Up early to take the kids to the airport. Then pick up a Turo Toyota Corolla, but sadly the USB port doesn’t work so the Car Play doesn’t work and that an essential for our 4,000 mile road trip. Pedro takes us to Toyota to try and get it fixed and after a 2.5 hour wait they confirm the USB is faulty and they’ll have to order a part which won’t arrive until Monday. As you can imagine I’m totally pissed off.
Pedro offers to let us have a Toyota Camry that is being returned tomorrow, for the same price as the Corolla, I ask him to drop it off for 08:00 tomorrow.
Use the corolla to get home.
It’s a very quiet night in with no rug rats running wild or at war with one another.
Continuing our Turo saga Pedro drops off the Toyota Camry. Its a lovely car so much bigger and more comfy than the Corolla. It’s great to drive as it has adaptive convoy style cruise control and auto central lane control, makes driving so much more pleasant.
We set off on the first leg of our 4,000 mile road trip to visit Oklahoma, no idea why as everyone laughs when we mention it, also include Nebraska, two out six states we’ve never been to. Also include Hot Springs National Park, another first for us. First stop will be Tallahassee. We’ve been there before so it’s just an overnight stop. Hotel room is
Some interesting food offerings on the way include Camel Jerky, Goat Jerky and Moonshine Jelly (that was really tempting). Then we come across the National Peanut Festival.
The hotel has an Applebees attached, so we risk it for dinner. Problem is not only is the hostess as rough as a badgers arse, the tables are sticky and even the floor is that sticky that it’s like wading through treacle. When the hostess finally deigns to welcome us she informs us that there’s a 30 minute wait – as you can probably imagine we vote with our feet.
Let’s try the Olive Garden, we can walk to it. There’s a 45 minute wait for a table and the car parks littered with patient Americans. Having just survived 17 days of Disney queues you’d think this would be a doddle, but we vote with our feet.
End up walking to MacDonalds where Wendy is proudly offered a luke warm tea with half and half, sacrilege and a sin punishable by a severe lecture on how to serve tea. Cold latte machine is not working, but by now we’re totally brassed off and would gladly eat a fur sandwich.
Get to start watching “House of the Dragon” on my iPad.
What is it with the American obsession of restaurants and their “Wait to be Seated” and Hostesses who really don’t want to be disturbed by you or welcome you. Americans seems quite content with patiently waiting and being grateful for the privilege.
Up at the crack of sparrows, a legacy from the grandkids and Disney.Can you believe it there’s no breakfast. The staff haven’t turned up. Seems a regular event judging by some of the comments. A Great start to the day. So what are you going to do about it …. Nothing was the reply it’s only complementary. …. No we’ve paid for it in the price ! You will have to speak to the manager was her reply, ok we will speak to him …. Sorry you can’t he’s not in today . …. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!
Phone him and leave a message asking for a full refund – punitive damages. Of course, being an incompetent waste of oxygen, he fails to return my call. Time to get onto Booking.com for a refund.
But every cloud has a silver lining. Call at IHOP for breakfast. First time there. Wow what a great junk food place it was, haute cuisine at its best. We’ll be going to a few more of these on this trip. Wendy was not so impressed, no appreciation of the finer things in life.
Set off to Birmingham Alabama. It’s another very pleasant 5 hour drive with no hold up and interesting and relatively quiet roads and inter-state. This Toyota Camry is great to drive. You can tell you’re in the bible belt when you see signs like “Go to church or the devil will get you” and just in case you need god there’s a church every two miles.
Hotel in Birmingham is a Best Western. Very comfortable and great suite. Let’s hope there’s breakfast.
Dinner consists of a Subway. Would have been a Taco Bell for me but web site decided it didn’t want to show me pictures of there food, so voted with my feet.
Up early and yes there’s breakfast. Not bad either, scrambled eggs and sausage. Pass on the biscuits and gravy, need to summon up the courage for that one morning as it seems the staple diet of all Americans.
We’ve been to Birmingham before but the Civil Rights museum was closed on Sundays and Mondays as tourists never go anywhere on a Monday. Museum is interesting and very well done, even if the staff are over officious, must have a toilet brush up their rectums and need to justify their existence. Do a civil rights walk around the landmarks. What a depressing run down area it’s in. It’s quite shocking to realise that all of the civil rights abuses, despite supreme court rulings, were carried out in our lifetime – unbelievable. And now we have the reaction to that era with the woke snowflakes whining, the cancel culture, DEI and 1619 project.
