A Travellerspoint blog

Day 88 Truth Or Consequences-Tucson, USA

Sunday 4th September 2005

sunny 33 °C

Woke up at 6.15am to see the sunset over the mountains and that was after a night drinking and not going to bed till after 1am.As everyone else seemed to be to drunk to get out of bed before 10am Albert and i went to the cafe for breakfast to soak up some of the beer before it was time to leave for Tucson.
The first half of the drive we took the scenic route instead of going via the highway and it took us over the mountain pass with some stunning views as we got to a height of over 8000ft.
As soon as we got to Tucson i rang Joz to arrange a time to meet up and within 30 minutes she drove over to meet me.It was absolutely great to finally get the chance to meet her after missing out earlier in the trip and even though i know shes reading this i must say she is an absolute fantastic woman and so nice.And that offer you made me Joz the answer is YES and forget about Chicago hahaha (you know what im on about).
As for all the details where we went and what we did well im not telling you as its a secret but what i will say is Joz just loves driving about in the car and getting lost.

Posted by Reece Sanford 21:47 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 85,86,87 Roswell-Truth Or Consequences, USA

Thursday 1st September 2005 Friday 2nd September 2005 Saturday 3rd September 2005

storm 30 °C

When i arrived at Riverbend Springs Hostel i really didnt know what to expect.The place looked abit rundown and messy and i was abit concerned as we had to spend the next 3 nights here but after those 3 nights im so glad we stayed where we were.
The people we met were fantastic,funny and a pleasure to meet especially Albert,Ben and Blaze.
Basically the 3 days we were spending here would just be time for us to relax and lay in the hot springs although between that a fair bit of alcohol was consumed especially on the last night and alot of chatting to all the other people that were staying here.
Theres not much to see around the town but the scenery and mountain views really do make up for that and it looks like a great place to come for some serious hiking which i would love to do.Another few extra days relaxing here would of been great as it was so nice just getting the chance to sit back and forget about everything and lay about either in the hot springs or in a chair with a beer and everyone seemed so chilled out and relaxed to but it was time to move onto Tucson and finally i would get the chance to meet Joz.

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Riverbend Hot Springs,Truth or Consequences

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Riverbend Hot Springs,Truth or Consequences

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Riverbend Springs Hostel and no this isnt where you sleep

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Riverbend Springs Hostel

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Rio Grande River,Truth or Consequences which i swam in

Posted by Reece Sanford 21:33 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 84 Lubbock-Roswell, USA

Wednesday 31st August 2005

sunny 32 °C

Visited Buddy Hollys gravesite and memorial statue before the drive to Roswell.The next few days we would really just be spending some time relaxing in places where theres not much to see or do.
If you dont know this already Roswell is famous for the first apparent UFO sighting in 1947.So you can imagine what the place is like,shops selling aliens tshirts and cafes saying 'Aliens welcome here' and plenty of other useless rubbish.As simon was so looking forward to looking around the UFO Museum and it was cheap i thought 'Oh well it cant really be that bad and as theres nothing else to do i may as well look around it'.
Well the first thing i couldnt believe was upon walking in the guy taking our money says in a broad cockney/essex accent 'So where are you guys from'.Here i am miles from home and pretty much miles from anywhere really and theres this guy talking with his accent thats like im back at home again.
As for the museum well ive never seen so much rubbish and made up stories in my entire life.Lets also say its one place i wont be coming back to.

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Buddy Hollys Grave

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Buddy Holly Memorial Statue

Posted by Reece Sanford 21:22 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 83 Dallas-Lubbock, USA

Tuesday 30th August 2005

sunny 35 °C

Talk about driving through the middle of nowhere.
As we have so driving to do in the next few days to reach our next main destination we are breaking it up by finding places to stop enroute.So after checking the map we came across a place called Lubbock where we then find out Buddy Holly came from.
The 6 hour drive however was like driving through no mans land and apart from the occassional ranch and industrial building the place was just full of trees and rock and sand.

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:53 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 82 Dallas, USA

