Hello! I am back. Back from a long and amazing time in America. Back in beautiful Battersea, now filthily addicted to Dairy Queen ice-cream, about a stone heavier (coincidence?) and freshly engaged to my long-suffering boyfriend! Eeek.
Together, we just motored around Atlantic City, bopped in Baltimore, walked all over Washington, were pampered in Pennsylvania, chilled out in Woodstock, felt sunshiny in Shelburne Falls, were windswept in Cape Cod, fell in love with baseball in Connecticut and were overwhelmed by, well, everything, in New York City. Phew. In just under two and a half-weeks we zoomed around 1550 miles, taking in giant free-ways, tiny country lanes, glittering lakesides and splendid fall forests. We saw Amish and Manhattenites, drove by smart-cars and monster trucks, past mansions and the projects – and saw a diverse and compelling country getting along together, against the odds. It was absolutely incredible, as indeed America is.
In New England villages and towns we drove past huge fields of grazing cows and goats, saw endless roadside stores selling squash and pumpkins, apples and maple syrup. We slurped on diner shakes, gorged on American candy and greedily ate sloppy burgers in our car. There were roadside highs and dead-end lows.
The biggest slump being our first – and I suspect only ever- Taco Bell. Despite mixed reviews, I had worked myself into a semi-frenzy when we parked in the lot and walked inside. I am a big Mexican-food-lover. Fajitas are my friends. Burritos are my buddies. But the Taco Bell, the Taco Bell was a Traitor.
Yes it was cheap, yes it was speedy, yes it came with about 30 ounces of re-fillable rootbeer but ewwwwww. Soggy taco shells, overstuffed with plastic cheese and skanky gristle. The fajita was as depressing as sitting through an episode of My Family. It was in short a let-down and watching tv adverts for their XXL Chalupa forced me to yelp in anguish. Taco Bell? Taco Hell.
Along the drives, I saw more types of fastfood restaurants than I could have previously imagined, sure there were the BK’s, the McD’s and the KFCs, but I can add to this galaxy of glittering stars – White Castles, Applebys, Arbys, Favourites, Denny’s – there were rib places and steak places, Chinese places and Mexican places, so much so that I had to concentrate on DJing hard and gazing at the roadmap to stop from myself from screaming “let’s pull over it’s been an hour since we ate!”
Luckily, the hotel and motel breakfasts helped. Whether it was a monster buffet at a Trump hotel, or freshly baked bread and waffles in a family-run guesthouse, we did not want for breakfast. During our stay in Washington DC – in a grotty but super-retro motel – we survived the sleepless night (our neighbour snored and watched Forensic Files at 5.30am and the walls were evidently constructed from tissue paper) by guzzling Styrofoam cups of sugary coffee and hoovering up triple glazed donuts that made me feel like I was in training to be a cop on stake-out.