Get ready for the storm, it’s coming

It seems to me that Voldemort has his eyes on Coney Island.
All pictures are made with my recovered camera.

One minute more

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Everyone seems to be in good mood today. We visited Lincoln’s memorial, the National archive and the Capitol and got the National Treasure feeling.
If you never had doughnuts in Pentagon or at least close to it, definitely do so.

Back it up

Here is the proof that random acts of kindness work all over the world: as we were taking pictures of darkness approaching Coney Island a girl gave us her thrill ride ticket because she was leaving (it was Mary’s first ever thrill ride).
And then it started to rain and we decided it was time to eat anyway. I heard good things about Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown and they mercifully work 24/7. They don’t accept cards though so we traded them for the place on the other side of the road (exactly opposite Joe’s) and it was quite good.
Independence Day in DC tomorrow, sleeping in our gorgeous sport car tonight.

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Sweet Home Alabama

We stayed in Mobil and got to enjoy sweet tea and scones at the Spot of tea before leaving to Savannah. When you enter Georgia there is a sign saying ‘we’re glad Georgia is on your mind’.
Savannah’s historic district is beautiful and full of street musicians, horses and carriages, trams and great seafood. We went simple and had boiled shrimps at the Shrimp Factory. They serve them with garlic butter and spices.
There is a great candy store by the river that operates as a little factory and you get to see how everything is made.
Looking for some beach time we traveled to Edisto island, which was definitely a good choice because the beaches there are free, clean and beautiful (the parking is also free). The beach houses have names such as ‘Sand castle’ or ‘granddad’s’.
The locals buy seafood from little shops along the road (there are even 2 in the forest) and cook it at home.
We have a long ride to Atlantic city ahead of us and it’s bedtime for Rory since Mary is taking over, but before falling asleep I will tell you a cognitive bedtime story about the advantages of watching Tv.
We were looking for a bathroom at midnight in Virginia and found one inside a patrol station. As we were heading towards it a grumpy man at the cashier suddenly woke up and told us the bathrooms were for customers only. He had a Game of thrones book on his desk. He gave us a strict look and informed us about the existence of public washrooms. I accidentally said: ‘but the night is dark and full of terrors’. He smiled and let us in. So, children, here’s a message from uncle Billy. You know the rest.

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When you came in the air went out

The road from Austin to New Orleans lyes through beautiful ranches and old twins with names like Two Guns and Moriarty. (There will be many swamps when you enter Louisiana).
The unwritten rule of ‘speeding in groups’ works on this road more than anywhere. Several cars firm a group and exceed the speed limit all together, because apparently this way the police won’t be able to fine them due to not being able to decide who to chase (that’s our guess). Один в поле не трактор, в общем.
Our motel was clean and wonderful, but full of mystery as well: there used to be three beds in the room, but only a back was left from the third. The number on our door wasn’t written on a plate, like on every other room but was made of three separately hanging numbers. The place seemed rather empty.
Mary’s birthday was approaching, so we headed to the French quarter that was pretty crowded. We were excited to see the Bourbon street, the party Mecca of the city, but be warned that it becomes quite dirty by the evening. There is a wonderful pirate bar, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, that is believed to be the oldest in the whole country, that serves drinks like Voodoo daiquiri and has pleasant seating both inside and outside. The light us pleasantly dim and people there are up for a conversation with strangers and will probably approach you as soon as you get there. We met two guys from LA who were road tripping as well.
For a fancier crowd there’s a 20s’ looking bar called Arnaud’d French 75 that has very good alcohol and very classy members of stuff (they all do look and speak the way Jeeves does).
True blood-like characters can be found at the Cure or Half Moon.
We walked into a couple of voodoo shops, where all the voodoo priests were happy to show us around the famous cemeteries and then danced to a jazz version of Sweet Home Alabama in a jazz bar that we accidentally found on Bourbon. Make sure you spend some time in one of those – music is very important in New Orleans.
We finished the day with a pecan pie, that was very good.
Next morning we had beignets at Cafe Beignet (don’t let the sparrows steal your food), then walked around St Luis cemetery and Charles ave that has the most beautiful houses and had fantastic gumbo at The Gumbo shop. Do have a gator burger also if you have more days.
If you are a fan of Erik Northman, drive to Shreveport, he probably isn’t there but you’ll see wonderful cottages and cabins, very local grill houses and bars and most importantly very beautiful trees.
You will see many abandoned cars everywhere along the highway – we still haven’t figured out what happened to them, but there is an assumption that some of them were left after the hurricane.

