October was amazing! Well, it was for us anyway, and I hope you had a good month too—though mine was particularly special as we ‘took a month out’ and went on a road trip. Husband is sort of between jobs (though they have overlapped a little) and we had two offspring briefly living at home (lucky them—they had the pleasure of house-sitting and caring for my menagerie!) so I arranged cover for my other responsibilities, and off we went.
We started in New Jersey. The plan was to fly to the US, hire a car, and drive down the east coast, booking hotels as we went. I was pretty sure that super-organised Husband would have every hotel/meal/rest-stop planned before we left, but he didn’t! (Actually, I think that he had planned to, but at the last minute, he needed to go abroad with his job, and so there was simply no time.)
I will share our trip with you over the next few months. As ever with my travel blogs, they are written in real time, while I am there, and posted on my blog later, when we’re home and I have more time to sort the photographs and delete the bits I decide are a bit dodgy. We flew to New York, then drove to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, along the Blue Ridge Parkway, to Nashville Tennessee, across to the Carolinas, down into Florida, and back to Atlanta Georgia. We covered about 3,500 miles, which is as far as if we had driven from London to New York! It was amazing!
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If you ever plan to do a road trip, especially a long one, then here are my top tips:
- *Go with someone you like! We spent many hours together, in a car, chatting and laughing and passing comment on what we saw. If I had been with someone less fun or interesting, it would have been dire.
- *If you’re not great at lots of change, book hotels that are all part of the same chain. We stayed in Marriot Hotels (because Husband has a loyalty card due to copious work trips) and they are all basically the same. We tended to stay in Fairfield Inn, or Springhill Suites, or Residence Inn. We would check in, go to the room, and the layout was usually identical. So, I would put my suitcase in the corner by the air-conditioning unit, put my washbag next to the sink, hide my valuables in the big drawer under the telly, plug my phone into the recharging port on the clock-radio…and so on. Everything had a place, which meant packing and unpacking was very routine. It also meant that when I woke in the night and needed the washroom, I didn’t have that horrid disorientated feeling of not knowing where to head in the dark (nothing worse than peeing in the wardrobe by mistake).
- *Plan some laundry stops. Some hotels have coin operated washing machines, and this makes a huge difference to a long trip. We needed to take a mix of clothes, as October in the States can have very hot and very cold days. To avoid taking 27 suitcases each, we needed to do some laundry.
- *Have a smaller bag to hold a couple of day’s worth of clothes. We didn’t want to take all our cases into every hotel if we were only staying for a night, so I used my hand-luggage pull-along for my washbag, and enough clothes for the next couple of days.
- *Force yourself to do some exercise. We realised that most of the time we would be sitting in a car, or wandering around cities, whilst eating lots of delicious (but unhealthy) food. We decided that every morning, we would go for a run. I use the word ‘run’ loosely, as I run slower than most people walk, but I do get very hot and red and breathless, so I assume it’s good aerobic activity. I find I feel better if my body is working properly. It also means you see snippets of real life happening in the area—people collecting their take-out coffee on the way to work, street cleaners, people opening their shops, other people jogging. (I particularly enjoyed seeing ‘real joggers’—they would lift a hand in greeting as we passed, and it made me feel like a proper runner, rather than a middle-aged woman pretending!)
- *Take some vitamins and probiotics. You never know what you might be eating on the road, but in the US, lots of it is wonderfully delicious and super-processed. I bought some dried apricots, to keep everything moving! I also took vitamins every day, so it didn’t matter if there wasn’t too much in the way of fresh fruit and veg, and probiotics so my stomach could cope with all the new bacteria it would be facing.
I will start telling you about some of the things we saw tomorrow. I’ll start with Atlanta, which is actually at the end, because that is freshest in my mind and I wrote fewer notes at the time. I hope you enjoy reading about our road trip. It was such fun!
I hope you have a good week. Take care.
Love, Anne x
Thank you for reading. If you enjoy my travel blogs, you will love my travel book: The Sarcastic Mother’s Holiday Diary. Available from an Amazon near you.
Liked your tips about staying in different places (hotel 🏨 /or homes)!
Looking forward eagerly to the next write up. . . . ✍️
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