A Travellerspoint blog

Day 68 Nashville, USA

Monday 16th August 2005

overcast 34 °C

Thought i had better see what was downtown so wandered around for an hour by myself but nothing of any interest worth mentioning.

Posted by Reece Sanford 17:06 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 67 Memphis-Nashville, USA

Sunday 14th August 2005

semi-overcast 35 °C

OH NO!!!!!!!
Nashville home of country music.Looks like im going to be spending some hours looking at these 4 walls in the hotel room.
Arrived at 4pm and just ventured out shortly for food

Posted by Reece Sanford 17:03 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 66 Memphis, USA

Saturday 13th August 2005

sunny 35 °C

Visited Graceland for most of the day and it was surprisingly quiet considering it is Elvis week. As we pulled up to the front of the house I was surprised at how small it seemed. You get the chance to walk around all the 1st floor but upstairs is closed to the public for personal reasons we were told. The trophy rooms are pretty impressive with more gold discs and trophys than you could imagine and it really puts it into perspective how successful Elvis really was. What did surprise me was the amount of money and time Elvis actually donated and did for charity and theres quite a display of different charities and people that benefited from this. Something that did make me laugh though was upon walking around the house his taste in décor. Part of the house has the walls and even the ceiling decorated in a green shagpile carpet and whether this was just to his own acquired taste or something that was popular in this era im not entirely sure but its certainly not my chosen taste in décor. The last thing to see on the tour of Graceland was the Meditation Garden and then the place where Elvis, his twin brother who died at birth, his mum and his dad are laid. Across the road from Graceland is an area where they have a museum with several of his items like his cars,motorbikes stored and theres also the outfits him and his wife got married in along with many other items of his. Finally we got the chance to look inside 2 of his planes which he also totally redesigned inside and out.
All in all it was a very enjoyable trip and that’s considering im not really a fan of Elvis.
Later that evening we also visited the site where Martin Luther King Jr was killed and the whole area doesn’t look like it been touched since that day 4th April 1968. Theres 2 old cars sitting in the parking lot to that don’t look like they’ve moved since that day either.

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The Entrance to Graceland

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Elvis Presleys Dining Room

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Elvis Presleys Kitchen

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Elvis Presleys Den

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Elvis Presleys Snooker Room

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The back of Graceland

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Elvis Presleys horse paddock

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One of Elvis Presleys 3 Trophy Rooms

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Elvis Presleys Army Uniform

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Elvis clothing

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A few of Elvis Presleys Gold Awards

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The Meditation Garden,Graceland

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Elvis Presleys mums original headstone

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The Presley family burial grounds

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Elvis Presleys gravestone

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The Presley family burial grounds

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Elvis Presleys car

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Elvis Presleys Rolls Royce

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Elvis Presleys Jet 'Lisa Marie'

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Plaque at Martin Luther King Jr shooting scene

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Spot where Martin Luther King Jr was shot

Posted by Reece Sanford 16:44 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 65 St Louis-Memphis, USA

Friday 12th August 2005

sunny 36 °C

I spent most of the day driving before finally arriving in Memphis late afternoon.We headed down to Beale Street where all the blues bars and clubs are and had a meal before sitting outside the restaurant listening to a blues band for a couple of hours.
BB King has a bar here and occassionally he shows up to put on a performance although the price they charge is pretty expensive.
What alot of the clubs do here is charge you $10 and you get a wristband which then gives you access to about 12 clubs that have live music playing.The heat here at the moment is pretty unbearable though and its making it feel really uncomfortable spending to much time out in it.Even late at night its around 28 degrees but its the humidity thats the killer.

Posted by Reece Sanford 21:25 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 64 St Louis, USA

Thursday 11th August 2005

semi-overcast 28 °C

Apart from spending most of the day just chilling out we went to the top of the arch which is a totally weird and bizarre experience.There are 8 tiny capsules you sit in that each just hold 5 people at a squeeze.It takes around 2 minutes to get to the top and i spent that time praying.Praying i wouldnt get stuck in this thing.Not that im scared of being in small spaces but being stuck in a capsule with 4 other people and the word MURDER springs to mind.
The views from the top were either of the river,factories and fields one side or a fairly impressive view of St Louis on the other.
We took a boat trip for an hour along the river after that which in my eyes was a total waste of money.I cannot remember one thing the tour guide mentioned that was of any importance.

