American Trip 2011.
Manchester to Newark NJ.
Awoke at 4.30am ready to prepare for our trip to America. The taxi man phoned at 5.00am and arrived at 5.30am. An easy drive to Manchester. Flew out 09.25am on Continental 757 co21 seats 22a to d. Arrived at 12.15pm local time. Cleared immigration and went on the Air train to Hertz to pick up the rental. We upgraded to a Chevy Tahoe 5.3 litre v8. Very comfortable. We collected it early which affected our last day as we had to return it at 1.00pm and we were not due to fly out until 7.40pm. We then drove over to Philly.
22nd and 23rd September Stayed 2 nights at the Rodeway Inn Springfield. We dined at an Ihop http://www.ihop.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31 and then off to bed. A long day at 22 hours on the go. Awoke after a disturbed night at 7.30am. After breakfast we visited the Liberty Bell.
There are copy bells in other parts of the country to celebrate Liberty and Freedom. After all so many have died, and are still being killed in the world, to help the cause of Freedom.
It was raining heavily. We went on to the visitor centre and purchased Trolley Bus tickets for a guided tour with an excellent commentary. The Chinatown Gateway was quite impressive.
As were the Dragon Sculptures.
There was a statue of Stallone to remember his Rocky movie at the top of the steps of the museum.
We went to a deli for eats. Then retrieved the car from the car park and visited the Franklin Science museum. We saw the world’s first stainless steel airplane built in 1931 by the Edward Budd Co. to demonstrate its capabilities. They went on to produce Stainless Railroad Coaches.
There were some spectacular Murals on the walls of buildings.
The death of the steel industry caused a decline in the city and an effort is being made to kick-start the economy. The free library is a large building with stone columns.
The Eastern State Penitentiary Was built to give prisoners their own space but meant they were effectually in solitary confinement for years.
We saw a replica Paddle Steamer on the river. We left Philly fairly early and drove through Lancaster County and the Amish People. Buggies and simplicity. There are all types of buggies, open and closed to suit different needs.
We passed through a covered wooden bridge.
We went to an Antique Mall, fascinating. The Amish are a contradiction of beliefs. Their life is simple but embraces modernity. Their simple horse and buggy is bolstered by use of friends to offer a lift in a car to shop. They also sell furniture and quilts etc. to boost funds.
We arrived at a Thomas the Tank day at a preservation railway and saw some large engines of the Nickel Plate Railroad.
The Capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg and the largest city Philadelphia. Onward to Gettysburg. The Battleground and memorials made us emotional! A large area and many viewpoints.
Lots of information on where differing units were from and how many were killed thought provoking. Some men were re-enacting parts of battle.
24th to 27th Stayed 4 nights at the Quality Inn Laurel. Dined at Dennys. http://www.dennys.com/en/ We drove on to Laurel, booked in and went to dine. On Sunday we drove to Union Station in DC. A spectacular building, wonderful. Soaring roof, columns, sweeping Staircases, Statues.
We purchased two day tour bus passes and toured the city. The city was laid out in 1791 by Pierre L’ Enfant. The White House, Lincoln Memorial, WW2 Memorial, Embassy Row and much more.
We took a boat trip on the Potomac and saw Watergate and impressive bridges.
There were rowing crews, surf board paddlers, fire boats hosing, boats passing, planes and helicopters.
Back on the bus for the FBI buildings and museums. Freedom, slaves, Native American history.
There are many, many statues and churches. We passed over the Chesapeake and Ohio canal and by the lock keepers cottage.
There were several places when tree branches and overhead wires brushed the heads of the passengers. Hundreds of photos. Back to the hotel. Monday back to Union Station and the bus. The U-Haul Rental trucks poised on the edge of the roof advertised themselves.
Elsewhere they were displayed on a rotating pole on the roof. Could have stayed all day at The Indian History Museum, so much to take in to the memory banks. The Aymara Reed Boats, Canoes, Beadwork, Violins, boats to weapons. Beadwork to modern art. Inuit to Bolivians, So many tribes killed to oblivion.
On to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Time from the Wright Flyer to the current pilotless drones used today in Afghanistan. Ice Planes to pedal power. Amy Johnson, Howard Hughes, DeHaviland, Lindbergh and Lockheed. Aircraft carrier planes, Spirit of St. Louis, Ford Trimotor and the doodle bug.
Later on the plane home I watched Night at the Museum 2 which was based here and at the History museum and National Archives which we visited next.
American history continued with steam engines, greyhound buses, Harleys, model T and A Ford, Packards, overland, Trolleys, Whale boats and Teeth.
