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Ding Ding

Hello again

I haven’t felt like blogging much lately. Up untill now, a lot of the things that have happened since I blogged last, have been things I don’t particularly want to remember. Looking back I suppose they weren’t that bad, they’re just not that good either.

I’ll focus on the good…. I got my new bike, (no thanks to you lot). It currently residing in my grandads shed until my new one arrives. I have the fear that it will be liberated from my crummy old shed. I’m looking forward to cycling again. Nothing more relaxing than cycling around listening to some good music. Therapeutic and good exercise!

A close friend of mine had a baby girl a few days ago. Little L was only 6 lbs and the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. I managed to visit her and hold the youngest human I’ve ever held at only 12 hours old. I’ve always grown up around kids.I am the oldest in my family and have a number of brothers and sisters that I can remember being young, not to mention my cousins! I like having kids around. I’m sure I’ve said something along these lines before – They’re more open and easier to talk to, they don’t complicate matters and say what they really mean and to top it off, If you upset them, they’re really easy to make up with. Although I’m not related to L, I was ecstatic when A asked if I would be little L’s god father. I don’t consider myself to be big-headed about anything really but I think I’d make a very good god parent. I become attached to people very easy and little L is no exception. I’m a little geeky and generous so hopefully I’ll be able to help her out with things throughout her life if she needs me. I’ll always be there for her. (Easy to say now, I know). This is the closest I’ve got to having my own child which I’m looking forward to.

I’ve wanted a tattoo to commemorate my Trek America holiday for some time now. I don’t go into things lightly though and have to think over non important things way more than I should before coming to a conclusion. To me though, this wasn’t a small deal. This was my first tattoo and I wanted to make sure hat it was something relevant and would remind me of America aswell as being something that I hopefully wouldn’t get bored with. Did I mention I’m scared of needles too!!!! Another big factor in me dragging my heels on the tattoo matter. I watched A have his done a weeks back and decided that it wasn’t that bad and I’m muster up the courage and get it done. I eventually took a pic in of what I wanted and explained a few changes (I’d have drawn it myself but I’m crap at that sort of thing, my attempt came out like a bird that had gone 10 rounds in a ring with an elephant, made its way down a mile of fast flowing rapids and then cooked tenderly on a BBQ until medium – over down.)

This is the picture I gave Tattoo Guy and the tattoo I got in the end…..

  

I used my camera-phone so apologies for that bad image.

Anyhow, I’m glad I finally got it done.

Scouts training. Another thing that took up a lot of my time last week. This, although very tedious, ended up being good. I met a few new people with the same interests in me and had fun. I also managed to get a date out of it. Too early to talk about that though, I’ll leave that for another blog.

I’m determined to make next week a positive week!

DD

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I love you Lucy Liu

6 places you want to go

Finally , an easy one. I want to go everywhere! I’ll narrow it down for you though.

1. Australia – I’ve always wanted to go to the opposite side of the world. I have some weird notion that I’ll fit in there better than I do here. of course I have another reason to visit now… Would be amazing to go and visit Jemma and see her again. I dream a lot about her and my image of where she lives. I know it has its down sides though. Huge spiders and snakes that can kill you just for looking at them for one thing. Not to mention the loooong flight. I’d like to go and spend some time with Urbie too. I miss her terribly.

   

2. Madagascar – always wanted to go there. The fact that they have species of animals that can’t be found anywhere else on earth amazes me. I’d love to spend a week there with a tent and my camera. Maybe a few security guards and some weapons too. Wild animals scare me! I guess I could tie this in along with Africa as technically it’s an island of Africa. I’d love to go on safari some day.

 

3. Every continent – Obviously I have been to a few continents, Europe for one, North America, Oh that’s it! I thought I’d been to more. I’d like to visit everyone before I die. the main reason for this is just so I can tick it off on my mental ‘to do’ list. I’d like to spend time on my own in each place too. Time to go where I want and take pictures. I don’t like taking pictures when I’m with other people. It’s a very personal thing for me.