Monday 29th August 2005

sunny 32 °C

Didnt sleep to well as the hotel is chaos and people from the New Orleans area have driven up here to escape from the tornado and all they seem to be doing is walking their pets about all night and making loads of noise in the process.
We drove downtown at 11am and went to the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza (the place where Lee Harvey Oswald alledgedly shot John F Kennedy from).We must of spent nearly 3 hours walking around the museum and i really didnt think it would be that much to see but the information and things to see seemed to go on forever.The cover the life,death and legacy of the President,a complete insight into the lives of Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby and also through the whole conspiracy theory concerning everything and whether others were involved in the shooting.The whole thing was very very interesting and especially where sound experts were brought in some years later to go through the whole video and sound footage of what happened that day and reinacted the whole shooting scenario to determine where the shots came from and how many were fired.They came to the conclusion that there is over a 90% chance that a 4th shot came from the grassy knoll where several witnesses also said they saw smoke and heard a shot from.The word CONSPIRACY certainly springs to mind when you go through everything.I mean Lee Harvey Oswald wasnt even meant to be a good shot with a rifle yet he apparently let of 3 rounds in 5 seconds with an old rifle at a moving vehicle from quite a distance.I guess its like alot of things concerning high profile people and dodgy going ons,you dont usually ever find out the real truth.
It was however very much worth the admission fee and a must go and see for anyone visiting Dallas.We had also thought about going to the Conspiracy Museum but after this museum went into such much detail about the JFK shooting we decided it probably wasnt worth it and i had read mixed reactions about it,so we walked around for a few hours but there wasnt anything else really to see in the short time we were here.

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The 6th Floor Museum.The window 2nd from top and far right was where Lee Harvey Oswald allegedly shot JFK from.

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The 6th Floor Museum

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The Grassy Knoll where another shot at JFK could of come from.

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Downtown Dallas

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Downtown Dallas

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Downtown Dallas

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Downtown Dallas

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Fort Worth,Dallas

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:36 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 81 Austin-Dallas, USA

Sunday 28th August 2005

sunny 34 °C

Just drove to Dallas and booked into a hotel about 20 minutes drive from downtown.

Posted by Reece Sanford 20:34 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 80 Austin, USA

Saturday 27th August 2005

sunny 38 °C

When is this heat ever going to let up abit.You never feel like doing a thing when its this hot but as we are short on time we just wouldnt get a chance to look around unless we went out in it.
Instead of walking we drove over to the Texas Capitol Building and had a look inside what is a very impressive building and is actually 15ft higher than the one in Washington DC.Like they say everything in Texas is bigger.Inside is a painted portrait of every President of the Republic and Governor of the State of Texas with the last being a very cheesy painting of George Dubya himself.
You also get to look inside the Senate Chamber and the House of Representatives Chamber.I wonder how many corrupt conversations have gone on inside them.
After lunch at a vegetarian restaurant near the university i then got a taste of heaven and was in total dreamland as we found a cycle shop the sold Lance Armstrong clothing,bikes,books and signed jerseys.Unfortunately as we didnt have room in the car for a new bike i had to settle on just buying 4 tshirts and 2 magazines although i was more than pleased with that.
Upon prizing myself away from the shop we chilled at the hotel for a few hours and then went out to the cinema to watch Dukes of Hazzard and on the way back after watching it we encountered our own hazard.Somehow while driving down the motorway at 60mph everyone managed to avoid the chair from a 3 piece suite that had found its way into the middle of the road.
Seeings as we survived the chaos of that it was time to hit the town and head to 6th Street again.The texans are so friendly and probably the friendlyiest on the trip so far and they are so laid back but hell do they know how to party.Come 11pm though Simon had had enough so Jill and I continued to frequent a few more bars till 1.30am and by then the street was packed with people and the road was closed off.
Tired and abit drunk we made it back to the hotel after another fantastic night.Although we hadnt seen to much of Austin (although theres not much here)its certainly been a great place to visit.

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Texas Capitol Building,Austin

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Texas Capitol Building,Austin

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Grounds at the Texas Capitol Building,Austin

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Grounds at thenTexas Capitol Building,Austin

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Senate chamber

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House of Representatives Chamber

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The floor of the Texas Capitol Building,Austin

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The roof inside the Texas Capitol Building,Austin

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:55 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 79 San Antonio-Austin, USA

Friday 26th August 2005

sunny 37 °C

Was on my way to Austin and still no reply from Mr Armstrong about him letting us stay at his ranch.You would think that after all the merchandise of his ive bought he would of least let us stay for afternoon tea and biscuits.I guess hes to busy going on tv and chat shows answering yet more false allegations from the bloody french bast**ds.
Everywhere you seem to drive in Texas the roads always seem to be being dug up but nothing looks like its ever going to get repaired.Even in the shopping malls they are digging up the floor.Maybe the workmen are like the ones in england where you get 1 man working and 5 standing there watching him.
Anyway on the way to Austin we stopped off at a shopping mall just north of San Antonio to visit the Discovery Channel store where i was hoping to buy some cycling clothing but even though they advertise they sell it they didnt stock any.
After that we made our way to the Natural Bridge Caverns which was somewhere i wanted to visit as it reminded me of Wookie Hole near Cheddar Gorge in England which i visited in 1990.The tour guide took us around for an hour in which time we saw an 8000 year old black bear jaw bone and going down to 211 ft we saw huge rooms full of fantastic stalagmites and stalactites in many weird and wonderful shapes.The caverns were great and the tour very interesting although yet again some chinese tourists managed to spoil it by talking all the way through the tour.
Then it was on the road to Austin and once we checked into the hotel and a short sleep we headed down to 6th Street where the local nightlife is.It turned out to be a fairly early night as everyone was tired so we decided to hit the town properly tomorrow night.

