Absolutely OT - USA trip

Back home now. We spent a tiring day in Manhattan, some just wandering about in the on-and-off rain, some on the Staten Island Ferry, Battery Park and the Empire State. A visit to the World Trade Center site was a moving experience & one that I'm glad we didn't miss.

Up early to collect the car at JFK, 3.5litres of V6 Chrysler Malibu which returned a steady 30MPG & was as fast and responsive a beast as one might want. Unfortunately, it gave a sharp impression of my mother & fretted bleepily if I left the door open with the keys in the ignition, turned the lights off after dark, tried to change the seating position whilst moving etc. But it *was* seamlessly reliable.

We cut across the bottom of Pennsylvania & headed for the top of the Appalachians and a hundred stunning miles of the Skyline Drive. Then we crossed the Shenandoah Valley & out to Louisville in Kentucky to see a friend. So on to the Mammoth Caves, also in Kentucky and down to the Space Research Museum at Huntsville, Alabama, an excellent museum still redolent with the echoes of von Braun & the early days of manned rocketry with lots of hardware. Then we returned to the top of the Blue Ridge Parkway that starts where Skyline Drive leaves off.

500 miles, a million trees and two days later, we turned east through Atlanta, across to the South Carolina at Savannah where we spent a day in that consciously beautiful city. On down the Georgia coast & to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida which has a curiously disjointed air. The Visitors centre museum is not as good as Huntsville & is a private enterprise outlet which runs tours to various pads and facilities, plus a stop at the US Air Force museum. Good to see the various sites, but the highlight of the tour is the $37M NASA Space Center where they have a Saturn five in moon lander mode lying on its side! They have two merchandising outlets where one can (and did!) spend far too much ;o))

Then across the peninsula to Tampa & to St Petersburg to spend a few days with a friend.

Home on Sunday from Orlando to Washington then into Heathrow on the Redeye, arriving 45 minutes early at 5.25am. It was a quite beautiful sight to fly over southern England on a clear, moonless night, the towns and villages shining like galaxies from 35,000 feet. London was clear as a bell to the horizon and positively glowed with light and colour.

And so safely home having covered over 4,100 miles through 12 States in sixteen days allowing for two vegging days when we sat in the Florida sunshine!.

Already planning our next trip in 2007, crossing the States from Maine to southern California.

Our apologies to those we failed to meet up with, just too many things to do and too few days to do it in.


Kim Siddorn Photos in due course.

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Kim Siddorn
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