I really want to visit Canada too. Looks really nice from what I’ve seen. The scenery and natural wildlife looks amazing. I love canoeing and kayaking too!

 

4. Road trip America – It would be awesome to take a good year or so and travel all around America in a RV. I love America and have seen a few places there now but I know there’s a lot more of it that I haven’t and would like to see. Problem is, I wouldn’t want to go it alone but at the same time, I don’t know who I’d want to go with!

 

5. Hawaii – It looks so relaxed over there, who wouldn’t want to spend some time chilling with girls in grass skirts and coconuts.. wink wink.

6. China / Japan / Thailand – I’m going to put these into a group as they’re all around the same kind of place. (I know there are thousands of miles between them but they look close on a map and the people look the same to me). I love the orient. The food is nice, the buildings are lovely over there and they’re so organised. I think I’d fit in there mentally. I’m a bit short too so that would help! I think there would be some great photo opportunities. ooh and asian girls look nice too (some times)

    

DD

 

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Why don’t Aussie’s ever seem stressed?

By the time we got back to the hotel in Newark, everybody looked really miserable. We had a few last photos together and gave Graeme our combined tip to say thanks for the wonderful job he did as out guide. Dave and a few others left straight away to catch their flight from New York and a few others had booked a night at the gateway hotel where we had started and finished our tour. I had two days in New York and nowhere to sleep. I didn’t want to book because I knew I’d make friends whilst out there and wanted to see if I could get a room in the place where the person I was closest to was staying. Jemma and Neil had both booked a room in the hotel and had a few days in New York too so I was quite keen to stick with them. I can’t remember how much a room was in their hote, but I remember it was a Hilton and wasn’t cheap. All rooms in America seemed to be double, whether that’s to accommodate the ‘larger’ guests I don’t know. Jemma asked if I wanted to stay in her room for the night and we’d hook up with Neil to share a taxi into New York the next day. I snuck into Jemma’s room worried I’d get caught. Luckily, it all went smoothly and I had a bed to stop in for the night. I don’t know what I would have done if I did get caught. There wasn’t another hotel around and it cost something like $80 to get into New York, I didn’t fancy doing it on my own.

The room was lovely, I enjoyed a hot bath, must have stayed in there for about an hour just soaking up the lovely hot water, I’d missed a good bath. We got room service and had all sorts of chicken and chips, it was nice but a little other priced.

The next morning we met with Neil and continued to the hostel we’d booked in New York. Both Neil and I were in a male dorm while Jemma was on a different floor with the girls. We dumped our stuff and headed out the door.

K had given me a list of cosmetic stuff she wanted me to bring back for her, I only had 2 days in NY so wanted to get them out the way quickly and not have to worry about rushing around trying to find them. We took a long walk through Central Park. I have never been in such a magical park. I’d seen it from the rockafella building before and it looked quite small but it took us a long time to walk through half of it down to times square.

   

We also went to see the spot where the World Trade Centre use to be. This was horrible, the feeling of knowing that thousands of people died where i was standing haunted me. There was an eery silence around the place. We visited the 9-11 museum, we decided after visiting that it wasn’t a good idea to have gone. The pictures of people pinned to the wall who had died and the artifacts that had been recovered from the site was just as harrowing as standing next to the spot where it happened. We heard horrific tales from people who were there on the day and people who had lost loved ones, it truly was one of the saddest things I had been to. I felt like joining the army just to make a difference and help fight against the people who did it.

We  went on the ferry to Staten Island. This is a free ferry that brings you quite close to the statue of Liberty. Another thing to tick of my list. We didn’t actually spend much time on Staten Island itself, it started to rain and we wanted to go back and get ready for dinner. We ate at Planet Hollywood in Times Square, the food was lovely but the cocktails were even better. We stayed there a while before hitting an Irish bar for a few drinks.

