Sunday, 30 August 2009

Sunday, 16 August 2009

The Atlantic

A real sense of winding down has descended on the tour, most notably this evening, as we have essentially completed our trip. This afternoon, we arrived in Portland, Maine, officially conquering the USA.

We left Providence and arrived in Boston, spending a little time in Harvard Square before descending on Allston, our home for the weekend. Kate and Cat and their posse of the greatest cats ever were the perfect hosts. They took us (as well as the other three guests they were entertaining that weekend, so a grand total of eight St Andrews graduates were partying in Allston on Friday...) for nachos, chili, beer and baseball, then onto a bar/club filled with Bostonians who all wished they were British. As we danced to Pulp and Suede, we were told that as Brits, we were the coolest people in the place by default. Ironically, we're all after Green Cards...

We drank a lot of PBR and had a lot of fun.

Waking up the next morning was a little more difficult than usual. Hungover (it took Neil until 8PM that evening before he finally declared himself 'post-hangover'), HOT and tired we headed into the city. Boston is pretty spectacular, and feels quite small downtown, so the walking wasn't as much of a pain in the ass as it had been in other cities. Particular highlights were the Common, little graveyards, the Statehouse and of course the waterfront.

We took a trip to Fenway to watch some more baseball and drink some more beers. We also enjoyed some Little League World Series, the single most engaging live sporting event on the planet.

Back to Allston for more chili and beer, then once reunited with the rest of the team, we headed to some dude's basement where Cat's band were playing a show. And they were good. And she forced her band to learn a Jonas Brothers song for us. She's quite the rockstar. Good going Cat.

Sadly there are no photos, but to make up for it, have a myspace link pushed in yr face yeah?

Click it.

We had a super good time, so thanks a million to Cat and Kate, and Will for the amazing sandwich which did not last long, and to Rachel and Pete and Claire for hanging out with us, and most especially to Clarence and his sidekicks for keeping us entertained. I have never seen a posse of cats quite so organized with their scheming and troublemaking.

Today we took a leisurely drive thru New Hampshire to Maine. We watched a little NASCAR with a beer then drove out to Two Lights and the Lobster Shack.

The Lobster Shack is essentially identical to that chippie in Anstruther that everyone goes to. Except here there are ample picnic tables outside, you're sitting on the beautiful Maine/Atlantic coastline, it isn't freezing all the time, and instead of fish and chips, you're going for a lobster dinner.

Life is pretty good when you're eating lobster. Especially when you're eating it here.

And just like that, we're done. We beat America. Tomorrow we return to Massachusetts. On Tuesday it's NYC, and what is sure to be an emotional goodbye to Caroline the Chevy. And probably a less emotional goodbye to Michael.

On Wednesday, it's goodbye to the States. On thursday, it's home. Goddamnit.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Fast Food Boys 3-0 American Cities

I can only apologize for the lack of updates. We've been pretty busy. After uploading photos etc., blogging takes second place to sleep, as much sleep as I can possibly get. Anyway. Here's what we've been up to. Last time we spoke was from Morgantown, WV. The next day we left for Virginia, stopping by a bad ass farmer's market.

We arrived at Todd and Liz's beautiful farm mid afternoon, and so began two days of the best hospitality the US has to offer. We're talking comfy beds, use of laundry machines, SATELLITE TV, steak, sticky toffee pudding, homebrew... I can't overstate just how vital this stay was to our wellbeing, both physical and mental. Thank you ever so much guys, we had a total blast.

After a solid, solid sleep, in separate beds, we had a big day in DC. Iwo Jima, Arlington, Air and Space, Capitol Building, American History, Washington, WWII, Vietnam, Lincoln, Korea... once again, all in 100 degree heat. Amazing day though, in probably my favourite city in the world. So thank you very much Todd, and thank you very much Mr Smithsonian.

Knackered, we demolished steak and slept like babies. Next up, Philadelphia.

Via Gettysburg!

Then FIVE GUYS! Five Guys was a little more expensive than expected, but it was the best burger i've ever had, the fries were great, and there were peanuts to munch on. GOOD LUNCH.

Philly. We knocked off the stadiums, then drove into the city. And parked next to the Liberty Bell. Having a car is amazing.

Rocky steps!

And most importantly, cheesesteaks. We figured the only fair way to do it, was have a cheesesteak at Pat's...

Then across the road, Geno's...

It's sad to say, because I thought it would be a much tighter decision, but Geno's won on every count. Quality of sub, taste of steak, consistency of Whizz... Geno's cheesesteaks are one of the greatest foodstuffs on this planet.