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Natural Bridge Caverns,Texas

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Natural Bridge Caverns,Texas

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Natural Bridge Caverns,Texas

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Natural Bridge Caverns,Texas

Posted by Reece Sanford 22:41 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 78 San Antonio, USA

Thursday 25th August 2005

sunny 35 °C

Another very enjoyable day and San Antonio is definately a place i would love to come back to.First up today was a trip to the Alamo but along we way we stumpled across a very nice Mexican style market so spent some time looking around that first.The we walked through the park before we arrived at the site of the Alamo.
It has a very historic past since being built in 1724 and what suprised me inside was flags from several countries including England,Scotland and Wales but then we were informed that this was because people from these countries come and helped the texans fight in the battle.
The battle itself was fought in 1836 and only lasted 13 days.This was when the Texans and other volunteers battled and lost to the Mexicans and even though the Mexicans won the battle the massacre served to unite the Texans and they then gained their independence.
After looking around the gardens and buildings the sun was getting unbearable so we headed in the Riverwalk shopping mall for a few hours and then went to see a film Wedding Crashers (very funny film) at the cinema.
By the end it had cooled down somewhat so we took a barge tour along the river and were told of some of the history behind it.
So after a few uneventful days previously Houston and San Antonio turned out to be very nice and enjoyable places to visit.

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Mexican market

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San Antonio Park

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San Antonio Park

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A mosaic in San Antonio

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The Alamo

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The Alamo

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The Alamo

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The Alamo

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The Alamo Memorial

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The Riverwalk

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Riverwalk Shopping Mall

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San Antonio

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Old San Antonio

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Old San Antonio

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Old San Antonio

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San Antonio

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San Antonio River

Posted by Reece Sanford 23:30 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 77 Houston-San Antonio, USA

Wednesday 24th August 2005

sunny 36 °C

As we were staying on the outskirts of Houston we drove to the centre for a look around the city for a couple of hours before heading to San Antonio.The drive afterwards was similar to alot of the earlier driving in Canada with it being very flat and nothing to see for miles.How anybody would want to live between the cities is beyond me.
But once we arrived in San Antonio i was pleasantly suprised with what it had to offer.We booked into a hotel a short walk from downtown and then headed to the Riverwalk which on a barge takes you around 35 minutes to get around.It was spectacular and very picturesque and pretty.The river is full of restaurents to eat in and theres also a big shopping mall at the end where you can get the barges for a tour.After eating in all of places 'The English Pub' although we did have a view over the river we then headed back and the path was full of lamps to make your way back.

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Downtown Houston

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Downtown Houston

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Downtown Houston

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The Riverwalk San Antonio

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The Riverwalk San Antonio

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The Riverwalk San Antonio

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A church at night San Antonio

Posted by Reece Sanford 23:21 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 76 Houston, USA

Tuesday 23rd August 2005

sunny 35 °C

I got up reasonably early so i could spend the whole day at the Houston Space Center.The first part of the tour was an hour tram ride around the space center grounds seeing various space shuttles from over the years and then into an old mission control room where various launches had taken place over the years.
Then it was onto a building where there was a complete layout of the latest space shuttle and the astronauts would practise exactly what they would do on a mission in space.
After being shown what several other buildings were and then a ceremonial type area where tress had been planted for missions that had cost lives we headed back to the main area of the center.
Upon leaving the tram ride which seemed a little rushed we sat in a small cinema and were shown what a space shuttle taking off feels like and they try to make you think your really in the shuttle at the time.Then it was into a new mission control room where we were informed on all the latest information and going ons concerning NASA and told about previous and future projects including there proposed shuttles to Mars and a Russian cosmonaut who has just set a record for spending over 800 consecutive days in space.
Other things of interest afterwards were 2 more films on Live as an Astronaut and Life in Space and a look at several space suits from the 1960's to the present day which now cost in the region of 20 million,and then finally a look around the museum with details on every mission made into space by American Astronauts.
Unfortunatly due to running out of time we missed one other film but it was a very enjoyable and interesting day.

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Mission Control,Houston Space Center

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Inside a space shuttle cockpit

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An old spacesuit

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An old spacesuit

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A modern spacesuit

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A space buggy

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Astronauts on a mock up set

Posted by Reece Sanford 23:06 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 75 New Orleans-Houston, USA

Monday 22nd August 2005

sunny 34 °C

Got abit lost leaving New Orleans but after a detour we eventually found the road to Houston.Stopped off at the Texas border to take some photos but havent spotted Lance yet hahaha and then found a hotel directly opposite the Houston Space Centre.

