Two weeks in the North East of the USA and Canada.
Hello strangers, apologies for the radio silence, but, hey I have a life to live. Honest, stop looking at me like that, I do! As a reminder, this blog started nearly twelve months ago here,
Start at the bottom post and work up, some of the posts should be read in order, but hey, find your own path, I am not your spirit guide. Also, as with everything in life, views, thoughts, experiences change as time passes, so read them in the context they were meant when written and know that my views and thoughts have likely changed since then, but to rewrite would not be true to myself or you. This post is starting in a bar, 10th September, with a Bud Light on the go in Boston Logan Airport as I await my first of two flights back to the UK following an amazing fortnight in my younger brothers new home area. *(Edit note it is now 19 days later and I have only just felt the 'click' to finish this post)* In a snippet, here is the summary of the two weeks before I get into my thoughts of the time and flesh out some of the points
Flights, Boston, Red Sox, Bud Lights, Jet Lag, American flags, Hire Car, Portsmouth NH, The Goat, Bud Lights, Live Music, American flags, Bud Lights, Maine, Budweiser's, Potential Murder Motel, Stephen King, Bud Lights, Greg, American flags, Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Jaws Geek, 50!, American flags, Bud Lights, Flight, Canada, Friends, Michelob Ultras, Hello, Flight, East Coast, Salem, Bud Lights, Hugs, Flights, Bud Lights. Sam and I will have memories of that trip that will mean nothing to anyone else:
FBI, we were accused of being FBI and/or Secret Service and/or a part of the New World Order (to be clarified and defined), by one person, in one night, our 'fake' British accents were the clue, apparently.
We saw many live bands and they are all awesome, seriously, but if I never hear another rendition of Tracy Chapmans Fast Car, or Skynards Freebird, or Have You Ever Seen the Rain by CCR, trust me, I will sleep soundly...
Sam and I seem to have associations with trips. This one was; Big Bag of Seeds For Me. Indeed. I can't swim and the other saying's, usually after Bud Lights, many. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJ4_Bmg2daE
Wendy's having Sugar Free drinks of all the flavours, I have never seen anyone, until Sam, use a free refill drinks station like a shot bar...
The Goat, a bar in Portsmouth, where we met FBI man and also become a regular haunt, with interesting characters, now Sam's local.
Ooosh, I did pack some stuff into the fortnight. And it was amazing, every minute. I have been to the States a few times, focusing on the south in the main. One of those trips was a month long and one of the best holidays I have ever had, driving around the whole state of Florida, seeing it all, followed by a trip into Alabama, Mississippi and New Orleans, where we missed Katrina by a matter of hours.
It is fair to say that I adore the US, the driving is so simple and they have the best system where you can turn right on a red, something Jeremy Clarkson also agrees is a wonder of the modern world.
The people are some of the friendliest in the world, especially when they clock your English accent, they love to strike up a conversation, showing genuine interest in you. It is a gem. So why so long between visits?
Honestly, I do not know, life took me in other directions I guess, hey, if you are on this journey with me, you know that I am not one for being typical in any of my actions... Anyway this trip for my 50th was a bit lastminute.com, I know, who would have thought that I would not plan something on a grand scale and just go somewhere on a whim..? Initially, there was a plan. See, ok, I say 'plan' it was whimsical and without any substance, more of an idea, or even possibly just a one liner, like 'What about a road trip around Italy' said, or mentioned possibly (certainly) after a few beers in a Swiss Bar. The thought was that as I have Italian heritage, yet have never darkened its shores, and my birthday tied in with the last UCI World Cup DH Race and also the Italian GP, on bookend weekends, and Sam was close in Switzerland, it was perfect, we could road trip Italy. Curve ball, Sam gets the call up to move to the USA not long after I leave him in SwissLand (which is bland).
OK, I can go to Italy on my own, done solo trips before, easy, however... Sam is moving near Boston, that's near Cape Cad and in turn Martha's Vineyard, where Jaws was filmed... SHUT
THE FRONT DOOR! OK, for the uninitiated, I am a fan of the film Jaws, OK, OK, I can hear you, pipe down.
Yes it is a bit more than fandom. I am a geek for Jaws, there, I said it, and historically there was a plan for me to go to Martha's Vineyard for my 40th, but in 2012 I made life decisions that meant it did not come to fruition. I believe there is a magazine article out there about it... I am saying no more to protect the innocent and once loved. So now, we have the chance for me to go to the US and for me to be on Martha's Vineyard for my 50th Birthday. GIRLY FAN SCREAM. (apologies for the mild misogynistic comment) Well, that's exactly what happened and I was as geeky as it came, I took three different Jaws T-Shirts with me, for that day alone. Nope, no apologies. This is not a post about that one day, although, there is certainly a post in me about that, oosh it was 'something'. No, I want to sum up the US and Canada. I fell in love, all over again. Honest I had two hire cars in the time I was there, one was a Nissan Kicks, Google it, as the links are mahooosive when pasted. It is a small SUV, Audi Q2 size and we nicknamed it Rizzell... keep up, and it was perfect, if a little underpowered.
Automatic gearboxes are seriously overlooked in this country, select D, point and go, simples. I drove that little car for about 1200 miles and I loved every second, there is something about US road trips that just hit different, it is totally stress free. The second was a Chrysler Minivan, bit more of a beast, lots of toys, but less of the charm. Sam had to work for a large chunk of my time over there, so I took myself off and explored, I had an IHOP breakfast, still superb, https://www.instagram.com/ihop/?hl=en and a given of any US visit, free refills on the coffee and buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup... oosh.
I went to Maine, I stood outside Stephen Kings house, I saw sites that inspired his books and also filming locations, as well as the stunning Maine countryside. The Paul Bunyon statue freaked me out as did The Standpipe from IT as well as the house that was used for Pet Semetary, I stood on the road that Gage was killed on...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgbjvvCPa88 Although, as part of that trip, my biggest freak out was a stay in a proper US Motel, which for the UK audience is exactly like it is in the movies. To the very point that the motelier is in a back room from reception and asks you to fill out a form, before handing you a key to a 'shed' that you park out the front of and spend the night in, waiting for any version of any slasher horror film you want to imagine occur.
I went to Salem and along the east coast through the Hampton beaches, wow, the opposite side to our Atlantic beaches. Stunning. As part of the whole trip, we took a flight to Detroit and crossed the border to Windsor, Canada, to visit friends of Sam's, that he made whilst in his third year of Uni' in Toronto. Long story short, Sam was ill in 2016/17, I kept these friends updated of his progress, they became my friends by default, but I had yet to meet them. Wow, what a welcome, honestly. I was humbled, a little overwhelmed and eternally grateful. K and L, when you read this, please know that my gratitude runs deeper than I can ever express. Thank you for loving Sam, nearly, nearly(!), as much as I do and thank you for you allowing me to be a part of your lives.
Wagu Steaks! Although... my liver wants to have a word with you and a certain son-in-law of yours, Fireballs and Pink Whitney's are not my freind, as I believe was evident the day after... Canada, I think you have a bigger part of my heart, than the US does, I will be back and I think I would like to see that certain part of Canada, many more times.
There it is... Canada wins. I think I gave some insight into this US/Canadian trip and equally I know I have missed massive amounts of this trip. Hey, its your time, its not for me to steal. Life changing? Maybe, lets give it a go.
I need to finish with an ellipsis, an open ending, a lead into the next post, or as a message to those that know me, as that is my thing, apparently, yes, I know I made it my thing
The pressure oosh It could work, I believe that...