Road Trip Archives

Displaying the first 10 blogs in the Road Trip Archives, displayed in the order they were posted


Road Trip America

The Road Trip blogs are documentation of the four muppets crossing the United States (from February 16th to February 27th, 2009). We started in Florida where we attended the Daytona 500 and finished in Las Vegas for the NASCAR race there. We completed the coast-to-coast from Daytona Beach to San Diego before heading back inland to Vegas.

Tracking Map

The tracking map shows the actual route that we took on our trip. If you are viewing this page whilst we are on the journey, you should see the route progress as we move along.

A list of the main places we intended to see as we traversed the country:

  • A - Daytona Beach, FL
  • B - Kennedy Space Center, FL
  • C - Nashville, TN
  • D - Graceland, Memphis, TN
  • E - Bald Knob, AR
  • F - Springfield, MO
  • G - Cawker City, KS (largest ball of twine)
  • I - Kinsley, KS (mid point of the 48 contiguous states)
  • J - Amarillo, TX (Cadillac Ranch)
  • K - Roswell, NM
  • L - El Paso, TX
  • M - Tucson, AZ
  • N - Lake Havasu, AZ (London Bridge)
  • O - Four Corners, AZ, NM, UT, CO
  • P - Grand Canyon, AZ
  • Q - Boulder City, NV (Hoover Dam)
  • R - Las Vegas, NV

If you read the blogs, however, you will see that we found much more. Much, much more ...

Post road-trip blues

(Posted 13:55:10 on 9th March 2009 by Mr O)
No don’t worry, I’ve not been influenced by our trip in the deep South, haven’t taken up playing the harmonica and writing songs about my dog running off with my woman whilst my sister is run over by a steam roller, it’s the promised retrospective of the trip now the dust has settled, the bags have been unpacked and the washing done.

So where do I start? I guess having been back at work for a couple of days, I start by planning the next trip and working out how I can get someone else to pay for it. However, knowing that it’s not going to happen I’d better tie up the loose ends on this one first.

So, would I do it again? Yes. Exactly the same way? No. That’s for a couple of reasons, firstly as I’ve now done that trip, secondly as I would do some parts differently. It was a strange trip although we had a semi-plan we didn’t have a mission as such. The coast to coast element got introduced in day one and then we half adopted an idea to find a strange place name in each state we visited and to also visit as many states as possible, but the latter two were almost accidental. If I were to do something similar again, I may adopt those two ideas and expand ensuring we had a tripod moment in each state (and obviously a bad pun about the place name).

I’d also liked to have spent more time on the road perverse as that sounds. I was prepared for earlier starts and later finishes. However that said, I would have had a rough idea where the end point for the day would have been to enable a bit of research on places to stay to avoid a couple of those places right next to train lines.

Would the trip have been better if it was just Rag and I? Tough question, that was the original thought, and if that had been the case we would have had the car fitted with hand controls so as we could have shared the driving, but would we have had the same experiences? When we did split it did allow Rag and I to crank up the stereo and stick Octane on the car’s satellite radio, plus we were able to get the early starts and the miles under our belt, but it felt like something was missing. It was difficult for John, not driving or navigating, he was always in the back looking out of the window, but that was always going to be the way with the road trip. What he and Ivan did bring was some local knowledge from chatting to folks in bars and taxis, without them we wouldn’t have found Tootsies in Nashville or the place in Vegas, or indeed have visited as many Hooters/Winghouses as we did, but Rag’s doctor may see that as a bad thing. I guess I don’t know what idea they had at the outset, but I was happy just covering lots of miles, eating and holing up in the hotel and blogging in the evening. I know that isn’t most people’s idea of a holiday, but it was a road trip and the holiday part came in Vegas, although I could have done with an extra day or so there (my bank manager may disagree).

I hope John and Ivan got something out of the trip, I know they had a good time in Santa Monica; it was a shame that Ivan was so ill in Vegas. I know how he felt; I’m still recovering from it now.

Ok so how about places I’d go back to? Tombstone would be good for a whole day, as would the Kennedy Space centre. Not sure about Pigeon Forge, intriguing, looked as if it could be worth another look but it’s not near anything else other than Dollywood and I don’t plan on visiting that.

What about Route 66? It’s a bit of a cliché now, as mentioned in a previous post, it doesn’t exist as a road in itself so is it worth travelling along? Probably not, it’s been done before, the one thing you can guarantee about our trip; no one has done that route before.

