USA

Skip past the photos to the USA tips, reasons to go and highlights here.

USA – Should You Go?

Well yeeeehaaaawww!!! I love America! I also hate some aspects of it! The food is amazing, once you remember not to order a starter, because they are like a main meal. The USA is enormous of course and takes a lifetime all on its own to explore. I have been several times for family and work and the country always fascinates.

Must see places and sights

New York

Plenty to see and do here. A trip up the Empire State Building at night is recommended. A ride on Staten Island Ferry is a great way to take in a gawp at the Statue of Liberty. Central Park is famous for the joggers and is a good way to escape the hustle and bustle. When we were there (January 2002) the World Trade Centre sites were just called ground zero and basically 2 big holes in the ground. It was interesting to see. Riding around on the subway was easy and a good way to explore.

New Orleans

Jazz, food, history. I have been there several times and was there for a bit after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. The level of devastation was shocking. I spent a day helping to build houses for those who had lost theirs. Mardi Gras is famous of course but even when it’s not on, a visit to the French Quarter and stroll down Bourbon Street is essential. Further afield you can take a ride out to the swamps on an air boat and do some alligator spotting. For a more sedate experience, get a paddle boat ride up the Mississippi.

The Grand Canyon

Well OK, I did go mental with my camera. This has got to be one of the most jaw-dropping natural wonders there is. Prepare for gawping! As you’d expect, the whole place is well organised.for visitors, complete with a free “hop on hop off” bus that travels up and down the rim of the canyon that stops at loads of scenic spots. I stayed in Flagstaff, which is a nice town, and also famous for getting your “kicks on Route 66” – whatever that means!

Hawaii

Still part of the USA, but far away from the mainland. I didn’t get any decent shots of the Hawaiian island of Maui when I was there, but my stay was unforgettable. Firstly, for watching humpback whales breaching from the beach. This activity is totally free of course but we also took in a boat trip to see them up close – truly awesome. Secondly for the longest free-wheeling bike ride in the world. You basically get in a van and get driven up Mount Haleakala. Once at the top you get on a bike and free-wheel all the way down over a few hours. There is literally one spot where you have to pedal for about 10 seconds, but that’s it. You finish on the beach. On the way down see if you see the Chuck Norris statue – in the garden of a mansion belonging to Chuck Norris.

Maybe see in America

Los Angeles

I had a stopover there and was within walking distance of Hollywood. With a day to kill on jetlag I ended up wandering around the main drag. I’m not into the glam and glitz at all, but it was interesting to look at all the stars on the boulevard. I also did an hour tour of Beverly Hills which was more interesting than I thought it would be – thanks to the driver.

San Francisco

Another layover on jetlag. Not enough time to see it properly, but too long to just sit it out in the hotel. I took a tram ride around the city and ended up on a short tour to Alcatraz which was excellent and much better than I expected.

Overall Score – 7.5/10