Our education continued on Slavery and Freedom. We saw the brand new statue of Martin Luther King.
I took a walk up to the US senate and saw plate Vermont 1. We were flagging somewhat so made our way on the bus to Union Station. Tuesday we went to a Shopping Mall, Penneys, Sears, Macys and others. It was too expensive at all the Malls for us, although I got two Tee Shirts for 12 dollars at a truck stop later.
We then drove on to Annapolis for lunch. This is where a meeting took place about independence. At the harbour there is a statue of Roots author Alex Haley.
The Naval College is based here where the Navy trains its Officers. Historical buildings and good marinas, some combination! There was a 2 dollar 50 Toll for the 5 mile bridge to Kent Island, more marinas and a State Park, beautiful.
Wednesday left Laurel and viewed Mountains and Forests. Miles and Miles of trees day after day. The rest stops are clean, well laid out, with grassy walks and trees.
The autumn colours or fall colors are amazing. Leaf colours of yellow, orange, red, brown, light and greens. The blends have to be seen to be believed. Tucked between them, small clearings and a lot with a log cabin, a pickup truck and a boat.
Place Names vary from familiar London, Brighton, and Newcastle to Blairsville, Altoona, Cessna, Greenburg, Hollidayburg. The houses are very different and vary too. Mostly wooden construction, some brick or stone. Trucks and cars, roads too. County, State, Interstate, Express, Town, Tolls, Highway to Dirt roads.
28th and 29th Stayed at the Quality Inn Gibsonia. We left early and parked at Mount Washington. On the Heights was a bronze of Senaca leader Guyasuta and George Washington who met in October 1770 to air their points of view.
We took a road like the one in the film Bullet. Very steep with flat jumps at cross intersections. Opposite on the Ohio outside the Carnegie ground was a submarine to view.
Judy and I rode the train up and down the 1877 Duquesne incline.
The Skyline of skyscrapers and the River Monongahela. The Fort was built at a junction of 3 rivers and there is a small museum at the site. Known as the golden triangle and the point state park the rivers Allegheny and Monongahela converge and form the Ohio.
We saw a dinosaur outside the Carnegie music hall.
Opposite was the cathedral of learning. We wandered the grounds mingling with students pondering the meaning of life.
On to the Arboretum to view wonderful plants and colours.
In Pittsburgh we enjoyed coffee and hot chocs at the Apollo Café, Back for lunch later, it was so good, American serving portions are huge and it is not uncommon for people to ask for a takeout or to go box for leftovers. After lunch we went to Schenley Park Botanical gardens and Conservatory. Unfortunately we did not have time to do it justice. The greenery, trees and flowerbeds. So relaxing. Dined at Perkins. http://www.perkinsrestaurants.com/menu Every day has been different. What a trip. We left early the following morning for Buffalo.
30th to 2nd October Stayed 4 nights at the Comfort Inn Amherst. We drove to the coffee stop at Perkins and then I took over the driving. We went through’ many small townships and hamlets in this wine district. We were surrounded by vines for miles. It was the Chautauqua Allegheny Region. We stopped at a family restaurant called Aunt Millies. Lots of old photos of the family abounded. The food was excellent and the cakes and cookies were unbelievable. Some families asked for spare plates and shared meals and still asked for to go boxes. We booked in to the hotel and headed for the swimming pool. Later we headed to Niagara Falls. The power of the water has to be seen close up to begin to understand and value.
We went many times to the falls, even again on the way to Canada.
That evening we went to Bob Evans for dinner and did not need any rocking that night to get to sleep we were so tired. Breakfast at 8.00am and on to the Falls at 9.00am. We went for a ride on the boat Maid of the Mist and we have the waterproofs and Judy has the hat to prove it. Super, Super, Super.
The power of nature puts us in our place. The roar, the power, the crashing water, the mist, the rainbows, all so close.
Awe inspiring, time and again. After a coffee to warm up we went over the bridge into Canada to view it all again. We ate at Tim Hortons and then we attended the six nations pow wow. True First Nation Indians in National dress. Dancing, singing, music, fashion Show, Art and crafts, jewellery, deerskins. Inspiring.
Back across to the USA and back to the hotel and the pool to relax. Dinner was to be at TGI Fridays. But the waiting time was too long so we went to Applebees and got senior discounts. At the hotel it was Laundry time. It was Midnight by the time we retired and so tired. We slept in and breakfasted at 9.00am.
The next part of the trip will follow in Part 2.