So what about the next trip? As Rag said in his posts and the vote page, we’ll look at doing another and no doubt base it around a sporting event, but we need to think about where and when. At least I don’t have to worry about getting a pass out to spend two weeks away from the missus and the kid, however knowing Mrs Rag I’d no doubt she’d pay me to take him away and give her the break.

What about future blogs? Well there is the OBlogs section on this site, but unless work suddenly becomes like a road trip with a new adventure each day, the frequency may be slightly less, but if there’s an opportunity for a bad pun I’m sure I’ll find a way of working it in somehow. So happy reading if you pop back once in a while, otherwise we’ll see you for the next trip.
1 comment
10th March 2009
having completed your own take of "beavis & butthead do america" (or was it "planes, train lines and automobiles"..?) how about you do your own take on other films, "the italian job", "cannonball run", "bullitt" or "the getaway" to name a few...

Dollar get an F for Math

(Posted 11:32:35 on 4th March 2009 by Mr O)
Am now home and going through my receipts and the car rental one caught my eye. It said miles out 8743 (I clocked it at 8746 but hey) and then miles in 14451. Therefore we drove 5708 miles, however according to the receipt from Dollar rent-a-car we drove 6155. They must have a unique tracking device that picked up the 447 miles I did in reverse.

Not quite full circle

(Posted 14:27:05 on 3rd March 2009 by Mr O)
As I sit here in the upper class lounge at McCarran airport I guess this just about completes the circle on the road trip for me. I will probably want to digest the trip and post a retrospective at the weekend, but it seems strange that it is all over.

When I dropped off the hire car, the guy asked me if there was anything to report, well I said, "apart from the brakes scraping, the oil light, the ESP/BAS and car with squiggly lines lighting up, nothing much". He said that he thought it may need a service, scrapping more like. I did go over it thoroughly yesterday with half a can of deodorant clearing the smell of cigarattes, BO and old laundry, but I think you can tell that four blokes had spent nearly 3 weeks in it.

I worked out that the not so Grand Caravan did 5704 miles with us at the helm, with the added 254 that the Aspen did, it means I travelled nearly 6,000 miles on this trip, and to be honest it feels like it, I'll be glad to get back to work for the rest!

It was Ivan who said at the airport that he wouild be staying off the booze, fags and burgers for a while, although I don't do either of the first two, I do agree with the sentiment whole heartedly. No matter how hard you try, you just can't avoid eating junk in the US. That said, one of the better dining experiences we had was in Vegas surprisingly. It was a tip that John and Ivan had got from a taxi driver for a locals casino/bar, where the food was cheap and reasonable and the beer was only $1.50 a pint, plus it's only a couple of minutes walk off the strip. Now don't expect haute cuisine, but it was worth it for the friendly welcome we got clearly as outsiders.

Hopefully Ivan will feel better when he gets back, he certainly didn't enjoy his 36 hours in his bed at the Imperial Palace due to a cold combined with sunstroke. I know he was suffering because I could hear him coughing in the early hours of the morning.

Time to experience how the other half live for one last time (well until Virgin do another special offer on flights) and as Rag says, I'm sure if the votes fall right there'll be another road trip on the cards at some point, however it is as he suggests to Monaco, we both ought to brush up on our French a tad.

Back to the infrequent blogging in the OBlogs section after next week. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed, and if you wish me to regale any of this in any greater detail, you are sadder than the four of us who did the trip in the first place.

Mr O
4th March 2009
put me down for the france trip, je suis fluent ! i will teach you many useful phrases to get you through the hard times 'j'ai les dents du fond qui beigne' .... exact translation is 'my back teeth are swimming' literally meaning 'i am about to chunder' ... i am sure it will come in useful ---- great blogging you two, pure comedy and i feel i have experienced the trip at every turn and unfortunately in every shower, which has now totally put me off ever going anywhere with any of you, take my name off the list for the french trip !
4th March 2009
congratulations, you are indeed the "great corn-hoolio"
4th March 2009
Have loved the blog. Almost a shame you are back, blogs of days at work won't be half as exciting. Maybe you could start adding quiz questions to keep me entertained :)

The End of The Road

(Posted 18:51:08 on 2nd March 2009 by Rag)
Well, it's the end of the road for me. I'm back in the San Francisco Bay Area after a rather bumpy flight home. Ironically the weather here is pretty bad - gray sky and raining (so English weather really). It seems we did really well to miss the worst of the weather during our travels which is fine by me.

