After our 2016 American road trip from Boston to San Francisco we decided we just had to go back to the states. Only unlike last time we’re just visiting for 2 weeks and not going to anywhere near as many places as we did before. This time, we’re revisiting our favourites; Nashville and New Orleans (with a few new stops along the way).
From the moment we had decided we were going on a road trip across America one thing played on our minds; “what is it going to be like driving over there?”
As 3 Scots who could drive here in the UK, the thought of not just driving in another country, but that country being America and us having to adapt to driving in the opposite side of the car, on the opposite side of the road! Well it was daunting to say the least.
So, we’re in Boston at the car rental dealing with paperwork and all we have to go on is the 2 or 3 taxis we’ve been in since we arrived. Who I might add, all drove like they were insane. So now we’re just about to be handed our keys to a car that was bigger than any of us had ever driven before and the woman starts to tell us, “now if the police pull you over, move over straight away, hands on the wheel. DO NOT get out the car unless asked, get this paperwork and show them that along with your license” we were stood there like shit this sounds scary.
As I mentioned in a previous post our journey with our car didn’t start off the best as 2 hours into having it we were crashed into. Hence wee Monique in the picture is our second car. So I mean apart from the crash (as it wasn’t my fault) we were doing not too bad, we got a system going and that helped us a lot.
One person driving, whoever was in the passenger seat was in charge of making sure the driver didn’t drift into other lanes and helped when merging was needed.
The actual driving though? Well it was so much easier than we expected. I don’t know how people don’t like driving automatics, life was a breeze behind that wheel because of it.
The one thing though that I will never get my head around? Being able to turn on a red light??! What the hell is this all about?
All in all, driving in America is nowhere near as bad as we thought it would be.
We got lost once and that was because we weren’t paying proper attention to our Sat Nav.
We never got pulled over by the police, in fact the only time we dealt with police was in Salem, MA because of our crash and then in LA because my friends were crossing the road when they shouldn’t have been apparently. But that’s another story.
If you’re thinking of getting a car in America but are unsure of anything, feel free to ask. Honestly though, it’s super easy!
We landed in Boston and headed straight to our Motel (without our luggage). We were staying in the Super 8 Watertown/Cambridge/Boston area. The motel itself was like many others we stayed in and what we expected for the price. We stayed in a double queen room, which was spacious enough for the 4 of us, but let’s be honest most of the time I don’t care where I stay, you’re only sleeping there afterall.
Almost as soon as we arrived, we were out the door again and headed to find the nearest clothes stores as without our luggage we had nothing but the clothes on our backs. After a half hour walk we found ourselves at Watertown Mall, we went straight for some food, nothing fancy just a burger king. Then straight to Forever 21 and Target to get clothing essentials.
So, this was it. We were in Boston, our road trip (after over a year of planning) was finally here.
Our day started off with breakfast in the motel, cinnabun’s and waffles started us off for the day ahead. We got into a taxi into Cambridge, we weren’t staying directly in the centre of Boston, tactical for us really. It’s cheaper to stay just out and the price of taxi’s around was never that dear either. Harvard. It was just as beautiful as I thought it would be, although the grounds were mostly empty apart from other tourists like ourselves, I could just imagine what it would be like throughout the year. The buzz of people walking about, I mean, it’s Harvard afterall. We headed for a coffee in Crema Cafe, just along from Harvard. I’m not always a coffee person but it was good!
Next on our to do list was to head to the Prudential Centre as we had pre-booked ourselves onto one of the Boston Duck Tours, what better way to see Boston afterall?
I always love getting driven around, sightseeing places and when you have someone that’s full of banter like our guide was it makes it a good trip. Our guide was called “Tim Burr” he was really quite funny and made it even more enjoyable. We visited many places that we probably wouldn’t have had we not went on the duck tour, so it was great to see and learn about them. The best part was probably when we went into the water, seems like nothing, but people got a shot of driving in the water. My friend Clare being one of them, she’s not able to drive the car but at least she got to drive a boat!
We were back for lunch time and the place we were very excited to visit was The Cheesecake Factory. This was the first time we realised just how big the portion sizes are, wow. I got the chicken parmesian sandwich, it was really nice although just far too much! And who can go to The Cheesecake Factory and not get cheesecake? Well not us, of course we got cheesecake. I opted for the red velvet, I did not regret my decision.
While on the duck tour earlier we had driven past Boston Common where there was a part that was covered in small flags, we decided we wanted to head here next.. We asked someone where they were and they pointed us in the direction, although when we got there, there wasn’t any there and we presumed they had taken them down. We chilled in the park for a little while before we headed off to walk the Freedom Trail, which took us a while to find. Actually, we didn’t even realise we had found it at first. Here we were, walking along the Freedom Trail with not a clue in the world, looking for the Freedom Trail. We walked along it for a while until we got to a wall that had a map of the Freedom Trail on it and we decided we wanted to head towards the USS Consitution, which of course was in the opposite direction. So back the way we went.
