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Route 66 Part 2

So part two then…

After our night at the Red Roof in St Louis, Missouri we started the long drive West. So, in no particular order…

Stanton Reptiles looked scary so we didn’t go. Scary because there were three rough lookin’ guys standing outside looking intimidated. So we drove.

That was on the road to the Caves, suprisingly I can’t remember their name because there were signs approximately every 3 metres along the road for a 50 mile stretch advertising. Something-alec… Meramec caves maybe. It irritated so much we decided against it. When we headed onto the old Route to experience it a bit after a long-ish drive on the Interstate. Somehow the cave people managed to put the route right through their land and make it impossible to get out. THREE MILES on rough old roads back up to the interstate kinda-way put MO on the Hate List! Candidate for the Stupidest thing: Lebanon Starlite Bowling…. We read from the tour book: “… you can bowl across the street… ” and thought wow, that sounds like fun. Bowling on a street, eh? Up and down, up and down, up and down… Nope. No bowling alley! So we asked someone where to go (turned out it was the sheriff – i think he actually had a shotgun on his dash) and followed directions. We found it. and walked around. No street to bowl over. Looked at the book again: “Stay overnight at the Munger Moss motel. You can bowl across the street at the…” AARGH. Foolishness :-)

Onward… The Stonehenge replica in (urr…. can’t remember town name – i’ll fix and edit this later). Plenty of silly town names to laugh at (Baghdad for example). Totem Pole Park was a ‘less-scary’ introduction to Indian culture and bits and pieces like Totem Poles for example. And the lady inside is lovely. The Wigwam a couple of miles up the road was a scary place with scary people and they made you buy $2 minimum and it wasn’t even any good. Don’t go in! RUN AWAY.

Stayed in Claremore that night; it was a nice wee town, but we were too late to stay in teh Carriage House B&B where apparently you get Cookies for supper. That sounded fun. I think that was the night we went to a Steak and Shake which was fantastic. FAN TAS TIC.

More later.

And yes I’ll fix the mistakes, errors, exceptions and stupidities.

D :-)

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Route 66 Part 1

A review of what we did on the first few days of the Route 66 trip.

*Days -1, 0 and 1: Illinois*
At Mel’s house near Aledo Illinois. JK and I got our first tastes of Midwest hospitality, food and so on. Mel’s parents were really welcoming to us and let us do some fun stuff (point scoring for Jonny too) around the farm. More later.

We drove south from there via Beardstown (if you know him you’ll know why), Macomb (where Martin went to college and met Ashleigh) where we made our first death defying near-miss, driving down the left side of a slip road when we should’ve driven 50 yards further and done the 90-degree turn. Lesson: Don’t turn left unless you absolutely have to. After Macomb (where Travis lives, but we didn’t get to call on him) we drove South again to Springfield, IL and then on to St Louis (through East St L which Martin says is the worst place ever, though we now know different (later: NM)). It has a lovely big Arch thing, which I think I got one half decent photo of. But it was late and I had no tripod :(

First nights stay was in a Red Roof Inn, which was thoroughly decent though its bathroom door wouldn’t close properly, so we created a genius system of letting eachother know we were in bathroom: the light was on… It cost $93 between the two of us which is under £50 and £25 each; bargain by standards here, especially as it was well located just off the Interstate in a large city. (The ‘motel’ on Sandy Row – just off the M1 ;) – costs £69 per night for one person in a room as far as I know). All motels for ‘two’ come with two Queen sized beds, TV, shower and all that. Bonuses are fridges and microwaves, though all we used those for was to cool water.

I’m going to make a small sub-site for Trip Review, Photos, Tour Guide and Motel Reviews; possibly going expand it and make a bit of a 2 point Oh ‘submit your experience’; maybe mash it up with google maps and make a road trip planner – who knows; could be fun.

More soon, moving to Belfast today… I hate Jet Lag by the way – was up at 5.30 this morning (brain thinks it was 8.30PM the previous night in LA) and have been tidying and getting ready to move.

Dave

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YouTube Antics

Came across a few Weird Al videos on youTube, very funny.
Especially White & Nerdy.
Also eBay and Don’t download this song.

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Onto the Route

Hey Everybody,

Just letting you know I arrived safe and well in Chicago, Illinois last night and have been at American Mel’s house for the past 24 hours, it’s been great craic and we’re expecting a nasty thunderstorm which could be fun – they have a Tornado shelter here but I think it’s the wrong season for those!

It is however Duck Hunting season (I think) and so we went with Mel’s Dad to a ‘hunter safety clinic’ which is where they teach kids how to survive when hunting and also how to not be stupid with guns. Take that concept as you will, guns/safe/stupid and all that, but it’s quite good to see that its all part of the system – they need to do this training before they are allowed a license. Same applies to hunting with a bow and arrow!!

Jet lag is a pain, and the Indian lady who kept hocking up phlegm the whole way across on the plane meant I got no sleep either. Funny story – I was sat beside two people in the centre of the 777 – on the right was a black Philipino benedictine monk called Bar-luke (Which i think may have been ‘brother’ Luke, but I’m not sure; and on the left was a Serbian guy from Austria (I think) who was in a car crash and in a coma for a year. Thankfully his sister (from Chicago) is a brain surgeon and was able to help “repair” him. Before that he says he used to fly 2-3 weekends a year and he was reading ‘Foreign Affairs’ – a magazine popular with Diplomats and so on; so you never know he mighta been a Serbian spy or something :-) That was fun.