The last photos of the Shelby 427 NASCAR race were posted earlier today and I have no more that will be associated with the road trip.

The last road trip related vote question is on the vote page, although I suspect the early predictions will be correct in that we will embark on another such trip sometime in our lives. Europe perhaps and maybe one that takes us through Monaco during the May time frame.

Interestingly, I was looking over the shoulder of the person seated in front of me who was reading an article in USA Today about Arizona using speed cameras on all of its roads. A little worried (although I didn't do any of the driving), I looked it up and the article is of the fact that AAA will be providing its members with the location of them once they are put up so I don't think there are any currently in use. It did say that there are some on stretches of I-75 in Georgia, but I don't think we saw any there either.

Hopefully my fellow travelers will have a less eventful flight home and if they're having one last flutter, I wish them luck. Until next time ..... Viva Las Vegas!

Nationwide is on your side

(Posted 09:38:11 on 1st March 2009 by Rag)
Rather than bore you with the details of the Nationwide race other than to stay it was a very bad first half with a lot of yellows and a couple of reds. Great finish though, so overall it was a good race. If you're interested, there are plenty of pictures from the race.

The one thing I did think you might be interested in is this picture where I spotted Uncle Jesse at the race.
1 comment
Mark W
2nd March 2009
Owen said his holiday beard was coming along, but I didn't realise by just how much.

Not so noisy neighbours

(Posted 09:00:54 on 28th February 2009 by Mr O)
You’ll be pleased to know that I did not have quite the awakening that Rag did this morning. I think the people in the next room know exactly who the daddy is as it is occupied by our long lost travelling companions John and Ivan. I would be very worried if I heard similar noises from there as it could only mean one of two things and I don’t wish to think about either of them to be honest.

It was by pure chance that I saw the boys as they were getting to their room as I was about to head off to find some slots. They’d had a great time in LA but Ivan had caught a touch of the sun and had a cold so went straight to bed on arrival. John and I had a drink to catch up and Rag joined us later. Whilst waiting for Rag, I tried my luck on the slots and won $900 within the first hour (which is the Lady Luck Rag is referring to, either that or the appointment I have booked for this evening but I didn't think he knew about that…)

Feeling a little rough around the edges this morning, combination of tiredness, a dodgy burger last night and a touch of a cold coming on. I think my body has decided that now we have no more travelling to do, it can switch off a little. I may end up falling asleep in my seat at this rate.

On a brighter note, I think Ivan is feeling better as he and John headed out just after 8 this morning in search of the rugby. I wonder what state they'll be in later after starting drinking that early, who knows?

Anyway, time to get our engines started and head over to the LVMS.
1 comment
4th March 2009
O, I think you need "tee pee for you bung hole..."


(Posted 07:24:58 on 28th February 2009 by Rag)
So, we're at the end of our journey as far as driving to new destinations. We've reached Las Vegas and pitched our tent on the strip. The good old Grand Caravan of Love appears to have made it - just the races to go now.

Right, so lets update you on the trip. We got up and drove to Vegas. That's about it. Oh yeah - we went across this big dam thing on the way:

Not a lot else to say, so lets move on to Vegas itself. Mr O doesn't seem too enamoured with our choice of lodging, although I think that may change a little as he had a date with Lady Luck last night (I'll let him update you on that). I, on the other hand, have been looking for more positive things to say about our accommodation. I didn't think there was going to be anything, but during the wee hours of this morning I think there's a little known fact that this place can help you determine your ancestry, for it was only just in the room above me that I heard the following conversation:

“Oh yeah ...... Oh yeah .....”
“yeah baby, that's it”
“yeah baby, who's your daddy, who's your daddy” (I kid you not)

At first I was thinking that if she didn't know who her father was by now that she would never know, however the accompanying noise of their elation made me think that they'd found the answer. They must have been really excited because the accompanying noise was them seemingly jumping up and down on the bed which had rather noisy springs.

Now, I know Mr O complained about having to pay for Internet access, however, if the person in the room upstairs was researching this lady's family tree online, I hope he negotiated a rate by the hour (or even minute) rather than a daily rate. Lets just say that he must have been using a particularly fast search engine as the lapsed time from the first “oh yeah“ to the last elongated groaning “yeah” was only in the region of 15 to 30 seconds. I was expecting it to start up again, but it never did.

Well, that's enough earwigging for me. Time to head off to the Nationwide race.
1 comment
4th March 2009
as someone once said, "you boys been whacking off in my trailer...?"

