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USA trip preview

It’s nearly time! Years in the pipeline and months in the planning will next week see Mike and I arrive in the US for three intensive weeks of… stuff.

The focus is east and south, the original scope included west as well but anticipated work pressures forced us to jettison that part. (This time.)

Unfortunately the political nonsense going on seems likely to have an impact. It’s a frustrating coincidence that our trip should coincide with the first Federal Govt shutdown in 17 years. Sigh.

Anyhow this is a rundown of what’s ahead…

New York City (4 nights). Three full days isn’t nearly long enough but we’ve spent a lot of time reading and planning (we’re that type of people). Highlights will include the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge, Top of the Rock, Central Park, World Trade Centre Memorial, Roosevelt Island, Coney Island, various neighbourhood walks and a preseason NBA game. I’ve been here twice before, the last time fleetingly…

Site of the World Trade Centre, 2004

Site of the World Trade Centre, 2004

Competition for my breakfast in Battery Park, 2004

Competition for my breakfast in Battery Park, 2004

Washington DC (2 nights). This will be my third visit to DC and Mike’s first. I like the place (clearly!) but much of what we want to do will probably be closed. We’re especially disappointed about the National Mall Monuments & Memorials, but we’ve also organised visiting times in the Capitol and National Archives. Never mind, we’ll still make the most of it. One highlight will be an NHL match – I had wanted to see hockey on my last trip, but managed to coincide those travels (anyone see a pattern?) with the 2004-05 lockout which cancelled the whole season.

View from the top of the  Washington Monument, 2004

View from the top of the Washington Monument, 2004

Visiting Arlington Cemetery in 2004

Visiting Arlington Cemetery in 2004

Virginia (1 night). We pick up a car in DC (must remember: keep right!) and will make stops at Arlington, then Fredericksburg for some Civil War trail exploration. From there it’s a short hop over to the Belle Grove Plantation, a renovated historical plantation mansion recently opened as a bed and breakfast. I found this place via fellow WordPress blogger, Michelle, one of the proprietors. I’m looking forward to meeting them and experiencing some grandeur and history!

North Carolina (2 nights). We start the NASCAR theme of the trip here :). A few hours drive south takes us to the area around Charlotte where many teams are based. A few race shops will be receiving visits from us…

Alabama (3 nights). A massive sporting weekend will begin with a sprint down to Talladega to catch some of the practice day. We’ll base ourselves in Birmingham from where we’ll head south on Saturday to Tuscaloosa for college football. Sunday is race day! Back to Talladega we go. Seeing a NASCAR event was our no.1 priority for the trip, preferably at this track. (This will compensate for missing the Bathurst 1000 race in Australia which is usually my most sacred television day of the year.)

New Orleans (3 nights). As far west as we’ll go. On the way down we’ll catch up with my relation Dave and his wife MaryAnn who I stayed with in Florida nine years ago. It will be great to see them again. The two full days in NOLA that will follow doesn’t give us long to get to know her but a half-day small tour by van and a short-list of what we want to see and do on foot will give us a flavour of the place.

With Dave and MaryAnn in 2004

With Dave and MaryAnn in 2004

Miami Beach (3 nights). We fly to Miami and pick up another car. Staying in South Beach means we can suss out that famed Art Deco architecture as well as get a teensy bit of seaside r&r. The next day we drive roughly one-third the way down the Florida Keys with bookings to go snorkelling and kayaking. An early start the following morning is required to get over to the everglades for an airboat tour. That night I have a NASCAR ride experience booked at Homestead Speedway!

Daytona Beach (1 night). On the way north we stop at Kennedy Space Centre and Govt shutdown permitting, we have a tour booked. (And if not – I wonder if we’ll get a refund? That place ain’t cheap.) The next morning our NASCAR theme endeth with a visit to the Daytona Speedway. Or in my case, another visit.

I'm a winner, sort of. At Daytona Speedway, 2004

I’m a winner, sort of. At Daytona Speedway, 2004

That afternoon we fly home out of Orlando. Shattered, quite probably!

When plans go awry.. how I left Florida in 2004, courtesy of my cousin Mike (then a flight instructor), and thanks to an impending hurricane

When plans go awry.. how I left Florida in 2004, courtesy of my cousin Mike (then a flight instructor), and thanks to an impending hurricane

With so much wifi around, if not much time, my plan is to blog a summary each day and catch up on things in more depth when time permits.

And now there’s nothing for it but to get through these last few stressful days of work – it’s not a good time to be going away, but that’s life – and make sure I leave enough time to pack.

See you soon America, even if you are partially shut. (Grrr.)

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Marnie #

    Looks good Hayley! Similar bits and pieces here to what we have already done, or what we hope to do on our impending US trip, sans NASCAR. We’re hoping to go back to Kennedy Space Centre this time as well. One highlight of last visit, was of a 3D movie out in space. Wish I’d seen more movies instead of having Lunch with an Astronaut! We also brought home a pack of freeze-dried strawberries – they were amazing. Mind you, that was a few years ago now, when those sorts of things were not available in one’s local supermarket! It’s an amazing place.
    Have fun.
    xxx Marnie

    4 October 2013
    • It had been part of my 2004 plan until we had to get out of Dodge! Funny you’ll be there so soon after us. x

      4 October 2013
  2. Janice Strong #

    Looks and sounds a great trip Hayley and looking forward to the blogs. Have not commented on recent ones as have had my head in assignments and you know what that’s like but will be mostly free of that by the time you get to the US. So inconvenient of the Govt shutdown. Still sounds fantastic. See you on the blogs.
    Janice xxx

    4 October 2013
    • Thanks Janice. All the best for your assignments – I remember that juggle and pressure all too well! x

      5 October 2013
      • Janice Strong #

        Thanks Hayley

        5 October 2013
  3. What a fantastic trip you have planned! You’re really getting to areas close to where I’ve lived and visited. I never got further south than Orlando, so am eager to read/see your impressions of South Beach and the Keys … and see “my” places through your 2013 eyes! Hope work isn’t too stressful, your packing and travel to the States isn’t either, and you have a wonderful time … in spite of this ridiculous shut down. Safe and fun travels!

    5 October 2013
    • Thanks very much, Cindi! A neat coincidence that I’ll be nearing some of your old stomping grounds. I’m really looking forward to experiencing the places I’ve not been to before. A solid weekend in the office will help get things under control – I’m hanging out for that feeling of freedom and peace of mind once I get on the plane.

      5 October 2013
  4. Once you’re on that plane, girl…. 🙂
    I’m jealous.

    5 October 2013
    • Can’t beat that ‘plane feeling’! :). Thanks for reading, Jo.

      5 October 2013
  5. Awesome! I am jealous also. 🙂

    5 October 2013
  6. wow great itinerary!

    14 October 2013
  7. Yet another case of people coming to this country and seeing more of it than I have, I look forward to your help in getting to know the place! And I understand the time issues with heading out west, but I highly recommend it if you get the chance someday. Redwood forests, better beaches, and (some say) nicer people… Bon voyage!
    PS. And sorry about the shutdown…we’re normally better than that!

    23 October 2013
    • I like to think that my presence in Washington hastened the end of the shutdown :). It’s often the way though isn’t it, travellers seeing more of your backyard than you – especially when you usually prioritise going further afield. There’s loads I want to see on the west coast so it will happen!

      24 October 2013

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