 pics and movies, 14.5 Gigabytes - all home safely, let the editing begin.

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