The Road Trip

The family road trip, it brings back many memories.  And not all of them are good.

My mind goes back to July 1966, my parents had taken me away for a road trip, Italy, Yugoslavia, I was very lucky the way that we saw Europe, it certainly expanded my horizons.  So there we were, a late Saturday afternoon on the bridge over the Rhine in Cologne, stretching our legs, admiring the view, when I heard cheering from a car radio.  And I realised that my parents had lied to me, they had told me it was an evening kick off.  We did watch the game in the evening, in a German bar, but by then the damage was done.  I would always know where I was when England won the World Cup, no-where.

Yep, road trips are very evocative, and can create memories that last forever, good ones and bad ones.  I had sold our American adventure to the kids based on seeing the “promised land”.   But when we got the kids into American schools we realised that they get less holidays than in the UK, a week in October, two weeks at Xmas, and a week at Easter.  So the opportunities for a trip during this week, the “fall break”, was too good to be missed.

An argument ensued when it was realised we would be away during that very strange American experience, Halloween.  The families round here were going crazy, there were tombstones in the garden over the road.  Ghosts were hanging from every tree.  But we went on the road trip any way, we did it, because it was there.

Utah is the next state west of Colorado, directly over the hills, the Rocky Mountains, nearly two miles up at the highest crossing point.  This is America, so the “freeway” is straight, and after leaving the metropolitan area around Denver, there is little traffic at this time of year.  We drive past the ski slopes at Breckenridge and Vail, just 100 miles from us on the south side of Denver.  Something to look forward to there I suspect.

We stop for lunch in Georgetown, an old mining town in the hills.  Very historic, all of 100 years old, “historic”, I ask you.

It is worth mentioning at this point that eating out in America is different to anywhere in Europe.  There is just so much choice, from burgers, to steaks, to Mexican, to any Italian.  In fact, anything but Indian (or Bangladeshi) curry.  If you do visit America, don’t have a curry, they really don’t get the flavour at all, I really miss our dear friend Mr Choudhury. 

We even went to a restaurant which served burgers laced with Jam, Bacon, Peanut Butter and Cheese, a JBPBCB. 

In America, you can eat out at a different restaurant every night, and almost all of it is good.  Needless to say, the portions can be ridiculous, does anyone need to eat a 12 oz steak?  There is a huge obesity problem in America, no surprise, a large part of America eats too much. 

We went to Canyonlands and the Arches National Park, but it is a strange thing about the Parks in Utah that most of the inhabitants of Denver have never been there.  It is only a 6 hour drive, 350 miles, freeway nearly all the way, and what fantastic sights.  A 300 foot natural arch, vast canyons, and huge sandstone buttes.  In some ways not as dramatic as further down the Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is 400 miles further south, past the wonderful Monument Valley.  But huge, dramatic and really very moving.

If you watch western movies, this is the habitat you will be used to.  We ended the trip at Dead Horse Point, paying homage to Thelma and Louise, dreaming of a better life as they went over the edge.

Great stuff, nothing like it in Europe, and out of season so there was almost no-one there.  Particularly no Americans, you can tell, because they always say hello, whereas the Japanese and the Europeans ignore you on the trail,

So we are back home to watch the final stages of the election, and the adverts seem unbelievably rude for us polite English folk, but more on that after it reaches a conclusion next week.    

The weather was lovely all week for us, 60 degrees and over, but nature showed who was boss on the East Coast with New Jersey and Manhattan under water with over 50 fatalities, and there are still millions still without power.  And even after this 30% of the US population still don’t believe in global warming, astounding lack of attention to reality.  Romney wants to cut all investment in new energy, to us Europeans the interest groups in US politics are very obvious.

And we got to our first football game, sorry “soccer”.  Loved it, but I really didn’t understand why after every goal the man in the “Arsenal Gunners” tent let off a huge explosion.  Very bizarre, and not reflected in a very polite game, with no diving, no poor fouls, and the few away fans mixed in with the home fans.  In fact, a completely different demographic, the majority of supporters were families with kids, at least as many girls as boys.

The two Colorado Rapids centre halves were under 5 foot 9, but Houston never put them under pressure. 

Apart from this, everything is big in America, it is hard not to be impressed by the American Dream.  Shame there aren’t any pubs though.  Image

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