A Travellerspoint blog

The End

16 °C

And that's it. All over. I stayed awake. Successfully cleared the 'UK Border' and met up with my parents. I'm sure in the weeks and months to come I will have deeper reflections about my travels, but for the time being here are some stats ...

20,000 Photos taken.
10,000m Run in New York.
9,450 Views of this blog to date.
7,051 Miles driven across the United States.
800 Miles driven between Glacier National Park and Casper, Wyoming - the most for a single day on the road.
420 Dollars spent on medical bills.
93 Days away.
87 Blog entries.
44 Degrees Celcius - the hottest day.
36 Minutes spent in Canada.
27 Postcards sent home.
14 Hostels became home.
13.3 Weeks in the United States.
7 National Parks visited.
6 Home runs.
5% Return for my gambling in Las Vegas.
4 Time zones crossed.
3 Passport stamps
2 Wild dolphins swam with off the Charleston's Folly Beach.
1/4 Of 2010 spent in the USA.

Posted by MattOGrady 13:14 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Leaving, on a Jet Plane

sunny 26 °C

Up early. Can it be true? I'm excited to get home? Surely not.

I dragged by bags out the hostel (the new bag I got in LA from some dodgy Sunset Blvd retailer is already falling a part), jumped on the train and before I new it I was at Seattle International Airport. It turns out that the BA desk is shared with Air France and I got to the desk a little early. At least I had the time to sort out my bags - both weighing exactly 23kg each, literally the limit. I'm having to wear my boots from Austin to keep the weight down.

I maxed out my credit card buying a burger in departures - I now have literally no money left and one hefty credit card bill to pay off. It was surreal to step on the concourse that led to the plane, my last moment in America after three months living here was over so quickly and before too long I was off the ground and just the air space connected me to the country that had become home for my travels.

My plan for this flight was to stay awake for the whole nine hours, the films keeping me going, so that by the time I'm in the UK I'll be thoroughly exhuasted from being up for over day. Here's hoping the plan works.

Posted by MattOGrady 12:55 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Sun is Setting

sunny 30 °C

My last full day in the United States. I'm really in disbelief. I've had a terric time and now does seem like the right time to move on, go home and close the book on my US travels.

This morning I caught the shuttle up to Seattle Washington University. The heat today was blistering (where is this Pacific North-West rain?!) so the opportunities to tour the inside of the University's cooler buildings was welcome relief. I made my way down the the University's main drag which, when standing at its beginning, points directly to Mt. Rainer - a Unviersity with a view. I did my best to catch a few pages of my book whilst lying on the lawn, but the sun got the better of me and, as has become relatively common for me, I ended up catching 40 winks.

Back into Seattle and I went to Safeco Field, the home of the city's baseball team - the Seattle Seahawks. Another quintessentially America experience was to be had - a beer in the bleachers at a Friday night baseball game. The game was nothing to write home about; one run for the home side in the first innings was the only score. But, this game was as much about what was going on outside the stadium. As the sun came down I caught myself and thought about all those other sunsets I had seen; watching boats rock in the sea off Bar Harbor's rocky coast, sat outside houses from a different time in gentle Charleston, on Miami's South Beach on Independence Day, the last glimmer of the day's light bouncing off a trumpeters instrument in New Orleans and that was just the first month.

My bags (I now have two to go alongside the rucsac I came out with) are packed. My boots are out. Good night America.

Posted by MattOGrady 12:34 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Space Needle

sunny 25 °C

Today I made my way back to the centre of town and caught the monorail to the Seattle Center, home in 1962 to the World's Fair and still the site of the famous Space Needle. I queued up, paid my fare and took to the lift to the top of the Space Needle. The view from the top was spectacular. If the Empire State Building has views over the most impressive concrete jungle in the world, the natural beauty of Washington's Mt. Rainer south east of the Needle is certainly Seattle's best asset. It was perfectly clear today and I really didn't expect to see Mt. Rainer's snowcapped peak dominating the horizon. A late lunch was had at the top and before too long I made my way back down. My ticket wasn't taken from me before I got the ride to the top so once at the bottom I was able to sell my ticket on to someone in search of a cheaper ticket.

It's my last day in the United States tomorrow, something I find utterly unbelievable when I stop to spend any time thinking about where I've been or looking in my little black book noting what I wanted to do in places I visited in weeks past.

Posted by MattOGrady 12:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Pike Place Market

sunny 19 °C

I had been told that the north western United States is the rainiest area of the country and Seattle the wettest city of them all. Well I'm not quite sure what happened, because the weather here is glorious. This morning I ventured to the Pike Place Market, which is a large (primarily fish) market just off the waterfront. However, this market isn't most famous for its fish. No, the most famous place here is the very first Starbucks. Speaking of Starbucks - they are everywhere in this city. You literally cannot walk 75m from one before you come across the next. I spent the afternoon doing some final purchases to fill my new suitcase. I'm not very good at jeans shopping, but when they're just $19 a pair I don't think even I can go wrong! I sat down in Seattle main square where a free afternoon concert was being held. Today's was Latin themed (as in South American). The square was soon filled with people, standing when all the seats were filled, and many people were getting up to salsa. I'm not sure how this would go down in Nottingham's Market Square, but everything's worth trying.

M

Posted by MattOGrady 10:19 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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