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Showing posts from 2009

In the Hall of the King

As the old saw goes there's two kinds of man, the Elvis man, and the Beatles man. You can like both (in fact, most do) but the love is never equal. You always like one more than the other. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am most definitely an Elvis man, and today I went to the mecca of Elvis men. Yes, I have been to Graceland. I have stepped in his house. I have seen his grave. I have bought much of the crap they sell with his picture on it. Unfortunately I forgot my camera like a moron, so all of my pics are off my iphone.
Graceland is basically separated into two sections. The first is the original mansion and grounds which remain pretty much intact from the days when Elvis was alive. The second is actually across the road and that's where the parking lot and all of the exhibits and the many many many gift shops are located. After purchasing your ticket, a shuttle bus will pick up a group and take it literally across the road -- a 2 minute trip at most. You're handed a little dig…

Walkin' in Memphis, and boy are my feet tired!

The trip through Tennessee, incidentally, was beautiful. Hilly, with roundabouts and full forests. Fun to drive. I tried to take some pictures with my phone, but they all came out pretty assy.
I arrived at Memphis at around 4:20 which I later discovered was 3:20. Ah time zones.
Looking for a place to eat I headed south down the road to what I hoped would be a nicer area since my hotel room gives me a beautiful view of the freeway. Walking through Memphis I got the impression that this is a city that's either on the verge of a fall or the verge of a comeback. At first I thought it was the former, though now I'm leaning towards the latter. There's a lot of nice things around, decent restaurants, nice views, ok shopping... but for every location with activity there seems at least one other that's boarded up with big For Lease notices stickered to the window.
The other thing I noticed as I was walking was that nobody else was. Nobody. The city was dead to walking traffic. P…

Running Waves from the Atlantic to the Gulf

Today was take a short walk then spend most of the time trying to relax in my room because goddamn it I'm so suburned day.
Yesterday was Jetski around Key West day.   Lets talk about yesterday.
When I was at the Wendy's in Key West (yes, this was a new Wendy's), I saw they had a bunch of brochures about activities around the island.   Now, I'm not a beach guy by any stretch but I do love me the ocean, so the idea of Jetskiing mixed with a 2 hour tour jumped out at me.  I ended up talking to the concierge at my hotel and she talked me into it (though she didn't really need too).  By noon the next day I was on a private beach on the Atlantic side with about 7 other lifejacketed souls ready to take to the water.
We all got out there and the tour guide/safety guy (who was from Niagara-On-The-Lake of all places) told us it was 'pretty calm' so it should be a good day.  We all needed to stay single file just in case there was any traffic coming through(!) but otherw…

Shorts and Shows in Key West

One of the things you notice about American stores is that is that there is a ton of clothes available for fat people. While another blogger might refer to this as a sad state of affairs or a sign of American decadence run amok, I have another word for it -- convenient. You see, I too am a member of the great rotund diaspora and being able to walk into a clothing store and see clothes (ones without floral patterns no less!) in my size is a real plus (so to speak).

I picked up several pieces of attire, summer clothes mostly as I packed as a Canadian coming from a Canada that is still just thawing, and I was able to have my pick of the shorts, button ups, and Ts the stores had to offer. One oddity though: the Champs sporting goods had numerous shirts up to the 5XL size, but their pants selection only went up to 38. I wondered what strange creatures these must be... does Champs select product based on the Tweedledee body type?

After my short shopping extravaganza I headed over to Duval St,…

Florida in the Key of West

Yesterday was not a pleasant day.   10 hours of driving only to end up at the Best Western in Jacksonville, just so I could stand around waiting for my laundry to finish because the hotel in Key West that I'm staying in for 4 nights had no laundry mentioned on their website.   So it's 10:30 at night and I'm sweating on the second floor between the world's loudest dryer and the local ice machine for an hour.  And that's following 30 minutes of washing.   I even had to hang dry some stuff because even after an hour it still wasn't dry yet.
It's times like that that make me question whether or not this trip was even a good idea.  It usually happens in the waking moments before sleep when I'm lying in my rented bed in the middle of a town where I know no one.  Why am I here?  Am I learning anything?  Is this just a giant waste of time and money? And then there's times like the Wendy's.  
I got in too late in Jacksonville and the hotel was far enough a…

In the Shadow of Honest Abe

The first thing you notice about Washington is that it's short.   None of the buildings are over 12 stories max -- something to do with making sure the Capitol Building isn't overshadowed.   Coming out of New York it certainly has a different vibe, giving a small city feel to what's a pretty big city.