Decide to have a coffee whilst we plan what to do with the rest of the day. Try two cafes and neither of them sell coffee. Must be the only two un- American cafes in the country. Do they not realise this is America and coffee is the National drink.
That’s all soon over so what to do for the afternoon. Well we could go to the American Village, it had a great Oval Office and colonial style village with characters in period dress, but turns out we’ve been there back in 2013. We could go to Vulcan Park, but again we’ve been there and done that. Decide to go to the Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park. Wendy has her picnic there, despite being consumed by NoSeeUmms. It’s interesting to explore the museum and view the ironworks etc.
Mongolian combo for tea tonight followed by quiet, alcohol free, evening in watching Netflix. It seems the hotels Wi-Fi overrides my DNS settings.
Moral of todays excursion is review my blog to see where we’ve been before – see http://blogs.4uand.me.uk/2013/05/20130429-wendy-in-the-oval-office/.
Why are American toilets designed for peeping Toms and perverts with there gaps around doors etc so anyone can see you on the throne? Surely a simple “Occupied” slider would be less intrusive.
Set off for our longest drive from Birmingham to Little Rock. That’s 4 states Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas. A nightmare journey see rants below. Starts with low tyre pressure warning.
After +8 hours, and a terrifying drive on the interstates around Little Rock we finally get to our hotel.
Tea tonight is a trip to Wholefoods for soup and cheesecake.
Excitement mounts as we start watching the crown.
DDSS Daily Dose of Sublime Stupidity
What is it with American air pumps. Firstly you have to pay but there’s no pressure gauge to pump up to the right pressure. Instead there’s an obliging but ridiculous picture of how your tyres should look when at the right press, very scientific – unbelievable. How can you determine pressure with any accuracy. Instead Wendy sits in the car shouting out the pressure readings from the dashboard. What happens if you’re on your own or your car doesn’t have tyre pressure readout. Then to add insult to injury the nozzle lets out more air than it puts in, so actually fix one tyre but make another worse.
2nd Dose of DDSS
20 minute tailback. Why? Because some numpty road worker has left a “Right Lane Close Ahead” sign on the hard shoulder so everyone’s moving over causing a major traffic jam on the 2 lane interstate, when there is no lane closure. One guy has the right idea though as he skateboards down the hard shoulder – only in America.
Yes, there’s breakfast.
Set off to Hot Springs National Park. It’s amazing who you bump into on road trips, this morning we hear from our friends Helen and George (who we met in Park City several years ago ) that they are staying in the area . Turns out that Helen and George are in the area so we agree to meet for lunch. What a coincidence. You just can’t go anywhere in this little country without dumping into folk you know.
We have a drive around the mountain in search of the Visitor centre. Most illusive. Turns out to be on the Main Street in one of the bath houses, times are hard, so no sign. Probably due to Covid, seems to be the main excuse for all forms of incompetence and inadequacy these days. Hot Springs National Park not a park like we imagined it’s actually a spa town where people came to take baths in the hot spring waters . Lots of very beautiful old buildings which housed the baths , it was interesting.
Visit the Visitor Centre and explore the bath house exhibit and top up with free spring water – cool. Then take a stroll along the Grand Promenade to see some of the hot springs.
Amazing people come along with containers to top up with free hot Spring water from the taps outside the visitor centre, a bit like Lourdes. Hot Springs NP is certainly different from most NP, it seems the whole town with its multiple old bath houses is the NP. Interesting, all from a different era.
Meet Helen and George and their friends. Have a long chin wag, must be 3 years since we’ve seen them so a lot to catch up on and a lot of the World to put right. Then we go to lunch at an Irish Pub. It was great to meet up with them and their friends Rita and John for Lunch in Hot Springs.
Drive up to the watch tower for awesome views over Arkansas and then take a drive back, along the back roads to avoid that demmic interstate. Visit a massive Kroger for some vitals then back to the hotel for a quiet night in watching the Crown – what party animals we are.
Explore Little Rock today. Start off with a tour of the State Capitol building. It’s empty so we’re left towander around with a self guided tour book.
Then it’s off to the Clinton Presidential Library. Greedy buggers charge for entry but despite being a democratic president it’s very interesting and well done. Never realised what a landslide victory he had.
It seems like Little Rock is named after some Little Rock’s on the side of the Mississippi River so off I go to see them, Wendy stays in the car, it’s too cold.
Came across this potential junk food, banana water pudding, in Kroger today so just had to try it. Even I have to admit it was just too creamy, sweet and sickly – gross.