 

We traveled everywhere using the subway, this was pretty straight forward to work out once we’d got the hang of the numbering system that they used for the streets above us.I was dreading having to catch the subway by myself to Pen station. From there I had to catch a train to Newark airport and catch my flight home on my own. Neil caught an earlier flight to Manchester and Jemma was staying in NY for a little longer by herself. I felt really bad leaving her, we were both upset that we had to leave. I spent my last few hours in NY eating pizza and lying on the bed chatting to her. We swapped books too. I loved this idea, when ever I missed her or felt sad, I could just pick up her book and start reading. It reminded me of her and it didn’t take me long to finish it. Luckily there were two other books in the series so I got and read them too!I hope she’s taking good care of my book!

I managed to het to my fav photography shop while I was in NY. Everytime I visit America I seem to get something new from there. This time was no exception, I came away with a very geeky looking photography bag. I had been eyeing it up for some time and fell in love with it as soon as I saw it.

So that’s the end of my trek to America. I was definitely glad I went now and although I got off to a rocky start, I can honestly say I had the best time of my life there and I haven’t been happy since I got back. I hope to go on another trek some day. It inspired me to do a few things back at home aswell. I enjoyed the camping aspect of it so much that I decided to become a scout leader. Hopefully I will have loads of good times learning new things and camping in the UK aswell too.

I speak to Jemma every now and again although its hard when were on the opposite sides of the world. I hope to go over and visit her in australia some time, nut gathering the money together when you own a house ans pay all the bills yourself is quite difficult. I think one day I’ll move out there, you never see a stressed Aussie!

DD

 

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Fingers, Frights and Falls

We moved on from Cedar Point to the finger lakes. (supposedly called this as they resemble fingers on a map) The camp we stayed at was ok, it was secluded and in wood lands, only problem was, we had to pitch our tents on a slight slope. This was very awkward when it cam to sleeping, A number of times in the night I woke to find myself at the entrance of my tent towards the bottom! I practically had to dig a trench at the top of the tent incase it rained, there is nothing worse than waking up in a wet tent with all your clothes and things soaked! Jemma Stayed in my tent that night too. It was nice to have her company over night, she wasn’t feeling very well and we were talking. We stayed up so late that we were too tired to move so just fell asleep next to each other.

Earlier that day we went to a nearby town, I wish I could remember the name of the town, It was really quaint and cosy. I think it was a college town or something, there were a lot of students around. We all went into a small coffee and ice cream shop and ordered ice creams. The owner must have died of shock when 14 random customers came through his doors at the same time! From there we went to a liquor store. It was our last night together as a group so we decided to go over bored with the drinks and make a real celebration out of it. Once the drinks had been accounted for, we stopped at one of the finger lakes for a swim.

At first it looked a little scary but others were doing it. There was actually a life guard on duty and a sectioned off part of the lake to swim in. The water was dark though and the lake was huge, I’ve never been a strong swimmer so the thought of going out of my depth worried me a lot. A fair distance out was a floating stage where the life guard sat, there was also a small diving board attached to it. I decided that I’d try and swim across to it, It looked quite far. I knew I could swim the distance easily but it worried me that it was a natural lake and it was bound to me extremely deep by the stage(raft, what ever the hell it was) I had visions of underwater monsters grabbing my feet and dragging me down, the water was a dark green kind of colour. I swam around with Kerry, Benadikt and Adam for a while until we had to leave the lake. There I was concentrating on staying a float and looking out for monsters when the life guard stands up, grabs a loud speaker thingy and yells telling everyone to get out of the water immediately and it’s not a drill! I panicked bug time, I had no idea what was going on and how much danger I was in. Visions of Jaws flashed before my eyes, it was just like that scene where everybody realises there’s a shark in the water and swims to shore as fast as they can. Once safely on dry land, the lifeguard explained that there was a massive electrical storm coming and the lake would be closed for the rest of the evening. So no need to scare the life out of us and cause me to almost drowned, but hey.

