Location: Sydney, Australia
South Australia Trip Statistics
Length of trip 71 days (70 nights)
Number of towing days 31
Number of places stayed 30 (1 place twice, so 29?)
Average stay 2.33 nights
Maximum stay 6 nights (twice)
Minimum stay 1 night (13 times, 1 place twice)
Distance travelled 7943 km (estimated 75% towing the van)
Avg km per day overall 111
Estimated km/day towing 192
Estimated km/day no tow 49
Diesel fuel consumed 1280 litres
Cost of fuel $1980
Avg price per litre 154.7c/litre
Minimum price/litre 148.9c/litre
Maximum price/litre 167.4c/litre
Location: Sydney, Australia
Great trip as you might have gathered . 10 weeks in all instead of the 8 originally planned, but why not? Indeed.
We arrived home yesterday to Winter & the chilling sight of flimsy summer clothes still in the wardrobe. So today was spent switching summer to winter, churning out heaps of laundry & ousting all the 'fat clothes' Yippee-ee-ee! We're both lighter after the holiday rather than before & without feeling deprived ...so it can be done :-)
Now what else can I throw out? Living in a caravan for any length of time makes me so aware of how much 'stuff' accumulates in life. But on the other hand, some of it is good stuff & might come in handy one day ...LOL ...
Stories under the photos this time.
Hi, as soon as we stop doing one-nighters I'll get to this blog with some photos, sorry for the delay, but we were in areas of sporadic internet. Cheers ...catch you later
All ready to get going tomorrow, should be a fantastic trip! See you along the road somewhere! We've packed for any kind of weather, bring it on!
Watch this space for more travels in Oz
Location: Los Angeles, USA
We're finally going home tomorrow night ...our flying kangaroo leaves Los Angeles at midnight. Will finish this blog at home...promise!! Meanwhile we're busy shopping & trying to squeeze it into bags as well as stay within the Qantas weight limit ...sheeesh!
It' been an amazing trip, loved it all!
Location: New Orleans, USA
We survived the week of short trips quite well & it's gone by in a flash! Cas did a great job of driving on the wrong side of the road, it does require absolute focus when first setting out in the morning ... look left first instead of right for a start!
From Memphis an easy drive through cotton fields & other crop fields, most of which had been ploughed up & possibly recently planted but no growth as yet until further towards Natchez. Spring has been late this year.
Clarksdale is interesting historically if a tad run down in places & would have been worth an overnight stay just to hear the old music in the juke joints around town.
As you see from the photos there's what's known as a Blues trail throughout the Mississippi Delta because that's where the music came from. Fascinating stories are posted on the numerous blues trail markers & in excellent local museums along the way making it easier to absorb the transitions of music from slavery to present day.
But there are so many trail markers you could be busy for weeks in this region, we really were rushing it. These days you don't see the dusty old 'crossroads' where legend has it Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil ...it's one of 3 possible sites for a start ...take your pick! And is marked by a 3-guitars signpost, high above the spot...which is these days a busy traffic intersection.
How times have changed! Same for the Yellow Dog Blues site in the tiny town of Moorhead. It's a symbol only, the Yellow Dog rail line is no more.
The BB King museum in nearby Indianola is worth the trip, it was completed in 2008 & definitely worth a visit to BB's home town.
This was a huge day, we still had quite a long drive to Natchez. An entirely different experience again, filled with amazing antebellum mansions & plantation homes in the surrounding countryside. We visited a couple of them, also stayed in an antebellum home. Like going back in time in some ways. The storm shutters had to be closed as Natchez was placed on tornado watch ...scary as we'd been in a simulated one in Epcot & had no desire to experience the real thing! But only thunderstorms turned up
So much to take in ...loads of American history here, the civil war wrecked the comfortable lives of plantation owners who had been born with silver spoons in their mouths, forcing some of them to live in reduced circumstances.
Not much mention was made of the slaves whose slave labour had made all of this luxury lifestyle possible though ...and slave quarters had been demolished generally although we did see one building, used for other purposes now, where once there were hundreds.
Leaving all this grandeur we crossed to the Louisiana side over an impressively high & gleaming new Mississippi bridge, our GPS didn't know about it or the roads on the Louisiana side, which was annoying as we ended up at a dead-end former ferry crossing & had to back-track.
We spent a couple of nights in Lafayette, which is only about 2-3 hours from New Orleans. Lafayette a town where everyone seems to be enjoying life to the utmost.