We got there about 10 minutes after the place had closed unfortunately, so we hung about for a short while taking some pictures before we decided to call it a day and get a taxi back to our motel.
Remember how we got to Boston but our luggage didn’t? Well about 11pm our luggage arrived, with one case missing. The hassle of trying to get this case back probably deserves a post of it’s own I’m not going to lie, so you will likely get that in the future.
If only we knew how this day would play out, I think we would have stayed in. Ellé, Shona and I headed to pick up our car from Enterprise rental while Clare headed to buy more clothes (as it was her case that didn’t arrive). Smooth sailing at first, we got there, paid the rest we had to pay, signed the paperwork and got sent up a few flights to get our car. Picked Clare up and decided to head towards Salem. We were so excited to go and do some witch stuff. But, that didn’t happen did it? And honestly, I don’t think I can tell the store again so you can read it here. Short lived trip to Salem, and back to Boston we went to get a new car and get the hell out of there. We were informed by the woman at the car rental that drivers in Boston were some of, if not the worst and were actually known as ‘MASSHOLES’ = Massachusett Assholes. What I didn’t mention before was that when we got back to the rental company they didn’t have another car there for us, we mentioned we could come back later on as we planned to go back to the airport to try and find our other case and they were so amazing. They (I can’t refer to anyone by name as unfortunately we never got the womans name that helped us, but she was so incredibly lovely) drove us to the airport and picked a new, bigger, better car for us. They really went above and beyond.
Our time in Boston was over, and it was off to NYC where we thought we would be starting a fresh and leaving the bad luck behind.
Boston, it was a pleasure.
I was atrocious at updating this while I was road tripping across America but honestly, I was just trying to enjoy my time there and only spent time on the Internet when I was adding occasional photos to our instagram have a look here if you want.
Basically, as the title says I now have the post travel blues.
Driving across America with my best friends was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life (despite the couple of hiccups we encountered at the beginning of our trip).
I’m still in total disbelief that we actually done it. We drove 5044 miles across America. We seen and done some amazing things, I think the best parts were definitely the beautiful sights I seen along the way.
Below is just one picture from every place we went.
Above is our (second) car. We called her Monique; there is a story behind why we called her this but I’ll save that for another time.
New York City, NY.
Obviously you all know where we are. Times square baby!
Obviously we found ourselves visiting big Abe L.
Abingdon for us was just a stopover, Needless to say I didn’t get many pictures apart from this from our motel window.
Are you from Tennessee? Cause you’re the only ‘ten I see’ .. Unbeknown to ourselves (until we stepped out a taxi in the main streets) we were in Nashville during the CMA Music Festival which did mean for us there was an epic crowd of people. We didn’t get to see too much as we were in 2 bars before my group of friends got absolutely steaming and I had to drag them home.
New Orleans, LA.
I completely fell in love with NOLA, and with the Frenchmen Art Gardens especially. What a beautifully magical place. The work from local artists is just something else, they’re all so very talented. We also found ourselves in Cats Meow on Bourbon St. Needless to say (being Scottish) we found ourselves singing 500 miles by the proclaimers on stage.. who doesn’t love karaoke?
Ennis was a small town stopover for us, and we’re all so glad we did stop over with here. We popped into the taco bell before we left and the staff were so lovely! They had never met anyone from Scotland before and so asked to get a picture with us. Made us feel so so welcome.
Cadillac Ranch. I was really looking forward to going here, and I definitely had so much fun. Spray paint in hand it was fun leaving our mark here, at least for a little while.
We just had a little overnight stop in Farmington so there aren’t many pictures.
Grand Canyon, AZ.
My fear of heights kept me well away from the edge but it meant I got to take beautiful pictures like this while we watched the sun set over the Grand Canyon. We stayed at the Yavapai Lodges, if you book early enough to stay here it’s work it. Such an incredibly beautiful place.
Las Vegas, NV.
When in Vegas.. it always lands on black.
Los Angeles, CA.
We got to spend a few days exploring this beautiful city, although I know I have to go back as there’s so much more for me still to see. We made sure to find a set of angels wings. Because who can leave LA the city of angels without becoming an angel?
San Simeon, CA.
Beautiful little place. We spent the previous night on the beach watching the sun set, drinking a cider and running into the sea.
San Francisco, CA.