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Amarillo

We actually don’t have this song anymore, but I still am going to name this post after it.
Gallup looks exactly the way it does in the Lost room, but has more than
one mysteriously abandoned motel.
On entering Texas we enjoyed roadside warnings about speeding that demand that you ‘Don’t mess with Texas’ and advertisements of people selling oak trees and exotic pets.
At the Love’s gas station we met a man from Georgia (the country), who was very happy to see/hear people from a neighbour country.
On the way to Amarillo we were attacked by fog and our GPS lost it’s way, so we had to steal wifi on the parking lot of Days Inn (thank you, Days Inn, for not having a password).
Our motel was situated on an absolutely abandoned street and had a bullet hole in its window, but we had a good night’s sleep.
We had breakfast at the Waffle House, where there was a mixed crowd of families and farmers with hats on. Everyone seemed extremely friendly.
We saw the Cadillac Ranch and had the honor of painting graffiti on the actual Cadillacs.
On the way to Austin we visited Georgetown, that has amazing University Burger cafe, where they accept Southwest university pirate bucks (they have university currency that’s called Pirate bucks! I went to the wrong school). Galaxy bakery is a heaven for cupcake lovers, we saw them bake everything on the spot, so I would vouch for the freshness of their pastries.
There was also a jazz band playing in front of the city hall and the locals were enjoying themselves.
Also we noticed that there are plenty of great steakhouses everywhere in Texas.
As I promised Nora I would ride a mechanic bull in Austin, Mary and I did it after some hesitation. The Trophy Room was mainly filled with locals and everyone was very supportive and cheered in a very friendly manner (either of the rider or the bull), which surprised me as it wasn’t what I was expecting.
Now we’re heading to New Orleans and I am full if great expectations.
There is a man sitting in the middle of the road reading a newspaper. He’s wearing a red cowboy hat. Oh, baby, baby it’s a wild world.

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Infinite arms

The road to the Grand Canyon is terrible terrible terrible, so if you are driving an extremely cool sport car also known as Hyundai Accent or similar prepare to feel like you’re riding a donkey. It’s totally worth it, obviously.
We passed a town called Williams that has the best steak I’ve ever had at Rod’s Steak house (and I am picky). Their mashed potatoes is as good as grandma’s and they actually have adequate English breakfast tea.
We saw Mather Point and then found a rock to climb (5 min to the left from Mather point there are no rangers preventing you from killing yourself).
Make sure to watch the sunrise or the sunset from Yavapai Point. Bring a camera or even five – you’ll want to take tons of pictures.
If you, like us, happened to save money on accommodation in San Francisco, do spend it on a helicopter tour – the view is spectacular, the pilots are witty and their music choices are worthy of every praise (I believe that was the IPod sending greetings from above). While landing we were listening to Green Day’s ‘Time of your life (good riddance)’.
Now I think it’s ACDC weather and we’re going to Gallup, New Mexico because the Lost Room was filmed there.

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Hold me thrill me kiss me kill me

On our way to Vegas we passed many interesting places in Arizona, such as Bullhead, that’s surrounded by very beautiful rocks and then Searchlight (what a name), Lake Mead and Boulder City that might interest those who watched Make it or break it as a kid.
Also, Visit the Hoover Dam if you have the time.
Las Vegas has a lot of lights and good music. Seriously, they play rock’n’roll all day and all of the night right on the streets of the city.
We stayed at Hard Rock, where they play what I used to have on my departed iPod (and have pretty much everything Steve Tyler ever wore).
The place is so huge that I assume some people never leave the hotel territory. But we were in a hurry to meet Nathan by the Bellagio fountain, that dances to pleasant music every 15 minutes (the fountain, not Nathan).
Make a mental note: you get carded everywhere, some places you can’t even enter without a passport.
According to Nathan’s words, this place gets away with everything, which is true, but probably won’t shock anyone who has lived in any of the world’s capitals.
As for things to see, do walk by/in the famous casinos if only to take in the crazy atmosphere. Most of them are very beautiful on the inside and have impressive works of art.
Foodwise, inside Hard Rock itself, there’s a place called Mr. Lucky’s that is open to non-residents as we’ll (little tip:so are the hotel’s swimming pools). Mr. Lucky had great (and huge) breakfasts and great soups.
Food’n’drinkwise, there’s a Mexican place called Segundo, that serves huge bowls of guacamole and fantastic frozen margaritas that come in three sizes and five flavours (I recommend going classic).
Hard Rock bartenders are pretty lazy, so don’t go there for drinks.
I hear Herbs and Rye and the Downtown cocktail room are good.
Do make time to see a Cirque Du Soleil show, there are 8 of them playing non-stop in Vegas. We got to see Mystere and enjoyed it very much.
Beware of the heat, the temperature can be as high as 41•C

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Dani California

The only point I see in visiting LA is trying to find out what all the fuzz is about. We saw Rodeo drive, Sunset boulevard, Third street promenade, the walk of fame and the Hollywood sign. The old-movie glamour is replaced with litter and promoters desperately trying to sell you tickets for excursions to celebrities’ houses (I mean you’ll see them from the bus). Unimpressed. At least we crossed it off the bucket list. We saw LA, I am happy about my decision not to take a job here.
Beverley hills is quite pleasant to drive through, so is Pasadena. Now we officially visited these places so many songs had been written about.
We’re now on our way to the Salvation Mountain through the Salton sea park. All the signs are slowly switching to Spanish, the rails in the middle of the desert give a classic Western picture and our only companion is the border patrol.
Off the topic: saw ‘The fault in our stars’. A good way to get depressed. Wish Adam was there to appreciate how they kept all the best dialogs from the book.
PS. Carlos here seems to have lost one of the wheels of his pick up truck.

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