We spent a couple of relaxing days & nights there, visiting Cajun villages & theme villages, sampling some tasty local food & our hostess Leslie put us on the right track for lively zydeco in a former seed & feed store. Quite a few of the men wear cowboy hats & boots & shirts neatly pressed ...it's quite a sight when the dance-floor gets packed. I had a go at it ...so much fun ... learned a few pointers for next time! ha ha
There are several kinds of music down here, the zydeco is black music, with accordion, washboard & guitars but no fiddles ...whereas creole has the fiddles. I need to read up about the music down here, there's more to it than this sketchy outline! Whatever ...it's good fun & so catchy it has everyone dancing their feet off! In one of the theme villages I somehow ended up singing Ave Maria with a 90 year old French fiddle player ...don't ask! I never sing that. Strange things happen on journeys ...
Now we're in New Orleans, rather tired from the pace of last week to say the least, but we managed to totter around the amazing French Quarter already today. Love those beautiful houses with flower-draped & bead-draped balconies overhead. Astonishing. Lots of people around & rather noisy after the countryside, although we're staying out of the tourist area with AirBnB hosts. We'll be taking it easy today to save ourselves for Jazz Fest which starts in a few days ...Friday here, which is Saturday at home.
Three weeks of the trip to go! I think we can make it ...
Hope this makes sense, it's not even 5am here, looks like the middle of the night is the best time to write ...but I'm going back for another snooze now ...
We're fine, a long way from the bombs ...we didn't know about them until much later on Facebook.
In Memphis & travelling fast this week so I can't keep up with the blog too much until we get to New Orleans. We'll be there for 9 days.
Nashville was fun, we loved the Grand Ole Opry & the Country Music Hall of Fame especially the Patsy Cline exhibition, that's so moving it made me cry!
Our Memphis visit is a fast one, been packing in so much music & an amazing visit to Gracelands, Elvis's home & grave site, the memorial garden where the family is buried. Sad but peaceful.
...& the most excellent Rock 'n Soul museum ...& Sun Records where Rock 'n Roll was born ...all of these yesterday as well as 2 nights of music on Beale Street.
AND the Peabody Ducks ...I'd better explain about them ...the ducks live in a duck palace on the roof garden of the Peabody hotel in Memphis. At 11 every morning they come down in the elevator & run along a red carpet to the fountain, where they splash happily for the rest of the day. So cute!
We LOVE Memphis! They know how to have fun here, music is everywhere & we haven't been shot at, so that's a bonus!
Today we pick up a car & will drive down the Delta to Clarksdale & stay o'nite at Greenwood, then 2 days Natchez & 2 days Lafayette. New Orleans by Sunday ...which is Monday Australia time
Photos coming ...eventually ...
Sorry about the blog delay, we're now travelling fast for the next week ...will get around to it as soon as possible, promise!!
We've had 2 nights Nashville, now on our second night Memphis, to the Mississippi Delta area tomorrow, will be driving it.
Like two speeding bullets but it's all fantastic! We don't dare lie down on the bed or we won't get out to Beale Street & we just have to!!
Location: Chicago, USA
It was so good to arrive in a foreign city & be swooped up by a dear friend, one I have only known online from SingSnap but who has been a real as real could be. And now she was really there in the flesh! Tas was exactly as I imagined her, as was Frank in NYC ...how amazing is that???
As you have seen from the pics we got right into the real living neighbourhood side of Chicago, to Greek Town for a fabulous Greek experience.
We really like Chicago, so easy to get around and the architecture so stunning we have been looking upward for days on end.
We've been lucky to discover accommodation close to all the city sights in River North. Views from every window & surrounded by lights by night. So convenient, and we can have a sleep-in most mornings because of being in the middle of the action.
The photo tell the story, we have been able to see so much in spite of the weather, the moral of the story being if you are lucky enough to wake up to a blue sky, make the most of it because it may not last. So we did. And we're so glad we took that river architectural cruise and ascended the Hancock Tower on the first day, because the fog moved in and there would be nothing to see from those viewpoints now.
Luckily, there are plenty of indoor options, or just walking the streets, bundled up against the cold. This is when I'm glad we didn't leave the feathery-filled coats behind :-)
Tonight we'll go out for dinner & no doubt I'll find something to add to the pics ...Chicago is great! get yourselves here :-)
BTW we're going out for deep dish pizza because it's the signature dish of Chicago. So it has to taste good, right??
Tomorrow, to Nashville, an entirely different kettle of fish!