Can you say you’ve been to San Fran if you didn’t go to Alcatraz? We went on the night tour and it was amazing seeing this place, hearing what things were like, learning more than we previously knew. We spent 3 hours in this place, on this island and it was eerie. I can’t imagine how it felt for the prisoners.
I had the trip of my life and I’ll be sharing more stories and pictures from our month long road trip in the future.
Have you been to any of these places? Are you going? Tell me your favourite parts or what you’re most looking forward to!
I just want to do it all over again.
Now we didn’t quite expect every single detail of this month long trip to go to plan but considering we’re on day 3 and everything that could go wrong has, well luck just isn’t on our side.
So it started off in Glasgow airport, we hadn’t even left and things were going wrong. I feel like I need to list this all to show the extent of how unlucky we’ve been so far (and bear in mind, we’re 3 days in).
1. Firstly we get delayed by 2 hours because of the weather in Amsterdam. Obviously we’re like this is shite but whatever. It’s a delayed flight we’re not going to cry over it.
2. We ALMOST and when I say almost, I mean the minute we got off our flight in Amsterdam we had to run through Schipol airport to get to where our flight to Boston was. We got on the plane and 2 minutes later, and I mean 2 minutes they shut the gate!
3. Now if you know anything about the process of planes and airports you’ll know what’s coming next. Yep. You guessed it! We arrived in Boston, but our luggage didn’t. Obviously once again another bummer but we can deal with it.. Until, we enquire about it and only 3 of the 4 cases were found and going to be on their way to join us.
4. So you’re thinking, what else can possibly go wrong for these 4 girls? Plenty. We pick our car up, all is going well. Shona drove it to the motel, we picked up clare and then I drove us to Salem. All was going well and then BANG! (And I do mean that literally) someone fucking crashed into me. So not only am I driving in another country, on the opposite side of the road, in the opposite side of the car and then someone crashes into me. Not to mention, the same accident had happened 2 minutes previous so the police witnessed it and it was all the guys fault as he was doing an illegal manoeuvre. We had to drive back to the rental company, luckily they were great and gave us another car.
Car number 1 (bye bye).
Car number 2 (hello beautiful).
5. Surely by now you’re thinking, we’re on number 5? They’ve only been there 3 fucking days, what more could go wrong? Oh little do you know. So we’re in the car driving to NYC (no crashes this time), we stopped off to grab some food and water etc only to check our emails and see an email from the motel saying they tried to take the payment which was cancelled as it was an old card and to contact them by 1pm; it was currently almost 9pm. Our phones can’t phone american numbers either so we had to go into burger king and asked to use their phone which they kindly let us, phone the motel and they inform us the booking is still there. Everything is all good!
6. Is it fuck! We get to the motel, thinking great get in, pay, get to sleep as it’s almost 12. Nope. The guy tells us the booking was cancelled and he only has a room for 1 night; we’re meant to be staying 4! So we’re currently in the motel patiently waiting to find out if there’s any cancellations etc for us to stay our next 3 nights here.
Every time we seem to say “surely things can’t get any worse” they do. So you know, whatever. I’m over it all now. I just want a little bit of plain sailing for the next 4 weeks, please.
Has any of your trips ever went this terribly wrong? Leave me a comment below and tell me. Make me feel slightly better about our situation.
When your trip starts off in the worst possible way, all you can say is “it’s all part of the adventure.”
For us our trip has started off in the worst possible ways. Firstly we were delayed leaving Glasgow by 2 hours because of the weather in Amsterdam. Finally we were allowed to take off and after circling the skies of Amsterdam we landed. Only to be told our connecting flight to Boston was leaving in 10 minutes time and we probably won’t make it.
We ran for our lives across the airport and made it onto our plane literally 2 minutes before we took off.
Now you’re thinking well that’s not too bad, and no of course it isn’t. Until we arrived in Boston. We got off our flight, through customs toward the baggage carousel and what wasn’t there? Our luggage.
Usually I really wouldn’t care but we’re only here in Boston until Wednesday so knowing we don’t have our luggage with absolutely everything is not ideal. Apparently through it will be getting sent to our motel today (fingers crossed).
We had to spend our first night in Boston shopping for clothes and toiletries etc (in all fairness I was smart and did put extra clothes in my hand luggage but it’s roasting here so I don’t want to wear jeans).
So day one of our trip hasn’t gone exactly to plan.. but as I keep saying “it’s all part of the adventure.”
We’re on our way!
Well our journey starts here. We’re at the airport currently waiting to board our first flight. First stop: Amsterdam.
It really doesn’t feel real at all. But soon we’ll be in Boston starting our trip!
Well I say soon.. We’re currently delayed but hopefully we’ll be on our way soon.
See yous in a few Glasgow 👋