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The Arch St Louis

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The entrances on the left to the tiny capsules

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St Louis and the Old Court House from the top of the Arch

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St Louis Baseball Stadium which is being knocked down soon to make way for the new one in its place which you can see being built now.
The staduim looks great now so looks like a waste to me.

Posted by Reece Sanford 21:17 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 63 Chicago-St Louis, USA

Wednesday 10th August 2005

sunny 28 °C

Arriving in St Louis gave me the feeling i was in Detroit again although here its much cleaner.The similarities are theres nothing to see here except a huge arch which we can see from the hotel as well as the mississippi river but there doesnt seem to be anyone around.The hotel though is possibly the nicest ive ever stayed in so at least i can have a nice relaxing time here if need be.

Posted by Reece Sanford 21:13 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 62 Chicago, USA

Tuesday 9th August 2005

sunny 34 °C

Another hectic day although not quite as mad as yesterday. Jill and my first stop was going up the Sears Tower while Simon went to the Adler Planeterium. Now for someone who before the trip didn’t like heights ive known been up the CN Tower, Empire State Building, Sears Tower and the next stop in the day was the John Hancock Observatory. A brief visit to the Art Institute of Art for the free areas was fitted in where they hasd some great crossbows and other crazy weapons and armour. Then at last after letting the side down in Atlantic City Jill finally bought some new clothes but this time it was me letting the side down and I held back from buying the Lance watch again. We literally had to fly back to the hotel to meet Simon at 6pm and after a quick change headed out to the Chicago diner. The thai tofu I had was ok but me going vegan isn’t ever going to happen.

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View from Sears Tower

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Soldier Field in distance from Sears Tower

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Chicago Board of Trade

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Chicago Board of Trade

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View from John Hancock Observatory

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Grant Wood American Gothic painting

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Art Institute of Chicago

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Art Institute of Chicago

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Art Institute of Chicago

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:42 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 61 Detroit-Chicago, USA

Monday 8th August 2005

sunny 32 °C

A very early start for us all as getting out of Detroit as soon as possible was high on the list of necessities and getting to Chicago to see as much as possible in the few days that we were here was going to be a struggle. We had booked into the Congress Plaza Hotel which although being expensive it was in the downtown loop so we were fairly central to everything we wanted to see. As we arrived early we couldn’t check in yet but left the car in the hotel car park and set off on foot. The immediate views were fantastic and before we had even walked 400 metres I was already pleased I had the chance to explore more of the city, and happy I was out of Detroit. We walked past the Buckingham Fountain which looked even more spectacular later in the night when the lights were on the fountain, and on to the harbour and Navy Pier. After a quick snack it was shopping time and after searching in every city on the trip so far at last they had lance armstrongs new clothing range in Nike Town. Although I managed to purchase a T Shirt I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of stock they had, but once I had paid for it I was as happy as a pig in shit but on the way out I noticed they were selling Lance watches. Decisions decisions my Nike watch gave up the ghost a few weeks ago after swimming while wearing it (even though it said it was water resistant). But could I pay the $349/ 175 for it when I still had my hiking watch with me that cost the same and does the same job. So tempting but I managed to control my shopping addiction and waled out with just the T Shirt. An even more bizarre moment happened in Virgin music megastore when a woman asked me to model some tshirts for her as she said I was the same size as her friend she was buying them for. I quickly obliged her offer and she was thrilled I said yes. Hmm maybe theres a career for me. By then it was time to check into the hotel and a quick shower and change (into my new lance top) and we were out again without even having the time to breath. Now we were off to meet JR and Lisa (friends of simon and jill) in a bar in Berwyn who were going to give us a tour of Chicago in the car. We had a meal and a couple of beers were sampled from the list of over 200 they had there and then took a look at their apartment which was fantastic and the layout of it was so different compared to most standard box shape houses in the uk. I really could see myself living in that apartment and even more so in Chicago after the tour in the car. JR bring a cyclist himself was telling me about how the mayor had made Chicago such a cycle friendly area with all the bike paths and also they have days where they shut off busy roads just for people to cycle along them, and then theres the path along Lake Michigan which is beautiful with the small beaches and harbour, so I could also enjoy a run whenever I wanted a rest from the bike. We also drove past Wrigley Field where the Cubs play baseball and along Halsted Street where theres shall we say some exotic clothing shops and gay bars mainly but also on this street was jills must visit place while here the Chicago Diner (a vegan restaurant). Other places worth a mention are the biggest grossing Mcdonalds in the world apparently in the world which has huge and I mean huge letter M’s outside it. Then the Sears Tower and John Hancock Observatory (104 and 93 floors respectively), The Adler Planetarium, Museum of Natural History and Museum of Science and Industry. Another spectacular site was Soldier Field where the Chicago Bears play American Football. It’s a complete contrast between old and new because previously there was just a huge War memorial building that looks breathtaking but then inside it they built this new and modern looking football stadium. I guess you either love it or hate it but you have to see it to believe it. Last on the list and the pinnacle of the tour was the United Center home of the Chicago Bulls basketball team and previously the legend himself Michael Jordan. Now nothing else mattered and I didn’t care where we went or what we did, especially after getting my photo taken next to the Michael Jordan statue. So a massive thanks to JR and lisa I had a great night and got the chance to meet 2 great people.