Full, the boys retired to the room for some Letterman, and I took a 20 minute drive to Delaware. Just so I never have to go back. It pretty much sucked.

Day 3 of the City Swing, City 3. New York City. We drove up through Staten Island, across the Verzano Bridge onto Brooklyn. Nice view.

Dump the car, get on the subway, meet the boys from the Mango, grab a New York Slice, and head to Coney Island.

(There was no rat there. Nothing at all. Just a minging pit. Worth every penny.)

We got the subway across to Manhattan, had a few cold PBRs in the Village, then hit Chinatown for a great meal, and some Taro and Green Tea ice cream.

To end a great day, a walk across Brooklyn Bridge.

Us 3-0 American cities. DC, Philly and NYC in 3 days. We felt pretty smug.

We woke late and headed north to New Haven, CT. Which was a little disappointing, most of the Yale buildings were being done up etc. etc. But Little Italy did not disappoint, and neither did Frank Pepe's Tomato Pies.

Or the italian ice.

Or the cannoli.

Today, a short trip up the coast to visit the Kings of Extortion at Mystic, CT, then Stonington, CT, which was very nice.

Then another winning town, in fact, one of the winningest towns of the trip, Providence, Rhode Island. Featuring such sights as the Brown Bear, or Brown fame.

Fire On The Water (minus the fire)

And a pretty amazing State House.

Good work Rhode Island!

This evening we had pizza and salad, or in my case, 1lb of steak on a roll. Yikes. We've since watched some football, and waited for Emma Watson to appear on one of the Late Nite shows. The only problem is we can't remember which one she's on. We're flicking between Robin Williams (+) on Conan (-) and Paul McCartney (double -) on Letterman (+).

We did pretty good huh? Boston tomorrow.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Catch Up

After Lawrence, we drove up through Missouri, through Council Bluffs, IA and over the water to Omaha, Nebraska.

The trend continued. We ate BBQ (don't want to give away too much before the Top BBQ of Tour Post, but it was freakin' incredible), walked to somewhere which was closed...

... drank in an Irish bar (this time with a real Irish bartender who gave us free booze) and then ate again. Steak, because we we're in Nebraska. Lots of fun, and a nice city to boot.

Next up, back into Iowa for a long, dull, corn-filled drive to Illinois, and eventually, Chicago!

We arrived early evening, so headed straight to Wrigleyville to see where Mike's Cubbies play ball, then found a bar with $2 burger and fries and $2 domestics. Victory was ours once again.

Up nice and early next morning to see our lovely motel in the daylight...

Then straight into the city for real.

After a reallllly long strolling around (thankfully it didn't get too hot) we returned to Wrigleyville, this time for slightly more expensive beer, and dollar Chicago style hot dogs.

Ok! From Chicago... Into Indiana, to South Bend, home of the University of Notre Dame, and the Fighting Irish. Also home to a really awesome trophy room.

Then onto Kentucky, and Louisville!

First stop is an obvious one. Cave Hill Cemetery.

Probably the only cemetery in the world where there is a yellow line on the road leading people from the gate to one single grave amongst thousands. God Bless America, and God Bless The Colonel.

Then we drove around, admiring things. Like the Ohio River...

The incredible Louisville Slugger museum type place...

And ate. An Arbys (B-) and more BBQ (A+)

While waiting on our BBQ, we drank some dollar Pabst, and Neil nipped across the road for a haircut.

Apparently the entire exchange ended with said barber asking Neil if he was "from another country?" Kentucky people have seemed extra strange about us not being local.

Louisville was fantastic though.

And it will forever hold a special place in our hearts, as driving down Bardstown Road late that night, we hit the 10,000 mile mark on our trip. We're very proud of ourselves, and very proud of our lovely Caroline.

Today was a driving day, not much more.

Tonight we're in a fairly spacious Econolodge in the Lovely Morgantown. We arrived late so haven't seen much of it, but we're appreciating windy roads and a lack of grids. We also appreciated some Wendys. Tonight, we're gonna enjoy some Kimmel, some Conan, some Letterman, some Craig Ferguson, and we're definitely not going to enjoy any Jimmy Fallon. Someone needs to shoot Jimmy Fallon.

Tomorrow... some old fashioned southern hospitality courtesy of some of Steve's relatives, and Washington DC. We're gonna take serious advantage of the Smithsonian's generosity.

Later kids.