Location: St Louis, USA
A short & sweet visit 3 night to St Louis Missouri, we packed in a lot in 2 days, so that's how come I'm writing this from Chicago!
After New York, St Louis seemed so quiet & slowed down several gears ... especially in the airport, no throngs rushing hither & thither, in fact very few people at all.
The lady at the desk took great pains to make sure we found our way to the train, we have never had such clear instructions anywhere! so it was dead easy to get into town & then get a taxi to the address, which was cunningly hidden in a little maze of ever-decreasing streets, the taxi driver's GPS went completely mad & had him going around in circles for a while!
This was another AirbnB accommodation, an historic home in a character-filled neighbourhood about 4 km from the city, which is about the same distance we are from our city. Really it would have been easier with a car as the only bus seemed to take an age & our host, while nice & friendly, was absent on our arrival & didn't have any info or schedules lying about for us ...so we wasted some time bumbling about looking for the bus.
But once we got sorted, we loved St Louis & spent a relaxing couple of days especially down by the riverside where the famous arch soars upwards a a symbol to Jefferson & his Westward Expansion scheme.
Cruising down the Mississippi for an hour or so gives another perspective on this hard-working river, and our run of sunny weather continued so we could bask in summery temperatures.
Then we had to ascend the arch. as you do!
Once upon a time I wouldn't have done this, not being fond of enclosed spaces or heights, however, boldness must come with age! So we sat in a little capsule with three boys who were here for the football. And up we went ... it took 4 minutes but at least you stay sitting upright & it's lit all the way so you can see many stairs & workings. Nothing like a roller coaster ride.
The view from the top is worth the effort.
And the museum at the bottom is great.
Tim showed us the deli down the road which has live blues & other music twice a week. We caught a little of the first show & it was excellent.
The deli is packed for these events with wildly enthusiastic music fans, so you have to line up outside the building to get in let alone order anything. Which is essential because the food is great too. But there's plenty of memorabilia to look at allover the walls, so that's a cool an experience in itself.
We trotted along to BBs in town, a great place for smoked BBQ on the weekends, & live music. The best of course doesn't start until after 10pm until late, but we were ready for bed by then.
We met such a lovely couple on the second night who shared our table, Katie & Woody, they insisted on driving us home. Thank you both if you're reading this! Very friendly people here, everyone we talked to gave us ideas on what to see or where to eat.
As you see from the photos the architecture is lovely, such quaint & pretty houses in our local area, which hosts Mardi Gras every year, big event second only to New Orleans.
There's a big park which is good for a brisk walk in the fresh air, and the bus passes some fine old university buildings.
It was marathon weekend, but the ones doing the Mature Mile in the park should be applauded because its quite a long way to wheel a walking frame or walk with a stick, roll along in a chair ...there were busloads of them, all looked like they were having a lot of fun.
Next day, St Louis marathon day, a big event. Tim said some of the streets would be closed so we might have trouble getting a bus to connect with the train to the airport ...but he eventually offered, after I'd gasped & turned pale & wrung my hands with anguish, to drive us & our baggage to the train. OMG it was only a couple of km we would have done that for our guests without thinking about it.
Anyway, thank goodness he came through! It was so easy. The train was filled with runners & more waiting on the stations ...a lively trip.
So yes, put St Louis on the list as a nice town to visit.
Just rent a car if you're not staying in a hotel.
I hope all of this makes sense ...
Next news from Chicago, where we are right now!
Location: Brooklyn NYC, USA
Well I'll keep this brief as I've just had a marathon photo update & the pictures as always tell the story.
So let's leave it at that, anyway we're going down to socialise with our lovely Brooklyn hosts now as we're going on to St Louis in the morning.
We've seen two Broadway shows, been on a juke joint tour of Harlem, I've sung in Harlem, also in East Village while having dinner with friends & last night in the home studio here sang Bessie Smith with a rockabilly band while wearing slippers & drinking red wine. All great fun!
We've been uptown & downtown & right down the bottom of town & on the Staten Island Ferry, visited the memorial to the twin towers people who died September 11, waved at the statue of liberty, heard jazz in an apartment on Easter Sunday ...Brooklyn Bridge walk, Coney Island & finally the Empire State building. No wonder we're sleeping well!!Gasp!!
Meet me in St Louis Louis meet me at the fair ...tralala ...that's a song from the movie based on the 1910 World Fair!!!
Sorry about the punctuation & lack of upper case :-)
Bye for now from us both xx