Friday, 9 November 2012

USA Sum Up

Buenos tardes amigos, sorry for the last few days silence, we haven't r e a l l y been ignoring you (much) 

Setting up and grounding our feet in Mexico has taken a little longer than hoped with one thing and another, but WE'RE BACK! with the new and improved Andi & Ellen 

Andi's Take

OK, The USA Sum UP, mostly great but some grumbles, not everything is beer and skittles so don't be offended as this is just how we see it from the Kiwis perspective. 

The USA has been a bumpy section of our travels for us with epic bike failures, time off the road, people belittling us trying to make themselves feel better or bigger or something... it must be a bugger to have a little tiddle 

On the other end of the spectrum, on top of some of the coolest places we have been the people have made our trip, a few kicks in the nuts does not compare the many back rubs!!! 

Montana, we were greeted by huge fires which was kinda cool in a funny way, something different for us, a little less than ideal to ride through tho.

We met the coolest people in the campgrounds etc, we were surprised by really neat locations in the middle of nowhere and can kinda understand why a lot of Americans don’t travel out of the country as you have so much here ... that is no excuse to come see us though!!!!

I can’t begin to thank all the people along the way as (almost) everyone we met contributed to making our trip better and better with information, help and just great welcoming friendships.

For me being a total petrolhead Reno featured for me at Scott and Joannes, Scott and I doing the bloke ride hooligan day out was mint and something I really needed to do, the DR 43 hp is a workhorse but the 100 plus HP of the 990 and 950 was the devil inducing fun factor which I miss, doing 110 mph on the shingle just bought the kid out .

How could a man not grin 

People highlights, next sum up I do I am going to write it as we go with notes so my old memory can remember but needless to say without the people involvement there would be a lot less to write about, so many people were just interested in what we were doing which was so cool.

Scenery, where to start, you guys here in North America (meaning Canada and USA) have SO much on your doorstep, at worst you can ride from one end of the globe to the other with only one flight or boat trip through the middle ...GET OUT THERE!!!!, we will have to come back to see what we have missed so make sure it is still good nic when we return please 

The one thing I will criticize is Americans, not across the board but quite a lot have not even traveled out of their town or state which is a little sad given what your country offers you for recreation, scenery, locations and even the ease of getting either very fast or via cool as back roads, this is not a whinge just a suggestion from an outsider.

Another suggestion is the Yogi Bears in the National Parks probably don’t really need a 6L V8 double cab dual axle truck to change toilet rolls as we witnessed ... he was a WELL fed Yogi Bear too so a little exercise would do him good ....national parks could then be made more accessible cost wise to many more ... again just an observation and suggestion from an outsider, who will listen ... ha no one.!!!! ... but now I am lighter very venting it 

The only disappointing National Park was Yellowstone, the park itself is fantastic and the hot pools etc just mint, unfortunately the Yogi Bears running the place are just idiots (as agreed by many not just us), sorry guys but no better way to put it, again we understand you need to run it properly but with a $1.00 badge and a dumb hat they are just angry over protective over regulated over the top fun police. 

The nicest area for me was Crater Lake, we were given probably one of the best weather days while there which makes a huge difference but the location is simply stunning and an outstanding asset to the US, don’t take our word for it tho.

This photo for me is awesome .. just wow which ever way you look at it, you guys have some stunning landscapes  ... spoken from a kiwi heart from the heartland of kiwi where stunning scenery is in abundance.

Also Moab and Bryce Canyon are stunning, we see nothing like this in New Zealand, we will be back for another look for sure and to see all the stuff we wanted to but missed our due to bike failures and lack of time. 

The National parks for the most were very well kept, the only disappointment was the ridiculously high camping cost in California coupled with the worst facilities, as a tourist and RTW adventure rider I would steer people away from California if you are on a budget.

The rest of the Parks were very inviting, Diamond lake even had showers and was a very reasonable cost.

The Government Machine and Bureaucratic bullshit is unbelievably heavy and probably the worst we have seen in all our travels world wide, some things are more difficult in 3rd world countries due to lack of technology, language barriers etc, none of this should be an issue in the USA but it is and it is overboard when it comes to Homeland Security, I appreciate the need for security but there needs to be a level of common sense that is not that common in this sector, grump over 

Super duper highlight was HU meeting Cambria, meeting people, comparing notes etc .... most excellent , meeting Ted Simon and Greg Frazier .... mastercard moment you cannot buy.

Greg Frazier with us, we didn't charge him 

Ted Simon with us, we let him off free too  

Ma and Pa Hubbers Grant and Sue Johnson, you guys ROCK!! .... seems we were giving away free photos all day .... the things we do. 

Ellen’s view

Because I’m in charge of the kitchen, I had a few observations for our American counterparts.

American’s don’t use a JUG

If you want a cup of tea, try to “put the jug” on in an American’s home, that’s kind of difficult because there is no such a thing called “jug” in their kitchen. Most people we know don’t drink tea, they drink “soda” instead. Finally I asked a friend what they do if they want to make a couple of tea, she said: “ we use microwave to heat water.” So now I know how to make a cup of tea in the US.


The toaster in American’s kitchen is also different from our Kiwi’s. They actually use a small table top oven instead our four slice toaster. It was weird in the beginning, but to be fair, the toaster does a good job, you get evenly brown toast within minutes. 


I love my coffee, so do the Americans. But their coffee is very different from what we have in Kiwi land. Almost every household has a coffee machine, but not the fancy one which makes cappuccino, it is just a filter machine. Their coffee is half of the price we pay in NZ, also if you go to restaurant, you get refill as many times as you want. Haven’t seen any instant coffee in any home, they all have filter coffee.

Sugar, Salt and sauces

Americans use lots of sauces for their food. If you go to a restaurant, there would be at least four difference sauces on the table, tabasco, ketchup, ranches and mustard, plus salt and pepper. I found their food is covered with heavy sauces, not sure if the chief try to cover badly cooked food or people just used to the flavour of sauces.

Another thing I found is their dessert is far too sweet. We can’t taste other flavours of a cheesecake rather then sugar sweetness! Even the organic cereal has 26% of sugar. There is so much sugar, even a loaf of bread is sweet.

Food price is another interesting point. We paid $3.64 for two nectarines, they are not big. However, a big 7 inch cake only cost you $2.99. In general, fruit and vegetable are more expensive than processed food . $4.99 for a big No.12 chicken roasted, you can feed 4 people no problem, who would bother to go through all the trouble of cooking at home?

Fast food kingdom

McDonald, KFC, Subway, Denny’s, BK, that’s all I knew prior to this trip. My new list now is: In And Out, Chipotle, Dairy Queen, Panda Express. In and Out makes fresh burger, now becomes the biggest rival for McDonalds. My new favorite Chipotle serves Mexican food, new generation of fast food which has the healthy image, ironically it is owned by McDonalds

That concludes our view of the USA, in summary we loved it and will be back to see what we have missed better prepared next time with local knowledge under our belts, I will talk with Barack and discuss some of the shortfalls 

Some useless information too, we budgeted $60.00 / day for two of us (per Naomi and Alberto), including bike repairs and maintenance it came in at $64.05 / day which included tires and all, without bike costs it came in at $60.45 / day so we blew our budget completely , also Naomi and Alberto came in at $60.25 ... damn ... beaten...gutted!!

Of interest, when staying at inmates, normalish mates and some humans places this saved accommodation costs but our piss drinking and good food budget went through the roof and got a hiding, conclusion, still cheaper to camp and self cook but one must also have treats on the trip.

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