Sunday, June 23, 2013

US Road Trip - Orlando, Florida - Las Vegas, Nevada - April/May 2013 - Part 1

Not content with two fantastic weeks holidaying in the foothills of the Pyrenees the wife and I decided on the spur of the moment to tag along with our Canadian friends who had been on the road in the US since early March. We were grateful that they were happy to have us along for the ride and so it was that on the morning of 25th April we set out for the airport and our transatlantic flight to Orlando, Florida.

The plan was to make a blog entry each day as we knew there would be a lot of time spent driving, it was a road trip after all(!) and we knew we would be taking in lots of new sights and cities. Alas, as with all best laid plans, there just weren't enough hours in the day to record on a daily basis our adventures. What follows then is a summary of the main highlights of our trip.

We spent the first day of our holiday with Della's cousin and her family. We had such a lovely time but sadly, not long enough with them. They were wonderful hosts and we hope to see them all again in the not too distant.

Mimosas for breakfast!


At River Rocks for dinner with our wonderful hosts

Our first day on the road was a long one but the driving was easy and the scenery much prettier than we had imagined. Our first pits top was in Troy, Alabama. Our Canadian friends had already been on the road for several weeks and had found an easy rhythm which we fell into quite easily and happily. Most days we left after breakfast around 9am, drove for a few hours before stopping to refuel (both the cars and ourselves!), and then we spent a few more hours driving before arriving at our destination.

Aside from our hotel in Las Vegas we stayed in Best Western hotels which were more than adequate for our needs often with a pool, well located and inclusive of breakfast!

We made our way to Nashville on Day 2 and spent 2 nights there. Our first night we dined at Sambucas, a local restaurant with live music and easy to walk to from our hotel. The next day we did a full day guided tour which included all the sights in Downtown Nashville including the Capitol building, the Rhyman Auditorium and the Music Hall of Fame. In the afternoon we visited the Grand 'Ole Opry. After a full on but very enjoyable introduction to Nashville we had a relaxing supper at a pavement cafe close to our hotel.

Next morning and en route to Memphis, Tennessee we made a stop at a local plantation house, Belle Meade. We spent a very pleasant couple of hours here before making our way onto Memphis which would be our base for the next 2 nights. Opting for another guided tour we explored downtown Memphis the next day. The tour included the famous Peabody hotel, recording studios used by Elvis and of course, Graceland.
 We ate at a local place (Marlows), which offered free transportation in the form of a pink Cadillac!!
 Live entertainment in the form of a local chap singing Elvis tunes made for a fun evening.
Green Fried Tomatoes
The Mighty Missippi

  Day 6 was spent on the road as we made our way West travelling across yet more state borders out of Tennessee, through Arkansas and overnighting in Oklahoma City.

The next morning we made a brief stop at the side of the road to marvel at some local art......graffiti covered cars buried in the ground!! It was quite the spectacle.

We continued our drive through some vast open plains and onwards to Amarillo, Texas where we glimpsed a beautiful sunset, relaxed in the hotel pool and jacuzzi and took some time to rest before another day on the road.

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