Will keep up to date if/when and if I can be bothered for the next 11 days or so, but here’s to boring Oklahoma!

Dave

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America (soon)

24 hours and I’ll be checking in down at Dublin. Hopefully will be able to access this (not for you! for me! :-D) and keep a log of stuff we do and places we go. Not bringing the puter with me. I think that’s a good idea. Up til 3AM designing final cuts of posters is LATE. LATE i tell you, when you need to be up and outta here at 8AM tomorrow. [think of something useful to say…. nope]

Ok I’m outta here, Chicago here I come.

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Oops

Well, wasn’t that a whole bunch of fun! I installed a plug-in to Textpattern and… well… simply put it completely wrecked my blog. I couldn’t extract it even direct from the database. So I had to get the beautiful people at textdrive to come to my assistance. As the shared hosting backup server’s been down for a month or two the backup I had to use was 27th June….

Good thing I took a database copy just before I pulled the plug. Kudos to Jan at TextDrive for the assist.

Ahem, note to self. Try plug-ins on non-live server next time….

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Cheap International Calls

If you want to call overseas (relatives, friends, planning your route 66 holiday) you’ll know how much international calls cost. I was watching the (not quite unbearable) ONE Show on BBC One last week, and came across this method of making your calls cheaper.

http://www.telediscount.co.uk/ for example, is an 0845 ‘Proxy’ service. You dial a lo-call rate (3,2,1p per minute depending on the time of day and the service provider) and then once you are connected you enter the number of the person you want to call.

Of course, this is negated by using VOIP – but apparently the line quality is excellent and 1ppm is certainly a whole lot better than the standard international call rate in the UK. Calling a US Cell phone for 1p is great – here from a landline to a UK mobile phone is about 14p+ at the very least.

Find!

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Route 66 Update

Jonny and I have finished our itinerary for Route 66 so it’s all ‘systems’ go! I’m thinking of making a mini-site to document it all. For posterity if nothing else.

Here’s the basic plan:
8th Sept – Arrive Chicago
9th Sept – Spend Day at Mel’s house near Moline
10th Sept – Pick up hire car from Moline Airport and drive south to Springfield, IL.
11th Sept – Drive Through Missouri
12th Sept – Drive Through Oklahoma (Worst state ever)
13th Sept – Texas
14th Sept – Arizona A
15th Sept – Arizona B
16th Sept – Grand Canyon to Vegas
17th Sept – Possibly Vegas/Grand Canyon helicopter tour
18th Sept – Drive to Santa Monica – End of Route 66
19th Sept – Do a little bit of California touring
20th Sept – Breakfast in LA city (I love american breakfast time) and then fly home.

No sweat. Well, except in the desert :/

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Plus.net and me

Logs… Someone on plus.net keeps googling my name. Leave me alone! :S

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Brandtastic! Or Not.

I was reading this earlier.

And thought… brands? What brands am I wearing? Next, Next, Next, M&S, M&S, Nike ‘gutties’ (Primary School PE Teacher-esque) and a Jimmy Eat World t-shirt. Forsaking the trainers which are about 5 years old, I’m not really brand oriented. Looking my cupboard recent purchases of trainers: cheapest off the size 12 discount rack in JJB, happened to be Nike, and the next were Asics, which if I remember correct (when I was in the class of 96 at Greenisland Primary School) was somewhere in the same region as ‘Gola’ which remarkably is now cool again. Amongst the hip young kiddies who wear girls jeans (the boys that is, at least) and carry man-bags, or whatever they’re called.

It may be because I know that Next stuff fits me, but that’s where I buy all my clothes. Is that a brand, or just choice? I’m not advertising them when I walk; but why not Primark? I don’t know – Next looks nicer, doesn’t it? Is that valid? Primark to me says: cheap underwear or oh I need a plain white t-shirt, I’ll go to Primark, but I wouldn’t go there to buy a ‘nice’ pair of jeans, because they probably would have a bad cut and strange fit. (Which is why I don’t buy River Island – though that might be because of the strange fascination for making your wear things like this). I get scared when I walk into a shop full of clothes which makes me think: “The Coach” “Yeo” and “Oh-er”. Bad reflection on me maybe? :-)

Techie brands: Apple, Sony, Fender, Microsoft. Why buy those? Quite simply (Sony laptop batteries aside) they are the best at what they do. Apple hardware (and butchering of BSD and hundreds of open source projects), Sony audio equipment, Fender amplifiers and instruments are among the top – no matter which continent your particular model is built in – in the world and Microsoft Mice, Keyboards (ignoring software) are simply fantastic. I wouldn’t buy a ‘PC Line’ keyboard or a Lexmark printer (to quote an HP product advert: Pay more, expect fewer problems – there’s a right-on advert!). Ever used any of the CD-Rs that the Students Union shop at Queens used to sell? They burn for 12 (audio) “minutes” and then fail. Why? Because the plastic is too see-through and the label runs out at exactly that point, confusing your laser and failing. Oh boys oh, I feel like a rant. But I will desist.

Talking of RiverIsland, on an Accessibility slant, look at riverisland.com and click the Disability statement. Woeful! Critique.