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Millenuim Park

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The Bean

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Buckingham Fountain

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Sears Tower

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Church Downtown Chicago

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View from Navy Pier

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Downtown Chicago

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:40 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 60 Detroit, USA

Sunday 7th August 2005

sunny 26 °C

A walk around the city just to make sure i hadnt missed anything.I HADNT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Reece Sanford 10:28 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 59 Cleveland-Detroit, USA

Saturday 6th August 2005

sunny 28 °C

Well where do I start with Detroit. An experience I guess in a strange sort of way. For starters ive never known a place where 90% of the buildings are totally unoccupied or where shops don’t seem to exist downtown. Apart from the baseball and American football stadiums which are next door to each other, theres only a casino and a fairly large glass building owned by General Motors which compared to the othe buildings looks totally out of place. No offense to people that live here but it seems to me the best thing to do is blow it up and start again. The hotel we booked into the Ramada looked dodgy from the outside and even dodgyier on the inside or putting it mildly shithole sprung to mind. It was so bad that all 4 lifts packed up that night and we were on the 15th floor. Although as it was we did find something to do on the night and that was to watch my first live baseball game as the Detroit Tigers played the Cleveland Indians. Even though we only had a rough idea of the rules it was still something enjoyable to do. However it was really strange compared to going to a football match in England as the crowd were so quiet and there wasn’t any atmosphere at all which surprised me. Except for 2 crazy guys that seemed intent on starting a Mexican wave to no avail people were only interested in drinking and eating hot dogs. Still it was something different to experience that I wouldn’t see back home.

Posted by Reece Sanford 10:26 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 58 Cleveland, USA

Friday 5th August 2005

sunny 33 °C

Decided to venture out for an hour late afternoon for a quick walk around the shops while Simon and Jill went to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Posted by Reece Sanford 10:24 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 57 Cincinnati-Cleveland, USA

Thursday 4th August 2005

sunny 32 °C

Left around 12.30pm and got to Cleveland at 4.30pm and booked into The Red Roof Inn.The next 2 days were just going to be a relaxing time for me.

Posted by Reece Sanford 10:21 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 53, 54, 55, 56 Cincinnati, USA

Sunday 31st July-Wednesday 3rd August 2005

sunny 30 °C

All 4 days are abit of a blur. To much to explain but i will just say i had a very enjoyable time and thanks to Shelly, Janice, Briggs, Tyler, Jason and everyone else and it was a pleasure meeting you all and i look forward to seeing you soon.

Posted by Reece Sanford 09:00 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 52 Cincinnati, USA

Saturday 30th July 2005

sunny 27 °C

Went shopping early afternoon and then went over to meet Briggs parents who are 2 very nice people, and we picked up Tyler from there to. That night we had a barbecue with several of the neighbours coming over and also Janice’s boss and her family. Jason and I managed to get caught up in a water fight with Michelle and Sarah so we preceded to throw them in the swimming pool along with anyone else we could get our hands on whether they were fully clothed or not.

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Shelly

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Briggs and Janices House

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Swimming Pool

Posted by Reece Sanford 08:59 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 51 Cincinnati, USA

Friday 29th July 2005

sunny 29 °C

3 hours sleep.3 hours sleep!!!
Although having said that I was still very much awake although it was probably due to me buzzing with excitement. Today Shelly,Me,Janice,Briggs,Simon and Jill went over to Kings Island where theres a Water Park and Rollercoaster Park. The water park was fantastic and very enjoyable but the rollercoasters I wasn’t looking forward to. As there were 6 of us though I couldn’t chicken out so thanks to Shelly for holding my hand I managed to join them on every ride. It turned out to be another late night as Jason (Briggs best mate) and his wife came over and Jason, Briggs and I went to the local bar for a few beers.

Posted by Reece Sanford 08:58 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

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