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Welcome to Texas

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The Lone Star of Texas

Posted by Reece Sanford 23:03 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 71,72,73,74 Atlanta-New Orleans, USA

Thursday 18th August 2005, Friday 19th August 2005, Saturday 20th August 2005, Sunday 21st August 2005

sunny 33 °C

Yet another day spent driving.As we were arriving in New Orleans you get great views of The Gulf Of Mexico and its a shame things didnt look nice in all of New Orleans.
My first impressions were that this place hasnt anything of any interest and why were we spending 4 nights here is a mystery to me,and come monday my impressions were correct.As you head downtown it feels like your heading to the slums of Detroit again and the only difference is that in New Orleans there is one area thats very pretty and thats the French Quarter,but stuck in the middle is Bourbon Street which is basically a meat market ie full of strip bars,drunken idiots thinking they are in Ibiza and clubs where live bands play the same rock songs every night.

MUM IF YOUR READING THIS THEN MAYBE ITS TIME TO SKIP THIS PAGE NOW!!!

The most popular and well known craze at Bourbon Street is collecting beads.Every shop you walk past they sell hundreds of beaded necklaces in all colours,shapes and sizes,so what happens is people buy the beads and you will see people standing out on the balconies of bars and clubs throwing beads at women and occassionally men and then the deal is the women should then expose their chests in return.
Having a few drinks and listening to a few bands on the first 2 nights was ok but like i said its the same music and songs everywhere so then come the 3rd night its just too much and what makes it harder is theres nowhere else to go.

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French Quarter,New Orleans

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French Quarter,New Orleans

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French Quarter,New Orleans

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New Orleans

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New Orleans

Posted by Reece Sanford 17:48 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 70 Atlanta, USA

Wednesday 17th August 2005

sunny 34 °C

Quite an interesting day really with going to see where Martin Luther King Jr was brought up and also buried.Atlanta doesnt really have to much to offer apart from the above and the Olympic Park that we also walked around later,thats unless your interested in the CNN building and Coca Cola factory.But having said that i was glad to of escaped the blues/country theme of Memphis and Nashville.We walked from the hotel for a look downtown and then over to where the Martin Luther King Jr Museum was.It certainly wasnt the nicest of areas to walk through thats for sure and i got the feeling i wouldnt want to walk here at night and felt just a little bit concerned at times for my safety although considering what had gone on here all those years ago in this area today is nothing compared to that.
In the museum we watched a short film on what life was like in those days with all the segregation of black and white people and then read all about the life of Marin Luther King Jr and his family which was very interesting.Then it was a short walk to the house where he was brought up as a child and even today its a fairly nice house and good sized considered in the middle class bracket back then with the lower class houses across the road.After we walked back and across the road from the museum to where he was buried and down to the church where the funeral took place.
After lunch and a walk around the underground shops we walked over to the Olympic Park but the heat was so hot by then that shortly afterwards we headed back to the hotel to relax.

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House where Martin Luther King Jr was brought up from birth

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Plaque at the home

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Artin Luther King Jr burial site

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Martin Luther King Jr grave

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Ebeneezer Church where the funeral took place

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Georgia State Capitol Building

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Olympic Park,Atlanta

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Olympic Park,Atlanta

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Olympic Park,Atlanta

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Olympic Park,Atlanta

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Olympic Park,Atlanta

Posted by Reece Sanford 17:31 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

Day 69 Nashville-Atlanta, USA

Tuesday 16th August 2005

semi-overcast 32 °C

Pretty much another full and long day driving with the exception of stopping off at the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchberg and going on a free guided tour.
Its definately worth a visit if your in the area at all and the tour guide made it all the more enjoyable and even with his redneck accent hard to understand at times his jokes and stories were hilarious and he was really interested in where people were from and where they were going.During part of the tour in one building he got us all around these huge wooden containers and quickly lifted the lids up and down again giving us a very quick inhale of breath of the 140% proof whisky in the process of being made.
Now considering im not a whisky drinker at all the smell got me thinking that maybe i should start.
After the hour long tour we made our way to Atlanta and i was hoping to get to spend some time at a place caled Rock City which has some fabulous views from the hills down to the town and apparently you can see 5 states on a good day,but due to time i never got the chance to go in.The drive to the top of Rock City was still impressive though as we winded round hairpin bends in the car with huge drops off the edge (would of loved to of cycled up and down it) and i managed to get some photographs near the top.Eventually after getting caught in a big thunderstorm the accident/traffic jam we made it to Atlanta at 9pm.

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Rock City,Chattanooga

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Rock City,Chattanooga

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Atlanta at night from our hotel

Posted by Reece Sanford 17:08 Archived in USA Tagged backpacking

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