Friday, July 19, 2019

Some random final thoughts about trip.....

In no particular order:

- I might have been very lucky with the route i chose, but US seems inundated with museums/attractions which are highlighted whilst driving the interstates (such as John Wayne museum, Buffalo Bill Museum). Somehow i don't remember seeing the equivalent signs whilst driving up the M1 - but perhaps i was not looking

- Whilst driving i saw very limited signs of political support, but all those i saw were pro Trump. Perhaps reflecting my route which avoided most large cities

- Religion remains key to a lot of areas i travelled through. Salt Lake City being the most extreme example but you come across a lot of churches and evangelical billboards

- Perhaps it might not seem like it now, but Americans seem to have more respect for political life. The concept of replicating in the UK the Presidential Libraries and Museums would seem alien to most brits but i think it works here

- Thankfully there is minimal talk about Brexit here!!

- Whilst the US economy is obviously doing well, there appears to remain some areas that have yet to benefit. A number of the communities i went through appeared run down (not unlike parts of UK) with shops closing or clearly struggling. Similarly a number of motels had closed - this may be due to change in holiday patterns or natural cycle (new motels pushing out the old offering)

- There are a lot of differences (sometimes subtle) between the states i travelled through.  Perhaps not surprising given the scale but for example some seemed to think that roadside billboards were clearly the best way to advertise, where in others it was rare

- US people remain very open to tourists, in particular Brits. Whilst we can sometime mock the "have a nice day" mantra it appears mostly heartfelt

- The only display of people's thoughts on immigration was at the Iowa Cubs game where there was a citizenship ceremony which was very warmly greeted by crowd

- Extremes of weather are significant. It seemed strange to be driving in 90+ degree weather and seeing signs that this is a snow road - no parking if more than 2 inches

- US roads aren't that well repaired. Certainly towards beginning of trip some of main roads left a bit to be desired. Perhaps this reflects the impact of that extreme weather but perhaps also some pressure on municipal budgets

- I still cant get to grips with US and guns. The ability to buy at Walmart alongside your groceries just appears wrong. There also seemed no shortage of Firework shops

- Something i have also felt when abroad, local guides always appear more enthusiastic/knowledgeable then in UK. This might be unfair but it feels like tourism has a greater emphasis/respect as a profession outside of UK

- Overall favourite visits of trip:

Historical = Gettysburg  a site which was brought to life by museum and tour guide

Culture = Fallingwater. A well designed building in great setting

Scenic = Yellowstone. All the national parks had their unique attraction but this was probably the most diverse in terms of scenery and wildlife

Unusual = The old Jail in Chambersburg. Small but really interesting and massively enthusiastic guide

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