We all played with a frisbee untill Graeme came and picked us up. We were prepared for a big storm (and a wet tent) but no rain came, there was a few minutes of thunder and lightning and it was over.

That night was an emotional one, everybody knew that it was our last night camping together and that we’d all have to go our separate ways late the next day. I hated the thought of leaving America and all the new friends I had made behind. I would miss the life style too, I had had the most relaxing two weeks of my life and knowing me, I’d have thought it would have been the most stressful two weeks. I sat in my fold away chair staring into the open fire thinking about all the amazing things I had seen and done while on my trip, I thought about life at home, the pressures and stress that work and just being in the UK cause me.

Morning came to quickly, we had to get off early to get to Niagara falls. I packed my tent away for the last time, apart of me wanted to try and sneak it home, I’d become attached to the thing even though it was a pain in the arse! In fact, I wanted to kidnap everyone and their tents, bring them back to my house and have them live in my garden with a camp fire.

Niagara falls was a bit of a disappointment. For one, there is no single water fall called Nigra falls. It is a collective group of waterfalls. To me, this was like being told that Santa doesn’t exist. secondly, the falls weren’t as big as I thought they would be. Yes the amount of water flowing that them was pretty spectacular and the sound was deafening but I just thought they would be taller. Still, it’s good to be able to say I have seen them and gone on the Maid of the Mist boat that floats right into the thick of it, that was good fun. cheesy moment… Jemma and I reenacted the scene from Titanic with Jack and Rose at the front of the boat, it had to be done.

   

I didn’t realise that Niagara Falls is in the state of New York or that New York shared the Niagara Falls with Canada. It was pretty amazing to know that Canada was only across the river from us. I’ve always wanted to go there.

From Niagara we drove back to the hotel where it all started in Newark. This wasn’t the end though. I still had 2 nights to go. I’ll save that story for next time though.

DD

 

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Thrill seeking

Onto Ohio.

We set up our tents upon arrival as usual and had lunch, we wanted to get to the theme park as early as we could to give us the best chance of going on everything that we could. We knew it was going to be busy because of the celebrations. Stopping at a McDonald’s just outside of Cedar Point, we all decided that we’d grab something to eat and race back to the van and eat while on the go Neil and I were one of the 1st to order and ger our food so we decided to eat on the bench outside while everyone else was ordering, we took comfort in the fact that McDonald’s staff in America are just as slow and thick as the staff over here (sorry if I’ve offended anyone working in McDonald’s, but you’ve got to admit, you do work with some idiots, do you not?) wolfing down our double quarter pounder and fries before going to a world-class theme park was not our brightest move, but we had to eat.

Dick Head!

The highlight of our stay in Ohio was Cedar Point. Our timing was great, due to the July 4th celebrations, the park stayed open till 10 with a massive fireworks display at the end. I’m a bit of a thrill seeker when it comes to theme parks, the faster and taller the better. I split off from the group with Benadikt and Dephine as they too where thrill seekers who were excited to go on the biggest rides they could get on. I hadn’t spent a great deal of time with them over the trek so it was nice. It was also nice to have a break from Jemma, I knew that we only had a few days left and I had to somehow detach myself from her.

By the way, I never had my camera with me at Cedar Point for obvious reasons… so unfortunately I have to use web pictures to break up my long and boring text.

I had to choose this picture, the man looks so out of place in a theme park.

First ride we went on was Raptor, I enjoyed this ride, Kind of on a par with Air at Alton Towers. Being from the UK, I don’t get a lot of chance to experience big rides. I love Nemesis at Alton Towers, I believe it’s the best ride we have in this country. It’s definitely true in this case, that American’s do everything bigger and better. Raptor was classed as a small rollercoaster at Cedar Point. I won’t go through all the rides I went on, I did try to do all of them but there wasn’t enough time. We started at the biggest and worked our way down.

millenium Force deserves a mention. This was the tallest rollercoaster in the world when it opened in 2000 standing over 95m tall. apparently. you can see Canada from the top on a clear day! I enjoyed this ride, we had to que for nearly an hour to get on it but it was worth it, It’s nice to be able to go on a ride that lasts for more than 20 seconds.