Vegas on a budget

(Posted 15:48:14 on 27th February 2009 by Mr O)
(and no I don't mean that mightily fine auto insurance comapny based in Peterborough England)

Don't get me wrong I'm no snob, but this place is a shit hole, not Vegas I hasten to add, but the hotel(?) I'm staying in. I know when I normally come I don't stay in the Bellagio or the Venetian or anything, but this is worse than some of the motels we've stayed in enroute.

Maybe it was our arrival that has swayed my opinion somewhat. We are driving down the strip towards where we thought it was, and we are driving and going past Paris and the Flamingo and we nearly miss the entrance, it is literally just a hole in the wall to get to the valet parking and the front door. Now I made the first mistake in not dropping rag off there and then, rather deciding to go and park and then go and check-in. So we parked up.

Next we had to drag our bags all the way back through the entire property to get to reception only to find that our rooms weren't ready and that when they were, they were all the way back around next to the parking garage. We were both mightily pissed off at this stage, compounded by the fact when directed to find someone to look after our bags whilst we waited for the rooms no-one could be found. I eventually grabbed someone, thrust our bags in his direction and took my slip of paper.

Fortunately we only had to wait an hour, not the two and half we thought we might have to, however when trudging our back to our rooms (minus bags) we noticed a checkin desk right near where we came in (second mistake). Anyway we arranged for the bags to be brought up to Rag's room and then i trundled mine back down a level and along a bit.

To add insult to injury they are even charging for internet access.

I shouldn't whinge (although we all know it's something I'm good at) as we are here safe and we have the racing tomorrow. Time for a little gamble now and then some dinner. Wish me luck.

Getting my kicks on Route 66

(Posted 08:08:19 on 27th February 2009 by Mr O)
Many people (well two) have asked what my inspiration was for this road trip. Was it the song about Route 66, was it a book, a film or a documentary? The answer is a bit of everything and a bit of nothing.

However let me talk about Route 66 first, it doesn't exist. Well as a recognised road across America it doesn't, in fact it was closed in 1985 and replaced with the I40. Bits of the route still exist and are clased as historic route 66, but you would struggle to do the entire journey on that. That said, we have stayed at placed and visited stops on the old route, going in both directions, so I guess you could say that has been an influence.

I guess I'd have to say Dave Gorman's America Unchained was a big influence, a couple of the places we visited were on the list because of him, including the collection of old barbed wire, thanks Dave.

Otherwise it has to be National Lampoon's Vacation and Beavis and Butthead Do America that are the other main points of reference. Let's face Rag and I are in fact Beavis and Butthead head-banging along to heavy metal in the car, visiting places like Bald Knob and about to visit the damn Dam. Let's just hope we don't manage to switch off the entire electricity supply for Nevada whilst we are there (you'll have had to have seen the film to get that reference, and if you've not seen it, I recommend it).

I do sometimes think that I've turned into a film critic making references and recommendations of films, but you need to link things back to popular (or not quite so popular) culture.

I also understand that I am 2 down on the gag count in my blogs compared to Rag, not sure how I'll make that deficit up, but I'll try my hardest, but when he's making rimming gags, how am I meant to come in there?

Not sure how much sinning we'll do in Sin City, we'll leave that up to our now separated travelling companions who were last heard of in Santa Monica. I'm sure I'll see them at some point, I've got to, we are flying back on the same plane.


(Posted 05:46:25 on 27th February 2009 by Rag)
We woke to breakfast and head on to the canyon. The only question was whether to head North or South.

Neither of us could remember the correct etiquette for rimming and whether one should do the North or South Rim first. Thankfully Mr O had done a bit of googling and found that the road to the North Rim was closed so the decision was easy - head South.

When we entered the Grand Canyon, we found that the road to the North Rim was not technically closed and that we could indeed make the 42 mile journey by hiking with snow shoes. I was up for the challenge. Mr O said he was too, but claimed that he could only find one of his snow shoes, so we pressed on into the park to drive round the South Rim.

I couldn't help but think there must be some kinda way out of here. And that this was said by the joker to the thief. The trouble was there's too much confusion and I can't get no relief. I put these thoughts out of mind and turned once again to sightseeing. First stop - The Watchtower.

The rest of the day was spent photographing the Grand Canyon. None of the photos are brilliant and they're all probably much of a muchness. Here's a sampler:

For more, see day 11 photos.

End of the day in Williams. Friday we're going in .... in to Sin City ....

Displaying the first 10 blogs in the Road Trip Archives, displayed in the order they were posted