It rained all day today, but I was determined to get some shots of the White House, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument.   Mission accomplished.  Still, the way the rain was falling the front of my shirt was soaked through by the time I got to ol' Abe.  The Lincoln Memorial was,  for me, the real object of the trip.   Even in a cold wet spring day, the sight of the greatest American President carved out of several tons of white marble perched on his chair and literally larger than life still gives one the feeling of being in the presence of greatness.  His words etched on each side of the memorial are still as eloquent as the day he spoke them.  
After I got m…

Love in the Time of Swine Flu

It's raining in New York.   The restaurant I was planning to hit up for dinner had inexplicably vanished, so getting out of the rain, I ended up eating my last dinner in the city that never sleeps in a Tribeca deli.   Pretty good actually.
That's the thing about New York food, it's all pretty good.   In all the meals I've had since I came to the city, I haven't had a single one I would consider subpar.   A lot is made about New York pizza, and I guess I always assumed people were talking about those 3-5 little hole in the wall places that only real New Yorkers know about with the 90 year old Italian man who makes pizza in the woodburning oven he strapped to his back and brought with him from the old country.   But I've had pizza in delis, pizza in Times Square, Pizza in the freakin' Museum of Natural History.   I ate a lot of pizza is what I'm saying.   But the thing about it is, all of it was good.   Just the right consistency, texture, sauce, amount of…

A long time coming but I'm finally here

So I made it to New York. That's the long story made short.
Here's the story at longer length:
I got out of the house and on the road about an hour later than I expected to, but judging by all the maps I was looking at I would still be able to make it within a reasonable amount of time. The thing about trips though is you always forget something. I knew that once it was too late I would realize I forgot something that I absolutely needed. That's just the way it goes.
I was dreading the border most of all, it would have really sucked to have to go through a hassle just cause some border guard is having a bad day. As I was approaching the Queenston/Lewiston crossing I picked a spot with two cars in front of me. The first car got the point. As in please park over there sir so we can ransack your car. The second car also got the point, and now I'm thinking is this the designated point guy for the day?! Am I gonna cavity-searched cause it was his turn to search everybody?
So I …

Prep Day

Well, I'm off to New York tomorrow and I'm a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. On the one hand I'm obviously excited as I've never done anything like this before, but on the other, I've never done anything like this before. I mean I don't like going to the movies by myself. I'm sure things will get a little easier when I cross the border and start heading towards Manhattan in earnest.

I'm all packed up with plenty of clothes to hold me over until I find a nice cheap place to do my laundry on the road. I even took the time to shave my face to make sure I actually look like my passport picture. Borrowed a GPS receiver from a friend of mine, and bought a neat little camera that can take pics and 720 HD video, so I'm pretty set gadget-wise. Here's a picture of Dave in his natural environment:

Dave's all cleaned up, checked out and ready to go. I guess all that needs doing now is the actual driving there. Big Apple here I come.

The Open Road

The Open Road. Three words that sum up the freedom, the promise, and potentially the risk, of the North American experience. I've waited far too long as it is, and so I will go, to see the things I've always wanted to see, and to live this continent from the outside-in. This will be the chronicle of my travels.

Things you need to know:

1) I'm Anthony and I'm Canadian. And the great majority of this trip will be in the United States, so I'll be playing the part of the outsider while I'm there. That being said I have a great affection for America and Americans, so hopefully I can make some friends along the way.

2) Dave is my travelling partner in those whole escapade. He's a 2006 Dodge Charger (and no he doesn't have a HEMI - and please don't mention it - he's sensitive). We've spent years together driving back and forth to work and doing all the workaday things a man and his car do. We both figured it was time for a little adventure.

3) I'm …