Top Thrill Dragster… Where to start. The fastest and tallest ride in the park since it opened in 2003 and is currently the fastest in the world. It is 120m tall which puts it in the class of the stratocoasters (thanks Wikipedia) which includes one other ride from six flags (which just beat it to the record of the tallest ride in the world). I didn’t like this ride very much, It was too fast to enjoy. The acceleration at the beginning leaves you feeling light headed and unable to enjoy the ride. Before I knew it, I was at the top and on the way back down again. I’m glad I got to do it though.

Ok, I’m well aware that this post is becoming very boring. I’ll talk less about the rollercoasters facts and more about my experiences on them.

we continued around the park trying different rides, enjoying some of them and being bored with a few. Delphine persuaded me to go on the Power Towers – For the record, I hate that ride, It is the only kind of ride that scares the crap out of me. There are two rider ‘choices’. You can either go up really really fast and bob up and down a few times before being brought slowly to the ground, which was enjoyable or you could slowly make your way up the 73m to the top, where you are made to wait a few seconds until your nerves are torn to shreds, before being dropped back down to earth at an extremely fast pace that made me bite down on my jaw and make a sound tha I’ve never heard me make before! It’s not a good ride if you have anxiety problems I can tell you that.

We ques little over an hour for a ride called Maverick, we timed it well as the fireworks had just started to begin as we got on the ride. It is possibly the best ride I have been on. It’s not the fastest or tallest but it throws you about like mad. It’s suppose to simulate a ride on a wild horse and it really did feel like it, hats off to the designer. It was nice to look at the fireworks as we slowly ascended to the top of the ride, there was also a nice calming view over Lake Eire with fireworks reflecting far away in the dark waters. I recon this ride should be ridden at night all the time, It really added to the experience. oh and the bit where it stops in the middle and you think the ride has ended was a great idea. You’re in a tunnel too so you have no idea whats going on and then you suddenly bolt off again, brilliant!

Mean Streak – don’t go on this ride if your bones break easily. It’s an old wooden rollercoaster that is so uncomfortable to ride, you feel like you’ve bruised your bum by the time it stops. Needless to say, there was no que for this ride, so we went on it twice 🙂

The fireworks were great, In true American style, they out did any other fireworks display I’ve ever seen. They also had a huuuuge screen up which showed clips of everything American (A large amount of the clips were soldiers/jet planes/tanks etc etc) whilst some bloke sang a very over emotional version of the national anthem – It was a very patriarchal evening, to the point where I actually felt like an American for a few minutes and a proud one at that, before crashing back down to earth and realising that I came from England.

The highlight of the trip to Cedar Point for me was Magnum XL-200. This ride had Delphine and I in stitches. I can’t explain why but we had a massive laughing fit half way around. Again, I got the feeling this ride was much better in the dark than it would have been in daylight. It was situated at the end of the park, part of the ride actually left the park and went around some go karting track and a water park. As these had all closed down for the night (was coming up to 11 now) the majority of the ride was in the dark. It went through tunnels that looked like you’d hit your hands off the roof if you raised them, it had large drops and steep turns and it had a quick succession of bumps that made you feel like you were going over hills really fast in a car. It was such a good ride that Delphine and I ran around from the exit to the entrance of the ride twice to squeeze another few rides in before the park closed.

You’ll start to see a pattern emerging here, but I had an amazing time at Cedar Point, just as I had had on the majority of the places we visited on the Trek. I still often think about the good times I had over there and the people I was with, I don’t think it would be the same going back to those places without them. This saddens me because I know that were all never going to be together again let alone together again in america enjoying ourselves. but hey, I’d rather have had the time of my life and all the experiences then not to have had them. It was the best thing I’ve done in my life!

DD

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in America, camping, fun, getting away, road trips

 

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