Our big trip this year is to the USA – a road trip – my husbands’ choice. Ty loves a road trip and he loves the US of A. So four and a bit weeks driving around parts of America is a dream to him. I’m a little more reserved on that front. Europe is my ‘thing’ and I find the US daunting in a number of ways but more of that later.
This trip we have been lucky enough to find a house sitter for our beloved old cat….it’s winter in Australia and placing her in a cattery, although she would be well looked after, didn’t sit well with us this time. We placed an advert on a house sitting website and, amongst others, Janelle applied for the task, her references were excellent and, it seems, puss even liked her when she came to introduce herself and meet us so Janelle is looking after the house and puss for the duration of our holiday.
We hadn’t booked business class tickets this time we had a large number of frequent flyer points so crossed our fingers and decided to use them to request an upgrade. Luckily, we received a text message the day before our flight to say we had received the upgrade on the Sydney/ Dallas leg. That message helped Ty get through his last working day before his leave commenced and we all know how hard that last working day before our annual leave can be. It’s the best feeling walking out that door of your office knowing you won’t be back for a month…..damn do we really have to go back? No more talk of work….we’ve got a great adventure ahead. Admittedly people who trek the highest mountain or kayak down a raging river would not think our holiday was an adventure but I’ve got to find the smallest meals available in the US and, trust me, that’s an adventure for me, people that know my eating habits will agree.
We arrived at the airport around 10am and checked in, straight through customs and up to the Qantas business class lounge for breakfast by 10.40am. Champagne and orange juice was a good choice whilst I decided on what to eat! Well, as the song says ‘It’s 5 o’clock somewhere’. The departure time for our flight was 1.00pm boarding from 12.15.
After settling into our seats the cabin crew came around to offer champagne and collect our breakfast menu choices. One of the cabin crew came along and in conversation, jokingly,asked why my last name was different to Ty’s. ‘What is wrong with his name that you don’t want to take it?’ It was a lighthearted conversation as Ty made comments about me still using my previous name in case I wanted to go back to my previous husband. However the funniest part was when another cabin crew member came up to hand out the US entry cards. Staff member said when she first looked at Ty’s name she read it as ‘tv starr’ and thought he might have been travelling incognito and not wanting anyone to recognise him by name either. Later, after dinner, Ty opted for a cheese plate but as he doesn’t like blue vein they were making a special plate for him. When another crew member brought the plate up he said ‘ Here you are Mr tv starr’. So I suppose for the rest of the flight he will be known as tv starr. I did say to Ty just as well my name is different otherwise they’d be calling me Mrs tv Starr!
‘Where are we visiting in the US’ I hear you asking. Well, be patient, I was getting to that…..
As I mentioned we are flying into Dallas/Fort Worth and we’ll stay here for couple of days. Might find me some cowboy boots or not! Read that sentence with a Texan accent.
From Dallas we head to Atlanta, Washington DC, New York, Boston, Niagara Falls, Nashville, Memphis, Denver to visit friends and back to Dallas for a day or two before heading home. A total road trip of 31 days and a couple of those days are long on the drive bit. We have 5 nights with no accommodation booked because we will drive for as long as we can on those days. These drive says will take us around or through Chicago Illinois , Kentucky, Kansas and a couple of other undecided places. So, my valued readers, keep an eye on my blogs I’ll do my best to keep them updated as we travel around.
Quite a few of the passengers have changed into their Qantas pj’s so I think it’s also time for me to settle back and relax on the flight…the cabin crew have made my bed and I’m thinking a massage is in order before I retire. A masseuse in business class you’re saying…..no the seat has an inbuilt massage feature. I’ve also resisted the urge to put the pj’s on….I’m not sure I want to be one of the crowd in my grey pj’s with black kangaroo on the front. There’s no male/female difference in shape or design. Although I think the pj bottoms are a good idea as it will stop your pants from becoming all creased whilst you’re sleeping.
Flying into Texas a large body of water came into view and lots of green space…this surprised me given my perception of Texas was a dry state with hardly any water or lush green grass. The body of water is Lake Worth. Dallas Fort Worth airport area is massive although getting out of airport was relatively painless the longest wait time was for our luggage. The weather was extremely hot but a welcome change from the winter at home.
Conveniently the bus to the car rentals area arrived within a minute of us reaching the pick up point. Once on the bus Ty pointed to an advert on the bus for a café open from 7am to 8pm in the car rental centre. Now who wants to sit around a car rental centre? Most of us want to pick up the car and head to our hotel or next destination not linger around a car rentals area. When we arrived at the centre it was set out very much like a shopping centre. The main feature taking pride of place in the centre was a very large statue of a 2 bulls on a platform suspended from the ceiling.
By quart to 3 we had the car packed and ready to head to our hotel for a very welcome shower. Leaving the airport was easy, the freeways are 4 and 5 lanes each way and we couldn’t help but comment that Dallas loves a flyover or 2 or 3….they are everywhere! The GPS told us the hotel was a 15 minute drive from the airport however that was without the traffic factor. Traffic had slowed a bit and suddenly all lanes of traffic came to a halt. We eventually arrived at the hotel around 4pm. Car temperature gauge was showing 104 F outside.
The hotel is in a quiet area of Fort Worth, not isolated though, there is a shopping complex across the road.
Showered, refreshed we headed to The Stockyards, a historical area where cattle was brought in to Texas for sale and distribution. Cowboy town full of bars, museums, venues with country music artists, rodeos and shops selling cowboy and cowgirl clothing. We were starving so chose the H3 steak restaurant for dinner. Did we have steak? No I had the lemon shrimp and Ty chose the pork…..we decided to have guacamole dip and corn chips as our appetiser…..the dip was made at the table with 2 avocados! Our hunger pains had dulled our knowledge of the American love affair with large quantities of food per person at each sitting and our pact to share our meals. Well, we did share the dip but before the main meals arrived so did a large salad for each of us. We struggled through what we could and the prawns were amazing so I couldn’t waste those. I needed a drink and the post mix Coca Cola wasn’t very drinkable. The water mixed with the syrup had a strong flavour so my only other option was a Margarita…mango and pineapple. Once again forgetting the upsize of everything I ordered one….the glass it came in looked more like a mini fruit bowl and weighed as much as a fruit bowl full of the heaviest fruit you could find. I managed to lift it off the table and towards my mouth….luckily it came with a large straw. I made a comment to the waitress about the size it and the size of a margarita at home. ‘Would you like another nip of alcohol to add to it’ she asked. ‘No’,I replied laughing ‘another nip and instead of walking along the street I’d be crawling and that’s not a good look’.
After dinner we wandered around town for an hour or so to walk off dinner. At 8pm we headed back to the hotel. Tomorrow it’s all about country, Cowboys and Gas Monkey garage. Stay tuned……..